Action Alert!

Time to resist the ‘gender-affirming’ juggernaut

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 25, 2024

The horror stories are going to multiply: A troubled girl says that she would like to be a boy, or a boy says he wants to be a girl. The child’s grammar-school teacher, saturated in gender-theory propaganda, hustles the child off to a counselor who specializes in such cases. Nobody tells the parents until a sympathetic doctor has proclaimed that the child needs gender-altering treatment. At that point, if the parents resist, law-enforcement officials will step in and threaten to take the child out of their home.

The “medical” procedures recommended for these troubled young people will leave them permanently scarred, in need of ongoing medical treatment, and, inevitably, as confused as ever about their sexual identity. Proponents of the treatment do not often talk about the need for continual hormone treatments, and the unavoidable side effects. For that matter, a friend who has counseled some of these troubled children reports that other troubling psychological conditions have been scrubbed from their medical records, to avoid pesky questions about whether or not they are competent to assess their own condition.

The very term “gender-altering surgery” is a grotesquely Orwellian phrase. Do you “affirm” your sexuality by carving off your sexual organs? The entire “transgender” movement is based on lies. And insofar as those lies are told to children, they become something even worse than lies. Better a millstone around the neck…

The ordinary antidote to lies is hard truth. But in this case the truth has regularly been suppressed. In the United Kingdom, when the National Health Service commissioned a study of “gender treatment” for children, and the resulting report concluded that “a medical pathway will not be the best way to manage their gender-related distress,” the response to that report was so violent that the author has been told, for her own safety, to avoid public transportation.

Under happier circumstances we Americans might be tempted to sneer at the Brits for their failure to protect an honest peer review of the medical evidence. But give them credit for this much: At least their National Health Service allowed a study that uncovered the “shaky foundations” and “weak evidence” that supports the gender-change juggernaut. In the US, no such critical evaluation has been allowed into mainstream discussion.

Luke Goodrich of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has written an important article for First Things, detailing how schools, counselors, insurance carriers, health-care providers, and especially courts are steering young people toward this wretched alternative. Fortunately, Goodrich also offers some reason for optimism:

The good news is that every step in this legal conveyor belt is now being challenged in court. And many of these challenges will succeed, because the transgender conveyor belt is a legal anomaly that conflicts with religious freedom, parental rights, free speech, and sound medical science.

Thank goodness for that resistance, and thank goodness for a legal system that—unlike the mainstream media, unlike the scientific journals—still allows the introduction of critical opinions and contrary evidence. But more resistance will be needed to break the momentum toward mass mutilation.

Earlier this month the Vatican document Dignitas Infinita decried gender-change treatments, saying that “any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.” In fact, the Vatican document remarked that the desire to make one’s sexual identify conform to one’s personal choice, rather than to biological fact, “amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God, entering into competition with the true God of love revealed to us in the Gospel.”

Yet as I complained when the document appeared, Dignitas Infinita did not sound the trumpet to rally Catholics to oppose this misbegotten medical fad. “Where is the rhetoric that will encourage corporate executives to resist the pressure to adopt personnel policies based on gender theory? Where is the warning to Catholic health-care personnel that they cannot participate in ‘gender-affirming’ surgery without engaging in gravely sinful actions?”

This week the Catholic bishops of England and Wales issued their own statement on the matter, which—like the Vatican’s declaration—combined good theoretical analysis with tepid practical advice. After several paragraphs advising respectful and sympathetic pastoral treatment for people struggling with their sexual identities, the bishops’ official summary concluded: “We cannot encourage support for reconstructive or drug-based medical intervention that harms the body.”

No, Your Excellencies, you certainly “cannot encourage” gender-altering surgery, because it is an offense against human dignity. But you could forthrightly oppose it. And you didn’t.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: feedback - Apr. 25, 2024 11:31 PM ET USA

    Tragedy of the people (mostly young) deceived into "gender-changing" hormonal and surgical procedures is that they don't understand that a change of human gender is not ever possible. One can do significant harm to reproductive organs, even to the point of becoming infertile, but the biology doesn't care; and doesn't "change." No woman has ever become a man or vice versa. Inventing "pronouns" and forcing others to use them is just a part of the same deception. Bishops need to proclaim the truth.