My 37-year-old married brother with five children under the age of nine sent me an email a few months ago announcing his plans to become a woman. His wife is encouraging him to transition.
Gender dysphoria used to be right next to schizophrenia in the DSM-V (the diagnostic manual used by psychiatrists). This makes a lot of sense given that my brother is currently claiming a woman lives inside his body. In order to let her out, he must not only wear dresses, heels, and makeup, he must also begin taking female hormones to transform his body into that of a female.
What troubles me even more than my brother’s decline in mental health is that countless people around him have decided to simply “love and support” him on his “journey.” If he were claiming that he believed an alien or a time traveler lived inside his body, they might not be so supportive. But because it is 2019 and the denial of reality when it comes to gender is culturally en vogue, people are going along with it. They’re terrified of being called intolerant. They say things like, “If he tells us that she is his ‘true self,’ who are we to argue?”
Ah yes . . . the “true self,” a mantra of a generation. No matter where you go, you can’t escape it. Books, television shows, Instagram captions, and Internet memes suggest we can all attain greater levels of health and peace through a deeper realization and expression of our “true self.”
Back in the day there was something called moral realism, a worldview that put an emphasis on human sin and weakness. Biblical figures like David and Moses were seen as great leaders who were also deeply flawed. Augustine and the early church fathers talked about the depravity of sin and the need for grace. Then around the 18th century moral realism found its rival in moral romanticism. Romantics like Jean-Jacques Rousseau started talking about the inherent goodness of man.
Fast forward to 1946 when Rabbi Liebman published his book Peace of Mind. The book 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 be unafraid of your hidden impulses. The book became a New York Times best seller for 58 weeks. Humanist psychologists ran with it, arguing that the primary problem for humans was no longer sin, but rather the fact that we weren’t accepting ourselves exactly as God made us. This line of thinking led to the advent of the self-esteem movement in 1969. The core of that movement morphed into what author Charles Taylor calls “the culture of authenticity.”
The central belief of the culture of authenticity is this:
Because the true self is inherently good, there is no sin to be found in it. Sin is now found only in the external structures of society that seek to repress the true self.
In his book The Road to Character, David Brooks explains that older generations believed the development of character came by struggling against the desires of the true self. Traits like selflessness and self-sacrifice were considered most admirable. Younger generations, in contrast, believe the most admirable trait to be radical self-expression.
Thus, the steps to the “new salvation” being promoted by younger generations include
- relinquishing any previous struggle you had against your true self,
- letting your true self fully emerge without guilt or shame (both of which are constructs of old, outdated religious systems),
- adopting a new vocabulary in which words like “sin” and “evil” now refer to the external structures of society that caused you to doubt your true self in the first place. (The new “evils” are organized religion and any system of thought that seeks to oppress the weak or marginalized, such as poverty, racism, misogyny, or anything that’s anti-LGBTQ.)
Yet 19th century British philosopher John Stuart Mill said the point of life was to struggle every day to “sacrifice the true self on the altar of care and concern for others.” This is done by achieving a series of small, inner victories against our own desires because you know that acting upon them could result in negative consequences for others. Even if acting on our impulses doesn’t feel like it’s doing any harm in the moment, it could be adversely affecting countless generations to come. Thus, we build character by a thousand selfless acts of restraint that no one ever sees.
But in 21st century America, this line of thinking doesn’t compute. We don’t applaud people for restraint; we applaud people for throwing off restraint. Hence the hundreds of Instagram followers now giving my brother a “heart” for announcing he’s a woman.
The logical problem with this is that if a man is to be “supported and celebrated” as he embarks on his journey to become a woman, shouldn’t everyone be celebrated as they continue down the path toward their true self? Shouldn’t the married woman be encouraged when she reconnects with her true self in the arms of another man? Our culture would say yes, and books written about this have become best sellers.
