Sunday 29 March 2015

New evidence for a biological basis of innate gender identity and more

Heya everybody,

I finally managed to go through all the studies I have collected over the past few weeks. I added 21 studies in total, the summaries of the most relevant ones ares below. They include more evidence for a biological basis of transsexualism, support the belief by transsexuals that they have a different gender identity and give more facts about discrimination and abuse. Have a read!

  • A new study by Staphorsius, Kreukels, et al. (Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2015) provides additional evidence that brains of gender-dysphoric children function differently. In excecutive functioning tasks, gender-dysphoric children showed intermediate brain activation compared to two control groups. One of the conclusions is that pubertal hormones may induce sex-atypical brain activations in gender-dysphoric adolescents. In addition, the study found that hormone blockers (to stop puberty in transsexual youth) do not affect executive functioning.
  • Munson, Crocker et al. reviewed the speech of transsexual boys (5 to 13 years) in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 2015. Their result was that gender-dysphoric boys were rated as less boy-like than the cisgender boys in the control group. This provides further evidence that gender-dysphoric people are psychologically different from their natal sex, even though it’s not clear yet how the variant speech is acquired.
  • In Endocrine Practice, 2015, Saraswat, Weinand and Safer review the literature for evidence supporting the biologic nature of gender identity and come to the conclusion that there is strong support […] for a biologic basis of gender identity. The conclusion is reached on the neuroanatomical differences associated with gender identity and the connection with disorders of sex development.
  • In a study (Psychological Science, 2015) that found some media attention, Olson, Key and Eaton discovered in a small group of transgender children (ages 5 to 12) that they are statistically indistinguishable from cisgender children of the same gender identity. In other words, gender-dysphoric children are not confused about their gender identity, they express and view themselves just like cisgender children of the same gender identity – transsexual children seem to know who they are, and their behaviour provides independent evidence for their self-chosen gender identity (unless you are willing to believe that they intentionally fake their response patterns to mislead adults). I will write a little more about this study when I find time.
  • Prolific researcher Melissa Hines (along with Constantinescu and Spencer in Biology of Sex Differences, 2015) discusses the distinction between the pre-natal and post-natal surge of testoersterone in male infants. Individuals exposed to atypical concentrations of testosterone or other androgenic hormones prenatally […] have been consistently found to show increased male-typical juvenile play behavior, alterations in sexual orientation and gender identity (the sense of self as male or female), and increased tendencies to engage in physically aggressive behavior.
  • A study by Gibbs and Goldbach (Archives of Suicide Research, 2015) finds that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth growing up in religious households are at higher risks for suicidial thoughts and suicide attempts, thus further underlining the detrimental effects of religious upbringing.
  • Tate, Bettergarcia and Brent find (in Sex roles, 2015) that gender typicality increases self esteem and well-being. They tested homosexual versus heterosexual control groups, however it’s very plausible that the same effect holds true for gender-variant versus gender-conforming people.
  • Along the same lines, Titia Beek finds in her master thesis from the Netherlands that gender-queer people report lower levels of well-being. In addition, she points out that some people do not fit within the dual male/female categories of traditional transsexualism.
  • Shires and Jaffee publish their findings in Health & Social Work, 2015, about how 41.8 % of transsexual men have experienced verbal harassment, physical assault, or denial of equal treatment in a doctor's office or hospital. Among other factors, living full-time as non-birth gender, using hormones or surgery for medical transition, and having identification documents that list one's preferred gender were associated with increased reporting of health care discrimination experiences. In other words, the more you do to try to resolve your gender dysphoria, the more you are discriminated against.
  • In Pediatrics (2012), Roberts, Rosario, et al. find that gender non-conformity increases the risk of abuse (physical, psychological and sexual!) and post-traumatic stress disorder in children.
  • The International Journal of Endocrinology, 2015, publishes a study by Rolston, Gardner, et al. finding that disorders of sex development cause stigmatisation.
  • Another study finds that hormone treatment has little or no negative effects on health. In Endocrinología y Nutrición (2015), Quirós, Patrascioiu, et al find that there is no detectable increase of cardivascular risk factors for female transsexuals. In male transsexuals, they find a a slight worsening in lipid profile […], though within normal limits.
  • In a literature review by Weinand and Safer (Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology, 2015) an increased risk of hormone treatment for thrombosis (transsexual women) and polycythemia (transsexual men) is found. However, cancer and overall mortality does not increase.
  • In a study published by Fertility and Sterility in 2015, Caanen, Soleman, et al. find that levels of antimüllerian hormone are being decreased by hormone treatment for transsexual men. That’s probably a good thing, since high antimüllerian hormone levels are a risk factor for polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Marchand, Pelladeau and Pommier discuss in L’évolution psychiatrique, 2015, the medical categorisation of transsexualism in catalogues such as the ICD or the DSM. They argue for a distinction between transgenderism and transsexualism[1], and the inclusion of subtypes of transsexualism.
  • Schalkwyk, Klingensmith and Volkmar discuss the relationship between autism spectrum disorders and gender dysphoria (in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 2015) and argue that autistic people should enjoy equal rights with regard to treatment for gender dysphoria.
  • The journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice (2015) is publishing a long series of articles about the treatment of gender-non-conforming people by professional psychologists in its 46th volume. Included is an interesting article by Shpigel, Belsky and Diamond about how to work with non-accepting parents of sexual minority children.

