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Gender Politics

BE ALERT! DON’T EXPERIMENT WITH CHILDREN’S LIVES!

Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels.

I did not see this coming!  Just a few years ago I had never heard the term “gender dysphoria” and I would have never guessed that it would be politically weaponised.

But now, Sky News reports:

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust (UK) offers gender identity services for children under 18, with some patients as young as three or four years old.

They now have a record number of referrals and see 3,200% more patients than they did 10 years ago – with the increase for girls up by 5,337%.

(Please note that this article is not about our attitudes towards people with sexual identity issues; it does not offer pastoral or counselling advice.  That is another very important topic that is beyond the scope of this article.)

The numbers of children and young adults requesting sex change procedures is still relatively small, but the extraordinary growth patterns point to an epidemic.  What impact is it likely to make over the next decade or two?  Some people who transitioned years ago have begun to speak up:

Ruby is now 21 but first began identifying as male at 13.  After taking testosterone her voice got a lot deeper, she grew facial hair and her body changed.  She had been planning to have surgery to remove her breasts this summer.

However, in May, Ruby voiced the growing doubts she had been harbouring and made the decision to come off testosterone and detransition to identify as female.

“I didn’t think any change was going to be enough in the end and I thought it was better to work on changing how I felt about myself, than changing my body,” says Ruby. 

Charlie Evans, 28, was born female but identified as male for nearly 10 years before detransitioning.

The number of young people seeking gender transition is at an all-time high, but we hear very little, if anything, about those who may come to regret their decision.  There is currently no data to reflect the number who may be unhappy in their new gender or who may opt to detransition to their biological sex.

Charlie detransitioned and went public with her story last year – and said she was stunned by the number of people she discovered in a similar position.

“I’m in communication with 19 and 20-year-olds who have had full gender reassignment surgery who wish they hadn’t, and their dysphoria hasn’t been relieved, they don’t feel better for it,” she says.

If you would like to read more, quotes from the Sky News article are taken from:

https://news.sky.com/story/hundreds-of-young-trans-people-seeking-help-to-return-to-original-sex-11827740

Considering the growing number of people wanting to detransition, or at least wishing they hadn’t started the process, surprisingly, few of the proponents of gender transition have not suggested caution, or that more research should be done.  They claim that even talking about detransition is transphobic.  To me, that suggests that this is not primarily about helping people, but it must be part of some strange, possessing ideology.  Gender identity has been made a political weapon.

There is so much publicity on this subject that you might think it is very common for babies to be born with unclear sex identity, so I looked it up.  Some say that as many as one in 2,500 children cannot be identified at birth as either male or female, but others say it is not that high, but closer to one in 5,000.  This has become a major social issue, not because it is a biological reality, but because it is a consequence of a political philosophy.

Different shades of that political philosophy dominate the liberal arts courses of our universities and have done so for a generation.  Now they are being worked out in everyday social mores and in law.

In 2007, Christopher Dummitt was one of the first academic authors to make the case that gender is not primarily a biological issue, but that it is socially constructed.  He recently wrote a humble confession in Quillette magazine where he admitted that, “The problem was, and is, that I was making it all up.”

His article is important and revealing, so I am quoting it at length:

When the American Historical Association surveyed the trends among major fields of specialization in 2007, and then again in 2015, the single largest field was women’s and gender history. This was right up there with social history, cultural history, and the history of race and sexuality. Each of these fields shared the same worldview as I did—that just about every identity was a social construction. And, that identity was all about power. (My added emphasis.)

Back then, quite a few people disagreed with me. Almost nobody who hadn’t been exposed to such theories at a university could bring themselves to believe that sex was wholly a social construct, because such beliefs went against common sense. That’s what makes it so amazing that the cultural turnaround on this issue has happened so quickly. Reasonable people might readily admit that some—and maybe a lot—of gender identity is socially constructed, but did this really mean that sex doesn’t matter at all? Was gender solely based on culture? Yes, I would insist. And then I would insist some more. There’s nothing so certain as a graduate student armed with precious little life experience and a big idea.

And now my big idea is everywhere. It shows up especially in the talking points about trans rights, and policy regarding trans athletes in sports. It is being written into laws that essentially threaten repercussions for anyone who suggests that sex might be a biological reality. Such a statement, for many activists, is tantamount to hate speech. If you take the position that many of my ’90s-era debating opponents took—that gender is at least partly based on sex, and that there really are two sexes (male and female), as biologists have known since the dawn of their science—uber-progressives will claim you are denying a trans person’s identity, which is to say, wishing ontological harm upon another human being.

But what I can offer is a mea culpa for my own role in all of this, and a detailed critique about why I was wrong then, and why the radical social constructionists are wrong now. I once made the same arguments that they now make, and so I know how they are mistaken.

If you would like to read the rest of that confession, it is available online:

https://quillette.com/2019/09/17/i-basically-just-made-it-up-confessions-of-a-social-constructionist/

(A book by Stephen Hicks, Explaining Postmodernism, helped me understand the ideology/philosophy behind this thinking.  Another very good source of context is a 43-minute video by Jordan Peterson:

A friend and I did a long, high altitude hike this past summer in my home state of Colorado and we finished our week in a beautiful resort town.  As we trudged the final mile up the main street, which was busy with tourists, I saw a young boy wearing lipstick and eye-shadow; then I saw another a bit farther on, and then another. I was full of questions I couldn’t ask of the boys or their parents:

Why?  When did it start?  Was there a triggering event? Does he wear make-up every day?  Is he receiving therapy and puberty blockers?  What was your response initially?  Before he started trying to look more like a girl, did he have a friend or friends who had led the way?  Was he bullied by peers, or rejected by an adult?

As the book and lectures I have cited explain, this ideology is a re-packaging of Marxism and an all-out attack on the nations that have produced the greatest individual freedom, opportunities and prosperity in human history.

As we resist this toxic ideology, we must also treat each person with empathy and respect.  So, let me be very clear: this article does not aim to provide any guidance for the pastoral care of someone experiencing uncertainty, or dissatisfaction with their sexual identity.

What I have aimed to do is to convey an important message:  BE ALERT!  DON’T EXPERIMENT WITH CHILDREN’S LIVES!

We are allowing an ideology that destroyed millions of lives in the 20th century to resurrect itself and don new clothing.  Now we are experimenting with the lives of millions of children.  If the influence of the ideology continues to grow, the chances of this turning out well are nil.

Lynn Green.

Lynn Green and his wife Marti first came to England and began the work of Youth With A Mission here in 1971. From 2004-2011 Lynn was YWAM’s International Chairman. He continues to convene YWAM’s global leadership meetings, and focuses much of his energy on international leadership development.

2 comments on “Gender Politics

  1. Katherine Hackett

    Thank you Lynn, this is very sobering indeed. Come Holy Spirit, bring clarity where there is confusion.

    Like

  2. A very significant article. Thank you Lynn. This is indeed a matter for much concern and prayer.

    Like

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