Analysis

SHAPIRO: Debunking Transgenderism

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Today, we’re going to discuss a very common question: can a man be a woman?

In the past few years, you’ve heard a lot of statements that sound like, “we must not raise boys as boys and girls as girls, because we just can’t be sure that kids actually have the sex assigned to them at birth.”

You’ve heard that some people are men and women’s bodies or women in men’s bodies. You may even have heard that if you’re a straight dude and you don’t want to have sex with a trans woman — meaning a biological male — this makes you gay.

All of this is insane, patent nonsense.

Males and females reproduce with one another in the human species. We’ve known this for quite a while. The simple reality is that the human species is sexually dimorphic. Sex is binary. We come in two brands: male and female. 

Typically, those who have the XY chromosomes are male. Those who have XX chromosomes are female. Males and females differ. They differ in size and shape, in musculature, in brain function. As neuroscientist Steven Pinker says, “differences between the sexes are part of the human condition.”

There are certainly people who have anomalous genetic conditions like Klinefelter syndrome, in which a person has two X chromosomes and a Y chromosome, and in whom breast development looks female while male genitalia are present. 

Overall, disorders of sexual development affect one in every 5000 births. Now, the presence of abnormal development does not mean that sex is a spectrum. To suggest otherwise would be the same thing as saying that because one child in every few thousand is born with three toes, this means that the number of toes in the human being is a spectrum, or that a person with three toes might actually be a three-toed sloth human.

All reproduction is rooted in the presence of sexual dimorphism. To pretend otherwise is biologically nonsensical.

That’s why to end a conversation on transgenderism, just ask for a simple, non-self-referential definition of the terms “man” and “woman.” And when I say non-self-referential, I mean you can’t say “I feel like a woman, therefore I am a woman.”

For advocates of biology, the answer for “what is woman” or “what is man” is simple. You can look at chromosomes, the SRY genes, reproductive systems, verifiable answers to the question. For advocates of the position that some biological men are women or vice versa, there is no standard that can be applied. A man can become a woman — or a woman a man — at any time without any stable definition of man or woman whatsoever.

According to our pseudo-medical activists, gender identity is completely separate from sex. The separation between gender and sex relies on a simple fallacy: that gender is entirely socially constructed and thus separate from biology.

Gender, in this iteration, would be all the various feminine qualities that adhere to womanhood, or the masculine qualities that adhere to being a male. According to these folks, gender and sex are completely different. And all of those gendered notions of femininity? They’re completely separate from being a biological female. 

This Cartesian notion that you can be a woman in a man’s body — a soul in the machine because your gender is separate from your sex — is utterly unsupportable at any level. Everyone understands there are some attributes that are generally considered more masculine — chopping wood, being dumb — and some that are considered more feminine — being caring, being nice.

These are distinctions that do appear in virtually all cultures. Some of that is undoubtedly biologically oriented and some is undoubtedly social construction. But it is simply ridiculous to suggest that if a boy is effeminate, he’s actually a girl, or that if a girl is masculine, she might actually be a boy. But this is what gender theorists argue.

The origins of the gender identity movement lie with a professor of medical psychology at Johns Hopkins in the 1960s. His name was John Money.

After twin boys were born, and after a botched circumcision destroyed one boy’s penis, that boy was raised as a girl. By the time that boy was a teenager, the boy felt extraordinary discomfort because he was biologically male, and his parents told him the truth. Both twins ended up killing themselves in their mid-thirties. 

That didn’t stop John Money from founding the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic in 1965. His theory was children could identify as members of the opposite sex and that radical surgery was the proper solution — that inside, these kids were members of the opposite sex in reality, and that surgery would really make their bodies align with their identity.

Money claims that “the gender identity gate is open at birth for a normal child no less than for one born with unfinished sex organs, and would stay that way for at least a year.” So in other words, you could have a full biological boy with finished sex organs, and his gender identity was still open. Brains and bodies were considered in direct opposition, completely separate from one another contra science.

Radical feminists like Judith Butler began arguing that all gender was socially constructed, and that therefore all inequalities in outcome between men and women could be laid at the feet of an evil, sexist society. If gender is a meaningless social construct created by society, why does it matter more than sex, which is actual, real biology? And why is gender more real than biology itself? Why would anyone need to change his or her body in order to align with gender — a social construction — when gender and sex are completely separate in the first place?

Gender dysphoria — which is what we’re talking about here — is a serious and tragic disorder. It is also extremely rare. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual’s fifth edition, those who had received a diagnosis of gender identity disorder or transsexualism and were seeking hormone treatment and/or surgery” represented just 0.005% to 0.014% for males and 0.002% to 0.003% for females. Those stats are now rising dramatically. 

People suffering from gender dysphoria — which, in its non-politicized definition, means the persistent belief that you’re a member of the opposite sex — have a tragically high suicidal ideation and depression rate. The suicidal ideation rate remains tragically high after surgical and hormonal treatment. Longitudinal studies that are good just do not exist on the efficacy of these measures, and the mental health problems associated with gender dysphoria remain extremely damaging, even in particularly accepting societies. But suffering from a mental disorder does not change your underlying sex any more than believing that you are Napoleon Bonaparte makes you Napoleon Bonaparte.

Transgender activists make an objective claim about reality based on subjective internal feelings. That’s unsustainable. Once more, transgender activists demand that you abandon reason, biology, privacy — even the ability to raise your kids in concert with reality — in favor of a delusional quasi-religious worldview in which gender and sex are completely segregated and a boy can be a girl and a girl a boy.

Now, none of this means that anybody suffering from gender dysphoria ought to be mistreated. Anybody with any sort of disorder ought to be treated with nothing but sympathy and care, but this does mean that a society that seeks to propagandize to children that they can switch their gender is both lying to kids and doing them psychological harm and process. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what our society is now teaching kids in public schools: anti-biological nonsense, including the lie that you might just be a different gender with different pronouns. 

And it’s not just that, but the new Equality Act. 

The Biden administration and the Democratic Party are seeking to promote the idea that any institution that doesn’t mimic these lies has to be destroyed. Religious institutions are not exempted from federal regulations that demand that men who identify as women be treated as women. This is true in sports, in restrooms. Ironically, feminists who sought to protect women from men have now seen female spaces completely destroyed because they can’t define female and male properly. 

Most shockingly, we are now a society that demands that parents hand over their kids to the tender mercies of political actors masquerading as medical specialists. If you have a twelve-year-old at school with a headache, the school nurse cannot prescribe to them Tylenol without calling you first, but we now have officials in states and in the federal government suggesting that if a twelve-year-old says that she is a boy, the school should be able to prescribe puberty blockers without calling the parents. That is a sick society.

In the end, a man claiming to be a woman is making an unsustainable claim. He can’t even know what it is like to be a woman because he is not one. A man with surgeries and hormone treatment does not become a woman, nor does a man who simply declares himself a woman.

All of this is insane propaganda that is being propagated for political purposes. 

So, no, a man cannot become a woman, or a woman a man.

This piece is adapted from an episode of Ben’s newest series, Debunked. Become a Daily Wire Insider to watch the full episode now!

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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