A number of individuals framing themselves as experts as well as religious leaders and media personalities continue to share their transphobic misinformation that have becomes anti-trans talking points particularly in conservative media. Here are the top five transphobic talking points and the facts to refute them.
1.) Is "Transgenderism" a mental disorder?
In an interview with the Los Angeles Loyolan, the student newspaper of Loyola Marymount University, Ben Shapiro states "Yes, transgenderism is a mental disorder, as gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria as specifically named by the DSM-4 or DSM-5, [respectively]. If they wish to go against the DSM-4 or DSM-5 they are free to do so. And If they wish to explain how it is not in fact a mental disorder for you to believe you are a member of the opposite biological sex, that this isn’t some form of body dysphoria, they can make an argument as to why that is."
No, being transgender is not considered a mental disorder. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed transgender identity from its list of mental disorders in 2019.
Transgenderism is a term used exclusively by transphobes, the appropriate term is being transgender. This is generally defined as an individual who has experienced gender dysphoria, referring to a feeling of discomfort or distress that some people experience as a result of the gender assigned to them at birth not aligning with their gender identity. It is a normal part of the human experience and is not a mental disorder.
The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) also does not classify transgender identity as a mental disorder. Instead, it includes gender dysphoria as a condition that can be addressed through medical treatment, such as hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery, if desired.
It is important to note that while being transgender is not a mental disorder, transgender individuals may experience mental health issues as a result of the stigma and discrimination they may face. It is important for transgender individuals to have access to supportive and affirming mental health care.
2.) Do we live at a time when anyone can identify as anything?
In the podcast episode titled "A Pastoral Response to Transgenderism", representatives of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (Heath Lambert and Jim Hamilton) state "We live in a day and in an age where individuals can decide that their gender is something other than what is indicated in their biological sex and they can then receive actual surgery to alter their own physical appearance."
People have the right to self-identify and express their gender and identity in the way that feels most authentic and genuine to them. It is important for individuals to be able to express their identity in a way that feels comfortable and validating for them, and for others to respect and support their choices.
However, it is also important to recognize that not all individuals have the same level of privilege or freedom to express their identity, and that some individuals may face discrimination, prejudice, or marginalization because of their identity. It is important to work towards creating a more inclusive and accepting society where all individuals are able to express their identity freely and without fear of discrimination or harm.
It is also important to note that "identify(ing) as anything" is individuals expressing their identify, which does not impact you and also has been part of human culture since the beginning of time. Transgender individuals have been revered in many cultures throughout history.
3. Does Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria cause trans youth to detransition?
Lisa Littman (MD, MPH at Brown University) suggested that parents were reporting that this rapid-onset gender dysphoria seemed to be in response to outward stimuli rather than an internally developed gender identity. Littman then equates this to a social contagion, a coping mechanism, or a general lack of understanding among trans identifying youth.
Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) is a term that has been used to describe a perceived increase in the number of adolescents and young adults who are seeking gender-affirming care, particularly those who appear to have come to the realization that they are transgender relatively suddenly. The concept of ROGD has been controversial and has not been widely accepted in the medical and scientific community.
There is no evidence to suggest that ROGD causes trans youth to detransition. In fact, research has consistently shown that gender-affirming care, such as hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery, can improve the mental health and well-being of transgender individuals. It is important for transgender individuals to have access to care that is responsive to their needs and respects their identity.
It is also important to recognize that being transgender is not a mental illness, and that seeking care to affirm one's gender identity is not a form of "detransitioning." It is normal for people to explore and question their gender identity at any age, and seeking care to affirm one's gender identity is a valid and important aspect of self-exploration and self-expression.
4. Is biological sex determined exclusively by XX or XY chromosomes?
On his website "Reformed Faith & Practice", James N. Anderson, Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy for Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte says "Male or female according to chromosomes (XX/XY) and physiology (both internal and external, e.g., genitalia and reproductive organs). Throughout human history, biological sex has been the primary indicator of ontological sex; that’s to say, we identify a person as male or female based on his or her physiology. Nevertheless, it’s important to distinguish the concepts of ontological sex and biological sex for the simple reason that we are more than just biological organisms; there’s more to us than our physiology."
Biological sex is typically determined by a person's chromosomes, which are inherited from their parents. Some people are born with either XX chromosomes or XY chromosomes, which are responsible for determining their sex.
The presence of XX chromosomes usually indicates a person is female, while the presence of XY chromosomes usually indicates a person is male. However, it is important to note that there are also cases in which a person may have a chromosomal arrangement that does not fit neatly into the typical XX or XY categories. For example, some people may have XXY chromosomes or other variations, which can lead to differences in physical sex characteristics and reproductive anatomy. Chromosomes represent a continuum, not a binary.
It is also important to note that biological sex is not the same as gender identity, which is a person's sense of themselves as male, female, or nonbinary. A person's gender identity may or may not align with their biological sex.
5.) Do trans youth undergo genital mutilation and chemical castration for corporate profit?
In an interview with Fox News, Tucker Carlson said "Oh, it makes money. So, this huge new trend appears, again, driven not by medical research, but by social media, convincing children they can change their sex and Vanderbilt, rather than pausing and asking once again, 'How do we help these children? What is this?' Decides, oh, there's money there. We're all in."
Gender-affirming medical care is neither mutilation or castration. It is accepted, safe, effective, and lifesaving treatment supported by every major medical professional organization.
No, trans youth do not undergo genital mutilation or chemical castration. These are harmful and abusive practices that have no place in medical care.
Transgender people may choose to undergo hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery as part of their medical transition. These treatments are designed to help transgender individuals align their physical appearance and characteristics with their gender identity. They are not intended to cause harm or mutilation, but rather to provide transgender individuals with the opportunity to live in a way that is more congruent with their gender identity.
It is important to recognize that medical transition is a personal decision and not all transgender individuals choose to undergo hormone therapy or surgery. It is also important to note that medical transition should only be pursued with the guidance and support of medical professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to the needs of transgender individuals.