Glenn T. Stanton attempts to merge fundamentalist religion with law and medical science. The result is predictable.

Glenn T. Stanton
Image via YouTube

Glenn T. Stanton, a conservative Catholic and a Focus on the Family motormouth, has found a new way to ridicule LGBT people: NYC’s New Nonbinary Birth Certificates Are A Self-Contradictory, Harmful Mistake. According to Stanton:

Transgender activists imply that if something that merely exists in the mind can be put into a legal document that follows you for life, it becomes ‘real.’

So gender, or its absence, is not real? Mr. Stanton’s religion, which seems to dictate his every thought and action, “merely exists in the mind.” No mere form such as a birth certificate is at issue. Oh no. On the basis of religion he obtains certain constitutional guarantees as well as nondiscrimination protections according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Stanton does not require a note from a priest, minister, imam or rabbi. We take him at his word.

In light of the above, Mr. Stanton’s assertions about the issuance of non-binary birth certificates are ludicrous:

For this change, one doesn’t need a note from a physician, psychiatrist, or any official, nor to have undergone any type of clothing, body, or hormonal change. To require any of these means the individual would have to submit to someone else’s expectation of what a male or female is, a serious gender theory no-no.

As with the declaration of religion, we accept the affected individual’s assessment which is subject to change. In this case it is just a form which is largely immaterial to anyone other than the person requesting the change. If that is not an adequate projection of perspective consider what happened in  California:

A similar law went into effect in the State of California as of January 1, 2018. Ten months later, the New York Times reported that a total of 16 Californians requested non-binary birth certificates. 16 people out of 40 million. Why is that worthy of critique?

I will tell you why. For Stanton it serves as an opprobrium surrogate used to denigrate the entire LGBTQ community. That is what Stanton does. Stanton is obsessed with gay people. Transgender and genderqueer people drive him to derangement.

As an aside, I find it very awkward to refer to an individual as “they.” So what? As a matter of common courtesy I will refer to an individual by the pronouns that they prefer. In 1969 the use of “Ms.” was controversial (for some religious conservatives it still is). However, Ms. is the business correspondence default form when addressing a woman.

Mr. Stanton is far from done:

Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the new law, saying New Yorkers should tell their government who they are and “not the other way around.” It’s a cuddly sentiment, to be sure, but untrue. Suppose I told de Blasio and his department of health that I’m a teenage Laotian able-bodied paraplegic and member of his City Council. He would happily tell me what’s what and “not the other way around.” Even if I have a note from my parents.

Stanton’s idiotic example is composed of false facts that are not subject to self-identity. However, if Stanton claimed to be a Quranic fundamentalist Hindu follower of Christ who is Hasidic we are required to take him at his word. Gender is a similar construct to religion except that religion is a choice while gender is involuntary. Indeed, gender is far less subjective than religion.

A familiar refrain:

Even though I’m a shameless religious conservative, let me step out on a limb and appeal to cold, calculated, orderly reason. Laws allowing citizens to change their birth certificates to either or no sex are completely contrary to reality …

This is the entirely incorrect conservative Christian assertion that we are defined by our natal sex. For 99+% of us that is true because our sex and gender are sufficiently congruent. However, for the small minority that have incongruent gender and natal sex or who are intersex, truth is found in gender because it is controlling. Gender is a continuum with male and female at the extreme ends. Therefore, a small number of people are without discernible gender. These are those 26 out of 40 million Californians who have requested that change. We can accommodate them as a matter of administrative courtesy.

An intellectually mediocre attempt to argue by example:

First, it radically violates the LGBT conception of justice and equality.


Imagine how this works. You arrive at the New York City Department of Health, totally stoked that you can now have your birth certificate declare “who you are really are.” You inform the clerk you are not the male or female you were haphazardly “assigned” at birth, but that you’re genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, bigender, pangender, polygender, androgyne, neutrois, or any of the other 50+ genders that supposedly exist.

The clerk responds, “Wonderful, honey. We’re just gonna put you down as X.” Yes, X! Never mind that New York City will legally and permanently refer to you by the sign teachers use to mark something wrong. Even those who play along with the game have to admit this is a major d’oh.

This is no less moronic (and obtuse) than Stanton’s other arguments. The sex indicated on our birth certificates generally matches our genitalia. For about one out of 2,000 births there is some physical ambiguity. However most intersex advocates agree that every child needs to be assigned a sex at birth.

Gender develops over time. When it is different from natal sex people can request corrected birth certificates. If it is “X” to indicate genderqueer, it is “X.” It’s not a game and it’s not something that people “play along with.” It is vitally important to some people. They get to make a decision. Neither Stanton nor the Vatican have any influence over gender-affirming birth certificates. Their approval is not required. Meanwhile LGBT equality and justice (to the extent they exist) are preserved.

