“Judging transgender people through a religious lens makes about as much sense as claiming that coronary occlusions are caused by demons in one’s blood.”

Dan Hart (no relation) of Family Research Council has curated a six-part anti-transgender narrative written by an anonymous individual identified pseudonymously as “Lisa”. Lisa is very verbose … and self-centered.

We now have two parts. Part 1 is titled: The Cult of Transgenderism: My Brother’s Crisis of Identity in an America Gone Mad. Part 2 is titled: The Damaging Delusions of Identity Obsession and Erasure. The titles themselves reveal that these two posts are opinion in contrast to fact. It is safe to assume that those opinions have been formed from religious belief.

In fact, as I go through this, you will find that the author is universally fact-free in regards to human sexuality.

A cult consists of a group of people who have a common devotion to a religion, a person or an object. In common usage the word implies that such devotion is irrational or disproportionate to realities. Claiming that transgender people are cultists is idiotic. The assertion is unrelated to any factual analysis. It assumes that transgender people are adherents to a common ideology which makes no sense at all.

What transgender people have in common is a medical condition. What some religious conservatives have in common is a moronic talking point about some sort of trans ideology.

As I quote portions of the text (first from Part 1) consider who the real cultist is — the author or transgender people. Keep in mind that this is an anonymous post which is impossible to vet. For all we know it is Peter Sprigg. Otherwise, the fact that the anonymous author brought her opinions to the attention of an anti-LGBTQ hate group and then authored the polemic for that same hate group is telling:

Setting the stage:

Last year, my brother Josh, a 37-year-old married father with five kids under the age of 9, announced he was becoming a woman.

His wife, in turn, announced that she not only plans to stay married, but that she is “more proud of him” than she’s ever been. Actually, she said she is “more proud of her than she’s ever been.” That’s because my brother Josh changed his name to Melissa and now requires everyone to use “she/her” pronouns when referring to him. If the grandparents refuse to do this, they have been threatened with limited access to their grandchildren.

Occam’s razor causes me to assume the simplest explanation. Melissa has been suffering from gender incongruence for some time and has affirmed her gender in order to mitigate the symptoms which are usually anxiety and depression.

Melissa enjoys the support of her wife which is not surprising. She is the same person that she was as a man. I would argue that she is now a better person because she is living as her true self. I would also argue that her honesty allows her to be a better parent.

Thus, my tall, handsome, muscular brother began taking strong female hormones that transformed him into a different person. His facial hair stopped growing. He grew breasts …

Josh obviously raised his hand and volunteered to become an object of derision (including by members of his own family). The religious set never considers — or wants to consider — that gender incongruence is not a choice and there are no alternatives to gender affirmation to relieve the suffering created by the condition. Genesis 1:27 is compromised and that is more important than anything else.

Furthermore, this is not about Melissa’s sister. Melissa is not obliged to conform to her sister’s religious beliefs in order to enjoy her approval. If Lisa has a problem that is her problem, not Melissa’s.

Basically, the best way to describe what happens when a loved one decides to swap genders is this: It’s as though someone murders your loved one and then the murderer gets extremely angry if you won’t let them take the victim’s place in your family.

Lisa is self-absorbed. It’s all about her and her reaction to Melissa’s transition.

My family and I are now called “transphobic” for not embracing Melissa with open arms.

When I told my brother, “I’m sorry…I love Josh, but I cannot move forward with this new Melissa girl,” he simply texted me: “So long then.” …

Gay people are very familiar with this reality. When gay people come out and are rejected by family members those family members are often no longer part of their lives.

Lisa doesn’t approve of Melissa. She is transphobic which is a form of bigotry. Perhaps Lisa is trying to leverage her approval in order for her sister to revert to her natal sex. The extortion attempt was a failure. Approval is based upon conformity with religious dogma. That is insane.

The self-absorption continues:

American culture now tells me that my brother—who’s spent 37 years as a Caucasian male—now deserves the same rights and respects that I, an actual woman, deserve. I’m a woman who’s been sexually harassed hundreds of times in my 40 years of life. …

First of all gender prevails over natal sex so Melissa is an “actual woman.” Lisa should consider the harassment that her sister could be subjected to and she is a participant in that derision.

See, if my brother was claiming to be an alien or a time traveler instead of a woman, our culture would never support it. But since it’s 2019 and the denial of reality when it comes to biological sex is en vogue—countless people are blindly embracing Melissa as my brother’s “True Self.”

That is idiotic. There is no science to confirm the existence of aliens or time travelers. According to medical science — supported by an enormous body of evidence-based research — a small percentage of our citizenry suffers from gender dysphoria and its severity is such that they feel compelled to transition. Common sense should inform Lisa that her sister is not trans because it is “en vogue.”

Being trans is nothing new. Transgender people of European origin have been present in the United States since the 1600s. Moreover, transgender people existed among native Americans. They were considered a third sex. Over 102 years ago, in 1917, Dr. Alan L. Hart (also no relation) was the first American to receive gender confirmation surgery. His transition was aided by a prominent psychiatrist of the time.

Furthermore I suspect that the percentage of the population that is transgender is the same today as it was 10 years ago. Due to the findings of evidence based peer-reviewed research, people are being permitted to transition at an earlier age. In fact, the Christian right only became obsessed with transgender people when President Obama’s administration — reacting to the increasing existence of transgender minors — provided guidance to public school systems. The Christianists had a cow!

