No science for ‘born in wrong body’ ideology

I would like to reply in charity to Ms. Weinreb’s critique of a previous letter which raised concerns about transgender education in Fayette County.

This has very suddenly become a huge issue with the overwhelming momentum on the side of the pro-transgender position, to the point where if one voices skepticism or concern, one is labeled a “hater” right out of the box.

Ms. Weinreb resorted to this typical progressive tactic in the opening lines of her piece. What’s so harmful about using this term to describe your opponents is the power it has to polarize the debate and label anyone on one side as marginal, bigoted, backwards, intolerant, etc. In other words, it shuts down debate and prevents any real discussion of the issue from proceeding on civil, rational grounds.

The remainder of Ms. Weinreb’s letter exemplifies this approach. While she essentially appeals to feelings and compassion as the main justification for her position, she offers almost nothing in the way of actual science, reason, or facts to back up her emotional assertions.

Unfortunately, in our modern culture, this is all one seems to need to “win the debate.” Shame the other with appeals to compassion and — BAM! — argument over.

Well, this issue is too important to allow it to be decided based on such tactics.

To Ms. Weinreb and others of her opinion, let me try and explain why some of us have problems with this rush towards accepting and promoting transgenderism.

First, there is no serious, rigorous scientific evidence for the concept that someone is “born in the wrong body.” In fact, the small amount of good research we do have shows the opposite. For example, in a study of identical twins, only 28 percent of both twins identified as “transgender.” If this phenomenon were truly genetic and something we’re “born with,” as Ms. Weinreb contends, then the number would be closer to 100 percent.

This condition, like same-sex attraction, is held out to be “genetic” and “immutable” but there simply isn’t the science to back it up. Rather, it appears such things are the result of a complex interplay of environmental and genetic factors. This is not to say the feelings aren’t “real” or strongly felt, but it is to say that science cannot prove that they are hard-wired.

Second, I agree with proponents of transgenderism that the interest of the child is paramount, but we disagree about how to promote those interests. In fact, it is specifically for the long-term psychological, social, and emotional well-being of the child that I oppose unequivocal acceptance of transgenderism or gender dysphoria for children.

It may seem compassionate to affirm a young boy or girl experiencing these feelings, but studies show that 75-95 percent of children with this condition outgrow it by adulthood. And those that do persist into adulthood have a suicide rate that is 30 times the norm.

Just as we try to educate and guide our children away from tendencies in childhood that will be a long-term burden for them, we should at least be open to this approach with gender dysphoric children. Instead, the pro-transgender community loudly insists we affirm any sign of such gender confusion and put them on the path to “transition” and use misleading terms like “gender assignment” to confuse and obfuscate the issue.

Putting children on this path involves hormone therapy and even, as is increasingly and sadly the case, surgery to make the changes “permanent,” though in the end, there is nothing one can do to change the chromosomal makeup of a person. These “therapies” can have negative effects on the child since they fundamentally confuse the body’s normal biological development. The negative side effects are increasingly being understood, if under-reported due to the muzzling of debate on this topic.

The third reason I and others oppose the unquestioning acceptance of transgender ideology is because of its destructive effects on language and nature.

When we start saying that the immutable, physical realities of gender apparent at birth for 99.9 percent of humans are “assigned,” we have started down the slippery slope of dangerous intellectual dishonesty. Once we accept this notion, then all bets are off when it comes to using science to understand the issue. Instead, we elevate one’s feelings—which are important—to an absolute status where they trump obvious, physical reality.

Truth and science no longer have a place in such a world, which is ironic since progressives often brag about their fidelity to “science” as the anchor of their worldview.

But embracing someone’s notion that they were born into the wrong body is a completely unscientific judgment. It is a sympathetic or compassionate or ideological judgment, but not scientific.

So, to protect children from real harm as teens and adults, to protect their bodies from dangerous chemical and physical experimentation done in the name of ideology, and to protect our culture in general from the destructive effects of placing the subjective above the objective as the absolute measure of truth, I and others respectfully challenge the assertions made by Ms. Weinreb and others.

Trey Hoffman
Peachtree City, Ga.