Don’t use science to battle insane trans ideology

By Jane M. Orient, M.D.

Who thought at the time about the far-reaching implication of Bill Clinton’s statement, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”?

He apparently thought he knew what a woman “is,” but today legal authorities, even Supreme Court justices, and medical authorities say they do not. They may claim that genders are numerous and “fluid.” Age-old methods of recognizing sex are tossed out in favor of subjective self-identification. And worse, people are being coerced into acting as if this identification is reality.

Discrimination used to concern observable, objective traits. Its initial meaning was to describe prejudicial treatment based upon race. Other categories like nationality, age, or disability have been added, but these were still based upon objective fixed traits. No one would claim that the delusional patient who claims to be a historical figure like Napoleon Bonaparte is being “discriminated” against because people refuse to treat him as if he were that long-dead person.

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Transgender activists and their acolytes, on the other hand, demand slavish deference to trans persons’ perceptions. It is discriminatory and harmful, for example, to imply that a person who has just given birth is a woman and a mother despite the patient’s proclaimed pronouns being he/him.

Mainstream medical associations are now demanding “evidence-based” treatments to “affirm” the delusion that a child is a person of a different gender, and to alter the body to mimic the preferred gender. New Biden administration rules require suitably qualified practitioners to render such treatments. Apparently, if a physician does mastectomies for cancer, he is legally required to do them for “affirmation.”

State laws against puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery on minors are being challenged by powerful transgender advocates, and courts generally side with transgenderism. Minors really cannot give “informed consent,” but questions about this treatment do not go away after the 18th birthday is reached.

A declaration authored by the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is garnering wide support. This declaration is a brave act by courageous physicians who dare to question the insane transgender narrative imposed by the powerful medical establishment. The declaration refers to selected scientific studies that, it states, contradict the studies cited by proponents of transgenderism. This tactic has been used before, as with COVID-19. There can be an endless string of arguments over the flaws of the studies cited by both sides. Ultimately, trangenderism ideologues are likely to prevail in a dispute based exclusively upon “science.” They will succeed not because they are right; they will win because current political power asymmetry favors them. Most importantly, they have an advantage in winning scientific disputes (even when wrong) due to their extensive academic experience in responding to studies that challenge their conclusions.

Neither side is likely to concede because this is not a scientific argument, but essentially a religious one.

The one side believes that 1) God created man, male and female; 2) there is a universal divine Lawgiver; and 3) there are absolute moral principles, many of which are incorporated in the Oath of Hippocrates. Such precepts forbid harming individuals to serve an agenda.

The other side believes that 1) there is no God, or God is irrelevant; 2) the ultimate authority is Science; 3) morality and the law are determined by Science to serve the goals set by the authorities; and 4) religious people, especially Christians, are bigots opposed to enlightenment and to allowing oppressed and marginalized people to flourish.

The right wing thus holds that the divine order is good and immutable. It is harmful and thus forbidden to risk sterilizing a child, chemically or physically, or to mutilate his body. Any purported benefits reported in studies are psychological, probably short-term, and achieved by exploiting or manipulating patients and data. Horrible adverse effects are denied or downplayed, as are the consequences of radical societal change.

The left wing holds that the current societal order is unjust and inequitable, and should be destroyed. The Science holds the key to beneficial change. Science is a tool to be used in a results-oriented way (no need for replication or open criticism). Purported adverse effects are rare, mild, or fabricated, and worth it to achieve the collective goals.

The transgender ideology needs to be engaged on the philosophical/religious ground. If the premises are absurd (e.g., “being trapped in the wrong body”) and the advocated methods (castrating and mutilating children) are immoral or criminal, then scores on psychological surveys and p-values are distractions and pretexts attempting to justify the indefensible.

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