Editor’s Note: The following piece is a half of a point-counterpoint regarding libertarian and traditional conservative perspectives on transgenderism. Find the other half, written by Zach Neeley, here.
All mental illnesses are painful in their spiritual, emotional, and physical manifestations—and in dealing with people who suffer from mental illness, ignoring the problem never leads to a solution. For example, if someone is suffering from the delusion that he is, in fact, a car, it wouldn’t be compassionate to just allow the person to run down the freeway. Rather, it would be compassionate to try to help the suffering person to get therapy or medication so that the incorrect thinking can be fixed.
However, in today’s culture, people are rejecting the fact that it is delusional to think one can change his or her gender. They even frame people who think that gender dysphoria should be treated as a mental illness as evil and unsympathetic to the problem. But this is irrational. If a person thinks changing one’s gender is impossible, then why is it evil of him to try to prevent someone else from delusionally trying to?
In fact, it would be quite the opposite of evil, as if someone thought that another person is suffering from a mental illness, then as I said earlier, one should not ignore the problem. To ignore the problem would be the evil, not to treat the problem for what it is.
That being said, one can clearly observe the pain transgender people experience. To go about life feeling like you are in the wrong body is a terrible tragedy. But one can have this sympathy without giving in to the delusion that the person is, in fact, the opposite gender of what he or she really is.
Just as any reasonable person would not let someone who suffers from the delusion that he is a dog pretend to be a dog, no one should ignore gender dysphoria. It would not be compassionate to them to go along with this delusion and help them to permanently mutilate their bodies. Instead of being fatalistic with the problem, one should try to help them reach out for psychological counseling.
Just because society says something is acceptable doesn’t make it so. For example, slavery was legalized for many years and there were certainly doctors who thought that black people were biologically inferior to white people. Now, just to address what you might be thinking, I am not equating slavery to the transgender problem in a broad way. My precise point is that people have held opinions on a wide scale which were later judged as morally unacceptable.
Similarly, just because there are many doctors who want to deny the reality of the human body and human genetics and the real differences between men and women, and just because it makes some members of society feel good to agree with them, doesn’t mean the biology of gender and the reality of man and woman are mere fantasies. Truth and moral goodness are independent from popular opinion.
Just think for a moment about how illogical the transgender worldview is: people who hold this view say that the real self, one’s gender, is something immaterial, or independent of one’s body. But at the same time, they embrace a reductive-materialist worldview where there are no immaterial realities.
They say that gender is a social construct, but then they say that a person can be stuck from birth in the wrong biological gender. They deny the differences between men and women, but then use gender stereotypes to argue that gender identity is real and the embodiment of the human person is not. The most irritating contradiction about the transgender ideology is that it stems from a radical individualism where truth and gender are relative, but a traditional view of gender is wrong in an absolute sense, not a relative one. This self-referential incoherence shows the bias and double standards of transgender activism. None of it makes any sense, and it only takes a couple of sentences to show this.
The problems with transgender delusion hurt everyone. They hurt individual members of society’s ability and willingness to use the intellect God gave them, and they hurt transgender people’s long-term well-being. I agree with Saint Thomas Aquinas, who states, “We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.”
While we must hear falsity to come to the truth, it is ultimately the decision of every person as to whether they would like to follow their own opinions or come to a real knowledge of the truth once it is sufficiently revealed. Are you going to just believe what some of your friends say or how you feel, or are you going to pursue truth? You must decide.