Phew, that was a lot … I’m glad I got that done! I haven’t uploaded the abstracts yet, but hope to do that shortly.

Have a good Sunday! Peace and light ✨

[1] Well, duh! In a way, it’s scary to me that this needs discussing at all. The differences betweeen a crossdresser, who is content to sometimes wear clothing of the opposite sex, an androgynous person, and a person who is so distraught by the mismatch of her gender identity, physical sex and gender role that she can’t function normally, should be self-evident.

Saturday 28 March 2015

Roslyn Hardy Holcomb – How vicious can one get?

Heya everybody,

So much to write and so little time ☺ … just a quick note for now.

On The Transadvocate I found an article about a reaction to the weird Planet Fitness incident (where a trans-phobic female customer had her membership cancelled due to her not accepting the trans-friendly policy of Planet Fitness and is now suing to make the lifes of transsexuals more miserable).

Apparently, writer Roslyn Hardy Holcomb had the following to say about the issue:

The incident doesn’t have to happen in Mississippi. There are a lot of states with open carry, carry anywhere and Stand Your Ground laws on the books. I know in my state you only have to ‘feel’ threatened and you have the right to kill. I don’t know about you, but seeing the likes of ‘Carlotta’ in my bathroom would make me feel threatened as all fuck, and if I still carried I probably wouldn’t hesitate to shoot. I know a lot of women who carry and feel the same way.

I’m shocked and horrified … this is an apparently sane person who lives in a democratic free country, and had the benefit of a good education. And yet, she mandates the murder of people using the same bathroom as she does, if they don’t meet her personal definition of bathroom entry rules. She feels so strongly about the issue, she’d shoot without hesitation. She apparently believes she has the right to take the life of a person who doesn’t look female enough to be using a women’s bathroom – without any questions asked, warnings given, or clarifications.

I simply lack the words, I’m stunned … how can humans be so thoroughly hateful and evil? Oh, and apparently, a lot of women who carry […] feel the same way. And this is exactly why the lifes of transsexuals are as miserable as they are. If you are facing this much hate, suicide does seem a good way out.

