Matthew Hanley: Transgender activists are unafraid to make menacing displays of power, to which appeals to basic reason count for nothing.
What if I were to tell you that defining gender by objective reference to genetics, anatomy, and genitalia “has no basis in science”? Would you consider that persuasive – or unhinged?
That, alas, is the viewpoint expressed in the journal Nature, long reputed to be an authoritative scientific publication. They now banish the classification of male and female as “a terrible idea that should be killed off” since it threatens to “undo decades of progress” in reclassifying sex and gender as a “social construct.” You might think Nature would be concerned about cultivating a credibility problem. But what do they have to worry about when colossal lies are the order of the day?
Regarding the “mismatch between gender and the sex on a person’s birth certificate,” Nature applauds the American Academy of Pediatrics for advising physicians to “treat people according to their preferred gender, regardless of appearance or genetics.” Pediatricians doubling as transgender apologists: this surely is the mark of a culture that has made peace with its disdain for children, science, and human nature.
Meanwhile, the American Psychological Association (APA) has issued guidelines warning about the dangers of espousing “traditional masculinity.” But if we are to take the APA at its word, why on earth should medical authorities encourage a female to become a male? It seems the reigning approach is that troubled females should be entitled to undergo reassignment surgery – an act of mutilation – in order to acquire an unconvincing external appearance, but should also, thenceforth, be encouraged to disdain all the “harmful” traits associated with masculinity.
A related inconsistency is also routinely ignored: if transitioning from one sexual identity to another is so enthusiastically embraced as a good to be facilitated because of our enlightened appreciation of gender “fluidity,” why are there legal obstacles to legitimate approaches to help people transition away from homosexuality?
Though still quite rare, there has been a spike in the incidence of transgender identification in recent years – sometimes in bunches and rather out of the blue. Going transgender does not necessarily invite derision but, believe it or not, is sometimes pursued as a way to boost popularity among one’s peers. To point that out is not to dismiss the genuine distress some adolescents acutely feel, but largely overcome with the passage of time.
Common sense suggests the transgender surge has been prompted by the Zeitgeist, against which the medical profession, in particular, should be on guard. Yet they have become complicit in its emergence.
We tell ourselves this is a free country. No one is “forcing” them to peddle the falsehood that a man can become a woman, or vice versa. But just because this is not Mao’s China does not mean that a form of its Cultural Revolution has not made its way here.
So says Anastasia Lin, who left China at age 13 and now resides in Canada. Writing recently in the Wall Street Journal, she pinpoints the ultimate objective of our politically correct mobs:
The goal is not to persuade or debate; it is to humiliate the target and intimidate everyone else. The ultimate objective is to destroy independent thought.
One can only hope that the extremism exploding all around us may help more people perceive that the target in this case, as with the sexual revolution more broadly, is Christianity itself, along with its social and moral order. By definition, this means that man himself is in the crosshairs, a point to which many who have adopted the post-Christian quasi-religion of “humanitarianism” are apparently oblivious.
Lin describes how her parent’s generation in China “learned to keep their heads down and to watch what they said, even to their closest friends, for fear of being accused of thought crimes,” in order to lament what is taking hold here as well. Too many of us in any number of professions know how true those words ring.
Coercion in one form or another is mandatory anytime a lie is purveyed to the masses. Examples of this are multiplying before our eyes. A professor at Arizona State University contends, in the American Journal of Bioethics, that parents should not be permitted to prevent their children from acquiring puberty-blocking treatment.
In the inverted thinking so typical of our time, it is the withholding of this “treatment” that constitutes child abuse, rather than the abetting of delusions and the sanctioning of aggressive measures that are often harmful, and in a real sense experimental, since evidence justifying their use is utterly lacking.
For now, that remains a proposal in our country. But the Supreme Court of British Colombia decreed last month that the father of a fourteen-year-old girl may not thwart her quixotic attempt to transition into a boy. She is entitled to puberty blockers that are hers by unnatural right. Furthermore, the father was put on notice that he also better watch his mouth: calling his own daughter a girl or using female pronouns when referring to her would be considered “family violence,” the truth now being a punishable offense.
And as the night follows the day, he has since been declared “guilty” of that “crime.”
In light of this menacing display of power, basic appeals to reason count for nothing. This is ultimately a matter of competing wills. But taking a strong stance against irrational gender tyrants can work, as Muslims in the UK proved by getting the LGBT-oriented curriculum pulled from their kids’ schools.
That the militant LGBT crowd, having pushed over everyone else, backed down in this context suggests that they are driven primarily by the desire to dismantle Christian sensibility rather than an unwavering belief in gender ideology. Note here the winner in this battle of wills.
If only faith and the art of persuasion were in vogue, more might see that abandoning Christianity and our inbuilt human nature does no favor to man; doing so tends toward ruin, as all too many discover after wading into the transgender abyss.
Matthew Hanley is senior fellow with the National Catholic Bioethics Center. With Jokin de Irala, M.D., he is the author of Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS: What Africa Can Teach the West, which recently won a best-book award from the Catholic Press Association. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Hanley’s and not those of the NCBC.
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