(LifeSiteNews) – Between May 2018 and August 2019, searches for “transgender transition” increased 4,000% on the social media platform Pinterest. As with all social media platforms, Pinterest heavily encourages the skyrocketing interest in and push towards transgenderism among young people. TikTok videos with the hashtag #Trans have been watched more than 26 billion times. Despite abundant numbers of supposed “success stories” of “transitions” available online and promoted in the media, many doctors are beginning to question the scientific basis for transgender surgeries and the like.
While traditional Christians have seen the ethical issues with gender ideology since its inception, the aggressive pursuit of pseudo-medical procedures to affirm LGBT beliefs has not given the scientific community sufficient time to evaluate the ideology’s mental and physical health implications.
While the Catholic Church is often accused of being anti-scientific, this is yet another example of faith and science discovering the same truths from different angles. Released from Sophia Institute Press earlier this year, Loving God’s Children: The Church and Gender Ideology introduces the general Catholic reader to the moral and scientific scene surrounding gender ideology. With a background in legal advocacy for the pro-life cause, free speech, and similar issues, author John Bursch is well-placed to introduce the general public to the relationship between gender ideology and the Church. One unique aspect of this book is the author’s quoting of many recent comments and condemnations of gender-related ideologies from Catholic bishops. Chapter 10 includes responses to common questions about transgender ideology, along with extensive quotes from Catholic prelates like Archbishop Carlson and Bishop Coakley. An appendix of additional resources rounds out the volume.
Bursch situates his book in the context of “loving others,” and how knowledge of truth is necessary if we are to will another person’s good. He explains how gender ideology is contrary to fundamental truths and directly harms not only the individual who believes such falsehoods, but also its damaging influence on the community at large.
No matter how many body parts are chopped off or sewn on, no matter how many rounds of hormones are taken, every cell proclaims itself the cell of a man or a woman from the moment of conception.
“Because there is no charity without truth,” he delves into a discussion of “what is truth,” and a biblically inspired discussion of human sexuality. Discussing the teachings of John Paul II and Paul VI on how human sexuality is ordered toward procreation and union, he reminds us that “God’s rules about marriage, sexuality, and protecting human life” are not “simply arbitrary decrees that we have to follow,” as many secular persons think.
A brief discussion of the meanings of these terms, and the concept of separating sex from gender, follows. This segues into a chapter entitled “What Does Scientific Inquiry Say about Gender Ideology?” I appreciated this chapter which, like the others, has the quality of an overview.
Here, Bursch showcases the scientific research that confirms there are only the two sexes: at the level of the chromosomes, there is never anything except boys and girls, and this is, of course, never changed by any surgeries or hormonal “treatments.”
No matter how many body parts are chopped off or sewn on, no matter how many rounds of hormones are taken, every cell proclaims itself the cell of a man or a woman from the moment of conception. Additionally, the brain is “possibly the most ‘sexed’ organ in a human being,” as once scientist put it. The neurological differences between men and women show up in (to quote Ryan T. Anderson) “how men and women experience emotion and pain, how they see and hear, and how they remember and navigate.” Sex influences, according to a Scientific American article which Bursch quotes, “many areas of cognition and behavior, including memory, emotion, vision, hearing, the processing of faces, and the brain’s response to stress hormones.”
Not only is it biologically impossible for a “man to be trapped in a woman’s body,” Bursch discusses the idea of “non-binary” persons and how “there is no such thing as a third sex, much less a sex spectrum.” While some claim large percentages of sexual development disorders, the actual figure is 0.018% of the population. Nonetheless, “just because the rare person’s physical sex characteristics at a macro level (as opposed to a cellular level) might be ambiguous does not mean that sex for the human population as a whole is not binary.”
Detransitioners explain they were influenced by Tumblr, YouTube, cultish ‘brainwashing’
Moving to a discussion of identity, Bursch draws on a book of Father Mike Schmitz to explore the fact that “our identity is not defined by our sexual attractions of perceived gender.” Stereotypical gender roles or interests are not the same thing as authentic masculine or feminine identity, either; “actions based on truth, not on fictitious stereotypes” are what will be involved in “willing the good of the other.”
It turns out that 80 to 95 percent of children with “gender dysphoria” eventually reconcile their “gender identity” with their “biological sex if there is no intervention to support or reinforce their dysphoria.” It turns out that “watchful waiting” is the safest way – on every level – to help children with gender confusion.
Chapter 6 explores the medical difficulties involved in all so-called “gender affirming” therapies – including possible permanent infertility, circulation problems, and others, to say nothing of neurological re-wiring. Because of this, some number of “gender-dysphoric children who would naturally come to accept their sex are prevented from doing so when gender-affirming policies” are imposed or encouraged. As Bursch concludes, “confusing children is not loving.” The global medical community is now slowly beginning to abandon the model of hormonal and surgical intervention which is currently being championed in the states: even countries like the United Kingdom and various Scandinavian countries that have been at the forefront of the gender-transitioning movement are now favoring the “watchful waiting” method due to the lack of long-term studies which show positive results of “gender affirming” therapy.
Whatever the philosophical or scientific considerations, I find stories from “detransitioners”—those who have undergone and then regretted a so-called sex change or gender “transition” and tried to reverse the damage to their bodies – the most moving and convincing argument against the gender ideology movement.
Chapter 7 of Loving God’s Children deals with a few of these detransitioners’ stories. Underlying many transitioners’ confusion are abusive childhood events and other psychological difficulties. The detransitioners note how Tumblr and YouTube influenced their choices, and how LGBT “communities” created cultish atmospheres of support and “brainwashing.” As one related, she was told that of people who did not support gender ideology: “You will literally die if you talk to those people.” Bursch also discusses how the failure to obtain informed consent regularly occurs due to the hiding of possible (and likely) side-effects of “transitioning” interventions.
This book’s last chapters close with a discussion of the effects of gender ideology in the public sphere, for example in sports and schools. The censorship on platforms like Spotify and YouTube, as well as commerce sites like Amazon, is incredible: books are taken down, videos and podcasts disappear which discuss the testimonies of transgender individuals. The grooming effects of school programs include such mind-boggling suggestions like recruiting children under 10 years old to LGBTQ clubs.
Loving God’s Children is an excellent introduction to the topic of transgender ideology. If you’ve never done much research on it and feel like you need to situate yourself, this might be the book. And it might also be appropriate for a discussion of the topic with older teens. We want to love in the truth. We need to know how both truth and love are being undermined. Transgender ideology is simultaneously complex and simple, crazy and subverting. We would do well to make sure we are aware of the situation if we wish to be the true lovers of our times.