Jason D. Hill is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and professor of philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago. He is the author of several books, including “We Have Overcome: An Immigrant’s Letter to the American People.”
Gender Dysphoria involves a deep conflict between persons’ physical or assigned gender, that is, the biological sex determined by the chromosomal markers that determine their sex at birth (XX for females, and XY for males) and the gender with which they identify. Persons with gender dysphoria often feel they were born in the wrong body, feel conflicted with the gender roles they are expected to conform to, and are deeply uncomfortable with the anatomical sex body parts that are coterminous with their biological sex. One should say from the start, that the feelings of pain and suffering such individuals experience are real, and that they should never be eviscerated of their dignity, nor evicted from the domain of the ethical, or the realm of individual rights. They are human beings like everyone else, and they deserve equal protection as individuals (not as special groups) under the law. Such persons are often referred to and identify as transgendered individuals. Other terms used by society and said individuals are transvestites and transsexuals, the latter often being reserved for transgendered persons who have undergone complete gender reassignment surgeries.
In the case of a trans-woman, this involves amputation of the penis and scrotum/testicles, and the creation of an artificial vagina, along with the construction of female breasts, and the in-take of hormonal treatments to transfigure the male body into one that is indistinguishable from that of a female’s body.
Similarly, trans-men (biological females) who undergo such a surgical procedure, often elect to have a double mastectomy, transfigure their vaginas in a manner that allows for the construction of a male penis, and are the recipients of hormonal treatments that render the body a prototype of the male body, replete in many cases with facial hair, increased musculature and other physical markers that carve out the male body as distinctly male.
Recently, our culture has come under attack by a significant segment of the trans community for being transphobic. They include those who refuse to address transgendered persons under the grammatically incorrect moniker of “they,” or refer to a person who identifies with neither the male or female pronouns of “he” or “she,” but who opts for self-referential neologisms such as: “ze;” or “xe.”
Under new legislation, persons born in New York, Hawaii, Oregon, California, Washington and New Jersey may now choose a non-binary gender marker (X) on their birth certificate. The legislation will discontinue the need for a doctor’s note or health care provider’s affidavit to change one’s gender marker.
Despite, the continued progressive strides in schools, universities and the larger culture to accommodate the needs of transgendered people, we are told that the United States still remains a country that is largely transphobic and inhospitable to the needs of trans persons. This indictment exists against the backdrop of a culture where people are summarily dismissed from their jobs for not using gender neutral pronouns to refer to the ever shifting non-binary and fluid identities of trans persons who often demand to be referred to a plethora of non-binary new “pronouns” depending on how they might feel at any given moment. The accusation exists in a milieu where trans-philosophies are widely promoted in university curriculars across America, and where trans-men are applying for abortion rights and medical benefits dispensed by planned parenthood.
If such is the case, then there is a moral-psychological explanation for such a phenomenon that simply cannot be reduced to bigotry. In the broadest and most fundamental of terms, transgenderism and its medical administrations constitute a radical form of medical, social and cultural Eugenics. Short of cloning another human-being, the attempt to change one’s sex (a biological impossibility) is the most audacious eugenical act undertaken in human history. It takes a metaphysical given—the chromosomal markers of a person that designate his or her sex and gender—and attempts to reverse, alter and neutralize it. It is a revolt against an invariable law of nature: The Law of Identity. The Law of Identity states that a thing is what it is, that it is determined by its essence which is determined by constitutive fundamental characteristics that make it the thing that it is, and that it cannot be other than what it is. A thing can only become what it already is in essence. In other words, A=A.
The manner in which this radical form of Eugenics manifests itself and attempts to reverse the Law of Identity is by way of taking a very rare medical condition and normalizing it. This medical condition caused by a DNA disorder gives birth to the hermaphrodite. It is extremely rare in humans, constituting—according to various statistics—about 0.5 to 1% of all live births in the total world population. It is a condition in which a single human being can possess both male and female reproductive organs inside and outside of the body. In every stage of human history, the birth of the hermaphrodite has been met with absolute horror and metaphysical incredulity. The condition was regarded as a bad omen presaging war, disaster or pestilence. The infant was usually destroyed or left to exposure, and blame was usually assigned to the parents for being guilty of some irredeemable moral malfeasance.
