We used to treat mental illness with the goal of helping people. An apt example is how we responded to the epidemic of eating disorders that began in the 1970s and accelerated into the 1980s.
According to the Mental Health Foundation of the United Kingdom, “bulimia nervosa (commonly known as bulimia) is an eating disorder and a serious mental health problem.” The risks of anorexia are similarly concerning. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice observed, “Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious mental illness, characterized in part by intense and irrational beliefs about shape and weight, including fear of gaining weight.”
Writing in Psychology Today, Dr. Emily Deans observed, “Eating disorders in adolescents are strongly predicted by the earlier presence of depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.” Her treatment recommendations include, “A personalized approach, based on treating underlying depression, anxiety, nutritional deficiencies, and teaching that our bodies deserve to be nourished with proper, whole foods can be surprisingly effective.”
But different illnesses affecting young people are treated differently. Many people today not only discourage treating the mental illness that underlies gender confusion in children, they deliberately exacerbate it. The differences between treating eating disorders and self-proclaimed transgenderism are staggering.
There is a minuscule percentage of people whose chromosomal sex is at variance with their medically observed sex characteristics. It is very real and demands substantial medical intervention. By contrast, most people claiming to be transgender suffer a mental disorder and are not being treated with the same care as those afflicted by eating disorders.
Transgenderism was classified by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder until 2012. But the behavior of transgenders mirrors the APA’s definition of delusions. According to the APA, delusions are “an often highly personal idea or belief system, not endorsed by one’s culture or subculture, that is maintained with conviction in spite of irrationality or evidence to the contrary.”
If a man maintains with conviction that he is a woman in spite of chromosomal, anatomical, endocrinological and other evidence to the contrary, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that man is delusional. This, according to a WebMD item reviewed by Dr. Smitha Bhandari, is “a type of serious mental illness called a psychotic disorder.”
The Cleveland Clinic advises treatment for delusions to include “psychotherapy (talk therapy) and medication,” further noting, “people with severe symptoms or who are at risk of hurting themselves or others might need to be admitted to the hospital until the condition is stabilized.”
The treatment for delusions parallels that of eating disorders, yet it is too often denied to people suffering from transgenderism. That’s because, unlike transgenderism, there is no political advantage in promoting eating disorders. People are not demanding construction of vomitoria for bulimia sufferers. We do not affirm the delusions of people with anorexia or tell them to embrace their warped body image while encouraging self-starvation. We do the compassionate thing and treat them, putting them on a path to good health and happy lives.
But because young people confused about their gender are politically useful, Leftists exploit them and dissuade them from obtaining the medical treatment they need. They instead force them deeper into mental illness by promoting the lie that they can simply alter natural law on a whim.
This cruelty is being perpetrated in pursuit of Marxism, and totalitarians have a long history of exploiting children. Vladimir Lenin declared a century ago, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted,” and Lenin’s philosophy continues today. This is not caring or compassionate. Transgender ideologues see these children as disposable, as collateral damage, in their quest to un-do the American founding.
Today’s events are reminiscent of China’s Cultural Revolution which destroyed millions of families and left millions more dead. While the United States is a long way from the mass murder committed by the Red Guards, the intentional family tumult promoted by the Revolution is eerily echoed by supporters of the LGBTQ agenda. It is designed to destroy what Marx called, “the bourgeois family,” and they do so by preying on the insecurities of adolescents and the innocence of younger children.
Eventually, the Cultural Revolution ended and so will our current chaos. When it does, I believe history will reflect on this era with tremendous shame and bewilderment at how we allowed it to happen. The guilt will be such that people promoting this agenda today will deny their involvement, but they cannot escape the ignominy of their actions.
Until then, we must continue to show compassion for those afflicted by this ideology. To truly, genuinely care about children deceived into believing their gender delusions is to recognize their illness and advocate for their proper care, just as we do for those suffering from bulimia, anorexia, and other mental disorders.