Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Latest Anti-Trans Insanity From a Hate Group Lawyer

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The very existence of trans people drives religious conservatives crazy.
Tyson Langhofer writes: Psychological Research Explains Why Increasing Gender Choices Increases Our Misery. Apparently the existence of LGBT people increases Mr. Langhofer's misery. Tyson Langhofer, a product of Regent U. Law, is an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT hate group.

Not surprisingly, the title of Langhofer's polemic is misleading. First of all, it's not research but opinion. Langhofer is relying on a book written by Barry Schwartz some 15 years ago, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. According to Schwartz (I'm reading from the Amazon page), “choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them.” Schwartz might be right but it is irrelevant to transgender or gender nonconforming people.

After dwelling on Schwartz at considerable length:
Increased Gender Choices Only Increases Confusion

We are told that gender is not constrained by biology. Rather, gender is a spectrum, constrained only by your imagination and desire. We are told that parents should allow their children to choose their own sex, rather than simply recognize their true biological sex. We are told that this increased choice will be liberating and will lead to increased satisfaction for those struggling with their own identity. Sound familiar?
Those of you who know a thing or two realized immediately what the problem is. Wherever did this guy get the idea that gender is a choice? Were that true there probably would be no transgender people because people would choose the gender that aligns with their natal sex.

Gender dysphoria can cause immense suffering. People suffer because they are unable to choose their gender. Is this not just simple common sense?

The theme continues:
Not surprisingly, as predicted by Schwartz, telling a person who is struggling with his own identity that he has complete autonomy to define himself in whatever manner he chooses (i.e., untethering gender from biological sex) tends to increase rather than decrease his confusion and suffering.
That is wholly incorrect. The reason that people “struggle” with gender identity is because it is incongruent with their natal sex, It would be the existence of choice that would eliminate the struggle. That choice does not exist (which should be eminently obvious).

For critical thinkers without a religious agenda it is patently obvious that gender dysphoria results from a lack of choice. What I cannot figure out is the point of all this gibberish. Is he trying to convince people that transgender folks are volunteers? Who would choose to be the object of derision? Perhaps Mr. Langhofer is confused because of the choices that were available to him including his religious beliefs and his employment by a hate group.

He continues, aiming to denigrate others:
This was vividly illustrated in a heartbreaking op-ed published at the end of last year in The New York Times titled “My New Vagina Won’t Make Me Happy. And It Shouldn’t Have To.” It was written by Andrea Long Chu, a biological male, just a week before he was scheduled for a surgery that would remove his penis and convert it into a vagina.
Ms. Chu is a transgender woman. “Biological male” in this context is just a form of religious opprobrium along with Lanhofer's gratuitous use of the wrong pronouns. He is compelled to express his disapproval. Langhofer's argument continues to deteriorate:
Chu argues that he should be able to choose this surgery even if it will not decrease his dysphoria or mental suffering. In fact, Chu admits that, since beginning hormone treatments, he often has thoughts of suicide, which he never had before. And his dysphoria has increased, rather than decreased, yet Chu insists on proceeding because: choice.
Does Langhofer believe that it is the hormones causing thoughts of suicide. Langhofer is deliberately confusing correlation with causation. Quoting Ms. Chu (who speaks for no one other than herself):
I like to say that being trans is the second-worst thing that ever happened to me. (The worst was being born a boy.) Dysphoria is notoriously difficult to describe to those who haven’t experienced it, like a flavor. Its official definition — the distress some transgender people feel at the incongruence between the gender they express and the gender they’ve been socially assigned — does little justice to the feeling.
Does that sound like choice? Chu's point, by the way, is about choice of treatment, not choice of the condition requiring treatment.

Langhofer in conclusion:
As humans, we are at a crossroads. Do we choose the path where the freedom to shape our identity is untethered to anything, even basic biology? Or do we choose the path where we are free to shape our identity but within the reality of biology?

After all, we have a choice.
Langhofer is hopelessly confused because of his need to conform the world to scripture (there is that passage in Genesis where God creates men and women). The bottom line is that, by about two to three-years-of-age, gender is assigned to us. For about 99.5% of the population gender is reasonably congruent with their natal sex. I write “reasonably” because gender is a continuum.

Scripture does not provide anyone with a choice of gender. Tyson Langhofer can choose to stop maligning and marginalizing transgender people. Their lives are difficult enough without the religious opprobrium. Yeah, I know, he never mentions Jesus in his essay. He should. At least then he would be more intellectually honest.

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