In many countries, such opinions wouldn’t be protected by free speech laws anymore, as this is clearly incitement to hatred and violence. I’m not sure about US laws, but a person this deranged and vile must never be allowed anywhere near a gun or any other weapon.[1] Oh, and the law in her state that apparently gives people a right to kill when they ‘feel’ threatened? If this interpretation of the law is correct, transsexuals near her would be apparently legitimised to just shoot her (without hesitation, naturally).[2]

Oh, and this illustrates again the misery of transsexuals who don’t fit in with their gender in terms of looks. “Passing” transsexuals and people with disorders of dex development can fly under the radar, simply be themselves and live a normal life. Non-“passing” transsexuals get discrimination and hate, not to mention a bullet if people like Roslyn Hardy Holcomb have their way.

This reinforces the importance of early treatment for transsexualism in adolescents.

[1] Not trying to be funny, but image what would happen if this madperson went into the wrong bathroom by mistake? Clearly, we need separate bathrooms for women who carry and are haters.

[2] I’m against all violence except for self-defense. If a law that permits murder when “feeling” threatened exists, free speech, tolerance and humanism have clearly lost out against barbarism, arbitrary violence and anarchy.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Good news from the European Union

Heya everybody,

On the 12th of March 2015, the European Parliament voted on the EU’s report on human rights and democracy in 2013. With 390 votes in favour, 151 votes against and 97 abstentions, the parliament called for binding human rights clauses in all EU international agreements.

In its own section on LGBTI rights, the approved Motion for a European Parliament Resolution called for several issues relevant to transgender individuals. I quote this section in full, since I believe it’s a very commendable and exemplary piece of work for advancing equality and human rights.

[The European Parliament …]
  1. Considers it regrettable that 78 countries still criminalise homosexuality, including 7 which provide for the death penalty (Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Mauritania, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran, the Maldives and Brunei), and that 20 countries still criminalise transgender identities; firmly condemns the recent increase in discriminatory laws and believes that practices and acts of violence against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity should not go unpunished; encourages close monitoring of the situation in Nigeria, Uganda, Malawi, India and Russia, where new laws or recent legal developments seriously threaten the freedom of sexual minorities; reaffirms its support for the continuing work of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to combat these discriminatory laws and practices and for the UN’s work more generally on this issue;
  2. Supports the idea that the EEAS should prioritise its actions in this area and put particular emphasis on situations where the death penalty is in force and/or where LGBTI people are subjected to torture and ill-treatment, by condemning these practices in accordance with the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty and the EU Guidelines on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
  3. Welcomes the adoption in 2013 of the EU Guidelines to Promote and Protect the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Persons; calls on the EEAS and the Commission to raise the issue of LGBTI rights in political and human rights dialogues with third countries and multilateral forums; emphasises the importance of the Commission and the EEAS continuing to raise the issue of LGBTI rights in political and human rights dialogues and of using the EIDHR to support organisations defending LGBTI rights by empowering them to challenge homophobic and transphobic laws and discrimination against LGBTI people, raising awareness among the general public of the discrimination and violence experienced by people of different sexual orientations and gender identities, and ensuring the provision of emergency assistance (including psychosocial and medical help, mediation and reintegration assistance) to those in need of such support;
  4. Takes note of the legalisation of same-sex marriage or same-sex civil unions in an increasing number of countries – 17 to date – around the world; encourages the EU institutions and the Member States to further contribute to reflection on the recognition of same-sex marriage or same-sex civil union as a political, social and human and civil rights issue;
  5. Calls on the Commission and the WHO to withdraw gender identity disorders from the list of mental and behavioural disorders; calls on the Commission to reinforce its efforts to end the pathologisation of trans identities; encourages states to ensure quick, accessible and transparent gender recognition procedures that respect the right to self-determination;
  6. Welcomes the growing political support for outlawing sterilisation as a requirement for legal gender recognition, as expressed by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, and supports the view that such requirements should be treated and persecuted as a breach of the right to bodily integrity and of sexual and reproductive health and rights;
  7. Welcomes the annulment in October 2013 of the Moldovan law prohibiting the ‘propagation of any other relations than those related to marriage or family’, and calls on Lithuania and Russia to follow the Moldovan example; considers regrettable the outcome of the Croatian referendum of December 2013, which endorsed a constitutional ban on equal marriage; points out that a similar referendum will take place in Slovakia in February 2015; considers it regrettable that in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia a bill constitutionally banning same-sex marriage is currently being considered in parliament; stresses that such developments contribute to a climate of homophobia and discrimination; stresses that there is a strong need for improved protection of basic rights and freedoms for LGBTI people, including through legislation on hate crimes and anti-discrimination legislation, and asks national authorities to denounce hatred and violence on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression; considers that LGBTI people’s fundamental rights are more likely to be safeguarded if they have access to legal institutions such as cohabitation, registered partnership or marriage;

