Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old student from Virginia, is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Grimm is the respondent in this case. The plaintiff, Gloucester County School Board, is fighting to keep legal its current practice of sex-distinct bathrooms. Grimm wants to use the boy’s bathroom at Gloucester High School, but the school will not allow it.
Why will the school not allow it? Because Grimm is a girl, not a boy. So the school has required her to use the girl’s bathroom or a single-stall unisex bathroom. Although Grimm insists she is a boy, the plain biological facts say otherwise—and, regardless of the outcome of this case, even the Supreme Court cannot change plain biological facts.
Journalism Isn’t Supposed to Be Fiction
At National Review, Ed Whelan has done a valuable service by rounding up some of the bizarre linguistic and logical pretzels into which many journalists have tied themselves over this issue: The New York Times claims Grimm was “designated female at birth,” the National Law Journal claims Grimm was “assigned the identity of a girl,” and so forth. Of course, none of this makes any sense. One is no more “designated female” than one is “designated human” at birth, biological sex being a necessary and unvarying feature of the human condition.
The only way a young woman can believe that she is a young man is if she is mentally unwell. Sadly, this is the course to which much of our journalist class has committed itself: enabling the mental delusions of mentally unwell young men and women.
You can perhaps expect this kind of thing from, say, People magazine, a periodical whose most consequential journalistic beat is “spot the celebrity baby bump.” But we might imagine that real magazines and newspapers would hold themselves to a higher standard, i.e. that they might deal in facts and truth. They should no more be obliged to call Grimm “he” than they should be obliged to call a square a circle, for the obvious reason that squares are not circles and girls are not boys. This is an indisputable fact, something that is not, in any sane society, up for debate.
Enabling Delusions Is Dangerous
Are we a sane society? It is not at all clear that this is the case—not when the Supreme Court has a fairly decent shot at effectively outlawing biological reality, and not when the central government mandates this kind of mass delusion from on high.
Grimm herself seems to be at least partially aware, if only unconsciously, of the reality of her delusion. In responding to the school district’s offer of a unisex bathroom for her private use, she said: “I’m not unisex.” This is entirely true—but it also underscores the fundamental absurdity of the entire trans proposition. If biological sex indeed doesn’t matter, as trans advocates insist, then a private bathroom is by definition a perfect accommodation. And if biological sex does matter, then there is zero reason for Grimm to use the boy’s restroom and many for her to use the girl’s.
This delusion is baffling, but it is also, in the end, heartbreaking. While there is a profound wackiness to much of transgender ideology—the ever-evolving pronoun game, the bizarre legal ramifications, the absurd, comically parodic activism—at the heart of this entire sad charade, at the end of every court case and bathroom battle and deluded media groupthink is the same thing: a person who is desperately sick and who needs a society and a culture unwilling to indulge and reinforce the sickness.
The transgender zeitgeist thrives off such indulgence, to the detriment of transgender people themselves. The strange cultural genuflections of transgenderism—the pregnant men, the forced acceptance of transgender ideology, the myriad other ways in which this phenomenon manifests itself—are merely symptoms of the larger problem, namely: we are ignoring a serious medical condition and instead indulging in a fantasy. That we do this in the name of “progress” makes it all the more bizarre, and all the more infuriating.
What Grimm needs is what all mentally ill people need: support, not enabling. That means loving people surrounding her, proper therapy, reality-based treatment. It does not mean global media attention based solely on her willingness to affirm a lie.
We are a culture of cowards if it has come to this—if even the great and venerable media institutions of our time cannot be bothered to tell the truth. Gavin Grimm deserves better than this. Everyone does.