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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the www.comereason.org Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Showing posts with label transgender. Show all posts
Showing posts with label transgender. Show all posts

Friday, May 20, 2016

Here's Why Target's Bathroom Policy Matters So Much



I get weary of the culture wars. It seems never-ending, doesn't it? There is always some new indignity to oppose or non-Christian position to resist. Things get worse when we look at the political support for-profit companies provide. There are so many that take a contrary stand to Christian ideals, if I were to boycott each one, it would be difficult to shop at all. Sometimes, I just want a pair of pants or cellular service or a hamburger. I don't want to have to figure out who's safe and who isn't.

That's why a recent blog post by Jaci Lambert caught my eye. Entitled "Target Bathrooms and the Straight, Conservative Preacher's Wife," Lambert argues Target has supported fairly liberal positions prior to implementing its transgender bathroom policy, the perverts and pedophiles won't care about Target's bathroom policies, it's therefore every parent's job to keep their kids safe in the bathroom, and transgender people are not the dangerous villains that they seem to be cast given these discussions, and such boycotts don't reflect Jesus to the outside world.1

Advocating for an Idea, not Just an Action

I appreciate Jaci's honesty and explanation. I think her points have validity, with the possible exception of the idea that pedophiles and perverts don't care. In the few months since this national conversation on bathrooms started there have already been reported problems of men inhabiting clothing store dressing rooms, in grocery store restrooms, and even in locker rooms where the activist tested Seattle's law by entering where underage girls were disrobing. Certainly it doesn't take much imagination to understand that such laws will embolden more perverts to attempt such entries if there's no threat of prosecution.

But, that's really beside the point. My concern with the blog post is it misses the bigger reason why this particular issue is so important. Yes, Christians will disagree with many stances Target takes. That shouldn't by itself be surprising or critical enough to yell "boycott!" Yes, parents must watch over their kids. Let's face it, many pedophiles are men looking to abuse young boys and holding to a traditional bathroom policy does absolutely nothing to address that danger. My concerns about safety are real, but they aren't the tipping point for me.

The biggest problem with the Target stance is it gives legitimacy to an idea that is both dangerous and abhorrent. That is, it legitimizes the idea that biology doesn't matter and every person's predilections are equally valid. It ignores the scientific data that gender dysphoria is a mental disorder that holds a high suicide rate, even after transitioning, and instead promotes the myth that gender can be whatever each individual wishes to define for him or herself. The policy ignores the discomfort of women who were raped or sexually assaulted that makes up 17.6% of the female population2 to accommodate 0.3% who identify as transgender3. In short, it says it's OK to ignore the truth for political correctness.

Some Ramifications So Far

It becomes easy to see how big the impact of the spread of these ideas is. Target's bathroom policy was announced on April 19, 2016. In less than one month from that announcement, President Obama's Department of Education issued what amounts to a threat to every public school in the country stating that all restrooms should be open to those who identify as whatever gender they please. I'm not saying that one caused the other, but the fact there was no immediate and overwhelming backlash to the Target policy made it easier on the DOE to do their dirty work.

Then there's the message such policies send to the larger culture. Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet believes that because homosexual marriage is now accepted in society, people should treat those who hold traditional views as they would Nazis:
The culture wars are over; they lost, we won…   For liberals, the question now is how to deal with the losers in the culture wars. That's mostly a question of tactics. My own judgment is that taking a hard line ("You lost, live with it") is better than trying to accommodate the losers, who – remember – defended, and are defending, positions that liberals regard as having no normative pull at all. Trying to be nice to the losers didn't work well after the Civil War, nor after Brown. (And taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.)
This is what capitulation leads to. It changes the society and allows those who wish to bankrupt Christian businesses or jail government employees for exercising their right of conscience. Ultimately, it denies the intrinsic worth of the human body, upon which human dignity itself is based.

As I said, I'm not a big boycott guy, but ideas have consequences. When the ideas a corporation are promoting undermine the core of human dignity itself, I think those are values worth fighting for.

