New transgender policies raise five distinct areas of concern—privacy, safety, equality, freedom, and child development.1 They threaten freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of speech, equal treatment, and parental rights.
Privacy concerns arise when men who identify as women can enter female-only spaces. For example, when changing for gym class, most high-school girls don’t want to see or be seen by boys who identify as girls. The reason we have separate facilities in the first place is not because of “gender identity” but because of the bodily differences between males and females.
Preventing sexual assault is another major area of concern when “gender identity” determines who may enter a women-only space. Public safety experts such as Kenneth V. Lanning, a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent assigned to the Behavioral Science Unit and the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime at the FBI Academy for 20 years, explains that predators abuse gender-identity policies to gain access to victims, while victims and law enforcement become less likely to report incidents for fear of having misunderstood and being accused of discrimination.2 The primary concern is not that people who identify as transgender will victimize women, but that predators will exploit gender identity policies to do so.
Gender identity creates unfairness when biological males compete against females in sports and other activities. It also reduces girls’ chances to win athletic scholarships. Already several high-school girls have lost state championships to boys who were allowed to compete against them. These two boys have won 15 girls’ state championships that were held by 10 females in the previous year. A man who identifies as transgender has also won a women’s cycling world title.3
Predators abuse gender-identity policies to gain access to victims, while victims and law enforcement become less likely to report incidents, according to former FBI Supervisory Special Agent Kenneth V. Lanning.
Transgender policies also violate our freedom of speech and freedom of conscience by forcing people to speak or act in ways contrary to their personal judgement and deeply held beliefs. In New York City, you can be fined up to $250,000 for “misgendering” (i.e. failing to use someone’s preferred pronouns).4 Both a high school teacher and a college professor have been sanctioned by their employers for using biologically correct terms with their students.5
Transgender activists argue that a medical provider should be forced to provide “sex-reassignment” surgeries for gender dysphoric patients even if it violates their freedom of religion or conscience. Catholic hospitals are being sued for declining to perform these surgeries. In its last year, the Obama administration issued a mandate forcing health-care plans to cover sex-reassignment procedures and forcing qualified physicians to perform them. That mandate was stopped in the eleventh hour by a federal judge. The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services then proposed a rule to rescind this regulation. However, this is not a permanent fix. Congress or a future administration could still take action to force medical professionals to act against their best medical judgment in these cases.
Transgender ideology is now promoted in schools, where children are taught that gender is fluid, falls along a spectrum, and is detached from bodily sex.6 In addition, activists seek to punish anyone who expresses any reservations about radical treatment plans for gender dysphoric children. These plans can include socially transitioning children as young as 4, administering puberty blocking drugs as young as 9, cross sex hormones as young as 14, and surgery as young as 18. This ideology threatens parental rights. In Ohio, a Catholic family lost custody of their daughter when they opposed treatment of gender dysphoria with cross-sex hormones.
According to the DSM-5 as many as 98% of gender-confused boys and 88% of gender-confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?
The view that social and medical “transition” is the appropriate treatment for people, including children, who feel at odds with their biological sex is becoming more widely accepted. However, “transitioning” treatment, including puberty blocking hormones for children and sex change surgeries for teens and adults, come with serious consequences.7
Today parents are told that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones may be the only way to prevent their children from committing suicide. However, according to the DSM-5 as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.8
Meanwhile, radical gender affirming therapies pose serious medical risks, including “disfiguring acne, high blood pressure, weight gain, abnormal glucose tolerance, breast cancer, liver disease, thrombosis, and cardiovascular disease”—and, of course, sterility.9
Puberty-blocking therapies and cross sex hormones are nonreversible, largely untested, and highly dangerous, especially for children. Sex-reassignment surgeries have not been shown to reduce the extraordinarily high rate of suicide attempts among people who identify as transgender (41 percent, compared with 4.6 percent of the general population).10
As pointed out by the Obama Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the most thorough study on outcomes for transgender individuals, a study from Sweden spanning 30 years, found a 19 times-greater likelihood for death by suicide.11
The most helpful therapies for children experiencing gender dysphoria do not try to remake the body to conform with thoughts and feelings—which is impossible—but rather to help people find healthy ways to manage their tension and move toward accepting the reality of their bodies.12 Unfortunately, 15 states have passed laws banning talk therapy for minors who struggle with gender dysphoria, and there is a bill in Congress which would do the same.
1. See Ryan T. Anderson, “A Brave New World of Transgender Policy,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy Vol. 41, No. 1 (2018), available at https://ssrn.com/ abstract=3113625.
2. Ryan T. Anderson and Melody Wood, “Gender Identity Policies in Schools: What Congress, the Courts, and the Trump Administration Should Do,” March 23, 2017, https://www.heritage.org/education/report/genderidentity-policies-schools-what-congress-the-courtsand-the-trump (accessed September 16, 2019).
3. “Rachel McKinnon becomes first transgender woman to win track world title,” Cycling Weekly, October 17, 2018, https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/latest-news/ rachel-mckinnon-becomes-first-transgender-womanwin- track-world-title-397473 (accessed September 16, 2019).
4. “NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces Strong Protections for City's Transgender and Gender Non- Conforming Communities in Housing, Employment and Public Spaces,” December 21, 2015, https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/961-15/nyc-commissionhuman- rights-strong-protections-city-s-transgendergender.
5. Monica Burke, “This Teacher Was Fired for ‘Misgendering’ a Student. Who Could Be Next?,” December 10, 2018, https://www.dailysignal.com/2018/12/10/this-teacher-was-fired-for-misgendering-a-student-who-could-be-next/ (accessed September 16, 2019); and Nicole Russell, “This Teacher Came Out to His Students as Transgender, and Expects Them to Go Along With It,” June 6, 2019, https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/06/06/this-teacher-came-out-tohis-students-as-transgender-and-expects-them-to-goalong-with-it/ (accessed September 16, 2019).
6. Ryan T. Anderson, “Understanding and Responding to Our Transgender Moment,” Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2018, available at https://ssrn.com/abstract=3172277.
7. Ryan T. Anderson, “Understanding and Responding to Our Transgender Moment,” Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2018, available at https://ssrn.com/abstract=3172277.
8. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013), pp. 451-459. See page 455 re: rates of persistence of gender dysphoria.
9. Paul W. Hruz, Lawrence S. Mayer, Paul R. McHugh, “Growing Pains: Problems with Puberty Suppression in Treating Gender Dysphoria,” The New Atlantis Vol. 52 (Spring 2017), https://www.thenewatlantis.com/ publications/growing-pains.
10. Williams Institute, “Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults Findings of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey” (2014), https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla. edu/wp-content/uploads/AFSP-Williams-Suicide- Report-Final.pdf.
11. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “Proposed Decision Memo for Gender Dysphoria and Gender Reassignment Surgery,” https://www. cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/ncaproposed- decision-memo.aspx?NCAId=282.
12. See Anderson, When Harry Became Sally, chapter 6.