Tuesday, May 05, 2020

A dialogue with a trans advocate

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

One of the things I think many people struggle with in relation to the transgender movement is, well, understanding the movement’s assertions. As a service to the public, I would like to explore some of the things that the movement’s partisans say, in the form of a dialogue. Imagine I am talking to an apologist for the ideology; let’s call this individual Sam.
Sam: There is nothing complicated or confusing about our new understanding of gender. What is increasingly acknowledged by social norms and legislation is that gender, being a man, being a woman, and being anything else, is a matter above all of feelings. Your feelings, in your mind, are the most important thing about you, and it is natural that we accept that a person who feels she is a woman, for example, really is a woman.
Me: Even though she might have the chromosomes and characteristics typical of a man.
Sam: Yes. The transgender movement was founded by people who felt that their physical characteristics, which society had determined indicated one gender, were at odds with the gender that they felt themselves to be: they were ‘born in the wrong body.’
Me: So there might be, for example, a woman in a man’s body?
Sam: It often felt that way, because physical characteristics tend to determine the way we are treated (that is, as a man, or as a woman), but if gender is determined by the mind, then it would be more accurate to say that the body of a person who identifies as a woman is a woman’s body. She is, after all, a woman.
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  1. I think transgenderism is very much a post-Christian phenomenon, secular liberalism being a kind of parody and inversion of gospel liberty. Both Christians and liberals have been freed from the burden of the law, only Christians are freed by fulfilling the law by grace, whereas liberals are freed by denying the law through rebellion. This antinomian potential of Christianity-gone-wrong was there from the beginning, and in offshoot sects like Gnosticism gender roles were indeed confused. This is why I think transgender advocates deserve patience and compassion: they've inherited the Christian experience of the soul being greater than the body and the desire for what transcends the natural law, but they've been unmoored from the wider tradition and the grace of God. The positive aspect of transgenderism is an appreciation for the human person and its autonomy. What is lacking is any grounding in ultimate metaphysical reality, in God, which will allow the person to choose to become what God has eternally intended them to be, rather than wandering aimlessly in cycles of arbitrary self-definitions in search of the true self. A lot of people in this camp are post-Christians, lost sheep, rather than wolves maliciously intent on destruction.

    1. Plus, I think the antinomian explosion we've seen this last half century is in large part a reaction to a naturalised form of Christianity ("cultural Christianity") which hardly rose above natural law and prudence. Christianity was no longer freeing, rather it was stifling, and the authentically liberal spirit within Christianity (setting captives free) broke loose and became our modern liberal sect, free of Christian laws and morals.