The cultural push for transgender “rights,” whether it be state-sanctioned access to particular restrooms, or the removal of gender dysphoria from the DSM, has reached a fever pitch in recent years. Celebrities and politicians advocating for the rights of transgender individuals to "live their truth” has become the norm, and anyone who objects to this movement is declared a bigot.
What if the celebrities, the politicians, and the medical experts are wrong, and the alleged bigots are on to something? What if transgender individuals aren't suffering from a mental dysphoria that can be treated externally with surgeries and internally with hormone replacement therapies? What if by acquiescing to the desires of those with gender dysphoria, and labeling those who challenge those desires as bigots, we are doing harm?
The Daily Wire previously reported that even in Sweden, the world’s most trans-accepting nation, the suicide rate of postoperative transgender individuals is staggeringly high:
From 1973 – 2003, the rate of attempted suicide by postoperative transgender individuals in the study was 7.9/1000 compared to the healthy control group’s 1/1000. That's a 690% increase. The rate of successful suicides was 2.7/1000 compared to the healthy control group’s 0.1/1000. That's a 2600% increase.
There seems to be clear evidence that transgender individuals aren't simply suffering from a disorder that, once treated with hormones and surgery, is “cured.” It also appears as though societal bullying and non-acceptance, the favored argument used by progressives, is not the sole factor influencing the mental health, or lack thereof, of transgender people.
Given that, one must ask three critical questions: 1) What are we missing? 2) Are our personal biases governing our thinking? 3) Are these biases helping or hurting those with gender dysphoria?
These questions can be answered, at least in part, by examining other dysphoric disorders and the ways in which we treat them.
Anorexia nervosa is a dysphoric condition in which a person erroneously believes themselves to be overweight. Sufferers will not eat and exercise compulsively in order to drop what they perceive as excess weight. This behavior can lead to death.
The non-physical aspect of anorexia is treated with cognitive therapy.
Body dysmorphic disorder, often referred to as BDD, “is a mental disorder in which you can't stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Sufferers of BDD will often turn to cosmetic surgery in order to alter their appearance, “correcting” their alleged flaw, but as Mayo Clinic notes, “often the anxiety returns” and sufferers will “resume searching for a way to fix [their] perceived flaw.”
BDD is treated with cognitive therapy and medication.
A much rarer disorder, known as body integrity identity disorder (BIID) or “transability,” is characterized by a belief that one is meant to be disabled. Individuals suffering from BIID will often seek out dangerous ways by which they can modify their bodies to achieve their desired disabled state.
In a paper titled: “How Dare You Pretend to be Disabled?” The discounting of transabled people and their claims in disability movements and studies, Professor Alexandre Baril of the University of Ottowa writes:
Transabled people wish to become deaf or blind, have limbs amputated, or acquire other disabilities. Driven by this desire, a significant number effect these transitions themselves using firearms, deep burns, and other methods. Many transabled people claim to be ‘trapped in the wrong body.’ They see themselves as disabled individuals whose bodies do not reflect what they feel and assert that they suffer not only from an identity disorder and emotional distress — dysphoria caused by differences between the physical body and body image often compared with the experience of transgender/transsexual people (henceforth ‘trans’) — but also from significant forms of stigmatization.
How should someone with BIID be treated? Should they be allowed to have their limbs amputated? Should they be allowed to have their eyes removed to achieve blindness? Of course not. While this isn't yet a well-studied disorder, it's clear that sufferers shouldn't be enabled, but treated with cognitive therapy and perhaps medication.
Anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder are widely recognized as conditions in which the brain erroneously perceives the body to be what it is not. Individuals with these disorders are not encouraged to diet or get surgery, to “live their truth” because to do so would be harmful, both mentally and physically. The same is true of body integrity identity disorder. So why do we encourage those with gender dysphoria to undergo hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery?
Could it be that we have biases and blind spots of which we are unaware? Could it be that in our desire to be kind, we are encouraging and enabling a destructive mental illness that should otherwise be treated psychologically?
Transgenderism and transgender people are being used as a political prop. Politicians want to gain votes by appealing to the innate impulse that many Americans have toward acceptance of the disenfranchised. They have attached themselves to the transgender rights movement in an effort to weaponize it.
Celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon, thus fallaciously inflating the size of the cause, and out of sincere ignorance, many Americans have simply followed the leaders. As a result, any who dare to ask whether or not hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery are the best course of action in treating those with gender dysphoria are called bigots and haters.
Unfortunately, until we allow free discussion of this disorder, those suffering from it will continue to be told to “live their truth,” the possible result of which could be the deterioration of their mental health, as well as the loss of their lives.