Transgender Wars — Part I

This is the first of a five-part series on Virginia’s transgender Tom PaffordWith only 1% of the population claiming transgender status, Trans issues are not a common topic at the dinner table.

It wasn’t until I got into the race for a Fairfax County School Board seat this year that I became aware of the Transgender Wars.

For those ignorant about the War or the word “transgender” or the folks who claim to be transgender, let’s start with Bruce Jenner, aka, Caitlyn. As reported in Vanity Fair in July 2015, Bruce’s life was long conflicted, torn between being a biological man and obsessive thoughts that he was really a woman. His Trans journey started in the 1980s with hormones, the removal of body hair and surgery to make his face more feminine. By 2014, he announced his identity as the woman Caitlyn.

As Bruce (Caitlyn) illustrates, every Trans is at war with him (her) self over his (her) body and their gender. Trans want to separate their gender (boy/girl) from their biological body (male/female). Until recently, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) defined the Trans phenomenon as Gender Identity Disorder, labeling it as a mental disorder.

The controversy over Trans identity is especially intense in LGBTQ circles. Not all Gays are happy with including Trans in their movement. This struggle is played out forcefully on Reddit and other online forums where you’ll find arguments for both sides. A Reddit user, Defsnotmymainaccount, posted the following:

“I would like to start by saying that I am a gay rights activist. I have participated in protests, days of silence, and voted on all the pro-gay legislation I could… But I’ve never really accepted the “T” in the LGBT community. I don’t think trans-sexuality should be encouraged. From my point of view, the entire idea of the gay rights movement, and by larger extension the LGBT community, is to accept who you are…. But I don’t feel like trans-sexuality is self-acceptance. I think it is self-denial in the most extreme form. We cannot, scientifically, turn a man into a woman, or the reverse. We can remove organs. We can alter the shape and appearance of genitals. We can provide hormones which impart characteristics of a gender. But none of this truly changes a sex… I don’t hate trans-gendered people and I don’t want them to be treated unequally. They deserve love and compassion as much as anyone else. But I think we’re doing a grave disservice by promoting it as a regular sort of thing. It is, undeniably, very unnatural. And it far overextends the boundaries of sexuality which LGB is literally named for.

What is this Reddit user saying? Just as surgery and hormone replacement cannot change one’s sex, neither can you “think” away your sex. You are who you are. To think otherwise is unnatural and works against the LGB movement as Trans do not accept who they are – Gays do. This separation is referred to as “Gender Identity.”

LGBT hardliners refused to accept this logic. They didn’t accept the APA’s “mental disorder,” maintaining that Trans are normal. Under their pressure, the APA changed the name from Gender Identity Disorder to “Gender Dysphoria,” defining it as conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify.

“All psychiatric diagnoses occur within a cultural context,” said Jack Drescher, a member of the APA subcommittee working on the revision. “We know there is a whole community of people out there who are not seeking medical attention and live between the two binary [male/female] categories. We wanted to send the message that the therapist’s job isn’t to pathologize.”

Renaming removed the label “Mental Disorder.” However, psychologists are not completely in tune with the headliners. The condition remains in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, requiring psychotherapy.

According to Dana Beyer, who helped the Washington Psychiatric Society make recommendations on matters of gender and sexuality, the new term implies a temporary mental state rather than an all-encompassing disorder, a change that helps remove the stigma transgender people face by being labeled “disordered.”

“A right-winger can’t go out and say all trans people are mentally ill because if you are not dysphoric [unhappy], that can’t be diagnosed from afar,” Beyer told the Associated Press. “It no longer matters what your body looks like, what you want to do to it, all of that is irrelevant as far as the APA goes.”

It is interesting that Beyer calls out “Right-Wingers!” What you may not know is that “Right-Wingers” and many in the LGB movement see eye-to-eye on this Trans War. It is the Left that is quarreling. Part Two probes into the Left’s war with LGB over the T.

Tom Pafford, an Annandale resident, is running for a seat on the Fairfax County School Board. View his campaign website here.

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One response to “Transgender Wars — Part I”

  1. djrippert Avatar

    This seems interesting but Part 1 is (of necessity) background. Since you are running for a seat on the Fairfax County School Board I assume the discussion will turn toward the educational challenges of transgender children. I am looking forward to more installments.

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