So, what is there to say … except for hurray, yay, well done 👏!
I especially love the excellent and well thought-through wording of paragraph 163. It calls on the WHO, which is currently working on a new edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), to remove gender identity disorder from the list of mental disorders. This motion is based on a vast body of scientific evidence showing that transsexualism is not a psychological disorder. Transsexuality is a condition created by a conflict between the areas of anatomical gender, gender role and gender identity. However, it is a condition that can reduce quality of life for the affected individuals to such a degree that medical care is necessary. This means the continued inclusion of transsexualism in the ICD, under a different category than today, is warranted and required.
In addition, the de-pathologisation of gender-queer behaviour is called for. This is a humanistic and much-needed step: gender-queer behaviour causes no harm, and it’s just weird and sick and bizarre and oppressive to classify behaviour that falls outside some cultural or social norms as sick.

So, thanks for that! It’s great what the EU has done over decades in terms of human rights, environmental protection, worker’s and consumer rights, and freedom of the individual – and all that in the face of a very diverse political and cultural landscape in Europe.

Oh, and I plan to put on some new studies later!

Friday 6 March 2015

Science, religion and Alvin Plantinga

Heya everybody,

On a website I frequent and like very much, Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is true, I came across an article called The stupidest argument of the month: atheism empowers ISIS. The article deals with a piece on a blog that I hadn’t come across before. It’s called Samuel’s Notebook – A Blog of Inklingations and is located on the Patheos web channel.

Well, the Inklingations blog sadly doesn’t allow comments on blog articles, only on something that’s called Samuel’s Notepad. I wrote two comments there, and then the comments thread was closed. 😏

However, there was an additional point I wanted to make. I’m usually not good at sophisticated philosophical arguments, but this was one was so transparently stupid that I just have to add my two cents worth. ☺

In an article claiming science has no meaning unless god exists, Samuel James, the author of the blog, uses an argument made by Alvin Plantinga to support his claim that only supernatural theism gives us assurance that real scientific knowledge is possible. He puts Plantinga’s point like this:

Philosopher Alvin Plantinga is famous for articulating what he calls the ‘evolutionary argument against naturalism’. The argument is complicated in detail but simple in premise. Plantinga begins by putting two facts alongside each other that nearly all atheists agree on. First, the theory of evolution is true, and humans have descended from lower life forms over time. Secondly, humans are rational beings in a higher degree and superior way to lesser evolved creatures. Plantinga then points our attention towards a tension between these two facts. If human beings are a more evolved species of primate, then our cognitive faculties (i. e., the parts of our body and mind that allow us to be rational creatures) have evolved out of lesser cognitive faculties. But, Plantinga says, if God does not exist, then the only factors that affected human evolution are time and chance. Based on time and chance alone, why should we be confident that our rational minds – which are merely the sum of lesser evolved minds plus time and chance – are actually rational at all? What basis do we have to believe our own conclusions? How do we know we are actually capable of knowing truth more than a primate? If the only players in our existence are lesser creatures, time, and chance, how do we know we are even highly evolved at all? This astute observation was echoed by […]

Apparently, this leads to the conclusion that scientific knowledge is only possible if things unprovable by science are actually true.

I’m not sure how this can pass as a rational argument amongst reasonable people. Let’s start by what we mean by more evolved. Clearly, humans are not more evolved than some other animals when it comes to swimming in water or under water, flying, or running quickly (if anybody asks how we can know this, try to outrun a tiger).