References

1. Lambert, Jaci. "Target Bathrooms and the Straight, Conservative Preacher's Wife." Ministry in the Mommyhood. Jaci Lambert, 26 Apr. 2016. Web. 20 May 2016. http://www.ministryinthemommyhood.com/target-bathrooms-and-the-straight-conservative-preachers-wife/ .
2. Tjaden, Patricia, and Nancy Thoennes. "Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Rape Victimization: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey." PsycEXTRA Dataset. U.S. Department of Justice, Jan. 2006. Web. 20 May 2016.
3. Gates, Gary J. "How Many People Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender?" Los Angeles, CA: Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, 2011. http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Gates-How-Many-People-LGBT-Apr-2011.pdf.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bloodletting and the Modern Trans Movement



As I engage with atheists and skeptics, I hear so many of them state that religious beliefs are nothing more than outdated beliefs of a bygone era. They claim that as people of science in the 21st century we are so much more enlightened and rational than those of other eras. Level-headed people of the modern world who place their trust in science are not nearly as gullible as people in the past, they claim. Then they turn around and argue that gender has nothing to do with biology and a person's perceived identity is all that's required to change a male into a female.

I think this reminds me a lot of a sketch I saw in the early days of Saturday Night Live entitled "Theodoric of York; Medieval Barber." Host Steve Martin takes on the role of Theodoric and makes great fun of the idea that certain illnesses were treated by bloodletting. Part of the humor stems from Theodoric's modern-day rhetoric, whereby he ascribes knowledge and insight into his treatment:
You know, medicine is not an exact science but we're learning all the time. Why, just fifty years ago, we would've thought your daughter's illness was brought on by demonic possession or witchcraft. But nowadays we know that Isabel is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humors perhaps caused by a toad or small dwarf living in her stomach.1
Certainly, Martin is using great exaggeration to make a joke. Yet it is true that bloodletting was practiced widely for many centuries, ever since prominent Roman physician Galen of Pergamum described the theory that there were four primary liquids or "humours " affecting the body: phlegm, blood, black bile, and yellow bile.2 Galen had through both observation and inference come to the conclusion that when a person is sick, their humours are "out of balance" as Michael Boylan explains:
When imbalance occurred, then the physician might intervene by making a correction to bring the body back into balance. For example, if the individual were too full of phlegm (making her phlegmatic or lethargic), then the phlegm must be countered. Citrus fruit was thought to be a counter-acting agent. Thus, if one feels lethargic, increasing one's citrus intake will re-create balance. The treatment is, in fact, generally effective.3

Biased Assertions Lead to Bad Diagnoses

Of course today we see such an inference as silly and worthy of ridicule in an SNL sketch. Galen had an incorrect assumption of what blood was and how the body used it.4 It was his errant assumptions that are at the root of those crazy treatment methods. To be certain, bloodletting sometimes worked, but they probably caused far more harm than good overall.

Today's rush by the left –including the intelligentsia—to validate anyone who even hints at gender dysphoria should be disconcerting to any rational populous. I've pointed out before how we have fifty years of data under our collective medical belts on gender reassignment surgery and we know that the suicide rate for those suffering from gender dysphoria is as high after sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) as it is prior to transitioning. Dr. Paul McHugh, who helped pioneer the procedure at Johns Hopkins University has written extensively on the failure of SRS as an effective treatment and explained that Johns Hopkins stopped doing the procedure as a result.5

Now, the powerful agencies like the Obama Administration have gone even farther off the deep end and demanded that anyone who simply claims to be a different gender should be allowed to use the restrooms and locker rooms of their stated sex. The demand comes with no accountability and no requirement of proof that the claimant actually does wish to consistently live and be seen as whatever their stated gender preference is.6


Fluid Gendered Identity is the Bloodletting of Today

Just claiming it makes it so? Surely, this cannot be! Certainly, we are in a more rational time than that of the medieval barber. Certainly we don't approach a treatment based only on whatever our initial biases are, do we? It seems we do.

The biases that those who are pushing these laws in direct disregard for the safety and wellbeing of millions of women and young girls in our nation are sheer willed to have their version of life playout, regardless of the facts. We are not any more rational than people of other eras. Every culture can fall victim to what we want to be true and ignore those inconvenient facts when they get in the way of those desires.

I wonder if in a century or two we will look back on the insanity of the gender identity movement today and shake our heads with the same incredulousness that we do concerning the practice of bloodletting. If not, there will be untold thousands who are seriously harmed by such medical quackery guised as treatment.


