Transgenderism Is Not a Victimless Ideology
One step forward, two steps back. That’s how the culture wars sometimes feel these days. Last week I was pleased to write about a Supreme Court decision that protected the right of a Catholic adoption agency to abide by Catholic beliefs in only adopting children into families with a mother and a father.
This week, I have to tell you about a troubling (non)decision by the Supreme Court. In a notice a few days ago, the Supreme Court said it would not consider an appeal of a lower court ruling that found that a biological girl, Gavin Grimm, has a constitutional right to use the boys’ bathrooms at her high school. Only two of the court’s justices, Justices Alito and Thomas, dissented and said they would hear the case.
Grimm claims to be “transgender.” In 2016, a district court judge ruled in her favor after she took her school board to court for refusing to allow her to use the boys’ restrooms. After this, the board appealed. But ultimately the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Grimm’s favor as well.
By refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court is allowing the lower court ruling to stand. For now, the precedent will only apply to the portion of the country that falls under the jurisdiction of the Circuit court. But what this means, is that in those states boys (who say they are girls) can use the girls’ bathroom, and girls (who say they are boys) can use the boys’ bathroom. And nobody can stop them. Not even the parents of girls in the school who are worried about biological males having access to their daughters’ restrooms and changerooms, and vice versa. Not even the girls themselves. Because this is now the transgender students’ “constitutional right.”
“But what,” you might ask, “about the right to privacy of the students who do not want to be in private spaces with members of the opposite sex?” Well, it seems that right is now trumped by a set of newly minted, radical rights, predicated upon a bizarre and anti-scientific ideology invented the equivalent of an historical second ago, and which applies only to a tiny subset of the population.
Men Invading Women’s Sports
As I have said many times, transgenderism is not a victimless ideology. You will hear transgender ideologues constantly claiming that they are the ones who are in favor of “tolerance” and “inclusion” and “compassion,” and all sorts of other such soothing-sounding words. Unfortunately, far too many people seem to be willing to take them at their word.
However, even the briefest examination of the practical impacts of transgender ideology shows that it leaves a track of victims in its wake – who are, more often than not, women.
In a growing number of cases, for example, women are losing out on opportunities for which they have worked and sacrificed enormously, simply because a man decided that he felt like a woman and took what was rightfully the woman’s.
Consider this recent op-ed in USA Today, in which one young woman, Chelsea Mitchell, a star track and field runner, explains what the invasion of girls’ sports by boys has done to her and her fellow female athletes:
I’ve lost four women’s state championship titles, two all-New England awards, and numerous other spots on the podium to transgender runners. I was bumped to third place in the 55-meter dash in 2019, behind two transgender runners. With every loss, it gets harder and harder to try again.
That’s a devastating experience. It tells me that I’m not good enough; that my body isn’t good enough; and that no matter how hard I work, I am unlikely to succeed, because I’m a woman.
Mitchell notes that the state of Connecticut’s decision to allow transgender athletes had a devastating impact on female athletes, after just two biological males began running as women. “In the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons alone, these runners took 15 women’s state track championship titles (titles held in 2016 by nine different girls) and more than 85 opportunities to participate in higher level competitions that belonged to female track athletes,” she wrote. (Chillingly, even after publication, USA Today edited Mitchell’s article to remove references to the “transgender” competitors as “male” – an accurate biological fact – because it was “hurtful.” Click here to read Mitchell’s original piece. The excerpt above is from USA Today’s version.)
Mitchell’s experience is only the tip of the iceberg. Transgenderism is sweeping the world of women’s sports right now, reaching all the way to the most elite levels. A few days ago, we learned that a man would be permitted to compete in the women’s division in weightlifting at the Olympics.
“Laurel” Hubbard is a 43-year-old weightlifter, who only “transitioned” in 2013. In other words, Hubbard had thirty-five years in which he lived as a man, with all the male traits like higher bone mass, muscle density, and testosterone levels that produce enormous physical advantages. Hubbard now takes testosterone-blocking drugs. But it is obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense that no amount of hormone “therapy” will alter the other natural advantages that he has by virtue of his biological sex.
But perhaps the most bizarre story in recent days is that of transgender “beauty queen” Kataluna Enriquez – a man who just won the Miss Nevada beauty pageant. In November, he will compete for the Miss USA title. So now, it seems men are winning awards for…being better than women in beauty pageants!
The fact that women are losing athletic or beauty competitions may not sound all that terrible in the grand scheme of things. But you have to keep in mind that in many cases these women’s futures are riding on their athletic performance. Girls are losing out on valuable scholarships, sponsorships, careers, and the rightful honor due to their labors, because of this bizarre ideology.