Okay, let’s use intelligence as an area where humans are more highly evolved. A useful definition of intelligence in this context is the capability to learn, to understand and to manipulate the world around us. How can we provide evidence that humans are more intelligent than other animals? Well, humans can control the powers of fire. Humans can create and make use of electricity. Humans can calculate and predict solar eclipses. Compare our abilities in this area to the abilities of other animals, and you’ll find humans are the species with the highest intelligence. Wow, and we’ve come to this conclusion using evidence and reason, entirely without supernatural shenanigans. And it really is that simple.

I don’t know about the reasoning powers of Alvin Plantinga or Samuel James, but if budgies cannot build nuclear power stations, and humans can, then it’s pretty evident that humans are more evolved than budgies when using nuclear power stations as an indicator. Hey, see what I did there? I was able to compare the ability of one species with another, and I did that entirely without invoking the concept of god. Amazing, isn’t it?  😏

Sunday 1 March 2015

A religious view on gender

Heya everybody,

While doing my usual round of collecting new studies about the topics I cover on Cakeworld, I came across an article discussing gender from a Catholic viewpoint, called Image and imago: a rational defense of a theological anthropology of gender, by Prof. Dr. Christopher P. Klofft. Normally, I don’t read through studies about cultural, sociological or legal issues related to transsexualism, since I concentrate on certain medical/psychological issues only. However, for some reason I read the article – I am curious as to why religions feel they should express an opinion on conditions such as transsexualism. Okay, so here we go:

The author is right off to a bad start by citing from an interview with actress Kirsten Dunst where she makes some unnecessary and gendered generalisations from her personal preferences: And sometimes, you need your knight in shining armor. […]. You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. That’s how relationships work. From this inconsequential statement, Klofft manages to construe a false dichotomy: depending on one’s perspective, this is either a thoroughly commonsensical statement or else a betrayal of the struggle of being a woman in the 21st century, and is led to proclaim that figuring out which one of those two contrasting views is correct is at the heart of issues of gender identity, gender meaning, and gender confusion today. Oy … where to begin …

After this assertion, he continues by claiming that confusions run rampant throughout discussions on subjects as practical as marriage and as theoretical as questions of human meaning and purpose because Modern and Post-Modern discourse espouses an increasingly plastic or subjective understanding on gender. His next assertion is that Catholic theology provides a response to this problem with a consistent account of gender that is also compatible with the best evidence available in support of a purely rational approach. This statement naturally got me interested, as that’s my cup of tea. An evidence-based, purely rational approach – yay! And apparently, if we understand the true meaning and purpose of gender, this will lead to a better understanding of ourselves and all of our relationships, and ultimately to the betterment of culture as a whole. That’s pretty good, isn’t it?

I mean, I know what gender is – gender encompasses the mental characteristics developed by evolution that go along with the two biological sexes which formed with sexual reproduction, and the associated cultural and social traits. So I should be well placed to understand myself and all my relationships better, which in turn improves society, right? But Christopher Klofft had a different “meaning” of gender in mind, as I soon found out.

In his next paragraph he says somehow incoherently that feminism is not necessarily the same thing as the contemporary crisis regarding gender, then continues on to define feminism as striving for the best realization of the unique gifts that women bring to culture. The patronising tone of this statement is just incredible, I find (is it just me?). There is a proper culture, male and built by males (that goes without saying), but hey, look, women have gifts, unique to them (of course!), and in our generosity we should permit them to bring their little gifts, and we should nod and smile and humour them like we would a child of less-than-average intelligence. Well, in my book feminism is about equality – equal rights, equal opportunities and equal value.