References

1. Martin, Steve. "Theodoric of York: Medieval Barber." Saturday Night Live. Prod. Loren Michaels. NBC. New Yrok, NY, 22 Apr. 1978. NBC. Web. 16 May 2016. http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/theodoric-of-york/n8661.
2. Boylan, Michael. "Galen (130—200 C.E.)." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/galen/.
3. Boylan, Michael. "Hippocrates (c. 450—c. 380 B.C.E.)." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/hippocra/#SH1a.
4. "Galen." Medical Discoveries. Advameg, Inc., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. http://www.discoveriesinmedicine.com/General-Information-and-Biographies/Galen.html.
5. McHugh, Paul. "Transgender Surgery Isn't the Solution." Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 12 June 2014. Web. 02 June 2015. http://www.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120.
6. Davis, Julie Hirschfield, and Matt Apuzzo. "U.S. Directs Public Schools to Allow Transgender Access to Restrooms." The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 May 2016. Web. 16 May 2016. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/05/13/us/politics/obama-administration-to-issue-decree-on-transgender-access-to-school-restrooms.html.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Rachel Dolezal Ordeal Shows Why Race, Like Biological Sex, is Sacred



The Internet is abuzz this morning on the breaking story of African Studies professor and Spokane NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal, who is a white woman that has been identifying herself as black. Dolezal had claimed she was a target of racial profiling by police, but questions arose about the events as well as her background. It was then discovered that Dolezal has no African-American heritage, even though she had claimed such on an application to the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission.1 In fact, Dolezal's parents confirmed her heritage is Czech, Swedish and German.

The news about Dolezal broke just eleven days after Vanity Fair's unveiling of Olympian Bruce Jenner's sexual metamorphosis as a woman. That event brought many plaudits from those who push the idea that sex is somehow fungible; whatever sex one identifies with, one is. For a week, the Jenner story led many of the transgender support community to ride a wave of acclaim and public acceptance for that premise. Many of the same people don't accept Dolezal's identity as black, even though one's sex is much more clearly a description of biology than race can ever be.

The Sacredness of Race

The denunciation of racism is moral and proper for at least two reasons. Firstly, to ascribe a lesser value to a person because of their race means you are not taking the individual seriously, you are commoditizing them and doing so using a criterion that is inconsequential to do so. As Martin Luther King, Jr. famously stated, people should be judged on the basis of their character, not the color of his skin. Secondly, racism dismisses the history and heritage of an entire people group. With a hand-wave it denigrates any contributions a person's culture and traditions had in shaping the character of that individual. While certain traditions may be unhelpful or even evil (think female genital mutilation), one cannot dismiss an entire cultural heritage without dismissing every person who comes out of it. The values and traditions our parents passed onto us are formative and valuable. They are integral to who we are and they link us to our past. That's why, as Ravi Zacharias said, a person's race is sacred.2

That's why the Rachel Dolezal deception is galling. She was trading on a culture and history of which she had no part. She sought to change those very same superficial attributes to appear that she had a common history and culture. Her attempt again reduces the individual to inconsequential criteria. It's still racism, but played in the opposite direction.

The Sacredness of Biology

If Dolezal's act is galling, then how much more galling is the idea that one can change the outward appearance of one's hair, face, and genitals to appear as sex different from your biology. The transgender community would reduce the definition of a man or a woman to injectable hormones and plastic surgery. In fact, it's telling that Jenner wasn't featured in Vanity Fair as a 65 year old female, but closer to the idealized pin-up, a caricature of womanhood. Some of the very same publications who cheered Jenner's photos decried as demeaning similar images when they appeared in cartoon form on a scientist's shirt. The scientist's shirt is denigrating women while Jenner's poses are epitomizing womanhood. How is this consistent?

The fact is that reducing a person's worth based on their sex is offensive. If racism is wrong, then sexism is wrong and for the very same reason: using inconsequential aspects of a person to demean them. For instance, one's sex has absolutely no bearing on one's ability to function as a scholar, a chef, or a scientist. But just like one's culture, sex does have bearing on important aspects of shaping the family. Only women can give birth and only men can father a child. Those aspects of who we are so shape us and they do matter.

When my family was on vacation a few years ago, our travels took us through Tonopah, Nevada, a town literally in the middle of nowhere. At a gas station, I found myself in line behind Dennis Avner, the man who sought to change himself into a cat. I had seen images of Avner on one of those filler cable TV shows, but he was here in real life standing before me and paying for gas. No one mentioned to Avner that cats cannot pay for gasoline or drive a motor vehicle and he didn't seem to mind taking advantage of the benefits of being human as this point.

