Not too long ago, in 2013, a convicted rapist received a mere 30-day sentence because, according to Montana judge Todd Baugh, his 14-year-old victim was “older than her chronological age.”
Public outrage was swift and ideologically unified. How could someone in a position of authority seriously say, and act upon, something so obviously detached from common sense and empirical reality? Gender-focused progressives who rightfully participated in the uproar against Baugh, however, seem blind to the fact that their position in that case is logically incompatible with their broader body of beliefs.
Their own doctrine of comprehensive gender fluidity teaches that many biological, physical, and quantitative facts concerning a human person are subjective and mutable constructs. To them, a person’s sex has nothing to do with his or her biological sex; and this is true even if gender is deemed distinct from sex, since progressives also support people revising their years-old birth certificates. If that’s the case, then someone’s age need not have any connection to his or her chronological age.
It is a fact that Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, for all the struggle he may endure and goodness he may have, is a man. No matter how much hormone therapy he receives, no matter how many surgeries he undergoes, he will never have an actual female reproductive system and every cell in his body will maintain the chromosomal truth—XY. We are commanded by the gender-focused progressives (who ironically often deem their opponents enemies of science), however, to believe otherwise and embrace an alternate reality that is just as absurd and lost as Baugh’s was.
You Can Determine Sexual Orientation—Except When You Can’t
All of this sits with another telling crux of illogic. How can gender progressives support health coverage for transsexuals’ therapies and surgeries on the taxpayers’ dime, but advocate banning voluntary sexual orientation conversion therapies? This is not irony. It is duplicitous cruelty that grants a person sexual self-determination in one instance but not the other. The only way these two positions can be reconciled is if they are held less for the desires and needs of individuals than for the demands of a one-way ideological agenda that tolerates no dissent.
One may retort that these two groups of procedures are different because conversion therapies are ineffective or harmful. If that be the case, however, the conversion therapies are no worse than the “sex change” therapies and surgeries. Not only can a gender-reassignment procedure never effectuate its namesake, it suffers from its own dubious medical pedigree and can cause lasting damage to already suffering people.
Both are explored by author and reverted transsexual Walt Heyer. Speaking from deeply personal and painful experience of eight years as Laura Jensen, he endeavors to help others by getting the word out that reassignment procedures carry great psychological risks for their recipients. Seldom are these fully disclosed, and all too often do they end without patients experiencing improvement in socio-psychological well-being. He further sheds light on the history of “sex change” operations, developed and pushed in the mid-twentieth century by doctors experimenting on, and sometimes abusing, children. After several years, their broader failure to effect positive change was evident when the universities that once hosted them began to shut them down.
Early Sex-Change Pioneers Repent
The spearhead of both pioneering then backing away from reassignment surgeries and therapies was Johns Hopkins University, which maintains the third-highest-ranked medical school for research in the United States. There Dr. David Money, one of the founding fathers of reassignment surgery and an accused child molester, began to offer his craft with much allure in 1965. The story within the walls of JHU’s Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) over the next several years is mixed and sordid, marked by severe disagreements amongst doctors.
Eventually, Dr. Paul McHugh, who became the university’s director of psychiatry and behavioral science, wanted real data on long-term outcomes and put Dr. Jon Meyer, chairman of the GIC, to the task. Rather than look at patients’ subjective claims of happiness, important though they were, Meyer preferred empirical science and performed his study by more objective methods. After eight years, in 1979 he reported, “To say that this type of surgery cures psychiatric disturbance is incorrect. We now have objective evidence that there is no real difference in the transsexual’s adjustment to life in terms of jobs, educational attainment, marital adjustment and social stability,” and “that surgery is not a proper treatment for a psychiatric disorder, and it’s clear to me that these patients have severe psychological problems that don’t go away following surgery.”
The program was stopped, and other universities that had followed JHU in followed them out. Those who were cast out went on to establish private clinics and the modern gender reassignment industry. To this day, McHugh maintains that transgender people have psychiatric trouble and that altering the body only enables the dysphoric condition and makes it worse.
Perhaps even more noteworthy is that many key doctors who originally advocated and aided in gender reassignment have since taken the opposing view. Dr. Charles Ihlenfeld had been the partner of endocrinologist Dr. Harry Benjamin, a founding figure in hormone therapy. After performing the therapy on 500 transsexuals, Ihlenfeld admitted that most did not need it and that “There is too much unhappiness among people who have had the surgery…Too many end in suicide.” He then changed fields to psychiatry in an effort to offer authentic assistance to patients.
Dr. John Hoopes of the GIC wrote in 1969 that “The surgery, often considered outrageously excessive and meddlesome by the uninformed, must be undertaken regardless of the censure and taboos of present society.” Years later, however, he said “I never saw a successful patient. For the most part they remained misfits.”
Love Means Telling the Truth
Transgender people should not be left to be “misfits” by ideology masquerading as compassion. They, as anyone, should be given genuine love, and with that comes truth and legitimate assistance for gender dysphoria. For those of us who are not doctors, we should be authentic and dear friends, as demonstrated by Pope Francis, who works to undo marginalization by welcoming transsexuals to Mass, audiences, and the embrace of his heart, all without compromising truth.
Yet the question remains, even if grassroots followers are duped by emotion-based arguments: what is the real agenda of the gender-focused progressives that explains their patent illogic when it comes to sex changes versus conversion therapy and Baugh-style incidents?
When viewed alongside other waves in the tide of gender fluidity and broader disassembly of the biological family—same-sex “marriage,” polygamy, surrogate pregnancy, free and ubiquitous contraception, the epidemic of fatherlessness and “The Life of Julia,” banning playground roughhousing, the feminization and economic downfall of men paired with the opposite for women—one answer becomes quite plausible. Like progressives more generally, they desire a profound growth of government over an increasingly undifferentiated populace.
By breaking down the specialization of roles by which people take care of each other, individuals become more dependent upon Uncle Sam. Eventually, Sam becomes our Big Brother, who must fill an otherwise underutilized parental and spousal role in an increasingly present way. All the while, children, indoctrinated with gender fluidity and Orwellian demographics, will be as those prescribed by Plato in his “Republic”—lacking family allegiance and loyally adhering to the state.
Grand plans aside, gender-progressives’ push for normalization of transsexualism, contrary to their rhetoric of love, leaves real people hurt and broken here and now—from the lady kicked out of her gym for creating an “intimidating” environment because she didn’t wish to be in the compromising situation of sharing a women’s locker room with a man, to children put at greater risk in school and public bathrooms (not by transsexuals, as Sally Kohn would have you believe Mike Huckabee meant in a much-derided joke, but by predators or scheming adolescents posing as such); and from children like Ryland whose parents feed gender confusion before puberty can even have its say, to women struggling with body-image issues who have been blessed to see the current trend against plastic surgery and Photoshop use on magazine covers, until praise of Jenner’s beauty flipped that progress back on its head. Worst of all, though, today’s movement leaves the deepest and most heartfelt needs of transgender people uncared for—and leaves people themselves unloved for who they truly are.