If we do away with the concept of a sin nature and concede that everyone is inherently good, there is really no impulse that needs to be fought against. Ever. The porn addict may as well explore his addiction. The alcoholic and heroin user too. And what about the pedophile? What do we do with the man who says his true self has been attracted to small children from the time he hit puberty?
My brother and sister-in-law would agree that we shouldn’t condone any behavior that would “cause harm to others.” They’d argue that the trans person is not harming anyone by switching genders. So let’s consider that argument. Would my brother, who has been a man for more than three decades, suddenly becoming a woman really not be harmful to anyone?
I suppose that depends on your definition of harmful. Is it harmful to disrupt the mental, emotional, and physical health of everyone in your family, both immediate and extended, for months and likely years to come? Is it harmful to raise five small children in a state of psychological confusion in which the person that they thought was one thing is now another, one in which their parents morph from a heterosexual couple to a homosexual couple right before their eyes? Is it harmful for a husband who promised to love and cherish his female wife to abandon all responsibilities as the man she thought she married? Is it harmful for a father of five to commit a slow form of suicide as he begins to disappear and a new creature (complete with a different name) takes his place?
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 instead. As part of his “social transition” he began wearing dresses, wigs, heels, and makeup in public. He will have to stay on female hormones until the day he dies. He refuses to answer to his former name, Josh. He says Josh is dead. There was even some type of symbolic “burial ceremony” to say goodbye to Josh once and for all. Unfortunately, I didn’t get invited to that. Nor did my parents. No one sent us flowers. No one dropped off a casserole.
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.
And if we really believe that supporting people on their journey to their “true self” is best, what do you suppose our society is going to look like a decade from now?
Well, the number of “otherkin” (people who identify themselves as half-human, half other species) is growing. A man named John who identifies himself as a fox is now requesting special legal rights that will accommodate his needs as an animal. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), a significant percentage of “otherkin” also identify as transgender. Thus, the argument is easily made that if you support transgender rights, you have to support otherkin rights. After all, who are we to say what someone’s true self might really be? And just like transgender individuals, many otherkin are now having surgery to look more and more like the animal or entity they identify with.
If you can legally change the biological sex on your driver’s license, logic says you must be allowed to legally change any other trait you like because YOU and you alone know your true identity. This is how we end up with Martina Big and Michael Eurwen from Germany. The couple has undergone many rounds of Melanotan injections, a synthetic hormone that makes the skin darker. Why? Because although reality would tell us that they are both Caucasian, they personally identify as being African.
If you Google Martina Big, you will notice she does not appear to be well. Apart from Martina’s attempts to become black, she has also had 23 breast implants (she’s now a size 32 S). Should people continue going along with Martina’s delusions because only she can know her true self? Or should people try to get Martina the mental health help she obviously needs? I ask the same question of those in my brother’s circle of friends.
Profiting from Transgenderism
Instead of helping him get real help, people continue to “support him” as he moves deeper into his delusion. This includes many well-meaning therapists. But why would a therapist tell a man who has had a history of cross-dressing to take that compulsion to its furthest extreme by transforming his body into that of a woman? Because there’s big money driving trans medicine.
After trans medical research concluded in Europe in the early 2000s, doctors from those clinics flooded into the U.S. knowing they could make a financial killing by peddling a new “treatment” for the psychiatric problem of gender dysphoria. (If you haven’t studied the history of trans medicine, Google Paul McHugh, the doctor from Johns Hopkins who was in charge of the first sex reassignment surgery program in the U.S.).
Once you study the history of trans medicine, you’ll discover that any dissenters of the practice were systematically silenced. This includes respected Ivy League professors and doctors like McHugh, who said that going along with a patient’s delusion was far more harmful than helpful. What began as two clinics (one on either coast) that recommended people with gender dysphoria move further into their fantasies by taking cross-sex hormones has now expanded into 50 clinics across the U.S., all of which are collecting massive insurance payouts.
*The author of this true account, a wife and mother, wishes to remain anonymous. Names in this account have been changed.