Klofft then goes on to claim that Modern and Post-Modern thought on gender has reduced it from an element of being human that is readily recognizable and acknowledged as a given to a yet another characteristic of the person subject to radical self-definition. Following on, he takes issue with differentiating the concepts of bodily sex characteristics, gender identity and sexual orientation (which he describes as one’s predilections in regard to sexual pleasure – these Catholics, always thinking about sexual pleasure first, instead of love or romantic attraction ☺). Apparently, distinguishing between the concepts of sex, gender and sexual orientation is very confusing to cisgendered men and women. Um, what? It’s clarifying, it’s enlightening, and it has explanatory power. Why should it be confusing? Our world is always complex and detailed when looking more closely at one particular issue, but the things we learn help us to understand nature better. I can’t even imagine what the alternative would be – should we simply say there are men (who are automatically and always cisgender and heterosexual) and there are women (who are automatically and always cisgender and heterosexual) and nothing else? Do we then deny that homosexuality exists in humans and animals? Disbelieve people who claim they are homosexual and transsexual? Sure, I can simply pretend things don’t exist – but the concepts of sex, gender and sexual orientation help us in understanding ourselves, our relationships and nature as whole better, and are grounded in the best evidence supporting a rational approach. Why abandon them?

Well, Klofft gives the answer. Apparently,

ignoring the binary distinctions of man and woman, male and female, creates challenges for anyone in any way responsible for helping others to understand the value and meaning of being human. This includes parents, educators, health care professionals, and law makers, to name just a few.
Read that again, slowly. He asserts that acknowledging there is more than black and white when it comes to issues relating to sex, makes it difficult to understand the value and meaning of being human. What? Every human life has the same value – what’s so difficult to comprehend here? Why does the fact that biological sex has nuances place obstacles especially for people responsible for helping others? Are parents, educators, health care professionals and law makers more stupid or more bigoted than other people? I have no idea what he’s on about? Are there other facts about nature we need to shield these special snowflakes from, lest they are mean to people entrusted to their care?

He then quotes some studies, correctly, that 95 % to 99.7 % of people identify with their biological sex, only to use this as basis for his complaint that yet a disproportionate amount of energy is placed on changing cultural perspectives. Umm okay, let’s say, just for example, if, say, 1 500 people per year commit suicide because of gender dysphoria, what is the correct amount of energy that should be placed on trying to help them, according to Prof. Klofft? In addition, he sighs, additional challenges are placed on the mental health community because it now has to figure out whether transsexuals suffer because of discrimination or because gender dysphoria is related to mental disorder. I can’t fathom his mind at all. Naturally, it is the job of the health community to find out the causes of illness, since knowing the cause often helps with the cure. Is he of the opinion we should not study the causes of depression and other mental issues? What the heck should we do instead? Stop helping people? I thought he was in favour of evidence and a rational approach? Surely this means we have to look for evidence?

Okay, continuing, he asserts that overall, we have great confusion about questions of gender in the west. He then goes on to talk about essentialist and constructionist definitions of gender. Essentialist definitions of gender are described by Klofft as based on the physiology and neurochemistry of the body, constructionist gender definitions are solely defined by one’s self, with as many genders as there persons, classifying vocabulary merely being used as a convenient shorthand for generalization. The latter is completely false, he asserts, because it is. End of story. So much for a rational approach!

Unsurprisingly, with his definitions for essentialist and constructionist definitions of gender he then continues to build up a completely false dichotomy. Why is it either or? Naturally, two genders/sexes exist, nobody disputes that. But nature likes variety, and things are often normally distributed, on a spectrum. This includes sexual characteristics, sexual dimorphisms in the brain, neurochemistry, etc. His essentialist definition doesn’t have a binary as its only or logical outcome, and his constructionist approach doesn’t have to deny that there are two main categories for gender or sex. Well, to disprove his binary approach to gender, which he equates falsely with the essentialist definition, let me point to disorders of sexual development, which affect up to 2 % of humans (that’s how a rational approach works, quoting evidence, not simply asserting something is false).

