Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Sustainability of Transgender Theory

Many corners of the internet have been abuzz recently after President Obama put forth his "decree" (I'm not sure if that is the proper term, or if it is only being used by some in a pejorative sense, but nevertheless, it seems somewhat appropriate) stating that public schools should allow students who identify as transgender to use the restroom or locker of their choice.  This is yet another cultural shift that we have endured and, even if it is not to last (there are many who believe that this decree is akin to the LGBT movement jumping the shark), this decree is at least a foot in the door for more flawed thinking about gender and sexuality in our culture, which has become perhaps the slipperiest of slippery slopes our culture has ever trod.

There are significant theological implications to this decree, and I've touched on some of them here and there on this site, and many, many others have capably done so as well.  Let me point you to Russell Moore's article, and my associate, Levi Secord's article as good examples of how to think through this issue biblically.

Don't get me wrong: it's incredibly important to address this issue biblically.  But what is just as fascinating to me - and almost as important - is looking at the practicality and sustainability of transgender theory in society.  In Russell Moore's article, linked above, he makes the point that societies can't operate under the assumptions that transgender theory makes - it's just not sustainable.  And the lack of sustainability of transgender theory is not a matter of opinion but of practical observation and basic logic.  I think it's a fair and necessary task for all parties to step back and make an honest appraisal of the logic used to justify advancements made in the LGBT movement to determine if they are culturally sustainable.  And, in my opinion, an honest judgment of the arguments made should lead us to realize that these matters are not sustainable in our society, or in any society, for that matter.

Transgender theory essentially states that a person's feelings override or trump biological reality.  Within the scope of transgender theory, this means that a person's feelings of gender override biological gender, and so biological men who feel like women become women, and vice versa.  But this theory is severely and fatally flawed: our feelings never override biological or scientific fact - even feelings that are strongly and sincerely held.  It doesn't matter how sincerely I believe that I can fly like a bird - if I jump off a ten-story building, I will die.  My feelings do not override scientific reality.  But since the scope of transgender theory is limited to biology, I'll limit my arguments to the reality of that field of science.  If transgender theory is accurate, and feelings do override biological reality, then other scenarios must also be true.  For instance:

According to transgender theory, it must be possible for a person to feel a different race or ethnicity than their biological race or ethnicity, and therefore identify as that race or ethnicity.

According to transgender theory, it must be possible for a person to feel a different age than their biological age, and identify as that different age.  (For instance, using the logic of transgender theory, why can't a 17 year old boy identify as a 21 year old adult and buy a case of beer?)

According to transgender theory, it must be possible for a person to feel a different species than their biological species, and identify as that particular species.

I could go on, but I'll leave it there.  In order for transgender theory to be sustainable, it needs to explain why feelings trump biological reality in regards to gender, but not to race, age, or species.  But transgender theory is capable of no such thing, and is therefore an unsustainable cultural construct in our society.  It simply can't be sustained.

For instance, transgender theory seeks to alleviate the plight of transgendered persons of being forced to use a restroom that accords with their biological sex rather than their gender identification by forcing schools to allow such persons to use the bathroom that most closely aligns with their own gender self-identification.  By forcing transgendered persons to use the bathroom that aligns with their biological sex, transgender theory asserts, transgendered person are discriminated against.  So the desire of transgender theory is to alleviate this perceived discrimination by "guiding" public schools to accommodate transgendered persons in using whichever bathroom or locker room they prefer.  The incredible irony created by this situation, however, is that in attempting to alleviate perceived discrimination against transgendered persons, transgender advocates are enacting real and demonstrable discrimination against the more than 99% of the population that is not transgendered.  Consider, for example, the vast, overwhelming majority of children in schools who have no desire to use the restroom or shower with people of the opposite sex - regardless of their self-identification.  Transgender theorists have no regard for the feelings of those who will be imposed upon (biological boys and girls who naturally identify as boys and girls), and will force them to accommodate transgendered persons at the cost of their own privacy and dignity.  In other words, in an alleged attempt to provide privacy and dignity for transgendered persons, transgender advocates steal the same from literally everyone else.  This is yet another reason that transgender theory is simply not sustainable.

Moreover, the speed at which these changes are taking place is breathtaking - literally.  In a matter of weeks and months our culture is being commanded to utterly reverse a cultural norm that has existed in our country and culture since its inception (in a grander sense, a world-wide cultural norm of segregation of the sexes when it comes to public restroom accommodations has existed for centuries, if not millennia).  Those who are advocating for these sweeping changes based on transgender theory simply cannot be shocked that there is pushback.  Even if transgender theory weren't fatally flawed (which it is), to demand that 300 million people change their centuries-engrained cultural practice on a dime is incomprehensibly shortsighted and ignorant.

To be sure, there are a myriad of other problems with transgender theory - I've only identified a few.  Here's to hoping for more intellectually honest and logically consistent thinking in our society in the coming days, because it's certainly not happening at present.

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