With “alternative reality” on both sides
Once, not so long ago, I was a very experienced psychologist, a researcher and a writer on an international scale. I specialized in issues of gender, which was a field that I helped found in the 1970s. This is by way of saying that we have compiled some 50 years of data in many different academic fields, from biology to psychology, genetics to anatomy. I participated, along with thousands of colleagues in various academic disciplines, in carefully and empirically understanding gender effects, gender differences and similarities and, perhaps most importantly, in understanding that gender was a social phenomenon, sex a biological one. They were not and are not the same thing nor are they interchangeable, although they of course influence each other.
But that was in another time, when we as a people still valued facts, believed in the reality of science and even before we had a reality show host practically destroy our country with his own “alternative reality.” Psychology considers such alternate reality to be delusional and, thus, highly problematic in a leader, but what of a psychology that itself and just as enthusiastically supports alternate facts? What have we become?
Once I was a woman, with all the requisite genetics and anatomy, as well as with the social and developmental experiences. Once there were academic departments, political movements and women’s organizations. Once there was a Women’s Movement. There were many services and safe spaces directed toward acknowledging and treating the many wounds that society visits upon its women, keeping them safe from the multiple violences from which they/we must survive. We were mothers and daughters, sisters and aunts, singles and couples, but we were all women.
And just when it appeared that we were going to achieve some degree of equality, especially in the U.S. where the ERA is on the verge of being passed after too many years of negation, now we are no more. One day all that suddenly changed without warning. We are now birthers, menstruaters and many other reductionist biological identifiers that allow room for equivalent access to womanhood of those who want to identify as women, even should they have beards, huge testosterone-based muscles and yes, fully functioning penises. Biology is simultaneously centered and eliminated in this paradoxical new world order.
There was a new and unique assault on womanhood. Men could now be women not by fact or scientific discovery, but by psychological and legislative fiat. While there had always been a few transgendered individuals in our midst, their goal was generally very similar. The men believed themselves or wanted to be women, the women men. These individuals wanted their bodies altered to fit in to the dimorphic sexuality that is characteristic of mammals and thus of humans. They did not want to change the world, but only themselves.
There are simply two sexes in this species. You can not become one if you are the other, but you can rearrange your anatomy, particularly your visible facial and body features, to try to pass as a member of the other sex. Many have been availing themselves of these services for decades for reasons more associated with aging and female beauty culturally defined and now they could be applied in the service of transition. Yet even these procedures could not approach the skills of Mother Nature. Humans, in all our hubris, had created a group of transgendered women, who could live as women although in men’s bodies as altered as they could be to resemble women’s.
This new group of men (I will deal with women transitioning in a future article) who come before us now are more of a social phenomenon than an individual psychological or biological one. They are aggressive and demanding. They are bent upon misinterpreting, if not destroying entirely, biology and other related sciences, including psychology. Essentially they would use language and human rights to wage this war against knowledge, against science and ultimately against women. They separated these perspectives, which should have remained united. You can not have one without the other.
For a brief moment, I was stunned, thinking no sentient being can possibly validate this onslaught of irrationality. I had also thought this same thought at the beginning of the Trumpian debacle. I was wrong on both counts. Apparently, I had valued careful thought and research, physical facts gifted us by Mother Nature more than I had feelings and personal identity. And these values have been declared not only wrong but irredeemably bigoted and hate-filled. I cannot remain silent in the face of this assault. I must protest.
These transgendered proponents challenged both our words and our world. They conducted a linguistic assault by means of which we were no longer women, but a subspecies of the same, “assigned female at birth” rather than being female. Yet this was not all. They demanded access to all spaces that had once been only for women, for which women had fought over a period of some 50 years in order to somehow and sometimes be safe from violence, rape, battering and the multiple egregious crimes against women in our modern societies.
They demanded NOT to be transgender women, but entirely unmodified women based on something they called “identity”. If you felt that you were a woman, then you were. If you felt that you had been born into the wrong body, medical and pharmaceutical innovations could now change that. And lo and behold, psychology and psychiatry, which should have been asking more and deeper questions about the source of these problems, failed entirely, capitulated to a radically misinformed contingent.
I want to be perfectly clear that this failure must be placed squarely at the doorstep of psychology, psychiatry, medicine and pharmacology. They should have been digging deeper, should have examined more carefully the arbitrary DSM category of gender dysphoria. Instead and perhaps because clinical psychology and psychiatry do not treat real “diseases,” but cultural categories and do not provide cures for any of them, they were seduced into the cure offered by surgery and pharmaceuticals. This is the one psychological “disorder” that we can claim to cure, although not by means of psychology at all.
They replaced careful research with human rights advocacy, science and knowledge with feelings and desires. They agreed that all science was wrong in saying that sex in humans was dimorphic and that the presence of anomalies rather than proving the duality, invalidated it.
This was a genetic argument in support of an experience. Even if the genetic argument is proven correct, it cannot be useful without finding a clear correspondence between the identity and the distribution of the x and y chromosomes. That is, does the proposed change of sex into a spectrum match up to the experiences of transgendered people in each or even most cases? If they are actually XY males, then the invocation of spectrum fails. Not only has this work not been done, but no one that I know of, other than myself, is calling for this corroborating research. Instead, the argument is accepted blindly perhaps as a metaphor rather than science, as desire rather than fact.
In the same way that it is impossible to dispute the alternative facts of the Trumpians, so it is with the transgender argument. Some have tried. I have called for open discussion and, along with thousands of colleagues in various academic disciplines, for carefully and empirically understanding gender effects, gender differences and similarities, research in my own profession, but it is denied by spurious and solipsistic arguments which, if not accepted, quickly devolve into ridicule and name-calling. I am dismissed. Science is aggressively dismissed. Good people are intimidated and remain on the sidelines.
Many “decent people” have remained silent because they want to be sensitive and respect human rights. They have come to support gay and lesbian rights and this is a simple addition. But it is not that at all, instead a subtraction and a division of these groups. Lesbians and gays are no more, as they now can change gender in order to match their bodies to their sexual orientations. In many countries, such as Iran, which claims not to have any homosexuals among their citizenry, the so-called homosexuals are mandated to transition.
Finally, while facts are on the side of women and gay people, really big money, which today rules politics, is on the side of transition. (It is beyond the scope of this article for me to name them, but the information is a click away). In a future article, I will discuss transition in the other direction, female to male, which is almost entirely a different issue.
What I want to make clear in this article is that this very gaslighting is the left’s version of what the right has already accomplished handily. Perhaps then neither the left nor the right in the United States represents women. It is this cavalier wordplay and aggressive denial of reality that the new left and the new right share.
In truth, you can not demand, cut, medicate or legislate your way into being a woman. It is a real biological category, which means that you can only be born into it. The new transgendered population is being used and deceived as much as are the new militias. I weep for these confused individuals, especially the young children, who are being used in a huge medical experiment.
As climate change is in the process of teaching us, both left and right, there are some laws that cannot be broken.