Monday, December 19, 2022

Anonymous Asks (228)

“The Bible says nothing about trans people. Why should Christians be against sex transitioning?”

One very compelling reason to be against sex reassignment is that the surgery doesn’t cure gender-related unhappiness even in the short term. Journalists dispute this claim vigorously, but data gathered in clinical studies does not support the prevailing optimism in the secular media about the efficacy of surgical solutions in addressing the misery experienced by gender-dysphoric people.

A Closer Look at the Suicide Data

Unhappiness is easier to identify than to quantify. Exactly how unhappy are people experiencing gender dysphoria? To test my claim that surgery is no solution, we need a measurable proxy for this sort of unhappiness. Attempted suicide statistics serve as a reasonable metric, even if there is a degree of self-reporting involved.

Suicide attempts among adolescents at all stages of transition are appallingly high. An American Academy of Pediatrics study published in 2018 showed male to female transitioners are 20% more likely to attempt suicide than their male peers. Female to male transitioners were an almost unbelievable 33.2% more likely to attempt suicide than their female peers.

Indisputably, gender dysphoria is a major problem. At worst, it affects only 0.014% of the population, but with such severity that over half of adolescent female to male trans say they want to die. Not just Christians but sympathetic people of all worldviews would like to see some kind of solution for these folks. But is surgery really the best way to do it?

One important metric we might consider in assessing the truth of my claim that surgery doesn’t solve the problem of gender dysphoria is the comparative rate of actual suicide pre- and post surgery, as opposed to the largely anecdotal rates of self-reported suicidal ideation or attempted suicide.

A Telling Quote

Here is a telling quote from a 2020 study posted on the National Library of Medicine website that analyzed the results of over 8,000 gender dysphoria-related referrals to the Amsterdam University Medical Center between 1972 and 2017. The seven researchers agreed that:

“An important finding was that the incidence for observed suicide deaths was almost equally distributed over the different stages of treatment.”

To be clear, when the writers of the paper refer to the “different stages of treatment”, they are including post-surgery as a “stage of treatment”, whether or not transitioning persons received ongoing counseling or medical-only follow-up care. There was no statistically significant difference in rates of suicide observed prior to surgery as compared to post-surgery, and no statistically significant difference in rates of suicide observed in those who received post-surgery counseling as compared to those who did not.

We hear it suggested that lower suicide rates for post-surgical transitioners may eventually result if society only becomes more tolerant and accepting of gender dysphoric people, or if they receive more or better counseling, but neither this study’s writers nor the media commentators can offer hard evidence either would help. There may be anecdotal evidence of reduced rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts in the short term among transitioners, but those who actually committed suicide appear to have been afflicted with a remarkably consistent level of despair at every stage of the process, including once it was complete.

A Closer Look at Transitioning Survivors

That’s the data. But what do post-surgical transitioners have to say for themselves? Here are a couple of recent stories reported by Yahoo! News. I’ve used archived links instead of the originals, as these accounts fly squarely in the face of the popular narrative and may not last long online.

Chris Beck is a retired Navy SEAL who used the name Kristin for ten years. He is now detransitioning. He takes full responsibility for choices he deeply regrets, saying, “I did this to myself, but I had help.” If you ever wonder why the trans narrative is being pushed so heavily right now, consider what Beck says here, which suggests the motive is economic rather than altruistic:

This is a billion-dollar industry between psychologists, between surgeries, between hormones, between chemicals, between follow-up treatments. There are thousands of gender clinics popping up all over our country. And each of those gender clinics is going to be pulling in probably over $50 million.”

Surgery did not solve Chris Beck’s gender dysphoria.

Then there is Chloe Cole, who took puberty blockers and testosterone at age 13, had a double mastectomy at 15 and is now detransitioning at age 16. Cole is suing the doctor who performed her “gender-affirming” surgery. She says:

“I want to hold the adults that put me in harm’s way accountable because what happened to me is horrible, but it also didn’t only happen to me, that’s the worst part. It’s happening to children all over the U.S., all over the West, and it’s spreading all over the world.”

Surgery didn’t solve Chloe Cole’s gender dysphoria either. Thankfully, both she and Chris Beck have found constructive ways to deal with their situations rather than resorting to self-harm. Unfortunately, it’s a whole lot easier to cut off a body part than to put it back the way it was.

Double-Checking the Bible

Finally, I would dispute the assertion that the Bible says nothing about gender dysphoria. To be sure, there is nothing explicit in scripture about trans people, but one of the inevitable consequences of gender dysphoria is that people who experience it want to present themselves to the world in a way that is consistent with their feelings about themselves. Most eventually do so, even if they do not fully transition. Christians are not under law, but the Law of Moses still provides a useful indication of how God feels about many things we think are perfectly fine. For example, Deuteronomy reads:

“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”

In Deuteronomy, the person who performs the act of cross-dressing is an abomination, but Jesus taught that even indulging thoughts about sinning is itself sinful.

Moreover, gender dysphoric behavior is wrong at a more basic level, because it rejects what God has made. Instead of giving thanks for what is, it insists God got it wrong. It rejects truth in favor of the lie that changing one’s physical appearance and adding or subtracting body parts can change one’s basic biology.

It can’t, and both the data and the stories we are now hearing about transitioning regrets support that.

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