The reality is, no matter how much surgery Avner underwent, he would never be a cat. (Perhaps he would have benefitted if he would have read some Thomas Nagel.) He would be a man pretending to be a cat. Human beings have intrinsic worth because they bear the image of God. All races bear that image and therefore they all share that worth. God also created human beings male and female, and therefore both sexes share that worth. Dolezal's charade attempts to move the value of people to something superficial, but it is only different in degree and not kind from the transgender lobby. If race is sacred, so is sex and we need to recognize both.

References

1. "Credibility of Local NAACP Leader Rachel Dolezal Questioned." Spokesman.com. The Spokesman-Review, 11 June 2015. Web. 12 June 2015. .
2. Nix, Luke. "Ravi Zacharias on Race and Homosexuality." Faithful Thinkers. Faithful Thinkers, 7 May 2012. Web. 12 June 2015. http://lukenixblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/ravi-zacharias-on-race-and.html

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Today's Snake Oil Includes a Scalpel: The Damaging Treatment of Transgenderism


The Internet lit up yesterday when Vanity Fair unveiled photos of Bruce Jenner in his transitioned state as a woman. Immediately, cheers went up for Jenner, displayed as a 1940s Hollywood siren who now wishes to be called Caitlyn. An article on the American Civil Liberties Union site exhorted others to use Jenner's new name declaring:
It is important that people do actually call her Caitlyn.

Words matter and erasing the identity of trans people by calling them by their birth names and birth-assigned sex is an act of hatred — one that is inextricable from the brutal violence that so many trans people, particularly trans women of color, encounter just for existing in the world.

How we talk about trans people sets the tone for the world in which trans people live.

And because young trans people are dying by suicide and trans women of color are being murdered at alarming rates, those of us forming public narratives about trans celebrities have an obligation to tell those stories with care.1
I agree with the article that words matter and that lives matter. We should care about all people's lives and the difficult struggles they face. But it's because their lives are in danger that I will say the ACLU and the homosexual lobby are wrong to be pushing sexual reassignment surgery for people who feel uncomfortable with their body's sex. It's a dangerous falsehood that many times proves deadly to the patients that should have been helped.

Fifty Years of Results

The history of the modern transgender movement began about seventy years ago with three men: sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, endocrinologist Harry Benjamin, and psychologist John Money.2 Kinsey's sexual deviancies, who famously said "there are only three kinds of sexual abnormalities: abstinence, celibacy and delayed marriage" are well known. 3 Kinsey referred Barry, a 23 year old male with gender dysphoria to Benjamin in 1948, and though no U.S. hospitals would do the surgery, Benjamin encouraged Barry to have three operations performed in Germany.4 However, Benjamin never heard from his patient again, so we don't know how the surgery affected Barry long-term.5

Dr. John Money was a member of Benjamin's research team, and in 1967 he sought to change a two-year-old boy whose genitals had been damaged by a botched circumcision into a girl, reassuring the parents that the child would grow up never knowing the difference. But as the Los Angeles Times reported, "the gender conversion was far from successful. Money's experiment was a disaster for Reimer that created psychological scars he ultimately could not overcome." David Reimer committed suicide at the age of 38.6 Yet that gap proved to be enough time for Money to advance his agenda that sex is fluid and changeable, and to legitimize transsexual surgery in the minds of many around the country.

Responding to these initial success reports, the prestigious Johns Hopkins University formed a clinic to facilitate transitioning patients to their desired sex with John Money as a co-founder. Dr. Paul McHugh, the director of psychiatry and behavioral science at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center sought to find evidential support for this treatment and began studying patients both in pre and post-operative stages of treatment. His study revealed two things: First, 70% - 80% of children who report transgender feelings spontaneously lost those feelings when they were left alone. That means the vast majority of patients left to themselves would identify as their biological sex. It's the counseling and initial treatments that make these patients continue to believe they're the wrong sex.

