“… what constitutes an esoteric religious doctrine requires adherents to misconstrue an exoteric reality as an ideology.”
Casey Chalk
Casey Chalk is a zealous Catholic convert who seems to think that he is being victimized at the hands of society and transgender people.

via YouTube

In the way of background, we are informed that Casey Chalk holds a master’s in theology from Christendom College. Christendom College, by the way, is an ultra-conservative Catholic college that does not participate in the Title IV federal student aid programs. I am sure that it is a bastion of intellectual curiosity and critical thinking.

That begs the question: What does a fundamentalist Catholic, without medical training, know about transgender people in order to make a judgment? Apparently not very much. After all, the Church teaches that transgender people do not really exist.

Concluding four pointless paragraphs expressing Mr. Chalk’s utter outrage at pronoun courtesy:

it’s not normal. It is not normal to reject one’s biological make-up. It is not normal to pump one’s body full of hormones in an attempt to assume a new gender identity. It is not normal to undergo surgeries to alter one’s sexual organs. Until recent scientific discoveries, such actions were not even possible or were fraught with tremendous health risks. Indeed, these all reflect a repudiation of human nature at its most simple, essential level.

Mr. Chalk needs to emerge from the Catholic bubble. People are not “reject[ing]” anything. Nor do people “assume a new gender identity.” If people could assume a new gender identity it would invariably coincide with their natal sex. There would be no transgender people for Chalk to disapprove of.

Moreover, there is nothing “recent” about gender confirmation surgery. More than 100 years ago, in 1917 (to be precise), Dr. Alan L. Hart, a transgender man (a radiologist, medical researcher and no relation), underwent “bottom” gender confirmation surgery.

Mr. Chalk is understandably confused. Being transgender does not mean that one is an adherent to a doctrine or philosophy. The “repudiation” that Chalk cites is a judgment made by others — not the transgender person.

People are transgender because they have a condition called gender dysphoria or gender incongruence. The gender identity of those folks — a tiny percentage of the population — does not match their chromosomal sex. There is no means known to medical science to change someone’s gender identity. Just attempts to do so create a lifetime of adverse mental health consequences.

Gender dysphoria can create substantial distress. The only means of mitigating that distress is to affirm one’s gender to some extent. That is why transgender people exist.

The Catholic Church has been abundantly clear about why it teaches that transgender people do not really exist. According to Church doctrine, the existence of transgender people conflicts with Genesis 1:27.

The Church then labels a medical condition that it disapproves of as “gender ideology.” In other words, what constitutes an esoteric religious doctrine requires adherents to misconstrue an exoteric reality as an ideology. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Ah but there is outrage:

Nor is it normal to demand other people invest a huge amount of energy to ensure one’s identities and various forms of self-expression are understood and appreciated. In the past, when meeting a stranger—say, a new professional colleague or a fellow passenger on a train or airplane—one might have offered a name and perhaps where one came from and what one did for a living. It was simple, straightforward, and collegial.

Since when does politeness require anyone to “invest a huge amount of energy?” I am not transgender but my email signature includes my preferred pronouns. I do that in order to make the exchange of that information commonplace. It would not be necessary were it not for the impoliteness and bigotry of some people who share Chalk’s fetishism. For the rest of us, the exchange of pronouns is as “simple, straightforward, and collegial” as the exchange of occupations.

Chalk’s problem is that he does not want to demonstrate approval which, in his mind, is the acceptance of the existence of someone who is transgender in spite of the fact that it is a scientific reality. It is comparable to the evangelical Christians who insist that man put saddles on dinosaurs and used them for transportation because man and dinosaurs coexisted. Faith often exists as a means of disregarding evidence.

It’s all so tedious for Mr. Chalk:

In a world that demands hyper-sensitivity to the multivalent identities and expressions of every person—lest we offend or expose our insufficient woke credentials—it’s better not to try.

Bullshit. Let us be honest here. Imagine, for the moment, that Chalk knew that the guys pictured below are transgender men (they are):

Transgender men
via Washington Post

Pronouns would be out. Mr. Chalk might want to know: “Do you prefer Miss or Mrs.?” He would insist on addressing these obvious men as women. It would not only be offensive, it would be downight idiotic! By the way, they all look pretty happy to me.

Consider the stakes of conforming (or not conforming) to “non-cisgender” individuals. … Others, … experience feelings of loneliness, dysphoria, depression, or being stigmatized or threatened. Really? If someone “mislabels” them? One would think these people were under the same threat of physical violence or societal discrimination that blacks experienced in the Jim Crow or antebellum South.

Just in passing, Jim Crow was underpinned by conservative Christianity as was slavery before it. But I digress. Transgender people are exceptionally vulnerable (due in part to the kind of bigotry that the Church is responsible for promoting). Where oh where is this person’s empathy? Misgendering transgender people is bad enough when it is accidental. When it is intentional it does violence to that person.

Furthermore, the fear of physical violence is not based on psychological insecurity of transgender people. It is a very real part of living as a transgender person. Is Chalk wed to the notion that there are volunteers in this orbit?

Before I go further, keep in mind that Casey Chalk is trying to justify prejudice formed from religious belief for which there is no supporting evidence. Here, he is retooling an anti-gay trope that was used around the time that we were advocating marriage equality:

Indeed, this is exactly the analogy the LGBTQ community tries to make. This is not only an insult to Black Americans and their ancestors who experienced prejudice or violence, it’s also patently ridiculous.

