The Poison Chalice of ‘Trans’ Affirmation
Trans culture and trans-affirming care have received much logical criticism, and rightly so. The medical care is experimental. The “affirming care” of trying to contradict your own DNA is damaging to the body. Sound, long-term studies do not exist on any of this. But for better or for worse, most people don’t decide with their brain — they decide with their heart.
After watching the documentary What Is A Woman? this past week, I had a sudden realization of the poisoned chalice being offered to our children. The same voices that tell the gender-questioners, “You’re not the problem” are also inherently saying, “You are the problem” when they say you have to transition to be happy.
These individuals seek answers to assuage their pain and distress, and they hear voices like that personification of seduction in Proverbs. Voices whose “lips drip honey” and whose mouths are “smoother than oil.” We’re told, “With her persistent pleading she entices him, with smooth talk she seduces him. Suddenly he follows her like an ox going to the slaughter.”
A Subtle Suggestion
I’ve listened through many stories of people who have been enticed to transition. It hurts my heart to hear them, but I care. How could someone become convinced that their body is wrong? The stories I hear all start out the same.
“I was always uncomfortable. I never felt that I fit in with the other boys. I didn’t enjoy playing sports like my dad wanted me to. I preferred to hang out with the girls and dance. And I’ve always liked the color pink better than red.”
Or, “I was always called a tomboy growing up. I hated having to wear those frilly dresses on Sundays. I’d much rather have been making mud pies and looking for lizards. And I never cared for tea parties with Barbie.”
Neither felt like they belonged with their peers or measured up to expectations they thought they were supposed to meet. From the shame and alienation that produces, it’s a short jump to believing, “I’m the problem.” So when a voice offers that silver chalice, saying, “You’re accepted here,” it’s easy to miss the poison it brings: “All you have to do is change who you are.”
Your Voice Is Vital
What if we just had too many taboos? Do these gender types all matter so much?
A quick glance at other cultures across history — the kilts of Scotland, the masculine beauty standards of South Korea today, the incredible women who ran the factories during World Wars I & II — makes me think they don’t. But rather than “change the norm,” our kids are told to “change your form.” Rather than break a stereotype, they’re told to break their bodies.
I wish I could come to those who are struggling against social expectations, shame, and gender dysphoria, and bring them a warm embrace. I wish I could look them in their eyes and tell them that they’re loved and accepted, in their skinny jeans and their genes. Unfortunately, my arms aren’t long enough to reach them all.
If you know a young (or not so young) one who’s struggling, could you reach out in my stead? There may be difficult conversations to be had, especially if they don’t hold to the Truth. But with all the other shameless voices vying for their heart, your voice of Truth is vital in their life.
Austin Roscoe is The Stream’s web coordinator.