The number of overnight, summer youth camps that target children who may identify as LGBTQ, non-binary or transgender is expanding – both in Alaska and across the nation.

These camps typically place gender-confused youth with members of the opposite sex when it comes to cabins and restrooms, while affirming children in their gender confusion.

In Alaska, Camp Identity is happening this week at Campfire Alaska’s Camp-K facility in Cooper Landing. Geared for kids ages 13-18, the three-day, overnight camp specifically targets youth who think they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or two-spirited. The Identity website claims it is a “safe space for identity expansive individuals who want a summer camp experience without worrying about being accepted for who they are.”

“Help us break down barriers and continue to offer this camping experience for years to come!” the website adds. “Youth will be given an opportunity to attend camp in a queer-friendly environment where they can relax, enjoy arts and crafts, and outdoor adventures.”

While at camp, children are assigned to a group based on their age and gender identity. They are also allowed to bunk with other children based on gender identity rather than biological sex.

Campfire Alaska’s website notes that its facility is “committed to providing a safe and inclusive experience for all gender identities and expressions.” Camp staff are also trained in DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) practices.

The emergence of LGBTQ themed camps is not unique to Alaska. The website Gender Sexuality Info has documented a long  list of U.S. camps across the country that cater to youth who identify as “LGBTQ,” with a number specifically for “trans” kids or those who identify as neither male nor female.

Several of the camps listed at Gender Sexuality Info offer trans-focused sex education with talks about puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, voice training to assist with a child’s gender identity, makeup and hair tutorials and discussions about mutilating surgeries.

The website for Camp Identity in Cooper Landing does not divulge the specifics of what kids will learn apart from listing a few typical summer camp activities.

According to a recent LifeSiteNews article, demand for LGBTQ camps is on the rise as the number of youth who identify as “trans,” and “non-binary” explodes nationally.

“In New Jersey public schools, for example, while just 16 students claimed to be ‘non-binary’ during the 2019-2020 school year, that number rose to a staggering 675 by the 2022-2023 school year, according to New Jersey Department of Education enrollment data,” LifeSiteNews reports. “The pattern is playing out across the country to such an extent that even those who are pro-‘transgender’ are recognizing the influence of social media and peer trends on the sharp uptick in ‘trans’ and ‘non-binary’ identification.

The growth in camps geared around LGBTQ sexuality is occurring despite the fact that 80% of children who experience gender confusion eventually grow out of this passing phase before adulthood.

“While transgender advocates often attempt to cite data to argue that so-called ‘gender-affirming care’ helps reduce suicidal ideation, a 2021 JAMA study found that a 2020 correction to ‘the largest existing study on this subject to our knowledge’ had found ‘no mental health benefit from gender-affirming surgery after comparison with a control group of [gender-confused] people who had not yet undergone surgery,’” LifeSiteNews noted. “In fact, according to research that surveilled actual outcomes spanning three decades, people who obtained so-called ‘gender-affirming surgeries’ were “19 times more likely to kill themselves” than the general population.”

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Alaska summer camp targeting gender-confused youth is part of growing trend

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.