The New Subjective Reality of Transgenderism
July 30, 2020
by Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA (Bioethics)
Is reality subjective or objective?
A new hermeneutic of reality is arising: converting objective physical reality into subjective reality.
The rapid rise of the transgender movement and the denunciation of physical reality inherent in that movement has stunned countless conservatives and especially evangelical Christians. Transgender ideologues are not interested in prioritizing one aspect of physical reality over another. Instead, they want to subvert objective reality to a new subjective reality defined by the individual and the movement.
This subversion of reality is occurring on two different levels.
First is the denunciation of the reality of physical sex. Instead of basing a person’s sex on their chromosomes and body morphology, transgender activists have invented the new subjective reality of “gender identity.” Gender identity does not correlate with physical reality and therefore has no relationship with objective reality. Gender identity can change daily or hourly and may even be considered “fluid” by those within the transgender movement. Unfortunately, even the US. Supreme Court has helped advance this new subjective reality in their redefinition of sex discrimination in the recent Bostock v. Clayton County decision.
This radical conversion of objective reality into a subjective realm by transgender activists would cause a significant cultural shift even if limited to those suffering from gender dysphoria. But the transgender movement has decided to impose their new subjective reality onto the entirety of society, through pronoun mandates.
Increasingly, the person addressing a transgender individual must participate in the active denial of physical reality by using the “preferred pronoun.” Transgender activists care nothing about the dissonance within the person addressing the transgender individual; only the dissonance of the transgender individual matters.
Second, the transformation of objective reality now has extended into the interpretation of medical science—especially regarding the treatment of gender dysphoria. Medical science is not driving the transgender movement’s ideology; instead, transgender ideology is driving medical science.
One recent example is YouTube’s censorship of a former transgender person, Walt Heyer. Walt suffered from gender dysphoria as a child and underwent sex reassignment surgery as an adult. He presented as a woman for eight years before deciding to transition back to living as a man. Speaking out of his personal experience and extensive study of gender dysphoria, Walt recently participated in a panel at The Heritage Foundation on the sexualization of children. YouTube censored six of his words as “hate speech:” “This is a childhood developmental disorder.” Walt was not spewing hate speech but simply stating a medical reality.
Medical studies have confirmed that between 75 and 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria spontaneously resolve as they go through puberty. These objective facts make the case against medical interventions to transition children to the opposite sex. Dr. Paul McHugh, a noted expert on transgender medicine, published an excellent review of the medical literature in The New Atlantis.
McHugh concluded, “The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body” or “a woman trapped in a man’s body” — is not supported by scientific evidence.
But such scientific evidence is an objective reality that the subjective transgender ideologues will not countenance.
Whenever an individual or group abandons objective reality, dialogue becomes nearly impossible. Their subjective reality becomes their truth.
Nevertheless, as faithful followers of Jesus, as we compassionately and sensitively share with transgender individuals the objective reality of God’s design, we can open the door for the power of the Holy Spirit to penetrate their subjective reality with the objective truth of the good news of God’s love. May He equip us to do so.