The Right’s Most Dreadful Fear: The T in LGBTQ

LBGTQA+ Terminology | Diversity and Inclusion

Before I begin, let’s agree that this is a kind of “loaded-gun” topic and that you’ll grant me at least a little license to develop an argument, around which we might be able to actually talk to each other. I’m speaking of the one letter in the LGBTQ alphabet that right-wing Christians abhor the most, that being the T for Transgender. The divide here seems unbreachable, but let’s look anyway.

For the science perspective, let’s turn to Scientific Direct, where transgenderism is defined as such:

…transgenderism is physiological in origin, and according to this study, it may be related to events during prenatal neurological development…

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, transgenderism refers to the broad spectrum of people who transiently or persistently identify with a gender different from their natal sex (DSM 5, APA, 2013). Indeed, male-to-female transgender (or transwomen or transgender women) describes individuals assigned male at birth but who later in life identify and live as women (Hembree et al., 2017). Many, but not all transgender people, seek a social or a somatic transition in order to alleviate the significant distress (called Gender Dysphoria) resulting from the incongruence between the body and the gender identity.

The Urban Dictionary’s top definition of transgenderism is a wee bit different, for it includes the view of at least some who refer to themselves as transgender:

A concise word for referring to anything and everything within and behind the state, experience, theory, ideology, perspective, premise, perspective, belief, philosophy, etc, of that which is, was, or can be “transgender”.

It is simply the corollary of words like “homosexuality”, “gayness”, “lesbianism”, or “bisexuality”.

The word itself has no positive or negative implication. Anyone who tells you that it does, is an overreactive activist.

I’m so tired of arguments online over transgenderism.

From The Legonier, which offers a “Christian” perspective:

…“Transgendered” became “transgender” after 2015 to indicate the new idea: that transgenderism is ontological, or something that is true of a person’s very essence. Today, the psychological condition where a person feels like their personal identity does not match their anatomical sex is called gender dysphoria. And there is a strong push in our culture to agree with the transgendered movement that when one’s gender, defined as their feelings of being male or female, conflicts with the biological markers of maleness or femaleness, the feelings are determinative…

…Not all who claim to be transgendered, however, are suffering from a biological defect, and even some who are cannot reduce their feelings to a biological cause. Personal sin is still a reality. How does that come into play? Transgenderism, from the perspective of Scripture, is related to the sin of envy. Specifically, transgenderism is, at root, sinful envy of the sexual anatomy of another.

You can begin to see the problem, for one’s understanding determines the definition. Toss in the word “sin”, and there can be no debate. Consequently, this is a can of worms for intellectual discussion, and the view at the ground level can be daunting. This is especially true in the rural south, where ideas of being a man include deeply ingrained and highly competitive raising of male children who are capable of taking care of themselves and their families, regardless of the personal cost to them. To accomplish their goal, white, southern, rural men — referred lovingly among themselves as Rednecks — build their curriculum using what they call “traditional” norms that include racist hatred (“they’re trying to take what’s ours, including our children”). To these people, those who say they’re transgender are actually just pretending, because a man is a man, and a woman is a woman. They don’t want their kids pretending to be what they’re not.

Rural southerners are willing to leave alone those who make this claim, but they draw the line at public displays of same-sex — or what appears to be — affection, which is why Disney’s “Lightfoot” is such a flop at the box office. The film shows a same-sex kiss, and Disney is being vilified publicly for it. Disney! Imagine that?

Transgender is an overarching pejorative for anything that isn’t locked into the narrative of one man, one woman, married and bearing children. And yet, in his memoir about Redneck Culture, The Righteous Redneck’s Journey to Love, Keith Coffell recalls being taken into the woods at age 12 by his best friend, who was 13 at the time, and his friend’s father. There, they both raped him, and the point is that this was male-on-male rape, so the argument about homosexuality being culturally unacceptable is both hypocritical and outrageous. This was a part of Keith’s “training” to be what he called a “Redneck Soldier” in fighting the war against those who would want to change their lifestyle, namely those liberals in Washington.

So, the issue really isn’t as black and white as it seems, and those who complain the hardest are those who are most desperately afraid that they might “catch” it, or worse, someone in their family might. They wouldn’t ever wish to be part of a minority, for they know very well how those are treated, so they strike out in defense of their perceived majority maleness. This raises a wall between themselves and the rest of culture, one that is never really discussed among themselves. Disdain for such is considered “right”, because they see themselves as defenders of the way it’s always been.

For others, the concept of the T is an affront to intelligence, those who look around and see the world gone wacky and feel they must put their foot down on all of this acting out. Just because one “feels” like the opposite sex, they argue, doesn’t mean it’s actually so. These people seem to understand “gay” but think of transgenderism as extreme, disgusting, and unnatural, especially when it comes to medical “treatments” that include a physical transition to the opposite sex. For men, this means medications to alter body chemistry to remove masculine features and replace them with hormones that produce more femininity, like smooth skin and breasts, and removal of their sex organs and replacing them with artificially-created vaginas. While some believe that the T represents all of the other letters in the acronym, this extreme variation is what offends the intelligence or common sense of a great many Americans.

There are also stories surfacing about some who’ve undergone transition surgery only to later change their minds. Many publications have written about “transition regret” with even WebMD recommending physicians be cautious and referencing the 2nd annual Genspect conference on March 12, appropriately identified as #DetransitionAwarenessDay:

“There is growing concern among many doctors and other healthcare professionals as to whether this is, in fact, the best way to proceed for those under aged 18, in particular, with several countries pulling back on medical treatment and instead emphasizing psychotherapy first…

…“This is a minority within a minority,” said Genspect advisor Stella O’Malley, adding that the first meeting in 2021 was held because “too many people were dismissing the stories of the detransitioners.” O’Malley is a psychotherapist, a clinical advisor to the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine, and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners.

“It’s become blindingly obvious over the last year that…‘detrans’ is a huge part of the trans phenomenon,” said O’Malley, adding that detransitioners have been “undermined and dismissed.”

However, the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine (SEGM) is a 501©3 Christian organization created to provide “experts” to present their point-of-view on Transgenderism to the courts. Detransition Awareness Day is their creation, another vehicle for spreading Christian propaganda that they hope will “balance” coverage of this controversial cultural matter. Here’s a fascinating story from TransSafety that uncovers the SEGM’s slight-of-hand:

A ongoing tactic among evangelical and conservative groups in the United States is to build up stables of anti-LGBT expert witnesses, to provide biased evidence to court cases which are not well suited to establishing a clear picture of scientific consensus (absent major professional bodies intervening) and comparing competing scientific evidence from each other. The experts used have valid medical and academic qualifications, but are often operating outside of their primary speciality, and giving evidence out of step with wider scientific consensus.

The fundamentalist Christians who make up a big part of the Republican Party are using this artificially-created confusion to remain steadfast in their beliefs that this is nothing more than basic sin for which practitioners must repent and move along.

And in so doing, they prove that their capacity as leaders of the free world is unacceptable, for they do not wish to lead those who don’t practice their brand of everything, including self-control.

Imagine that! Trying to legislate self-control.

Good luck, folks.

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