Tuesday, June 19, 2018

An answer to Jon Del Arroz re transgender people and mental illness

Jon Del Arroz, who apparently writes fantasy novels, has also written what is probably a defense of the faith. Tuesday, according to his piece at The Federalist, Jon Del Arroz has been victimized: After I Said Transgenderism Is A Mental Illness, Twitter Blocked My Account.

I do have a mental illness! I suffer from acute PTSD, a result of being ambushed and shot point-blank with a .45 to put the brakes on an audit. My disorder is resistant to treatment. I take a number of medications; an interesting assortment of different sizes shapes and colors. They are to cope — not to cure. To go to the store I have to don earphones and listen to music, otherwise I am overwhelmed. Oh, and I am useless on the telephone. A side-effect of the meds is aphasia. People on the other end might as well be speaking in Urdu.

The transgender people that I know function better than I do in many respects. If we could remove the bigotry and religious disapproval most would function better in all respects. They are not mentally ill. Calling them mentally ill is inaccurate and offensive. That is why Twitter blocked the account.

Gender is a continuum with male and female at the extreme ends. Most people are at or near the ends. A small percentage of the population have gender dysphoria. Like most people, folks with gender dysphoria are at or near one of the ends of the gender spectrum. However, their gender and natal sex are incongruent. It makes them unusual but they are experiencing a natural phenomenon — a perfectly normal variation of human sexuality. Being different is not being sick.

To cope with gender dysphoria some people affirm their gender because, when gender and natal sex are in conflict, gender usually prevails as the dominant force. Ergo, some people are transgender. It is something that people have known about for thousands of years. The Hindu Vedas mention transgender people and they go back to the 12th century BCE.

An important thing to understand is there does not exist an intervention known to medical science to treat gender dysphoria. Being transgender mitigates the suffering (a combination of depression and anxiety) and allows people to function as normally as society allows them to function. And while I am at it, being transgender has nothing to do with sexual orientation. There are heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual transgender people. According to Jon Del Arroz:
Can We Not Discuss Mental Illness Publicly?

I spoke with Erin Sith, a transgender activist known for promoting Second Amendment rights. Sith believes that transgender people need access to guns to defend themselves, just like every other American does.
Stop right there. Sith is an anti-trans transgender person. A gun-toting fanatical Trump supporter who is simply trying to get some attention. She has succeeded. The point is that Sith is not representative of trans people.

There is no prohibition on discussing mental illness. Transgender people are not mentally ill. They do not even have a disorder according to the American Psychiatric Association. Perhaps Mr. Del Arroz is also wed to the idea that gay people are “objectively disordered.” That is also false. He further writes:
This isn’t the first time I’ve received a Twitter suspension. The first was Easter last year, when I changed my display name to “Christ Follower Jon Del Arroz.” Twitter accused me of “bot-like activity” for the name change, where I wanted to proudly display my Christianity over the Easter weekend.
I will take his word for it. No one is forcing Del Arroz to use Twitter. It is a private company that can define its Acceptable Use Policy as it sees fit. If I am correct that Del Arroz is just mounting a defense of the faith; if that is what this is really all about, then he should have the intellectual honesty to posit that upfront in order to disclose his bias.

I will repeat what I have often written. Religion is a belief system dependent upon faith. Science, in contrast, is evidentiary. There is no valid mixture of the two.

My symptoms are actually very similar to what a person with gender dysphoria experiences: Anxiety and depression. I can take pills and, perhaps, a walk on the beach but nothing makes it stop. I am hyper-vigilant and always close to full-blown panic. Transgender people have a much more successful approach to their symptoms but they are reviled for having used it. It would be kind of refreshing if these good, compassionate Christians would be more, … Christian.

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