The religious perspective becomes clearer:

In his book The Road to Character, David Brooks explains that back in the day, there was something called moral realism—a worldview that put an emphasis on human sin and human weakness. …

I have not read the book but I have read Mr. Brooks in the New York Times. Lisa isn’t quoting Brooks but implying that a religious structure is required in order to have an ethical society. This becomes clearer later on:

Fast forward to the 20th century when books like Rabbi Joshua Liebman’s New York Times best seller Peace of Mind (published in 1946) urged people toward a new morality based on the idea that you should never repress any part of yourself as sinful. Instead, you should “love yourself” and not be afraid of your hidden impulses. …

I have not read that book either. Nor can I appreciate whether or not the book was influential. Lisa is equating religion with morality which is nonsensical. It then follows that her sister is immoral because she poses a conflict with Lisa’s religious beliefs. The fact that Melissa has a medical condition has no relationship to religious beliefs. Melissa is not possessed of demons that will be driven out with sufficient prayer according to the correct dogma.

Judging transgender people through a religious lens makes about as much sense as claiming that coronary occlusions are caused by demons in one’s blood. Eventually “Lisa” concludes Part 1:

Men and women were encouraged to exercise self-restraint in building a life of integrity. But the ideals of selflessness and self-restraint are now seen as hopelessly outdated and must be discarded in favor of the True Self.

In other words, mitigating the effects of a medical condition in a way that does not conform to religious dogma demonstrates an absence of self-restraint and, thus, an absence of integrity. This is judgmental nonsense free of empathy or applicable information.

In part 2, Wednesday, Lisa picks up on the earlier theme:

Now in American culture, instead of applauding people for showing restraint, we applaud them for throwing off restraint. Hence the thousands of Instagram followers now telling my brother things like “You go girl!” and “You’re going to make one beautiful woman!”

The above is a close cousin to “celebrating their homosexuality.” What people are actually doing is offering support to a vulnerable member of society. Without people like Lisa this would not be necessary. What Lisa is suggesting is that approval encourages people to be transgender. It is a point of view formed from ignorance. But it follows that she believes that her disapproval might cause her sister to desist. It is re-tooled anti-gay bullshit.

The logical problem with all this is that if a man is to be “supported and celebrated” as he embarks on the journey to his True Self, shouldn’t everyone be celebrated as they allow their true selves to flourish? … The opioid addict too. … Then there’s the pedophile. What do we do with the man who claims (as many have) that their True Self is attracted to small children?

Generous edits (…) were necessary. There were more moronic comparisons in that paragraph. We do not “celebrate” drug addicts because, according to medical science, their condition is a disease that requires treatment. The comparison to pedophilia is remarkably bigoted in an attempt to make a point. Pedophilia is illegal throughout the world. She continues with the comparison:

My brother and sister-in-law would immediately say “of course pedophilia is wrong.” Because, they argue, any behavior that would cause direct harm to others is automatically out of bounds. My brother would argue that the trans person, however, is not harming anyone by simply switching genders.

She better get used to the fact that she has a sister. She is scripting what her sister and sister-in-law would say as a means of making a strained point.

What I would say is that pedophilia is wrong because it is illegal. It is rape because a minor cannot provide informed consent. Being transgender is a response to a medical condition. The condition and the intervention (transitioning) are recognized and supported by the best available medical science.

Is it harmful to disrupt the mental, emotional, and physical health of dozens of family members and hundreds of friends for years and likely decades to come? [massive drivelectomy] … Is it harmful for a husband/father/son/brother to commit a slow form of suicide and then demand everyone accept some random woman take his place in the family?

Harmful to family? I am trying to behave myself but “fuck you lady!” Her sister should suffer to garner Lisa’s religion-based approval. I removed a considerable amount of content because I wanted to emphasize the suicide claim. According to the science people with gender dysphoria are at considerable risk for self-harm. That potential is reduced substantially if their gender is affirmed. It is the exact opposite of what this awful woman is claiming.

American culture currently says none of this is harmful. Why? Well, for starters they’d argue that the random woman who’s now asking to be part of my family has all the same likes and dislikes as the brother I knew before.

What is harmful is for a person with acute gender dysphoria to not transition. I do not know what “American culture currently says.” While I am cisgender my expectations are that people should be accepted for who they are. Family support becomes part of an important support system for LGBTQ people.

…my mother looks through photos from my brother’s wedding 18 years ago, lamenting, “He was such a handsome man.” That man has made it clear to us that he is no longer alive. Only Melissa and whichever memories she chooses to incorporate into her narrative are living now.

What is this crazy woman trying to prove? That she is right to disapprove of her sister?
That her sister is in the wrong? It seems clear to me that she has not discussed Melissa’s condition with Melissa’s healthcare providers. I suspect that Melissa would welcome a joint therapy session.

These two diatribes (with four parts to come) are arguments from ignorance. The ignorance exists because religious dogma precludes intellectual curiosity. The fact that Family Research Council sees fit to publish this ignorance adds further support to the decision of the Southern Poverty Law Center to designate the organization a hate group.

“Lisa” is attempting to do what Ryan T. Anderson attempted to do. That is to subject the state of being transgender to philosophical arguments in order to promote religious dogma. That approach is in line with claiming that being transgender is an ideology. They do so because they certainly cannot argue over the medical science.

Anderson went on to quote Dr. Paul McHugh and (with faux compassion) to robustly assert that what transgender people really need is some form of talk therapy to address underlying issues™. Neither such therapy nor underlying issues exist but I expect that Lisa will eventually get there.

On Friday I will review parts 3 and 4.

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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.