Sorry, Son, You’re Not a Girl
I recently engaged in a back-and-forth discussion on another website, concerning the issue of GID (Gender Identity Disorder) with a person who supports transgender issues. More precisely, he (I will presume it’s a he) advocates societal changes and surgical methods to “transition” gender-confused boys into being girls (and vice versa).
My aim was not to persuade the other person, because he seems emotionally invested at a very deep level. At most, I hoped to soberly present a side of the story that social liberals seem never to encounter, and perhaps to plant the seed of reflection that may take years to mature.
One of the primary arguments that I made, and one to which the other person could not adequately reply, was the comparison of GID, Gender Identity Disorder (he calls it Dysphoria) to a disorder called BIID (Body Integrity Identity Disorder). They are related, probably very closely. Those who suffer from BIID have an overwhelming perception that a specific part of their body, say an arm or leg, does not belong there, somewhat the feeling you and I might get if a large, abnormal growth appeared on our face. We would wish it to be removed. The BIID sufferer urgently wishes to remove the arm or leg, even though it is fully functional and healthy.
The point of this comparison, as I stated it, is that the problem for the BIID patient is not the arm. It is something in the brain.
I then pointed out that we do not celebrate BIID. We do not advocate the amputation of healthy limbs, even though this may relieve the suffering of the BIID patient. Instead, we do research to find other possible remedies. We should take the same approach to helping sufferers of GID.
My correspondent in this back-and-forth, seemed to carry into the debate the usual liberal assumption that we conservatives are heartless, cruel, and insensitive ideologues who wish to impose our beliefs on others. I made it clear that I, for one, have great sympathy for sufferers of GID. It must be just awful to sincerely believe that you are a man trapped in a woman’s body, or vice versa. It must be terrible for the parents to discover that their son wishes to be surgically altered to become a woman. I have tried to imagine myself in their place, both the son and the parents. I cannot, of course, but just trying to do it demonstrates some of the great difficulty that they must experience.
This, then, is the single-minded focus of the liberal advocate. He adequately senses the suffering of the patient, but fails to see any issue beyond that. His attitude seems to be, and I speak metaphorically here, just cut off the offending part, and everything else will be okay -- well, that is, it will be okay, after we reeducate society to accept the liberal position.
But reeducation would be at the expense of the First Amendment, and other basic rights. If GID is a correctly understood condition, and if the recommended alterations to the body are medically proper, then anyone who opposes the agenda, including laws with civil and criminal penalties for dissidents -- is a bigot, and should be neutralized. That is the liberal position.
One problem with all that, is that GID is poorly understood, and the supposed remedies are not only superficial, they risk grave harm to the patients, especially to little boys and girls who oftentimes pass through a temporary phase of what we might call, gender experimentation, such as for example, cross dressing for play. Giving these children hormone injections and other drugs, could cause irreparable damage.
At present, there seems to be no cure for GID, but that does not mean that we should embark on harmful therapies, not even if they make the patient more comfortable. There is great harm in accepting the liberal position, not only harm for some of the patients, but harm for society at large.
For example, there are now laws on the books, in some jurisdictions, which give men a right to walk into gymnasium showers for women, including showers for high school girls. In California, when parents objected to this rule, they were horrified to be told, by the government, that their daughter should become comfortable showering with boys. There was no mention of the transgender student becoming comfortable showering with members of his own biological sex. They have rights, and you do not.
There are also other complications that arise. Murders have been committed when a man discovered that his “girlfriend” was born as a boy. Would liberals ever countenance a law requiring full disclosure about one’s transgenderism? Or would that be a privacy right that outweighs those of high school girls?
It’s not so simple as amputating the offending part. At present, many liberals even denounce referring to GID as a disorder. They demand that it be accepted as simply an uncomfortable feeling, one which can be remedied with surgery, and with draconian laws to punish dissidents.
Therefore, at the risk of sounding brutal and cruel, here is my message to transgender people, as if I were speaking to my son.
I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but you are not a girl. It pains me to say so, but you are a boy who thinks you are a girl. It’s not your fault, no more so than it is the fault of sufferers of BIID or other uncured disorders. But you have never been /a girl, and will never become one, no matter how extreme is the pretense. Not even surgery will change that fact.
If simple surgery would solve the issue, without creating a greater harm, then perhaps I might reconsider. But that is not the case. What good is the surgery if society does not accept you as a woman? Or is it that, you think you can force society to accept your pretense -- and it would be just that, a pretense.
There are already laws that punish people for refusing to accept as normal, abnormal gender roles. You already know that courts have ruled against bakers, photographers and others who decline to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies. They did not discriminate against gays, but they do discriminate against a celebration of something that violates their deeply held moral beliefs.
If you would reorder society according to your desires, then why not advocate for research that would heal the brain? That, after all, is where the disorder is.
Your suffering is my suffering. I am inadequate to cure that. All I can do is to steadfastly love you, and to refrain from doing more harm to you on top of the malady you already have.