Secondly, McHugh found that post-surgery, the patients' mental health issues did not go away. He said, "Most of the surgically treated patients described themselves as 'satisfied' by the results, but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn't have the surgery. And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a 'satisfied' but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs."7

Suicides of Post-Operative Transsexuals Incredibly High

McHugh notes that a very recent (2011) study pout of Sweden followed 324 patients for a period of up to thirty years after they underwent sex-reassignment surgery. Unlike Benjamin and Money's reports, this study has strong evidence for the efficacy of SRS. McHugh Reports:
The study revealed that beginning about 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable nontransgender population. This disturbing result has as yet no explanation but probably reflects the growing sense of isolation reported by the aging transgendered after surgery. The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription.8
In 2010, National Center for Transgender Equality produced a survey reporting that a staggering 41% of those who identify as transgendered have attempted to commit suicide. 9 A study of 425 patients who were currently in treatment receiving hormone therapies found "the number of deaths in male-to-female transsexuals was five times the number expected, due to increased numbers of suicide and death of unknown cause."10

Dr. Charles Ihlenfeld was a partner to Harry Benjamin and worked with him for six years. But when Ihlenfeld discovered the findings of McHugh, he too announced that most patients suffering from Gender dysphoria shouldn't begin transitioning. "There is too much unhappiness among people who have had the surgery…Too many end in suicide" he said.11

Why is Culture Buying the Snake Oil?

Today, there is really no excuse to continue the charade that SMS is a proper treatment for gender dysphoria. We know the story of Mike Penner, the LA Times sports reporter who became Christine Daniels only to switch back and ultimately take his own life. It was a very visible public display of what the transgender lobby doesn't want to admit: your body's sex is not the source of the patient's problems.

There are people who feel that some part of their body is foreign to them. They are officially diagnosed as having Body Integration Identity Disorder. Those people seek to amputate the limb or whatever part they feel alien to. However, I know of no doctor or mental health professional who would amputate a healthy limb simply because of the belief of the patient that it doesn't belong there. Yet, that is exactly what our media and the transgender lobby is pushing for with Jenner and others. Chase Strangio and the ACLU don't care about saving lives, they care about advancing their agenda! Transsexualism is snake oil with a fifty year track record of failure that ends with many patients committing suicide. We need to focus on that cause, not on surgeries that amputate healthy organs.

In the words of Dr. McHugh:
At the heart of the problem is confusion over the nature of the transgendered. "Sex change" is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.12
Let's not let the media circus over Jenner distort the fact that this is a dangerous road and we shouldn't be enabling him and others by cheering him on.

References

1. Strangio, Chase. "Call Her Caitlyn But Then Let's Move on to the Issues Affecting the Trans Community." American Civil Liberties Union. American Civil Liberties Union, 1 June 2015. Web. 02 June 2015. https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/call-her-caitlyn-then-lets-move-issues-affecting-trans-community.
2. Heyer, Walt. ""Sex Change" Surgery: What Bruce Jenner, Diane Sawyer, and You Should Know." Public Discourse. The Witherspoon Institute, 27 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 June 2015. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/04/14905/.
3. Crain, Caleb. " Alfred Kinsey: Liberator or Pervert?." The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 Oct. 2004. Web. 02 June 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/03/movies/03crai.html.
4. Schaefer, Leah Cahan, and Connie Christine Wheeler. "Harry Benjamin's First Ten Cases (1938-1953): A Clinical Historical Note." Archives of Sexual Behavior 24.1 (1995): 73-93. Print.
5. Schaefer, 1995.
6. Woo, Elaine. "David Reimer, 38; After Botched Surgery, He Was Raised as a Girl in Gender Experiment." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2004. Web. 02 June 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/2004/may/13/local/me-reimer13.
7. McHugh, Paul. "Transgender Surgery Isn't the Solution." Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 12 June 2014. Web. 02 June 2015. http://www.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120.
8. McHugh, 2014.
9. Moskowitz, Clara. "Transgender Americans Face High Suicide Risk." Msnbc.com. NBCNews.com, 19 Nov. 2010. Web. 02 June 2015. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/40279043/ns/health-health_care/.
10. Asscheman, H., L.j.g. Gooren, and P.l.e. Eklund. "Mortality and Morbidity in Transsexual Patients with Cross-gender Hormone Treatment." Metabolism 38.9 (1989): 869-73. Web.
11. Heyer, 2015.
12. McHugh, 2014.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

C.S. Lewis on "Being Born That Way"

Much is made to day of the way people define themselves, their gender, or their sexual orientation because of their feelings. They feel they are a person trapped in the wrong body or they feel an attraction to the same sex. I don't doubt that these feelings are real; it is only the person himself that can confirm or deny such predispositions. However, just because one has a predisposition doesn't mean that the predisposition is correct or that it should be pursued.


