This has, let us say, become a very relevant question in the past decade or so. What is a man and what is a woman? I started thinking about this when I saw the trailer for Matt Walsh’s documentary. I have not seen the actual documentary, as a matter of fact, but it got me thinking: perhaps I could answer the same question.
Before anything else, I suppose I ought to give my own answer to the question. I would give a biological definition:
A man is a human person who is ordered toward impregnation.
A woman is a human person who is ordered toward gestation.
Transgender philosophy would, of course, disagree with these definitions, saying it depends more on what is called gender identity, which is usually defined as a person’s internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female.
This, however, bears a very important question: what do the words male and female mean? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s most detailed definition, a male is “an individual of the sex that is typically capable of producing small, usually motile gametes (such as sperm or spermatozoa) which fertilize the eggs of a female.” A female is, “an individual of the sex that is typically capable of bearing young or producing eggs.”
That is obviously not what our opponents mean. But nevertheless, it must relate to it in some way, or else to what ends is the same word used.
Nevertheless, anyone would admit that a chicken is female if she lays an egg. I do not think anyone would be willing to speak of a transgender hen, since chickens are incapable of such advanced thought and are not capable of what is called “gender ideology”. But if gender is defined only as an internal sense of gender, which seems to be what our opponents claim, then the term gender becomes absolutely meaningless.
So here is one very important question: is it feelings or facts that determine the reality of things?
Now, do not interpret this question the wrong way. Feelings are real. There are various defenses about this, such as that supposedly transgender people actually have the brain of the opposite gender. Let us put it this way: what determines defining bodily traits, the mind or the body? In other words, even if I grant that some people have aspects of their minds which seem to have more in common with the opposite sex, does that really mean they are that sex? In any other species after all, male and female are considered a solely genetic trait. And note that most transgender people do not actually have any psychological diagnosis or brain scan before receiving surgery, so there is no way to know that these people have different “mental” genders, as some claim.
There is a rare mental illness called clinical lycanthropy—not to be confused with ordinary lycanthropy, which is basically being a werewolf. Clinical lycanthropy is the delusion that a person is or is transformed into an animal. Now, I imagine this is a difficult illness to have, but I do not believe a psychiatrist would generally teach a man to, say, embrace his dog nature and give him walks and a bone.
To give another parallel, there is a research scientist named Chloe Jennings-White in West Bountiful, Utah, who suffers from body integrity dysphoria, which is a mental disorder characterized by a desire to have a disability or a discomfort with being able-bodied beginning in early adolescence. In Jennings-White’s case, she wanted to be paralyzed and in a wheelchair. She says that when she was four, she first consciously decided that nature made a mistake by giving her working legs and actually felt envious of disabled children and actually attempted to do so when she was nine.
She says (and I quote), “It’s the same as a transsexual man having his penis cut off. It’s never coming back, but they know it’s what they want.”
Now, I suppose everyone can tell where I am going with this. There is really no reason that if transgender can be a thing, transable cannot.
I imagine there would be some objections to this. Supposedly, transgender actually pertains to the real mind, while transable supposedly does not. As stated above, it is not as if most transgender people actually have a brain scan or anything before undergoing a surgery, but I doubt there is a reliable way of determining it. For the most part, transgenderism seems to pertain to one’s own feelings rather than determinable tests.
Another objection would be that it is that actually disabled people must suffer more and it is unreasonable to claim one’s self among them. Also, human being is never naturally ordered to be disabled. Perhaps there are other analogies which some people might find better, such as the idea of being “transracial”. Any ethnicity is, of course, a perfectly good thing. There are some people, however, who similarly make the claim that although they are, say, Caucasian, or African-American, or Asian, they are internally something else.
Some people consider this offensive, since there can be burdens associated with various ethnicities, but the same can be said of genders. Some feminists actually oppose transgenderism for that reason.
The short answer is that gender dysphoria is a very real thing, but it is not a good thing. Even if it is possible that a man could have a mind more in common with a woman, terms such as man and woman only make sense in terms of biology, so even if the mind is not consistent, it should be considered a psychological problem that must be treated. These people need help, but we do not acknowledge a man as a woman, any more than we should acknowledge a man with clinical lycanthropy as a wolf.
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8 replies on “Against Transgender Philosophy: What is a Man? What is a Woman?”
Yeah some good food for thought. Most studies show 80-95% of people under 20 who identify as transgender no longer do so by the time they are 25. I think the culture does not want to say it, but mental factors not biological ones cause transgenderism.
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Yes, good points. If transgenderism were real, there would be some sort of way to test it.
I truly feel for many of these individuals who are struggling with their own sense of identity. My question is are they attempting to discovery their own personal truth of who they are and negating an eternal perspective? Or – do they truly desire to know the truth of who they are in relation to who our Heavenly Father is and who Jesus Christ is? I have asked this question many times and have received various responses. Most of the time, many state that they are seeking their own truth and authenticity outside of God or religion. It is not for me to judge or condemn them.
All I merely did was ask a question because if we seek our own truth and authenticity to live out – we deny God’s will, purpose, and authority over our lives and therefore are condemned already because we suppress the truth in our own pursuit of our need and desires to satisfy flesh. Instead, we worship the idol of self and ego.
And that is where much of this is heading – speak boldly, courageously, and come out to be proud to live your truth and your authentic self and worship who you are regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
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True. I admit that many of these people are likely actually deluded. My greater concern is the fact that our society seems to be moving toward being alright with these delusions. I imagine, however, that they are seeking something they cannot find.
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Which is the reason your article inspired me to write up on The Honest Seeker of Truth: Are you living “your truth” or a lie? In that post, I discuss how many claim to find themselves and develop a way to learn to live according to “their truth” and “their authentic self” and how this takes away from the eternal perspective and suppresses the power and nature of God. Placing humanity as an idol over God.
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Good to know. I’ll check that out.
Definitely food for thought, however, I’m not bias so I truly respect a person’s ability to decide for themselves what makes them who they are, and whatever allows them to accept themselves in the most organic and natural way possible.
Yes, you’ve stated all the facts and medical analysis as to why they (transgender) are not entitled to believe how they feel as being natural and/or organic.
I admit, maybe, it’s not natural for you, me, and let’s say 99% of human beings who are quite happy with our birth gender identity, however, that does not give us the right to respect any less a person who does not feel comfortable with the gender identity that they were assigned at birth. Should we not grant them the same respect to believe that they are, in fact, a person who should be respected for their beliefs. I am, what I am.
I mean, if the intent is to discredit their belief as to why it is irrational for them to believe this way, then, why not go after those who would believe that I am the son of a virgin. Show, and prove to them how this is just not medically possible, and how absurd it is to believe otherwise. Something to muse…..
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Thanks, Raptor, for your comment!
Okay, let me explain what I meant. I respect, or try to respect, those who believe that gender can be different from biological sex and understand they have deeply held beliefs. However, I don’t think not being happy with one’s body is reason enough to make extreme changes to one’s body, such as taking hormones of the opposite sex (which, by the way, is not always completely reversible) or having surgeries that remove one’s reproductive organs—and it is my view that it could be dangerous for those who are allowed to have those surgeries. I mean, in our culture, ideas such as being trans-race or trans-able are usually seen as being absurd or offensive. Traditionally, the terms “man” and “woman” have been biological terms prior to our times. So, let me put it this way: if you can just decide what you are, why can’t you just decide that you’re seventy years old or half-Asian-half-Native American? (I have no idea if you’re any of those, but this is a hypothetical)