This article appeared first in LifeSiteNews and is reprinted here by permission.
Not long ago, Pope Francis stirred controversy in a discussion about so-called “transsexuals.”
The occasion was a press conference, where he told the story of meeting a person born a female who, even as a girl, had felt herself to be a boy. As the pope described it, “he” had undergone surgery and then married. Later, “he” had written to the pope, who had agreed that “he,” “with his wife,” could visit him in the Vatican. “He” — these are the pope’s direct words — “who was a she, but is a he” (lui, che era lei, ma è lui).
I found the pope’s statements regarding a biological impossibility — “he” becoming “she” — troubling when he first uttered them in 2016. I find them even more so now, as the transsexual craze is reaching the level of a mass psychosis among the impressionable young. Even psychiatrists and counselors who should know better are being pressured into simply “affirming” life-changing decisions made by confused adolescents, themselves in thrall to peer pressure.
“Life is life, and one must take things as they come,” explained the pope at the time.
Everything except babies, apparently, who, as everyone knows, come into the world bearing distinctly male or female parts. Even if those parts are later surgically removed or altered, at the cellular level, every cell of every transsexual’s body continues to proclaim its maleness (XY) or femaleness (XX). Bathing the body in artificial hormones may sprout beards and breasts, but IT has absolutely no effect on this underlying biological truth.
Perhaps I take biology a little too seriously. But then I take gravity seriously as well, and for the same reason: those who ignore reality will sooner or later be punished by it.
It was pastoral for the pope to meet privately with the “he who was a she,” who clearly was in great need of spiritual counsel. But in affirming this transsexual’s chosen sex at a press conference, the pope appears to be signaling that all Catholics should be willing participants in the transgender delusion.
But was he? And should we?
The forces that insist we do are certainly growing apace. You can now be banned from Twitter for “misgendering” someone. In Great Britain, you will even be visited by the police on suspicion of having committed a “hate crime.” There are those in the U.S. and Canada who want to send you to jail for refusing to engage in the pretense that “he” is who “she” says “he” is.
While the rest of us may be confused by gender-shifters, those who actually shift genders may suffer real harm. For them, in truth, the cure may prove to be worse than the disease. Much worse.
As psychiatrist Christian Spaemann has noted, “transsexuality is a cause of great suffering, above all for the people in question, but also for their family members and especially for their children. Hormonal or surgical means … cannot entirely remove [this suffering]. Studies show that transsexuals, even after sex-reassignment surgery, have a higher-than-average rate of psychological disturbances and suicide attempts, and an almost twenty-times-higher-than-average rate of suicide. Moreover, there are ever more cases of persons requesting reversal surgery.”
This is perhaps not surprising. In all other cases where there is a profound mismatch between the mental body image and the physical body, we treat the mind. Only in the case of transsexuality do we attempt to make the physical body conform to the mind’s conception of what it should look like. This is surely backwards.
Consider the disorder known as Body Integrity Dysphoria (BID). Like gender dysphoria, sufferers experience a mismatch between the mental image of one’s body and the actual physical reality. BID is frequently associated with an intense desire to become deaf or blind, or for the amputation of a leg or arm. Brugger and Lenggenhager report that the person sometimes has a sense of sexual arousal connected with the desire for loss of a limb or sense. The sexual parallel here with the current transgender craze is obvious.
Some BID-sufferers act out their fantasies, pretending they are amputees. Some announce that they intend to damage the offending limb so badly that surgeons will have to amputate it, although cases of actual self-amputation are understandably rare.
I note here — without any attempt at humor — that if transgenders had to resort to self-amputation to, say, rid themselves of a penis and testicles, they might rethink their orientation. But in the current climate, it is no trouble for them to arrange for licensed medical professionals to do exactly this.
The vast majority of physicians would never purport to “treat” a patient with BID by amputating the offending limb, or by blinding his patient, or by in any way catering to the patient’s dysphoria. And yet for those suffering from gender dysphoria, we now have much of the Western world’s medical establishment in full cry to do just that.
They are more than ready to cut off the penis and testicles of a young man who is suffering from the delusion that “he” is really a “she.” They are more than willing to surgically create an artificial penis — a prosthesis — for a young woman, destroying her fertility in the process, simply because she has somehow convinced herself that “she” is really a “he.”
It is no surprise that those who have “transitioned” are much more likely to commit suicide. Imagine the disappointment of a young man who discovers that simply cutting off his boy parts and growing hormonally induced breasts leaves his disordered mental state — the actual source of his problem — untouched. His pain must be indescribable, made all the worse by all of the supposedly educated and experienced therapists, counselors, and physicians who “accompanied” him on his journey and “affirmed” his choice to embark upon this life-changing course.
Rather than admit this, the sexual revolutionaries among us insist that the real source of the transsexuals problem is…we. If only we accorded those proclaiming a new sexual identity the “social recognition” they deserved, we are told, all of their problems would go away.
This is nothing more than an attempt to shift blame for the unhappiness of those suffering from gender dysphoria onto society at large. The insistence — upon threat of punishment — that we never, ever use the wrong pronoun is the nub of this effort.
Some say that this “he who was a she” business is merely a harmless fantasy that we should all simply be good sports and play along with. I disagree.
Let us say such-and-such a person imagines herself to be a cat. Would we want to play along with cat-woman’s fantasy on the grounds that it is not harmful? Any such fantasy is likely to collide with reality at some point, either in the realm of physical limitations (e.g., if she throws herself in the air, thinking that a cat always lands on its feet, she might do considerable harm to herself) or in the lack of social affirmation.
Obviously, even if the cat-woman’s therapist and friends play along with her fantasy, most of the people she encounters in ordinary life will not. Will this not be source of continual internal conflict for her?
It is no wonder that many transsexuals eventually come to see their lives as a cruel joke and choose to end them. The high suicide rate alone suggests that such transitions ought not to be encouraged. If any other drug, device, or medical procedure were known to cause this level of harm, it would surely be proscribed.
Those transsexuals who kill themselves are not, in the final analysis, acting alone. They are victims of assisted suicide, with the “assistants” in this case being those who aided; abetted; and, above all, “affirmed” their transition.
Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream Is the New Threat to World Order. He studied human biology at Stanford University under famed geneticist Luigi Cavalli-Sforza.