Monday, Andrew T. Walker writes: What’s in a Name? Why Christians Should Be Wary of the Word “Transgender.” It is profoundly informative — of course it is. The subtitle of this mess reads:
The Christian worldview accepts the validity of people’s testimony that gender dysphoria is a real experience resulting in heartrending distress. The Christian worldview cannot, however, countenance the idea that men can become women or that women can become men.
Well, at least Walker concedes that gender dysphoria is real although calling it an “experience” suggests that it is transitory. The distress that Walker refers to could certainly be reduced by people like Walker.
Walker is unclear whether he is referring to gender or sex. It is intentional ambiguity. No one disputes the fact that biological sex cannot be changed. Gender, however, is independent of sex and a continuum with male and female at the extreme ends. Gender dysphoria is treated with gender affirming therapies which change one’s presentation to match one’s gender. It’s really not as complicated as conservative Christians suggest.
After several paragraphs of fluff:
Mark Yarhouse, a Christian psychologist, offers a clinical definition: “An umbrella term for the many ways in which people might experience and/or present and express (or live out) their gender identities differently from people whose sense of gender identity is congruent with their biological sex.”
These folks torture themselves. Yarhouse (at Regent U.) isn’t that far out at sea but his definition lacks anything about gender affirmation. In the second instance I think that just gender is more accurate than “gender identity.” That all sets up this bit of intellectual dishonesty:
This is a helpful definition because it captures the range of psychological experiences of people who perceive themselves as transgender without requiring an acceptance of the contested ideological underpinnings of the transgender movement.
So gender dysphoria isn’t really real? Describing gender affirmation as an ideology is just idiotic. It is the Pope’s strawman du jour. If there is such a thing as the “transgender movement” it exists as a collective endeavor of trans and non-trans people to treat transgender folks with kindness and decency. What that entails is actually quite simple. It only requires that we look past an individual’s gender presentation.
In a fallen world, where Christians profess that things have gone awry, individuals are beset with psychological disorders and mental illnesses that distort their perception of reality. The sensation that a person feels himself to be female, despite having male anatomy, fits neatly into this category. So, in this way, Christians recognize that these confused psychological experiences are simply another consequence of the Fall.
Gender dysphoria is a condition. It is not a disorder. Moreover, gender is reality! What is not reality are those ancient chronicles to which Mr. Walker is enslaved. Gender dysphoria is unrelated to “the Fall,” the parting of the Red Sea or the Burning Bush. What other conditions are the result of religious mysticism? Irritable bowel syndrome? Left-handidness? These religious concepts plead to be assigned to a lack of intellectual curiosity and confused, rather than critical, thinking. Mr. Walker doesn’t mention those things.
Unfortunately, to most, the semantics of transgenderism do much more than simply describe someone’s subjective psychological experiences. To secular progressives, the existence of those who claim a transgender identity incinerates the biological foundations of personhood and links psychological perception with one’s ontological personhood instead.
The first sentence begs the question while providing a definition of convenience. The second sentence offers projection. Who are these “secular progressives” who are devoted to these metaphysical corruption of Walker’s notions of psychology?
Walker would have people believe that there is a unique transgender philosophy or “ideology.” It is, to put it politely, rubbish. Ah, you thought I would describe it as “bullshit.” And then some.
Let us return to the basics. Gender dysphoria is the discomfort felt by people who do not have congruent sex and gender. As Walker himself said, it is a real condition. The level of discomfort can range from very mild to quite severe.
According to medical science the only effective treatment for gender dysphoria is gender affirmation which can be anything from hairstyle to surgery. Untreated, gender dysphoria can be debilitating and can lead to self-harm. Shall people be untreated because Mr. Walker and the Pope do not approve or because transgenderism doesn’t conform to the Biblical binaries?
The more important societal issue is how we treat gender non-conforming people. That is particularly important as it regards children. They have undeveloped ego strengths and can be very fragile.
Walker’s answer is simple. He confirms the substitution of superstition for science:
The Christian worldview cannot countenance a movement that plays haphazardly with biological sex and the promise of self-resurrection. The picture seen in the first two chapters of Genesis is one where divinely orchestrated binaries are fixed, intentional goods: Heaven and Earth, Night and Day, Land and Sea, Male and Female. The Christian worldview can, however, countenance a world like that of the third chapter of Genesis—a world in which people have broken perceptions of themselves brought on by the Fall.
You cannot reason with people who think like that. Science, evidence, experimentation and innovation are all meaningless concepts because they are nullified by those ancient chronicles of dubious provenance.
There is also no small measure of arrogance in appraising a psychological condition differently than a physical condition. Isn’t that how they ended up torturing and burning supposed witches? All for the glory of their god. Now they are wed to the idea that their god has a new target: Transgenderism.
They require a current representation of evil which Walker calls the “buzz.” Rather than gender non-conforming people they need merely to look in the mirror! There they will find those who do violence to men, women and children to satisfy a deity.