In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis makes the same point. In speaking of the desires and mental pulls we face (Lewis uses the word "Instinct" with a capital I), he makes a great point that no person follows every desire that strikes him. That would lead to barbarism. We weigh our desires, using reason, logic, and our moral compass to guide us.

This is why while the kleptomaniac may have an overwhelming urge to steal, we don't respond by saying, “Oh, you were born that way!” and throw open the department store doors to let them have their fill. We know that stealing is wrong and we as a society tell the kleptomaniac that while his feelings are real and he may even have been born that way, he needs to seek help for his improper desire. Lewis writes:
Telling us to obey Instinct is like telling us to obey ‘people’. People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war. If it is held that the instinct for preserving the species should always be obeyed at the expense of other instincts, whence do we derive this rule of precedence? To listen to that instinct speaking in its own cause and deciding it in its own favour would be rather simple-minded. Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of all the rest. By the very act of listening to one rather than to others we have already prejudged the case. If we did not bring to the examination of our instincts a knowledge of their comparative dignity we could never learn it from them. And that knowledge cannot itself be instinctive: the judge cannot be one of the parties judged; or, if he is, the decision is worthless and there is no ground for placing the preservation of the species above self-preservation or sexual appetite.1
Lewis is right. College men are coming under immense scrutiny right now if they act upon their sexual appetites. The whole “Yes means yes” law implies that a person can overcome strong natural urges to engage in sexual activity. Yet we are told by some of the same advocates that abstinence programs will never work and those with a predisposition to homosexuality should express themselves because of what they feel. How is that consistent?

References

1. Lewis, C. S. "The Abolition of Man." The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002. 710. Print.
Image courtesy Noel Hildalgo and licensed by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The insanity of denying differences between the sexes

I enjoy parody as much as the next guy. Articles like those from The Onion are funny because they take a position and ridicule it through exaggeration. That's why I was completely surprised when I saw an article by Christin Scarlett Milloy entitled "Don't Let the Doctor Do This to Your Newborn" on Slate's web site and not the Onion.


In the article, Milloy paints a picture of a woman who has just given birth holding her infant when the doctor walks in and ominously announces that the newborn is due for its "treatment" which will give the child some social advantages, but also runs a risk of dangerous side effects. Milloy puts these in the mouth of the doctor:
"Oh, in 1 or 2 percent of cases, we see long-term negative reactions to this," he says with a hint of distaste. "It leads to depression, social ostracism, difficulty finding or keeping a job. Those with negative reactions often become subject to intense discrimination in society. Suicide is not uncommon."1
Then, with a theatrical flourish, Milloy supposedly drops the bomb:
It seems unlikely that doctors, hospitals, parents, or society in general would tolerate a standard practice like this.

Except they already do. The imaginary treatment I described above is real. Obstetricians, doctors, and midwives commit this procedure on infants every single day, in every single country. In reality, this treatment is performed almost universally without even asking for the parents' consent, making this practice all the more insidious. It's called infant gender assignment: When the doctor holds your child up to the harsh light of the delivery room, looks between its legs, and declares his opinion: It's a boy or a girl, based on nothing more than a cursory assessment of your offspring's genitals.2
Oh, please. You note the quick dismissal of sex as "nothing more than a cursory assessment of your offspring's genitals." That's what those who promote sexual fluidity would have us believe. The reality is that every cell of one's body defines one's sex. Even high school biology students know this; human beings have 23 pairs of genes and the last set is either XX or XY, which determines one's sex. Those chromosomes begin a process that change hormone development, brain development, muscle mass, and bone physiology. Basically, they change the entire person's anatomy.

Because a man's or woman's sex is coded into the very DNA of an individual, it's a bit more than disingenuous to claim that we don't have to identify a child's sex at birth. Even those who claim to be transsexuals cannot have any kind of surgery to remove the offending chromosome from their system. They simply wish to pretend it doesn't exist. However, as I've written before, surgery to make one appear physically as the other sex isn't the answer. Walt Heyer, a former transsexual himself, reports that Transgender suicide death rate is at 30% regardless of whether one has had transformative surgery or not:

One out of every 3 transgenders, even after undergoing a surgical gender change, will die from suicide. Gender surgery is no help in preventing or reducing transgender suicide deaths. More than 40% of transgenders will attempt suicide and 30% will not survive the attempts and die.3

This argues that the condition of not identifying with one's sex is a mental illness which can never be treated with a plastic surgeon's scalpel.

