John Stonestreet and Kasey Leander
(L-R) John Stonestreet and Kasey Leander

Made in the image of God but

John Stonestreet and Kasey Leander are both with the Chuck Colson Center, an extremist, radical Christian organization. Stonestreet and Leander advise: Don’t Be Silenced by the Myth of a Transgender Hate Crime Epidemic.

I would like to think that the advocacy of the LGBTQ community has been quite adroit in recent years. Nevertheless, silencing people has never been an objective. A claim of having been silenced is a form of the self-victimization that is so prevalent among religious zealots.

Perhaps Stonestreet and Kasey are really saying that people should be noisy in their bigotry. Politeness and decency are irrelevant in the face of sinful LGBTQ persons.

De rigueur bullshit:

Every single person, including those who struggle deeply with who they are, are made in the image and likeness of God.

However much someone can be mistaken in their self-understanding, whatever they’ve done to add to their own confusion, they’re still infinitely valuable and worthy of the fullest expressions of our love and care. This includes every person within the growing population of people who identify as transgender.

They express love and care for people who, they claim, are “mistaken” and mired in “confusion.” Trans folks are characterized as confused and mistaken because their existence presents a conflict with scripture. That makes perfect sense. Right? Ancient texts must prevail over 21st century medical science which is based on evidence.

“… if they are going to disagree with medical science (which they are doing) then they are obliged to establish their qualifications for doing so.”

Expressions of love and care:

Because of this, it is important to say, definitively, that radical transgender ideology is destructive, harmful, and disconnected from reality.

We are told, of course, that anything less than fully embracing radical transgender ideology is actually what is harmful. We frequently hear, for example, that people who identify as transgender are the most vulnerable group in the world and that critiquing transgender ideology is committing violent discrimination.

What these two schmucks are saying is that people must “express” their disapproval of transgender persons. That is followed by a litany of myths.

Nevertheless, the state of being transgender is not an “ideology” no matter how often they (and the Vatican) claim otherwise. It is a medical intervention to treat a medical condition. It does not require religious approval.

There is no evidence that transgender persons are “destructive” and “harmful. “Nor do Stonestreet and Leander cite examples. The do not because they cannot.

The notion that transgender persons are “disconnected from reality” is idiotic. Gender identity is not a fable. No one in their right mind claims that gender identity is anything other than a scientific reality.

Furthermore, it is a scientific fact that a minority of people have discordant gender identity and natal sex. Moreover, gender affirmation is the only intervention known to medical science to mitigate the symptoms of gender incongruence which can cause significant distress.

John Stonestreet and Kasey Leander are the folks who are “disconnected from reality.”

The “full embrace” nonsense means that transgender persons seek their approval. What was that about “disconnected from reality?” Furthermore, “critiquing transgender ideology” is a form of begging the question.

“If the foundation for those beliefs were durable then there would be no reason to support the doctrine with lies.”

What does do violence to transgender persons is lies about them. What qualifies either Stonestreet or Leander to “critique” a medical condition? Will they render a diagnosis based on DSM-5?

All they have to do, to avoid being called liars is to preface their bullshit with: “As conservative Christians, we believe [thus and so].” Rather than doing that Stonestreet and Leander are trying to pass off faith-based dogma as fact. Doing so is dishonest.

Moreover, if they are going to disagree with medical science (which they are doing) then they are obliged to establish their qualifications for doing so. In the alternative, they could cite peer-reviewed research published to reputable academic journals in support of their claims. They have done neither.

These people need to come to terms with the fact that transgender persons neither seek nor require their approval. Trans persons would be eminently satisfied if they were not the targets of lies and attempts to marginalize them.

One of the things that I often think about is the fragility of some religious beliefs. If the foundation for those beliefs were durable then there would be no reason to support the doctrine with lies.

“The opinion of one transphobic person is not evidence of anything.”

Here is what they are attempting to pass off as evidence:

But how true are these claims? In October, Madison Smith, with the UK Critic, wrote about the claim that those who identify as transgender are the most marginalized, abused, and vulnerable group in the world. After reviewing the data, Smith concluded, “…even though we’ve seen a sharp rise in the number of people who identify as transgender in the last few years, a trans person hasn’t been murdered in the UK for nearly three years.”

First of all, Smith is clearly obsessed with transgender people. This is Smith’s pinned tweet:

Secondly, Smith is playing with semantics. There is no official method of reporting the death of transgender people in the UK. Unofficial sources pin the number of transgender and gender diverse people murdered in the UK in 2018 at 369.

Bottom line: The opinion of one transphobic person is not evidence of anything.

Youth who are supported in their gender identity thrive.”

Furthermore (and I truly hate to demolish a transphobic talking point), the vulnerability of transgender persons is not accurately gauged by how many are murdered. The very fact that Christian zealots lie so prolifically about 0.5% of the population serves as a better metric.