Argument from false erudition:

No One Is Nonbinary

Nonbinary is a belief that develops over time in one’s own self-perception. It is not an objective, medical fact. It cannot be confirmed or denied by any medical professional. It is not an intrinsic factor of one’s body, but a product of the mind (not the brain).

Stanton is correct that gender or being genderqueer are self-perceptions. However, psychiatrists can make an accurate assessment of someone’s gender. There are established sexology tests. The mind/brain divide is a bit trickier than Stanton suggests. The brain is the physical organ most associated with the mind although the mind (thought, feeling, intuition, belief, etc.) can be independent of the brain. It is an endless debate because it is nearly impossible to separate the two.

A few decades ago, psychiatrists assumed that depression was an ailment of the mind. What could more clearly separate mind from brain than one’s mood? Yet, modern theory is that depression is related to brain chemistry. It is often treated by altering brain chemistry with drugs. No one really knows how Prozac (for example) works.

Although the exact mechanism of fluoxetine is unknown, it is presumed to be linked to its inhibition of CNS neuronal uptake of serotonin.

No one fully understands gender but we know that it exists. Let’s assume for the moment that gender is limited to feelings. So what? To assert that no one is non-binary because it is based on how someone feels is to invalidate the importance of self-identification. Stanton could use (and probably has used) a similar argument to claim that no one is gay, bisexual or transgender.

Much ado about things that do not affect Mr. Stanton:

This Isn’t the Purpose of a Birth Certificate

A birth certificate, or death certificate for that matter, doesn’t record how one feels about or understands oneself. A birth certificate notes the facts of a birth, including what one is born as. It is an objective document recording a few essential facts about an event that happened on a particular day, time, and place: name of newborn, date and place of birth, parents’ names, handprints, footprints, and sex of the child.

That is Mr. Stanton’s definition. California, Oregon, Washington and New York City disagree when it comes to genderqueer people. Almost every state (even Alabama) will change the birth certificate of an individual after gender-affirming surgery.

… to the absurd:

It Fundamentally Contradicts Basic Gender Theory

Let’s count the ways.

Conflates sex with gender. You will be told emphatically in the first 10 minutes of your first gender studies class that gender and sex are two different things. As their ditty goes, sex is what’s between your legs and gender is what’s between your ears.

There is more to this pathetic excuse for critical thinking. Stanton’s example does just the opposite of its intent. Allowing a birth certificate modification (actually a correction) separates natal sex from gender.

The “ditty” is necessary to simplify the concept of gender because religious conservatives are determined to confuse sex and gender and to impose their confusion on the general population.

Of course gender does not exist for Stanton:

They are radically contrary to basic science. Gender theory is on an inevitable crash-course with the empiricism of biology. Place your bets on which will ultimately prevail.

The sex that gender theorists simplistically tell us is “between one’s legs” is found throughout our bodies, and intensely so. Our male and femaleness is imprinted in nearly every cell of our bodies. That’s a whole bunch of observable male or female coding, which is totally untouched by a simple change of clothing, hormones, surgery, or a new birth certificate.

Early in his papacy, Pope Francis’ favorite hobby was railing against what he called “gender theory.” Eventually this morphed to “gender ideology.” Stanton is just repeating what he wrote earlier. We all know — we all accept — chromosomal realities (although a small percentage of intersex people have ambiguous chromosomes).

No one has ever claimed that natal sex changes. Gender is a separate construct and that is “basic Science.” We know the real ditty: Stanton’s god created only males and females. Anonymously authored Bronze Age texts tell us so.

Several more paragraphs of fiction follow, including the misuse of research by Dr. Allan Schore at UCLA. Frankly I have reached my Stanton threshold. He concludes with:

This is why the push to be able to change one’s most fundamental legal document in this way is so politically important for the gender activists. If something that merely exists in the mind can be put into a legal document that follows you for life, it becomes “real.” It then gains the full power of law, becoming a more potent weapon to bludgeon all of us into affirming their delusion with our required use of names, pronouns, public actions, and workplace policies.

In this one diatribe, Stanton has gone from medical expert to legal expert to biologist and now to mind reader and professional victim. Apparently the simple courtesy of addressing people as they choose to be addressed is too much for Stanton to handle. Poor him. He ends up where he began which is that gender does not exist. According to him, incongruent gender is a delusion.

I find it ironic that his optional religious beliefs, which cannot be verified and may not be challenged, are used to criticize gender on the basis that it is arbitrary and is thus subject to verification and challenge. While citing basic science, Stanton spouts drivel that is at odds with the consensus of medical science. Mr. Stanton needs a new hobby. One without intellectual obligations.

Related content:

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.