“It might seem less hateful to attack a ‘movement.’ Yet the reality is that it is an attack on people that their antagonist disapproves of.”

Jennifer Bilek
Jennifer Bilek via GoFundMe

Jennifer Bilek has written two posts for The Federalist. Both are about transgender people. The current piece is remarkably titled: Transgenderism Is Just Big Business Dressed Up In Pretend Civil Rights Clothes. Nothing is too nutty for The Federalist. The polemic is a misadventure subtitled:

The media keeps presenting us on the one hand with a trans civil rights movement for the oppressed and, on the other, with a cutting-edge (pun intended) lifestyle.

Apparently the media is responsible for something and I don’t get the pun. Before I get into this further I can speculate with reasonable certainty that Jennifer Bilek is a religious adherent for whom “truth” means religious dogma notwithstanding evidence to the contrary. Bilek wants to conform the dogma to reality. Bilek is also a self-described radical feminist who believes that transgender women threaten her. It is a form of paranoia that I fail to appreciate.

Homophobia is underpinned by the notion that people choose to be gay. With transphobia the belief seems to be that gender does not exist.

I have also come to the conclusion that “transgenderism” is usually a weasel word allowing the author to avoid the more intimate and correct form; “transgender people;” The use of transgenderism usually correlates to relegating a class of people to a movement as a precursor to their disparagement. It might seem less hateful to attack a ‘movement.’ Yet the reality is that it is an attack on people that their antagonist disapproves of.

This is a projection. The author has a delusion about people whom she claims are delusional:

It’s hard to imagine a civil rights movement so indelibly tied to the capitalist marketplace that it could be used to sell fashion, makeup, hormones, surgery, cosmetology services, movies, TV series, mental health treatment, and women’s underwear, while concurrently being invested in by billionaire philanthropists, the technology and pharmaceutical industries, major corporations, and banks.

What on earth is this insane person talking about? These folks tend to ensure that they only read things that they presume, in advance, will confirm their biases. Nevertheless, on the off chance that Ms. Bilek will read this post, I will ABC the scientific reality:

  1. It is a medical and scientific reality that a small minority of the population have gender dysphoria; the incongruence of gender and natal sex. The condition can be objectively diagnosed by medical professionals.
  2. When gender and natal sex compete, gender usually prevails.
  3. The condition creates stress in the form of depression coupled with anxiety. The suffering can be immense.
  4. There is no intervention known to medical science that reduces or cures gender dysphoria.
  5. Gender affirmation provides relief to some sufferers. Being transgender is a form of gender affirmation.

I think that Bilek is describing a conspiracy:

Transgenderism, a purported civil rights movement, now intersects at every juncture of the global marketplace. It is hard to remember it came out of the medical industrial complex as a term for the most intense body dysphoria. Children are being prescribed puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, sterilized, and groomed into lifelong medical patients and consumers in more than 50 U.S. gender clinics that weren’t here ten years ago. It’s all because of transgenderism and that people fighting to live free of discrimination are hailed as heroes and celebrities for feeling alienated from their own biology.

The second sentence of that paragraph is factually incorrect. The condition is not “body dysphoria.” I have no idea what that is. Perhaps she is trying to avoid using the word gender. Moreover, the condition and how people mitigate its symptoms are two different things.

As for those children, they are not treated on some whim. They are first objectively diagnosed by an experience medical professional. We are more capable of doing so at an earlier age then we were ten years ago. Ten years in medical science is a very long period of time. After diagnosis, children are treated by a team of clinicians. Children are first given puberty blockers which are fully reversible. In their later teens they might receive hormones (with the fully informed consent of parents and patient). These patients may subsequently receive gender affirming surgery. Many transgender adults have not had surgery.

These clinicians are not mad scientists. They are not experimenting and their patients are not lab rats. They have many years of training and experience in one of the least economically rewarding medical specialties.

As for discrimination, if the current pope and amateur psychiatrist would stop his gibberish about “gender ideology,” their might be less disapproval of transgender people. If people like Ms. Bilek would stop offering bullshit and conspiracy theories about a medical condition that she knows nothing about, advocacy might be less necessary.

These people are incapable of experiencing empathy. A trans or gender nonconforming kid in public school is not a volunteer. Neither the child nor parents signed up for this. Is this not simple common sense? That kid is especially vulnerable.

I will never apologize for trying to keep that kid safe and free of ridicule!

I am a very pragmatic former Republican and retired CEO. I confess that I did not always feel this way about transgender people. My perceptions changed as I learned more. I did two things: I listened and I read the peer-reviewed research. I have always understood that science is based on evidence.

One more paragraph of this painfully verbose diatribe and then I will skip to the conclusion:

Transgenderism is looking more and more like Transgenderism™, when we look at the markets opening and its insidious presence in Hollywood. Whoopi Goldberg has started her own trans modeling company on Oprah’s Oxygen network, with trans models reported as the future of modeling. Supernatural Extraterrestrial and Co, a high-fashion clothing line, promotes their willingness to embrace a future of male pregnancy. A look at their new clothing line for 2019 has men strutting fashion runways in pregnancy prosthesis.

This is not a massive conspiracy. Transgender people have been the objects of intense ridicule for a very long time. We all know more and people are making a deliberate effort to improve acceptance. There has also been a change in the science. Ten years ago, psychiatrists did everything possible to prohibit people (notably children) from transitioning. Today, clinicians are not making people transgender. They are allowing people to be transgender. According to research, teens who have transitioned have levels of depression and anxiety consistent with the general population.

Religious disapproval is based on faith over science. Some would say superstition. It harms children. Why on earth are they doing this? It makes no more sense than young Earth creationism (the belief that Earth is less than 10,000 years old based on the Bible). It makes no more sense than geocentrism (the belief that Earth is the center of the universe based on the Bible). Evidence disproves these things. Evidence disproves religious dogma regarding transgender people. Religion is approving prejudice, discrimination and oppression and that is disgraceful!

Disapproval of transgender women based on feminism also makes no sense at all. Women are about half the population. Trans women are less than 1% of the population. Bilek poses a far greater threat to trans women than trans women pose to feminists. Moreover, according to the consensus of science transgender women are, with the exception of chromosomes, for all intents and purposes women.

Many paragraphs later, Bilek concludes:

We need to look at what transgenderism does, how it functions, and how it is growing in the culture, and to ask why it does what it does, what it is asking of us, why it is so tightly wedded to commerce, and where it is leading. The trans lobby screams civil rights, but transgenderism looks and functions just like the worst of capitalism.

No madame. You are desperately in need of a basic understanding of how science works. You then need to use that knowledge to understand the realities of transgender people. Ignorance is curable. Stupidity is usually a life-long condition. It defies rationality. After the concluding paragraph we are informed:

Jennifer Bilek is an artist, environmental activist, writer, and an engaged citizen.

The greater reality is provided by a January, 2017 GoFundMe campaign:

My sister, Jennifer Bilek, a portrait artist and political activist has broken her foot. She relies on her day job, traveling to people’s homes via public transportation, to provide haircuts, for her livelihood. She has been out of work since the beginning of December and will be unable to work for at least the month of January and very possibly beyond. Surgery on her broken foot has been put out as an option (at this point) and may be a necessity (depending on reassessment in a few weeks), which would entail at least another 6 weeks recovery, without income. Jen’s housing (a fourth story walk-up in Queens, NY), and ability to sustain independence is on the line without help! An insurance-approval glitch leaves her with payment responsibility for part of her medical bills. Upon recovery, subway stairs are looming for travel to clients. Income has ceased and savings are depleted.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.