Today’s trans-woman with her intact penis, testicles, and bulging cleavage is a symbol of a eugenically crafted hermaphrodite, a strange primeval androgyne that conjures up, in the minds of many, images of a futuristic phenomenon that attempts to function and become a realistic model for human life while remaining, in nature, something of a metaphysical grotesquerie—a small percentage of aberrant births defects nature has spared most parents. The transgendered person not only normalizes and legitimizes the figure of the hermaphrodite by conscious intent, those who go through the completion process, become castrated eunuchs, cold, abstract androids in the public consciousness. In the minds of many, what is a medical rarity in nature becomes transmogrified via a surgical procedure into a self-cutting figure who elicits myriad unconscious fears: castration anxiety, self-mutilation, and traversing gender which means, going beyond the creation of life itself. In the public imagination, the trans person represents a closed system that shuts down all reproductive life in ways not necessarily analogous to the lives of gays and lesbians.
Both iterations of the transgendered individual are an assault against masculinity. In the case of the trans-woman, it is a complete obliteration of masculinity. Such a person dons woman’s glamor and outward exterior while still retaining the brain and mind of a man. For many women this is regarded as unspeakable appropriation of what nature has rightfully bequeathed to them. For most heterosexual men it is maddeningly disorienting. It pits their own sense of what is naturally sexually attractive to them (a real biological woman) against what is often their worst nightmare: a trans-woman who looks more womanly than any biological woman they know, but who is still a biological male. She passes, and they are attracted to her. They know that in the end they are still attracted to a biological female, and that they are coupling with the hierarchical mind of a man—one of their own kind.
Female to male transitions involve, in some sense, an aesthetic “slumming down.” A woman loses her feminine power, her glamour and capacity to enthrall men. Most of those women who do transition end up looking like diminutive men. Most women who become trans-men undercut their female beauty and, in becoming men, appear less attractive. The truth is that the most ordinary, average, common looking woman can transform herself instantly with a little bit of make-up, a pair of high heels and earrings, and erotic dresswear. Trans-men, biological women who act and dress like men, possess little, if any, of the authentic primal and brutish power of the masculine male.
Few can exhibit the erectile potency of the biological male or his phallic grandeur without enormous medical intervention. Their penis can never ejaculate sperm, never impregnate a woman, nor can their penis (even a transplanted one) preserve nerve endings that will be as responsive to tactile sensation as an authentic male penis. Similarly, a trans-woman’s vagina possesses none of its bearers with its hundreds of erogenous nerve endings found in the clitoris that give rise to a female orgasm. Like her counterpart, the trans-woman can never bear children or inhabit the psychological interiority of woman’s emotional multi-faceted nature. The very notion of gender fluidity destabilizes primal masculinity which does not conceive of itself as illusory, fluid and exiting in some indeterminate flux.
The assault against masculinity, and the attempt to reverse the Law of Identity have deeper implications. Trans literally means: beyond; operating across boundaries. To go beyond gender is, for many people, cognitively untenable. The trans-individual who identifies as X is a neutered abstraction; it defies categorization and has turned itself into an object. The goal of those who identity as X is not to become male or female, but either to eradicate gender/sex altogether (a biological impossibility) or to create a new sex, one beyond categorization. To look is to be able to perceive, identity and name, which allows one to classify and to eventually conceptualize. To conceptualize is to engage in the highest form of cognition known to human beings. To classify oneself as an X is not just to render oneself a synthetic phenomenon, it extinguishes any category of intelligible human identity known to man. An X does not correspond to any known biological genotype. Such individuals are, therefore, evicting themselves from the realm of the intelligible human domain, and from all classificatory schemata. Logically speaking, they constitute an empty set. This evokes annihilation anxiety in many to the extent that the categorization of oneself as an X has a normative upshot to it.