About the only people who compare LGBTQ Americans to African-Americans are religious fundamentalists claiming that LGBTQ people do so. The experience of LGBTQ people is very different from the experience of African-Americans. Nevertheless, prejudice and discrimination are the same regardless of the identity of the minority group.

Since I am Jewish I get to say that prejudice and discrimination based on someone being an LGBTQ person is no different from anti-Semitism. The Church has done its part to mend fences with Jews but there was a time when that was not so.

Moreover, African-Americans have been protected from discrimination by federal law for over 55 years. In contrast, it remains lawful in many locales to refuse employment, housing and service in public accommodations based upon someone’s sexuality.

Chalk goes on to make some idiotic argument about comparable suicide rates. I choose to ignore the spectacular stupidity.

But there is this:

… even current research demonstrates that LGBTQ folks experience mental illness at twice the rate of heterosexuals; this shouldn’t be too surprising. Moreover, until May 2019, the World Health Organization classified gender dysphoria as a mental disorder. Many other medical organizations, until they were bullied and threatened into conformity, did much the same.

Chalk does not substantiate his claim about mental illness which is preposterous. LGBTQ people are prone to greater rates of anxiety and depression than the general population. That is attributed to minority stress syndrome. And just who are the purveyors of minority stress? The last sentence of the above is common bullshit. We have heard it all before: “The LGBTQ lobby exerted enormous pressure thus …”

The same meme has been used for decades to explain why the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973. The idea that the APA did so because of gay bullying is patently false. Research supporting that decision goes as far back (at least) as 1951, 22 years earlier. Science is based on evidence.

The APA re-classified gender identity disorder to gender dysphoria based upon the evidence. It’s not some sinister conspiracy theory. Either way, Mr. Chalk disapproves because of religious dogma which stifles his intellectual curiosity to search for evidence.

I cannot even assign credit to Chalk for originality. The same hackneyed arguments appear over and over and over again:

In December, The Washington Post featured a story reporting that “for one non-binary teen, coming of age means getting their parents to embrace a new name.” This is craziness, in the most literal sense. Parents are not supposed to be curtsying to the whims of their confused teenagers. Not long ago, we would call such mothers and fathers negligent. But this goes far beyond parenting. A society that promotes mental illness as a legitimate “alternative lifestyle” is in deep trouble. One that is increasingly subservient to the demands of the mentally ill has entered even more dangerous territory.

Chalk does not link to the article in the Washington Post but I will. I doubt that Chalk read beyond the quote he disapproves of. What is “craziness” is calling people with gender dysphoria “confused.” Equally crazy is calling the symptoms of a medical condition a “whim” because of a passage in ancient texts.

Jenna Talackova
Trans Model Jenna Talackova

In spite of the phrase being in quotes, LGBTQ people do not normally refer to “alternate lifestyle.” That is because being LGBTQ is not a lifestyle. Gay people are as different as Elton John and Richard Grenell. Transgender people span the range from Jenna Talackova to Caitlyn Jenner.

Ms. Talackova is pictured at right. Imagine how stupid a douchebag would have to be to call her “Mr. Talackova.” Imagine further how spectacularly discourteous that would be. The fact that most transgender women do not look like Ms. Talackova is relevant to the extent that politeness should not be dependent upon physical attractiveness.

Casey Chalk insists on calling transgender people “mentally ill” in spite of a complete lack of qualifications to do so. He does so for adherence to Church teachings. If he ever has cancer, perhaps he should be guided by the medical “expertise” of a Catholic prelate. The notion that society is somehow “subservient” to a medical condition he disapproves of (as if that makes sense) is intellectually dishonest. Politeness is not subservience.

But Mr. Chalk is terribly distressed that at least some segments of our civil society recognize that preferred pronouns are not a controversy. For some Christian conservatives it remains necessary to address women as Mrs. or Miss — never “Ms.” That seems to require, in some situations, asking women how they choose to be referred to. No one complains.

All of this nonsense over pronouns is manufactured duress. The intent is to portray transgender people as persons who create an undue burden on society. The use of “transgenderism” is a rather petty means of avoiding the use of “transgender people.” To do so conveys the authenticity of their existence. “Heaven forbid!”

Concluding this perilous misadventure:

We know whom to blame. A mainstream media and secular academia that claim to be the vanguard of truth and liberty, ironically, are actively attacking both these pillars of American democracy under the guise of tolerance and sexual self-expression. LGBTQ vigilantism regarding our nation’s adherence to their pronouns and self-identity ideology proves it.

Blame and shame. Same thing I suppose. It means that someone did something wrong and must be assigned responsibility for their misdeeds. As long as he is promoting the catechism Mr. Chalk might as well wave the flag with “pillars of American democracy.” Claiming that they are under attack because roughly a half-percent of the population want to be addressed according to their gender is hyperbolic gibberish.

So is the concept that politeness is “vigilantism.” Promoting the idea of “self-identity” is disingenuous. It is intended to imply that LGBTQ people are making choices about their sexuality. How can you be prejudicial to people who have an immutable characteristic? How can they be discriminated against? Claiming that sexuality represents an ideology is just nonsense born of dogmatic necessity.

This odious material is often repeated but it is still bullshit. There are no ancient texts which provide some sort of alchemy to turn bullshit into truth. Gay people are not “objectively disordered” and addressing transgender people correctly is just good manners at no one’s expense.

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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.