More Serious Harms
However, there are also more sinister impacts of transgenderism that we are not taking seriously enough.
As the recent Supreme Court decision shows, women are losing basic rights to privacy, dignity, and safety. Consider for instance this deeply disturbing recent incident, in which a man claiming to be transgender entered a women’s change room at a fitness club, and then exposed his genitalia to the women and girls in the facility. When one of the women complained to the facility’s staff, they defended the man, saying that he had a right to be there because of his “gender identity”!
One of the most egregious instances I have ever come across, however, is that of the rape crisis center in British Columbia, Canada that lost its government funding because it would not offer its services to men who say they are women.
I have mentioned this case before, but I repeat it here because to me it shows, more than any other story I’ve come across, the extremes to which transgender ideologues are willing to go. Even raped women, victims of horrific crimes perpetrated by men, no longer have the right to seek healing and safety in a women-only space. Even there, they have to worry about the possibility of a man invading their most private spaces…all in the name of “tolerance,” of course!
Then, of course, there are the harms to transgender individuals themselves. Despite the whitewashed version of transgenderism peddled by so much of the media and entertainment industry, the process of gender “transitioning” is one fraught with all sorts of physical and psychological perils.
As Jonathon van Maren documents in a recent column, the medical risks of transitioning are extensive and underplayed. Many of the details of how doctors make men look like women, and women like men, are simply too macabre to discuss here. But while the process of carving up and medicating the body to present as the opposite sex may (sometimes) create a somewhat convincing similitude, in the end the interventions are a form of violence and the transgender individual’s body knows it and reacts against it.
The Madness Threatens Our Freedoms
This sudden rise of transgenderism is a kind of cultural hysteria or madness. What else are we supposed to call it when Biden’s Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, refused to answer one of the simplest questions ever posed to a public official – how many genders are there?
In a recent exchange with Cardona, Rep. Mary Miller (R-Illinois) highlighted a recent Biden administration handout called “Confronting Anti-LGBTQI+ Harassment in Schools.” At one point the handout lists as an example of harassment: “A teacher telling students that there are only two genders, boys and girls.”
“Before we start penalizing teachers stating a genetic and biological fact about genders, can you please clarify for the committee how many genders there are?” asked Rep. Miller. Cardona, however, refused to answer, despite being asked multiple times.
As pro-family writer Doug Mainwaring notes, Facebook offers users the option of 58 different genders, Healthline.com claims that there are 64, and the BBC has said there are as many as 100. “No wonder Democrats are confused,” he quipped.
In the column I linked to above, Jonathon Van Maren wrote: “This is a movement driven by mental illness and mutilation, and young people are signing up for it in droves. We must keep this ideology away from our children and out of our schools – the damage that it inflicts on young people is incalculable and irreversible.”
I couldn’t agree more.
It won’t suffice simply to privately dissent, or even to point out the dangers of this ideology. We must fight back. Otherwise, we will all be caught up in its snare. In a recent column, one priest recounts receiving a phone call from a distraught attorney. The attorney, who works for the government, was being asked to process a “sex change” order for a 17-year-old who was being raised by a same-sex couple. The teen is a boy but is now “transitioning” to a girl. The attorney ultimately told Fr. Orsi that he could not in conscience process the order, and that he was willing to risk his job to refuse to do so.
The further this transgender madness spreads, the more and more people will be faced with similar ethical dilemmas. Some will suffer the consequences of not going along with the spirit of the world. Others, however, will compromise with their consciences. Often, their reasons for doing so will be seemingly good ones – to protect their livelihoods and their families. However, the simple fact is, the more people who stand up and say “no,” the easier it will be for others to do the same. Every counter-revolution begins with one person standing fast, and saying, “no!”
I hope you will join me in saying “no,” in whatever way makes sense in your personal circumstances. Pray for the courage to resist. Pray for those who are transgender, that they might find healing and peace. Pray for priests, bishops, and cardinals, that they may courageously speak out against this harmful agenda. And pray for those who are peddling this ideological poison, that they might see the damage they are doing to many vulnerable people, and to our culture.
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Father Shenan J. Boquet was ordained in 1993 and is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining HLI as its President in August 2011. Father Boquet earned a BA from Saint Joseph Seminary College, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Notre Dame Seminary Graduate School of Theology, a Certification Program in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and a Master of Science in Bioethics (MSBe) from the University of Mary in Bismarck. In 2018, Father Boquet was awarded an honorary visiting professorship by the Benedict XVI Catholic University in Trujillo, Peru. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.