Magazine article The New American

Desire Doesn't Drive Reality: This Book Gives Findings from Biology, Psychology, and Philosophy about Those Who Claim to Be Transgender, and It Tells Why Giving Transgenderism Legal Clout Is a Bad Idea

Magazine article The New American

Desire Doesn't Drive Reality: This Book Gives Findings from Biology, Psychology, and Philosophy about Those Who Claim to Be Transgender, and It Tells Why Giving Transgenderism Legal Clout Is a Bad Idea

Article excerpt

When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, by Ryan T. Anderson, New York: Encounter Books, 2018, vii + 251 pages, hardcover.

In February of this year, something happened in a courtroom that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. A judge in Ohio ordered that a 17-year-old girl--who identifies as a boy --be taken from the custody of her parents and be given to her grandparents. And what was the great crime of the parents? The parents refused to call their daughter by her new masculine name and would not authorize her to undergo hormone treatments to begin the transition from female to "male," thus triggering "suicidal thoughts" in the teenager. The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, where the teenager has been treated since 2016, advised the court that she should start treatments as soon as possible to decrease her suicide risk. The court ordered that before any hormone treatment is allowed, the teenager should be evaluated by a psychologist on "the issue of consistency in the child's gender presentation, and feelings of non-conformity."

America is in the midst of a "transgender moment." Some high-profile men have transitioned to being "women." Glamour magazine named biological men Women of the Year in 2014 and 2015. More than 500 companies that have been listed on the Fortune 500 offer "transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage." Facebook lists 56 gender options for users. Especially disturbing is the existence of 45 pediatric gender clinics around the country. Court decrees involving children such as the one in Ohio are sure to continue. More and more Americans are accepting the pseudo-science of the transgender ideology for fear of being labeled bigots.

This is why America needs When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, by Ryan T. Anderson. It truly draws on "the best insights from biology, psychology, and philosophy" to expose "the contrast between the media's sunny depiction of gender fluidity and the often sad reality of living with gender dysphoria," as the book's dust jacket maintains.

Anderson is a rising star among cultural conservatives. He is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles & Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation, where he "researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy." Anderson's new book's clever title is based on the classic 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, in which is explored the question of whether men and women can ever be "just friends." When Harry Became Sally contains eight chapters, preceded by an introduction that nicely summarizes each chapter and followed by a conclusion, acknowledgments, 29 pages of notes, and an index.

Chapter one looks at "recent developments in popular culture that have changed American opinion on gender identity," "legal developments during the Obama administration that redefined 'sex' as 'gender identity,'" and how medical practice has shifted "away from good medical practice and into what is becoming a transgender-affirmative mainstream." Chapter two examines the thinking behind the transgender ideology by letting transgender activists speak for themselves, looks at transgender medicine, and explores transgender policy relating to restroom usage, school lessons, and the criminalization of "misgendering" someone. Chapter three contains the stories of six individuals who transitioned to the opposite sex and came to regret it because it "didn't bring the peace and wholeness they sought, but only new problems." Chapter four answers questions about "our nature as a sexually dimorphic species," "how development as male or female begins at conception," and "the many biological differences that result" from being either male or female. Chapter five looks at "gender dysphoria," "sex reassignment" therapy, and the causes of "transgender identities. …

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