A terrible murder reminds us that transgenderism is a mental illness

A man is scheduled to be executed in Missouri for raping and murdering a woman. The twist to this case is that, within the last four years, the man in question began to “identify” as a woman. His plea for mercy is that he suffers from mental health issues tied to an appalling childhood. Separate from the heinous crime for which he was convicted and whether he deserves any mercy, this tragic story highlights the mental illness lurking behind much of the so-called “transgenderism” we’re seeing.

The story is simple and horrible:

The first openly transgender woman set to be executed in the U.S. is asking Missouri’s governor for mercy, citing mental health issues.

Lawyers for Amber McLaughlin, now 49, on Monday asked Republican Gov. Mike Parson to spare her.

McLaughlin was convicted of killing 45-year-old Beverly Guenther on Nov. 20, 2003. Guenther was raped and stabbed to death in St. Louis County.


McLaughlin’s lawyers cited her traumatic childhood and mental health issues, which the jury never heard, in the clemency petition. A foster parent rubbed feces in her face when she was a toddler and her adoptive father tased her, according to the letter to Parson. She tried to kill herself multiple times, both as a child and as an adult.

Before getting to McLaughlin, it’s noteworthy that The Associated Press, which published the above report, cares nothing about the actual victim, Beverly Guenther, who is mentioned only once. But there is a story behind Guenther’s terrifying, painful, and premature death.

Image: A 2017 mugshot of McLaughlin. Public domain.

Guenther had broken up with her boyfriend, Scott McLaughlin (yes, that’s “Amber’s” real name), and he began to stalk and harass her. The day before Guenther was to appear before the court on her domestic violence charges, Guenther disappeared. McLaughlin admitted to murdering her.

It’s noteworthy, though, that in 1992, McLaughlin was imprisoned for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. As Joe Biden might say, McLaughlin was a “bad dude.”

The evidence showed that McLaughlin “stabbed her, raped her, and took her body that night to a wooded area off South Broadway in St. Louis, near Bellerive Park.” What a terrible way to die. McLaughlin quickly admitted to murdering Guenther, although he denied the sexual assault. He’s been sitting on death row for around 17-18 years since he took Guenther’s life.

I’m ready to believe that McLaughlin is mentally ill. The history of abuse and suicide is tragic. Nevertheless, it’s apparent that he knew what he was doing. There’s no allegation that he genuinely believed she was a T-Rex or Satan and that it was a kill-or-be-killed moment for him. A sexually violent, unhappy man murdered a woman who spurned him. To me, that’s not a basis for clemency.

While McLaughlin’s newly-discovered transgender identity should not (in my mind) excuse him from the consequences of a confessed murder, McLaughlin’s mental illness goes a long way to explaining his so-called “transgenderism.” Desperately unhappy, mentally tortured people want to get away from themselves. If your suicide efforts fail, maybe you can achieve escape by denying the reality of your own body.

And indeed, it turns out that people who later claim to be “transgender” suffer much more childhood abuse than those who do not:

Seventy-three percent of TGAs reported psychological abuse, 39% reported physical abuse, and 19% reported sexual abuse. Compared with heterosexual CGAs, TGAs had higher odds of psychological abuse (odds ratio [OR] = 1.84), physical abuse (OR = 1.61), and sexual abuse (OR = 2.04). Within separate subgroup analyses, transgender males and nonbinary adolescents assigned female at birth had higher odds of reporting psychological abuse than CGAs.


In the future, researchers should examine how more frequent experiences of abuse during childhood could contribute to disproportionate mental health problems observed within this population.

Unsurprisingly, given the theory emerging on the left that so-called transgender people are “born that way”—that is, from the minute they’re born, they’re in the “wrongly gendered” body—the argument is that that the abuse came about because adults somehow intuited the child’s psychological/biological twist. That is, the transgenderism came first; the abuse came second.

I posit that it’s much more likely to have occurred in the other direction. Innocent children were abused and tried to disassociate from their own bodies, with transgenderism now the readily available and socially acceptable way to do that.

The focus should be on the damage done to these damaged children’s psyches, not to their woke identities. Abused people need compassionate help to overcome those traumas, not an affirmation that they can run away by claiming to be the opposite sex.

The whole Guenther/McLaughlin story is deeply sad. The one thing I know, though, is that McLaughlin does not deserve extra credit in the mercy stakes because he now, conveniently, claims to be a woman named Amber.

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