The Transgender Movement’s New Subjectivity

Feb. 20 2018

According to what is rapidly becoming a reigning orthodoxy, a person’s sex is entirely a matter of his or her subjective feeling. Children at a tender age are thus being encouraged to reject their biological sex, and therapists and physicians have enabled young people to undergo extensive treatments and surgeries to “transition” from one sex to the other. In When Harry Became Sally, Ryan T. Anderson takes a critical look both at the effects of these medical and psychological interventions and at the ideology that underlies them. Rachel Lu writes in her review:

The child who gleefully exchanged her bunny slippers for soccer cleats might end up as a weirdly androgynous, baby-faced twenty-year-old, scarred by surgery and sterile for life. These aren’t the after-effects of some terrible, unexpected accident. They are predictable consequences of elective procedures that are now being performed on minors, on the advice of licensed medical professionals. This is what happens when subjective experience is crowned king (or queen). . . . Surely it is better, whenever possible, to help a suffering child in a way that doesn’t open the way to invasive medical procedures and likely lifelong sterility. . . .

In the book’s most heartbreaking segment, we hear the stories of several people who learned this truth for themselves, in the hardest possible way. These “detransitioners” were once advised by their therapists to identify as transsexuals and undergo recommended treatments. It didn’t help. In time, they discerned for themselves that they were not trapped in the wrong bodies: the dysphoria stemmed from other underlying issues that therapists had overlooked. Those issues remained unresolved. Meanwhile, some felt that the effort to change sexes had only deepened the alienation they were already feeling with respect to their physical bodies. . . . When efforts to uncover the authentic self lead to such gross distortions of reality, it should be obvious that something has gone awry.

That looks a lot like medical malpractice. So why was it permitted to happen? One reason, undoubtedly, is that the transgender cause dovetails so nicely with the agenda of the hard left. Under the Obama administration, activists pressed the transgender cause with all the grace and sensitivity of the mob at Pamplona. Clearly, this is about much more to them than just the social comfort of a fraction of a percent of the population. Transgenderism represents an opportunity to make an ambitious sortie in the ongoing battle against nature. . . .

Culture wars are not the whole story, however. Many activists and practitioners do sincerely believe they are doing something good in championing the cause of . . . people with dysphoria. So should we all. Is it really surprising that this malady would arise in a society that is deeply conflicted about the meaning of sex and sexuality? In an uncanny way, the transgender revolution itself testifies to the enduring significance of manhood and womanhood as meaningful and identity-forming concepts. Sex roles are a source of perpetual controversy, but almost no one favors bland androgyny as a solution.

Read more at National Review

More about: History & Ideas, Medicine, Psychology, Sex, Sexual revolution, Transsexuals


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria