Let’s Find Common Ground

By Kathryn Jean Lopez Published on March 21, 2021

“Imagine feeling so alienated from your body that you would consider taking cross-sex hormones and removing your genitals. That’s the tragic situation that many people with gender dysphoria experience. They aren’t faking it, and they didn’t actively choose it.”

That’s how a recent op-ed from Ryan T. Anderson began. And it is the kind of compassionate spirit that animates his book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, which has been recently banned from Amazon.

People of All Political Stripes

Anderson, a former fellow at the Heritage Foundation and current president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is no man of the left. But gender dysphoria is uniting people of all political stripes. As it should. I recently watched on Twitter as women on the left expressed regret that they had to link to a post by my courageous and tenacious colleague Madeleine Kearns on National Review’s website because no one else will write about these issues honestly.

Maddy was writing about the Senate confirmation hearings for Department of Health and Human Services official Dr. Rachel Levine, during which Rand Paul asked some very basic questions about children and gender transitioning, some of which Levine refused to answer. That seems worthy of acknowledgment, and, dare I say it, discussion!

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As Anderson writes in the postscript to the paperback edition of When Harry Became Sally, he hosted a forum of which “(o)ne of the organizers needed to remain anonymous, because she has a teenage daughter who was four years into the process of transitioning. Throughout that time she’s been trying to get left-leaning media and think tanks and professional associations to take seriously the concerns coming from the left about transgender policy, and instead she’s found herself and her colleagues essentially deplatformed.”

As Anderson noted, “We likely disagree about abortion, gay marriage, taxes, trade, foreign policy — just to name a few.” But, he continued: “(W)here we do agree, we can and should work together.”

The Media Don’t Care

Specifically, in regard to the media, Anderson writes: “They don’t care about the damage being done to young people’s bodies and minds — in fact they celebrate it as a civil right. They don’t care about the privacy and safety and equality of girls when boys who identify as girls can share female-only spaces — like showers and locker rooms and bathrooms — or when boys who identity as girls can participate in female athletic competitions. They don’t care about the ability of doctors to practice good medicine when bad medicine becomes mandated as a civil right, while good medicine becomes outlawed as a civil wrong. And they don’t care about the rights of parents to find the best care for their kids.”

While I have no interest in discriminating against anyone, we’re at a moment when the media and so much of the Democratic party, the corporate world and popular culture consider affirming transgender ideology a tenet of secular faith.

Unite Against Ideological Tyranny

People on the right are often disparaged as anti-science on something like abortion, which always seems to be quite bizarre and outright dishonest, when we can see on a sonogram what we are dealing with in a pregnancy — a developing human.

And now we are talking about mutilating children. My heart breaks for those who are legitimately suffering gender dysphoria. As with many hardships I don’t suffer, I well know there but by the grace of God go I. But when we glamorize transitioning, and encourage children to do so, we are talking child abuse. Biological boys playing on girls’ teams? Foster-care and adoption services banished for having traditional views that Barack Obama, Joe Biden and all of mainstream America believed about 10 seconds ago, relatively speaking? Can we please unite together against ideological tyranny here? While we may not agree, we should at least be free to voice dissent, hold debates and discuss compromises like reasonable people without fear of being canceled.


Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review magazine and author of the new book A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living. She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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