Last year, my brother Josh, a 37-year-old married father with five kids under the age of 9, announced he was becoming a woman.
His wife, in turn, announced that she not only plans to stay married, but that she is “more proud of him” than she’s ever been. Actually, she said she is “more proud of her than she’s ever been.” That’s because my brother Josh changed his name to Melissa and now requires everyone to use “she/her” pronouns when referring to him. If the grandparents refuse to do this, they have been threatened with limited access to their grandchildren.
My brother and sister-in-law claim that through several years of therapy, they came to realize the truth: that Melissa was Josh’s “true self” all along.
Thus, my tall, handsome, muscular brother began taking strong female hormones that transformed him into a different person. His facial hair stopped growing. He grew breasts instead. As part of his “social transition” he began wearing dresses, wigs, heels, and makeup in public. He will have to stay on female hormones until the day he dies. He refuses to answer to the name Josh now—the only name anyone’s known him as for almost four decades. He says Josh is dead. There was even some type of symbolic “burial ceremony” to say goodbye to Josh once and for all. Unfortunately, I didn’t get invited to that. Nor did my parents. No one sent us flowers. No one dropped off a casserole.
Basically, the best way to describe what happens when a loved one decides to swap genders is this: It’s as though someone murders your loved one and then the murderer gets extremely angry if you won’t let them take the victim’s place in your family.
My family and I are now called “transphobic” for not embracing Melissa with open arms.
When I told my brother, “I’m sorry…I love Josh, but I cannot move forward with this new Melissa girl,” he simply texted me: “So long then.” So long to almost 40 years of relating as siblings. So long to weekly dinners at my parents’ home. So long to our kids growing up with their cousins. But I do not fault him or his wife for this. They are victims. They have been brainwashed by the trans cult. It all began with a therapist’s advice and ended with lifelong payments to the trans medical machine. There’s lots of money to be made in telling people to become the opposite gender. Lots. (More on that later.)
Oddly, even in this #MeToo era, American culture now tells me that my brother—who’s spent 37 years as a Caucasian male—now deserves the same rights and respects that I, an actual woman, deserve. I’m a woman who’s been sexually harassed hundreds of times in my 40 years of life. My brother was a star high school athlete who had his pick of girls to date. While I was fending off unwanted stares and groping hands of males in my 20s, he was enjoying all the perks of being just such a male in the 21st century. While I was giving birth to three babies who will grow up to be women in my 30s, he was joining the fight to get legal access to their public restrooms.
See, if my brother was claiming to be an alien or a time traveler instead of a woman, our culture would never support it. But since it’s 2019 and the denial of reality when it comes to biological sex is en vogue—countless people are blindly embracing Melissa as my brother’s “True Self.” Even though reality clearly proves my brother is male, people unabashedly deny reality out of fear of being called “intolerant.” They’re terrified of being lumped in with all the “Trump-supporting, LGBTQ haters.” They say things like, “If Josh tells us that this Melissa is actually his ‘true self,’ who are we to argue?”
The “True Self” has become the final measure of all things. Every book we open, every show we watch, every internet meme we read suggests we can all attain greater levels of health and peace through a deeper understanding and expression of our “True Self.”
It sounds so right. How can it be wrong?
In his book The Road to Character, David Brooks explains that back in the day, there was something called moral realism—a worldview that put an emphasis on human sin and human weakness. Biblical figures like David and Moses were seen as great leaders who were also deeply flawed. Augustine and the early church fathers talked constantly about the depravity of sin and the need for grace. Then around the 18th century, moral realism found a rival in moral romanticism. Romantics like Jean-Jacques Rousseau emphasized the inherent goodness of man and rejected the concept of sin.
Fast forward to the 20th century when books like Rabbi Joshua Liebman’s New York Times best seller Peace of Mind (published in 1946) urged people toward a new morality based on the idea that you should never repress any part of yourself as sinful. Instead, you should “love yourself” and not be afraid of your hidden impulses. Humanist psychologists ran with this idea. They began arguing that the primary problem for humans was no longer sin, but rather the fact that we weren’t fully accepting of ourselves exactly as God made us. This line of thinking led to the advent of the self-esteem movement in 1969, and the core of that movement morphed into what Charles Taylor calls “The Culture of Authenticity.” That’s the culture we’re contending with today.
The central belief of the culture of authenticity goes something like this:
At the center of every one of us is a Golden Figure known as “the True Self.” The True Self can always be trusted. You know that what you’re doing is right when you feel an inner peace inside your True Self. You know that what you’re doing is wrong when you do not feel inner peace inside your True Self.
Because the True Self is inherently good, there is no sin to be found in it. Thus, sin is now found only in the external structures of society that seek to repress the True Self or stop it from fully emerging.
Previous generations believed the development of character and the road to salvation came by struggling against the desires of the True Self. This is why traits like selflessness and self-sacrifice were considered most admirable. But not anymore. Our culture now has a new “salvation”—with the True Self playing the role of redeemer.
The steps to this “new salvation” are as follows:
- Relinquish any previous struggle you had against your True Self.
- Allow your ego/shadow self to fall away so your True Self can fully emerge without any guilt or shame (both of which are constructs of old, outdated religious systems).
- Adopt a new lexicon in which words like “sin” and “evil” now refer to the external constructs of society that caused you to doubt your True Self was good and perfect in the first place. (Thus, the only real sin a man is now capable of engaging in is the sin of intolerance.)
Yet many influential thinkers of the past, including John Stuart Mill, believed the point of life was to struggle every day to sacrifice the True Self on the altar of care and concern for others. This is done by achieving a series of small, inner victories against your own desires because you know that acting upon those desires could result in dire consequences for others.
Because we are all bound together through our good and bad choices, the smallest decisions we make today can negatively impact everyone in our sphere of influence, even reaching forward into generations to come. Thus, we build character by a thousand selfless acts of restraint every day that no one ever sees or applauds.
Our society once believed this sort of self-restraint was the best way to live. Men and women were encouraged to exercise self-restraint in building a life of integrity. But the ideals of selflessness and self-restraint are now seen as hopelessly outdated and must be discarded in favor of the True Self.
To continue reading Lisa’s story, click over to the FRC blog…
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