Intentionally misstating the issue:

… the claim [of violence] is used as a bludgeon to silence anyone who criticizes transgender ideology, the view that one’s inner sense of self is so definitive that people must change their bodies to accommodate their dysphoria. Assumed by those who advance this ideology is that anything less than encouraging people to embrace gender confusion is violence against them.

Again, the above is based on the principal levers of religious conformity: Approval and shame. Yet lying about people is not a meaningful expression of disapproval. Moreover, lying about the intent (“silencing”) is not a meaningful argument. Furthermore, the nonsense about “anything less than encouraging …” is the perfect example of a sophomoric attempt to create a straw man argument which presents a logical fallacy.

The arguments further deteriorate:

The awful truth and tragic irony are that, in reality, it is the current practices of transgender treatment in medicine that causes harm. In his book “When Harry Became Sally,” Ryan T. Anderson argues that between 80 to 90 percent of children who say they are transgender eventually abandon those feelings by late adolescence. However, many adolescents are immediately encouraged by the cultural voices and even trusted adults to do real, irreversible damage to their minds and bodies.

First of all Ryan T. Anderson is wholly unqualified to judge anything about transgender medicine. Secondly, while it is true that most children desist, desisters never transition in the first place. They do not transition because the persistence of gender dysphoria directly correlates to the severity of the condition. Desisters are not severely affected.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that children and adolescents transition due to the “encourage[ment]” of adults. If anything, “trusted adults” (presumably parents) discourage their children from transitioning. That is just common sense.

“Dogmatists believe that the doctrine they adhere to constitutes ironclad truth regardless of evidence to the contrary.”

The distress caused by pediatric gender dysphoria is not subject to influence in either direction. Adults do not cause children to transition. Children do so on their own. The same religious crackpots are upset that schools do not out trans kids to their parents.

Some children (not many I hope) are cisgender at home and transgender (to some extent) in school because they fear parental rejection or even punishment. And why would a parent reject or punish their offspring because of a medical condition? Religious beliefs for starters. Then there are the diatribes like this one which promote dishonest fiction about transgender persons.

What Stonestreet and Leander are attempting to do is to argue that being transgender is a choice which is to say, in essence, that having gender dysphoria is a choice. The only choice for most trans folks is to live in significant distress or to mitigate the symptoms through transitioning.

Youth who are supported in their gender identity thrive. They have levels of depression and anxiety that are at or near the levels of their cisgender peers. Youth who are not supported in their gender identity are far more prone to engage in self-harm.

Let’s talk about the concept of “truth”:

This is why Christians must remember that love for our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable ones, demands telling the truth. As more and more stories of de-transitioners emerge, we hear from people who regret the invasive procedures of so-called “gender transition.”

Objective truth is not often found in religious doctrine …”

Stonestreet and Leander are dogmatists. Dogmatists believe that the doctrine they adhere to constitutes ironclad truth regardless of evidence to the contrary. Moreover, spouting opinion as fact is a form of arrogance.

The most despicable part of these transphobic treatises is the attempt to argue that lies and contempt form an expression of love. Lying about people does not represent love. Not in any form.

Furthermore, a handful of desisters is not representative of the transgender community. The fact that some people do desist does not serve as an argument in opposition to gender affirmation. Moreover, there is no evidence to suggest that detransitioners are happier overall for having detransitioned. Nor do we know how many retransition.

It is probably a determination of which is worse: Minority stress syndrome which is caused by transphobia or the effects of gender dysphoria. That assumes that people who do detransition were properly diagnosed and treated in the first place.

The only detransitioners we seem to know about are noisy religious zealots. Walt Heyer is a perfect example.

Objective truth is not often found in religious doctrine which is based on faith. Objective truth consists of facts supported with evidence. Kasey Leander and John Stonestreet have no interest in objective truth. They exist to promote religious principles. Period.

“I am not out to silence anyone.”

This is what they try to pass off as evidence:

Consider the late Sy Rogers, who, after beginning what was at the time avant-garde hormone therapy through Johns Hopkins medicine, de-transitioned and found new life in Christ. He died two years ago, a married father and grandfather, faithfully walking out the Christian ethic of sexuality …

Sy Rogers is best known as an ex-gay man who eventually became president of Exodus International. He claimed to have lived as a woman for about 18 months.

However, he is one individual who “got religion” more than 40 years ago. Rogers is not representative of anything meaningful.

I am not out to silence anyone. I am naive enough to think that my continuously countering the many lies promoted by religious fanatics that they might be more prone to tell the truth. There are, in fact, some doctors who have ceased their transphobic crusade. Was outing their lies causation of correlation? It is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that some people stop their destructive behaviors.

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.