 Milloy, if you hadn't guessed already, identifies as a transsexual and is an activist for transsexual issues, and the bias is evident in every paragraph of the article, except one. In his opening sentence he writes, "Imagine you are in recovery from labor, lying in bed, holding your infant. In your arms you cradle a stunningly beautiful, perfect little being." There is simply no way a person born with an XY set of chromosomes is in view here. He is addressing a mother who has just given birth, and no amount of fear-mongering can spin that role to something else. He later writes:
We tell our children, "You can be anything you want to be." We say, "A girl can be a doctor, a boy can be a nurse," but why in the first place must this person be a boy and that person be a girl? Your infant is an infant... The world is full of possibilities that every person deserves to be able to explore freely, receiving equal respect and human dignity while maximizing happiness through individual expression.
The problem is that a boy cannot be a mother and a girl cannot be a father, no matter how much they want to be. Such roles are not up for grabs. They are too important. The survival of the human race relies on infants having XX or XY chromosomes. Without both, we can never produce another generation. To flippantly dismiss those very real differences as meaningless shows that Milloy would damn the necessary in order to maximize his own happiness. Now that I think about it, it doesn't strike me as funny.

References

1. Milloy, Christin Scarlett. "Don't Let the Doctor Do This to Your Newborn." Slate Magzine. The Slate Group, LLC. Web. 26 June 2014. http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/06/26/infant_gender_assignment_unnecessary_and_potentially_harmful.html Accessed 2 July 2014.
2. Milloy. Ibid.
3. Heyer, Walt. "Transgenders suicide death rate at 30%." Sex Change Info. Web. 29 Dec 2012. http://waltheyer.typepad.com/blog/2012/12/transgenders-suicide-death-rate-at-30.html Accessed 2 July 2014.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Arguing against Mixing Sexes in Locker Rooms

A couple of weeks ago, the Massachusetts Department of Education put in place new rules for all elementary and secondary public education institutions, instructing schools on how to comply with the state's gender identity law. (You can read the actual guidelines here.) As Joe Carter pointed out, the identifying factor in determining gender is left to the student him or herself. He then writes "Any teen boy can claim, with a wink to his peers and a straight face to his educators, that he has decided to identify as a female and will then have unlimited access to the girls' restroom and locker rooms." I posted the story on my Facebook page and got some immediate responses   The discussion I had with one person is below. Read on and I will make some comments at the end.

Lenny: I wouldn't subject my teenage daughter to be forced into the same locker room with a student showing male genitalia. Why should a hundred girls be made uncomfortable for the comfort of one confused boy?

RG: As opposed to forcing a transgendered person to be uncomfortable within a locker room where they don't belong? I think we all should teach our kids to understand and respect the human body as opposed to fear it or be made uncomfortable by it.

Lenny:  Why would a human being not belong in a locker room where he or she shares the exact same body parts as all the other occupants? it strikes me that this "discomfort" of which you speak has nothing at all to do with either biology or the actual fact that there are physical differences between males and females, and we should respect those differences enough to provide for proper privacy.

I note that you don't say that its the supposedly transgendered individual who needs to "understand and respect" his own body. No, all the OTHER kids in Massachusetts schools need to change. There is no way to justify such ignorance.

RG: So, first we have to ask ourselves 2 questions:

1. Do you believe there are a subset of the population that are transgendered? If not, then there is no need to discuss what Massachusetts has done here. However, since Mass understands the dynamics of an ever changing, growing and enlightened society, let's agree there are those kinds of people and move to question 2.

2. Do you think that someone should not be judged clearly on their anatomy? That they are not the sum of their parts? If you pardon the pun. And that is what Mass is trying to address and protect a class of citizens from laws that target them unfairly. That we as a society can look at someone and not say, you have a penis, you are a boy, end of story and rather look at the person who could not help how they are on the inside and force them to be a certain way because it makes the rest of us more comfortable. And yes, we should teach our children to be more understanding and respectful of people different than us and to not be ashamed of our bodies since it is about looking what is on the inside than the outside

Lenny:  No, we don't need to ask those questions first. The very first thing one should ask is "Why do we mandate restrooms and locker rooms to be separated by sex at all?" That's the central issue and that's the item that's being changed. Why don't we place large picture windows in locker rooms? Why should we have any kind of privacy by sex? Once you understand the reason for privacy at all, the rest of the argument can take on a clearer context.