For a great many individuals, the trans movement seems to have sprung out of nowhere. More precisely, its ideology and activist agenda seem to have taken hold of the public’s moral imagination before the public itself had time to debate and grapple with what it perceives as the ethically vexed premises within the ideology, and the lived reality of the trans experience.
The truth is that the moral grammar of all emancipatory movements in our lifetime, or those within our historical consciousness has always been up for grabs and subjected to moral debate. Institutions and movements such as chattel slavery, the suffragette movement, women’s liberation and feminist movements, the Civil Rights Movement, abortion rights for women, the gay and lesbian rights movement which culminated in marital equality for gays and lesbians—all had protracted histories with an often dissenting public. But through a dialogical and democratic procedure, several sides were able to issue arguments, contestations, and rejoinders. What emerged was a (sometimes reluctant) transformative era of tolerance and acceptance. We witnessed the organic, moral transformation of public consciousness over time.
The ownership of one’s body and its moral corollaries: the right to privacy, and the right to autonomy, have superseded all discussions regarding ethical duties one may have to oneself, such as the right not to mutilate one’s body in the manner executed during surgical procedures in transforming one’s “wrongly assigned” gendered body. Just as important, from an ethical perspective, is allowing young adolescents to undergo medical treatments that include taking prescription drugs known as puberty blockers, irreversible cross-sex hormones that lead to permanent bodily impairment, and so-called sex- reassignment surgery. The side effects of these drugs such as Lupron, are serious. They range from suicidal ideation to severe osteoporosis, debilitating joint pain, compromised immune systems and severe depression. And what about our new era in which parents are urged to burden their four-year-old child with the task of deciding to elect what gender he or she is? Is it any wonder that several rational persons regard this enormous responsibility placed on a cognitively immature human-being as an egregious form of child abuse?
When children are being taught in schools today that men can now give birth, and that such men ought to have access to abortion rights, most Americans will have need for moral reflection. For all rational persons know that, protestations to the contrary, no man can, or ever will be able to give birth to a child. No human being with the chromosomal marker of XY can ever birth a child. The public knows that a trans-man reported to having giving birth to a child is a biological woman with her reproductive organs in place. Although such a person may look like a man—replete with bulging muscles, a beard and a flat chest—and may feel like a man, act like a man and believe himself to be a man, let us write here with scientific precision: that individual is a biological woman and, for the rest of her life, will be a biological woman. It is not possible to change one’s sex.
The duplicitous effrontery of “trans-philosophy” will be deciphered and critically appraised by most people. Individuals ought to do so while remaining sympathetic to the suffering of some people who identify as transgendered.
Trans individuals are metaphysical rebels who live in a eugenicized artificially constructed world that is both make-believe and real. Their rebellion is one against the Law of Identity, which is an axiom, an invariable law of nature as unalterable as the law of gravity. One’s biological sex can never be changed regardless of wishes, desires, protestations, abysmal screams at the universe, prayers or simple despair. From the perspective, however, that reality is not objective but, rather, that there is a significant dimension of it that is socially constructed, then their rebellion is real. Trans individuals have remade and re-invented themselves and foisted newly refashioned beings upon the world.
As mentioned before, short of cloning a human body, the phenomenon of mainstreaming the hermaphrodite and the increased cases of gender-reassignment surgeries may be the closest application of artificial intelligence to the human body inserted into the public sphere. It is a myth, of course, because biological sex cannot be reversed. But human beings are myth making creatures. Simultaneously, society will need to live with individuals whose actions and decisions seem as if they could only emanate from a God, or from nature. In the end, people can choose to live in opposition to the invariability of the laws of nature and cull conceptions of the good lives for themselves. The consequences of such choices are theirs to bear. If they find peace and happiness in such choices, and if nature’s laws are invariable, then the verdict regarding the sustainability and longevity and authenticity of that peace and happiness will still be out, and reality, not society, will be the final arbiter.