Lies of the Zeitgeist

NewspaperI am amazed at the sort of things journalists can get away with. Once again, Pratchett illustrates the issue so well. In The Truth, a group of lodgers sit around the breakfast table discussing the newspaper, a new phenomenon in Ankh-Morpork:

“It must be right,” said Mrs. Arcanum, to general agreement, “otherwise they wouldn’t let them put it in.”
“I wonder who’s doing it?” said Mr. Prone, who traveled in wholesale boots and shoes.
“Oh, they’d be special people for doing this,” said Mr. Mackleduff.
“Really?” said William.
“Oh, yes,” said Mr. Mackleduff, who was one of those large men who were instantly expert on anything. “They wouldn’t allow just anyone to write what they like. That stands to reason.”

Take this article from the Washington Post: “The WHO says being transgender is a mental illness. But that’s about to change.” It’s incredible. The author traces the argument that gender dysphoria should be classified not as a mental illness, but as a “condition related to sexual health.” It’s interesting to trace some of the supporting arguments or statements. I’ve got to think that good critical thinking skills are in short supply over at the WP office.

He may not have a flesh-and-blood body any more, but he is very...sleek.
He may not have a flesh-and-blood body any more, but he is very…sleek.

“A condition is designated as a mental illness when the very fact that you have it causes distress and dysfunction, said Geoffrey Reed…The study argues that this is not the case with transgender identity.” Well, isn’t that difficult to define? What do you mean by dysfunction? Do you mean someone who is convinced that they’re in the wrong body? If I claimed to be a dragon in the body of a man, would that be classified as a dysfunction? Why not? I think the tendency to lop off your bits could be a classified as dysfunction by anyone who hasn’t been taken over by Cybermen. And distress? That’s how trans people know their trans! They feel distress about being in the wrong body. How is the distress that a transgender person experiences different from the distress that a paranoid schizophrenic experiences? They’re both distressed because they believe things that aren’t true. Unfortunately for the transgender, they’re being encouraged in delusion. This isn’t kindness.

A little later on: “Reed found that many of the people he interviewed experienced a lot of distress in their lives. Later, using mathematical modeling, he found a good way to predict who was suffering — but the most important determining factor was not being transgender, it was something else. ‘We found distress and dysfunction were very powerfully predicted by the experiences of social rejection or violence that people had,’ he said. ‘But they were not actually predicted by gender incongruence itself.'” Interesting. I’d like to perform an experiment. Let’s take a bunch of people with Delusional Disorder and do our best to affirm them in their delusions. Are they experiencing distress? If the distress and dysfunction of the trans youth being polled come from the fact that their families and communities aren’t helping them in their delusion, this somehow makes it not the result of the delusion?

“In most cases in the United States, to undergo a sex reassignment surgery, a person must first get a diagnosis from a doctor. That means readily accepting a mental illness diagnosis, even though the patient may not feel they have one, to go through with that part of transitioning.” In other words, if a man thinks he’s really a woman, he needs to be diagnosed by a doctor before a surgeon will dismember him. Why is this a problem? You may say that gender is a fluid thing, but DNA says otherwise. (By the way, ever notice how the liberals loved the “born this way” mantra when they were fighting on the homosexuality front, but now that we’re in Transville, it’s become inadmissible?)

‘”The fact that people have a mental disorder has sometimes been misused to say, that means that they’re not competent to make their own decisions,’ Reed said. ‘They’re not competent to decide if they want to be a different gender, they’re not competent to decide if they want to change their identity documents, they’re not competent to have custody of their own children, they’re not competent to manage their own reproductive rights.'” Competency has nothing to do with it. We’re not talking about preferences, we’re talking about realities written into the fabric of our world. We’re talking about individuals who want to cross lines drawn through the world by God, distinctions which he alone set up. We’re talking about right and wrong.

“The study also reveals how much a toll societal stigma can have on a young person. A 2012 study showed that teenagers who grew up with unsupportive families had a 57 percent suicide rate, compared to a 4 suicide rate for those who had supportive families. Some studies show that transgender people can develop post-traumatic stress disorder just from being transgender.” I’m not trying be flippant about the suicide rates of transgenders, I’m really not. But this is just ridiculous. How about this? Compare the suicide rate of trans youth with unsupportive families to the suicide rate of non-trans youth with unsupportive families– families that aren’t loving, affirming, encouraging. How’s that compare? And this comment that “some studies show that transgender people can develop post-dramatic stress disorder just from being transgender” (emphasis mine) kinda flies in the face of the whole “the most important determining factor was not being transgender, it was something else” line. If someone can develop PTSD “just from being transgender,” then doesn’t transgenderism produce distress and dysfunction?

I believe transgenderism is real, in that there are hurting individuals in the world who feel that their bodies don’t fit their minds. But the solution for these people is not that they should mutilate themselves, but that they should learn, like the rest of us, how to walk faithfully through this broken world, looking to Jesus. Someday the trans person who trusts in Jesus will have a glorified body and a renewed mind, and everything will fit. There will be no dysphoria– that will have been wiped away with the tears. But we can’t hold out that hope while simultaneously affirming a delusion. Gender is certainly more than genitalia, but it is not less. In denying this, Shayla Love is not helping the transgender community, but damning them.

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