Monday, March 27, 2017

No, No, No - People do not "Choose" Their Gender Identity

Witherspoon Institute's blog is again an outlet for Daniel Moody and some bizarre contrivances. Moody claims to be an Englishman and an “independent philosopher specializing in the ideology named Gender.” I do not know what Mr. Moody's religion is but, in general, people who refer to gender as an ideology are ultra-conservative Catholics who insist that transgender people do not exist. Ideology is how the pope (who possesses no relevant training) refers to gender identity. Mr. Moody does seem to be obsessed with trans folks for no apparent reason. His recent offerings include:
  • Throw Off Your Rubber Chains! From Contraception to Transgenderism via Abortion
  • Transgenderism Is A Fake Legal Construct
  • Why You Shouldn’t Use Transgender Pronouns
  • Ten Years of International Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Laws: Lessons Learned
The last of those is today's spew. It deals with The Yogyakarta Principles, a 2006 set of 29 principles that should be applied to international law to protect LGBT and intersex people. All of the participants in the seminar were legal experts and represented many countries. Ironically, the seminar was held on the Island of Java in Indonesia which treats its LGBT citizens rather harshly. The principles have not been adopted by the United Nations.

In the interest of brevity I am going to omit much of Moody's piece. However:
Sexual Orientation vs. Gender Identity

It is becoming more and more clear that the so-called LGBT movement is less a natural union of fellow travellers and more a communion of the contradictory. To see the fault line running between the LGB (sexual orientation) and the T (gender identity), let us employ the Yogyakarta Principles’ own definitions.
It should be noted that the authors of the Yogyakarta Principles were lawyers rather than clinicians and, obviously, their work is now dated.
Sexual orientation, we are told, refers to “each person’s capacity for profound emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different gender or the same gender or more than one gender.” Here, gender is not a synonym of sex, as is evident from the use of the phrase “more than one” rather than “both.” In turn, gender identity is defined as
Moody is paraphrasing; constructing a definition of convenience. Sexual orientation is simply defined as the romantic attraction to men, women, both or neither. More recently science suggests that sexual orientation is a continuum with heterosexual and homosexual at the extreme ends and a distribution that is concentrated towards those ends.

From paraphrasing sexual orientation, Moody quotes a definition of gender identity:
each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms.
I can live with that. Again, this was written by a group of lawyers. Moody continues:
It takes a lot of lawyers to say so much without saying anything at all. If our gender identity is a state of mind defined without reference to our sex (i.e., our body), then our gender identity is “the identity of our gender.” But gender itself is not defined anywhere within the Yogyakarta Principles. We are told what gender is not—sex—but not what it is.

Here’s the fault line: if sexual orientation is defined in terms of gender, and if gender is not defined in terms of sex, then sex has been extracted from sexual orientation. But sexual orientation is entirely dependent on sex, because it is entirely dependent on sexual difference—no two people can know they are the same (sex) as each other without first knowing they are not different (sexes) from each other.
Utter nonsense. Gibberish. Gender identity and sexual orientation are clearly defined and understood concepts. There is no debate among scientists over what these terms mean. The fact that gender and sex can be incongruent (the underlying cause of gender dysphoria) has no bearing on sexual orientation. Moody's last phrase is confusing because he confuses sex with gender. I was going to type “simply stated” etc. and then changed my mind. There are an infinite number of combinations of sexual orientation and gender identity and the resulting attractions of two people. It is a wonderful complexity of nature. It is the lack of binary definitions that drives religious people bonkers. They require male and female and all attracted to the opposite sex. They need simple. Fortunately (and I mean fortunately) nature refuses to cooperate.
Rights and Identity

However, sexual orientation and gender identity are not the only poles that repel each other. No, gender identity also repels the very notion of human rights. As understood by the esteemed signatories of the revered document, a person’s fundamental identity exists in the form of a state of mind, which is deemed superior to his or her body. Unsurprisingly, this has a profound effect on the link between rights and identity.
More gibberish. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not “poles that repel each other.” One has nothing to do with the other.
Properly understood, human rights are grounded in the dignity owed to each person in virtue of his or her being made in the image and likeness of God. In short, the rights owed to me are those owed to me-as-me. …
Human rights accrue because people are human. God has very little to do with our sense of justice towards our fellow humans. Moody, through bigotry, seems determined to prove the truthfulness of what I just typed.
In contrast, the Yogyakarta Principles would have us believe our rights arrive in two stages—first, we decide who we want to be, and then we claim the rights owed to our chosen identity.
When it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity there are no decisions and no choices. We are who we are. There are veritable mountains of peer-reviewed research to substantiate that fact.
Gender Identity and Law

But an even deeper problem can be seen when we recognize that to detach rights from embodiedness is to detach law itself from embodiedness. So, we have a third warring couple on our hands: gender identity and law. We can illustrate the tension between them in two ways. The first is by thinking about the relationship between being and doing.
I have had quite enough of this. Moody claims that two squared is five. This allows him to claim that the square root of 81 is also five. This, in turn, leads him to the logical conclusions that two-cubed is equal to the square root of 25. The entire argument crashes down on itself. Yet, his presentation is so damned authoritative.

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