RG: So forgetting all these scare tactics about regulation of such laws and getting to the heart of it, everyone should be allowed to enter areas (locker, bathroom, etc.) in accordance with their gender identity. Gender identity is evolving in such a way to not specifically be about anatomy. If you want to give me a reason why this isnt true or should only be limited to anatomy, please tell me.

Lenny:  Don't try to turn it around. YOU need to provide a reason why it SHOULDN'T be limited to anatomy. Anatomy is something solid. It can be tested scientifically and is instantly recognizable when seeing an unclothed body. That's what separate changing rooms are all about - so people of the opposite sex don't see your body. This is obvious. You're working really hard at trying to justify your position, but you keep talking about this like it's an abstract issue. These are real kids. If you want to wear pants or a dress doesn't matter when you're clothes are off, which is the situation in the locker rooms. Anatomy is all there is at that point.

RG: So then my previous comment holds true, why even discuss this decision when you still don't believe that someone could be born anatomically one way yet be different on the inside.

It is odd that you want to bring up things that can be scientifically validated when God cannot be and yet you believe that.

Lenny:  "Different on the inside" whether true or not, is not a factor in this discussion. I may or may not believe that a person could feel different about sports, or that they identify more as a cat than as a person. None of it has bearing on the question of whether students should be subjected to viewing the genitalia of another person of the opposite sex while simultaneously exposing themselves. It's a non-sequitor. It does not follow.

RG: (Provided link to a story of a supposedly transgendered eight year old boy who has feminine tendencies.)

Lenny:  Yeah, I'm actually familiar with that article. But nothing follows from it.

RG: Again, this is the typical metaphors, usually from religious people that goes against their doctrine. To compare someone who knows they were born into the wrong body to someone who likes dogs instead of cats or identifies with a sports team. REALLY? It is the same thing? And quit living in the middle, I may or may not, obviously you have an opinion that is driving your rationale. After looking at the evidence, while may not be definitive, I choose to believe that there is a subset of people born into the wrong bodies and for society to tell them, 'hey, sucks for you, use the right bathroom' is incredibly ignorant and disrespectful of people who are different than us. To say that a person is ONLY the sum of their physical appearances is sad. I choose to move on the side of empathy and teach my future kids the same thing rather than judge those transgendered people who have been picked on their whole lives to continue the discrimination into adulthood. I choose to be a better person, a more understanding person, after all, isn't that what your God says we should all be. If a female-to-male walked into my lockeroom or bathroom, I wouldn't run scared but embrace their strength.

I want the reader to notice a couple of things from this exchange. First, RG wanted to bait me into a discussion of whether transgenderism is a real condition or not. However, I wouldn't bite. It truly does not matter whether I think transgenderism is a medical condition, a psychological condition, or whether I'm for it or against it. I have good arguments for the problems with dealing with those who claim to be "born with the wrong body", but that's not the issue here. I wanted to address the insane idea that even if transgenderism is true, that means that that one person can ignore his or her physiology, even at the expense of the rest of the student body. No one's feelings matter except the one who the state of Massachusetts deems needs protecting. No one's privacy matters any more, because this political issue trumps everything else--and it's being applied to our children! Such a stance should offend any rational person.

Secondly, you'll notice that RG never even attempted to answer my question of why we segregate bathrooms and locker rooms at all. Why? Because as soon as he does, his entire case falls apart. He cannot answer the question an he knows it. He uses all kinds of emotionally charged words ("understand and respect the human body as opposed to fear it," "move on there side of empathy," "scare tactics," etc.) but those are the only points of his argument. He cannot appeal to science (a tactic he usually takes when discussing whether or not God exists) because the science is pretty clear. These people have twenty three pairs of chromosomes and the last one is either XX or XY.

No, science doesn't matter, morality doesn't matter, and common sense has flown out the window when it comes to issues like transgendersim. All that matters to folks like this is to advance a particular agenda, and everyone else be damned. There truly is no logic to it. It is political correctness on steroids and I would hope that by focusing our arguments on the problem at hand more people can see how crazy our laws are becoming.
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