The Atlantic recently published a front page article about kids with gender dysphoria. Among other things, the article tells the story of so-called “detransitioners”: people who at one time considered themselves to be transgender and decided to “transition”, but later regretted that decision and attempted to transition back. In some cases, however, the surgical and/or hormonal procedures which they had undergone proved to be tragically irreversible.
The article itself is far from an anti-trans polemic. The author, Jesse Singal, merely recommends carefully examining each gender-dysphoric child’s situation before deciding how to proceed. In fact, Singal even specifically supports physically transitioning — just not automatically and in every single instance.
Yet the reaction to the article coming from many LGBTQ activists has been characterized by outrage and horror. Here is one of the more restrained examples of the transgender community’s aggrieved responses to the piece:
Singal is eager throughout his piece to stress to his readers that young people who are exploring a trans identity might not be trans. Singal notes, “Some kids are dysphoric from a very young age, but in time become comfortable with their body.” With this, Singal is attempting to provide hope to parents that their child who says they’re trans might not be. He leaves enough doubt for you to consider gatekeeping your child’s identity. This is irresponsible.
Notice that there is absolutely no attempt to deny the facts Singal presents in his article. There is only a self-righteous accusation of “irresponsibility” for daring to mention those facts to parents whose children are in similar situations. But to be blunt, the transgender ideology has an intrinsic disregard for facts. It is the sworn enemy of the given realities of life. It is the apotheosis of modernity’s worship of the human will: even reality itself must bow down before my own personal conception of it.
The field of “gender studies” is a mass of internal contradictions. We are simultaneously asked to believe that gender is a social construct which has nothing to do with biological sex, and also that it is absolutely imperative that people be allowed to change their biological sex to match their gender identity. We are told one minute that gender identity is something innate, part of a person’s very being, and then the next minute we are informed that gender identity is totally fluid and can change into something else at any given moment. How this latter claim can be reconciled with the movement’s insistence on performing irreversible surgical and hormonal procedures on prepubescent children is absolutely mystifying, to say the least.
But the truth is that the transgender movement, as an ideology, has never been about rational analysis. It has always been about feelings. And the feeling that above all has been used to advance its agenda has always been compassion.
Without any doubt, people experiencing gender dysphoria undergo profound suffering. And sadly, often as a society we have only added to that suffering by responding to these people with scorn and derision, rather than with compassion and love. The transgender movement has positioned itself as a champion for these downtrodden individuals, claiming to fight for their rights, their respect, and their happiness. It is on this basis that they have advanced into the cultural ascendancy.
But one need only observe the transgender movement’s reaction to Singal’s article to realize that this mantle of compassion is at best misguided, and at worst a facade. Singal, in an indisputably balanced article, calls our attention to the lives and the profound suffering of transgender individuals who made a decision to irreversibly alter their bodies, and then later came to deeply regret that choice.
And the transgender activists have responded to Singal with ferocious and unremitting vitriol for daring to so much as mention that these people even exist. But what is yet worse is that they have responded to the real-life suffering undergone by their fellow transgenders with what can only be described as the most vapid and insensitive platitudes imaginable:
People have to trust that the youth who sway in the breeze of gender will land on their feet when they’re ready. Wherever that is, it’ll be beautiful.
This level of callousness is almost unbelievable. The transgender movement claims to stand for compassion and to represent the suffering. But there is no compassion for those whose suffering does not fit the narrative. There is no room in its ideology for the lives of people whose experiences are not expedient to the cause.
And the movement concludes its diatribe on Singal’s audacious notice of those peoples’ lives with the trusty old nihilistic refrain that nobody can ever possibly know anything anyway:
Singal writes, “Some families will find a series of forking paths, and won’t know which direction is best.”
No one can ever know what direction is best. That’s part of living.
No one can ever know what direction is best — except for us, when we tell you to give your confused children all the surgeries and hormones that they ask for after watching our YouTube videos, which claim to be able to magically and instantaneously eliminate all the pain, doubt and confusion of adolescence.
Do not believe the propaganda: to love your child does not mean to abandon them to the delusions which society proffers them, nor does it mean to stand by and allow their bodies to be disfigured. To love your child means above all to teach them the truth, and to protect them from harm. This very simple fact was once known to every society in human history. But now we see the prophecy of St. Anthony the Great being fulfilled:
A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, “You are mad; you are not like us.”
Though what I have written here will perhaps be labeled “hate speech” by some, the truth before God is that I do not have the slightest shred of ill-will towards anyone with gender dysphoria. My only desire for them is that they might know peace.
But peace can only come through acknowledging and accepting the truth. Men are men. Women are women. And there is no pronoun nor bodily disfigurement in the world that can change that basic fact of life. To go to war with reality is always a losing proposition, and to encourage your child to fight that war is neither love nor compassion, but only a tragedy waiting to unfold.