He then goes into knowing oneself and talks about the difference between understanding oneself and defining oneself. In a patronising style (I can imagine him reading this passage with a raised index finger) he then declares:

Gender, however, is a characteristic that does go to the core of what it means to be a human person. As such, can it be something that is defined by one’s own perceptions and subsequently thrust upon those with whom one is in relationship? Are one’s personal perceptions automatically to be taken as accurate for that person because they come from within? Or rather, is it possible that this aspect of one’s image, one’s gender, is something that can only be discovered rather than defined by oneself?
I mean, this made me alternate between wanting to laugh and wanting to cry. This statement, probably intended by him to be great moral warning, and a profound truth he has uncovered, is exactly the mantra of us transsexuals. It is what we have been saying all along. If he had bothered to talk to one single gender-dysphoric person, he would have heard exactly the same statement. Gender is innate, we have been saying. Long and hard self-studying has led to us to the conclusion that we are of the other gender than the one assigned at birth. We tried so hard to conform to the gender we were assigned at, but it didn’t work. Nature made us the way we are, we tried to fight against out nature, against who we are, against our very own identity… and ultimately failed. We succumbed to our true and only identity, to the core of who we are. Is this claim so hard to understand? Does he really think there is even a single transsexual child who says to her parents that she has chosen to be a girl, like one chooses to go horse riding or one chooses one’s hairstyle? Every transsexuals child tells the story how he or she is the gender he or she is, how she knows that’s her, down to the core of her identity. How can Klofft have so little knowledge about the people he likes to lecture? How dare he know so little about the subject he pontificates on? How can he be so blatantly ignorant about the claims made by the people he passes judgment on? And the claims we make are supported by evidence, as dozens and dozens of neurological and psychological studies show. What about his best evidence available in support of a purely rational approach?

To raise my ire further, he then says

[…] there is a benefit to acknowledging and accepting one’s gender based on one’s biology. It is easier and convenient. It simplifies relationships with others, especially people who we may not know as well. It promotes good physical health. It leads to psychological wholeness and easier spiritual growth.
Well, there you have it, you idiot! (Sorry!) That’s exactly what the problem is behind gender dysphoria. Transsexuals who have not been able to transition yet, live in conflict with their biology. This gender dysphoria causes poor psychological health. That’s what have been saying, what we are saying, and what the evidence says. All we want is to live, to live as ourselves, to live as who we are, to be true to ourselves and our identity. Has Klofft never heard this argument or never considered it? How can one person be so ignorant? I mean, this is a subject he writes about length, so it’s fair to assume he is interested in it. Is it wilful ignorance?

All these tortured arguments that essentialism is somehow linked to a black-and-white view of gender and that constructionism is apparently patently false, and so on, are just smokescreens. What Klofft says is that there is male and female, and nothing in between, and gender identity doesn’t exist separate from the anatomical sex of the genitals. Period. And he provides no evidence for this view. None at all.

Well, on his last few pages he talks about the concepts of male and female in the bible. Okay, maybe it’s historically interesting what concepts iron-age sheep herders had of the biological sexes and gender roles. Well, okay, I understand Klofft believes the bible is god’s word or at least inspired by god. But the bible is not a book that includes all there is in the universe and rules on everything. There are other planets, there is diabetes, there are dinosaurs. Should we conclude these things don’t exist because they are not mentioned in the bible? Should we conclude that if a topic is mentioned in the bible, however superficial, there is nothing more to learn about it? Why then study astronomy or medicine? We know the sun revolves around the earth and sickness is caused by demons, so why learn more?

In his last paragraph, Klofft says:

The work ahead of us is daunting, but the end result is sure. For the immediate future, there will continue to be curious laws, broken relationships, dangerous misunderstandings of human sexuality, depression, suicide, and one or more generations of children growing up confused about what it means to be a human person. The Catholic tradition offers an alternative to this, one which is founded in God’s revelation, but because of that, it is also accessible to human reason and common sense.
This is twisting the truth beyond recognition. It is religious bullying that leads to depression and suicide. In contrast, human reason and science are trying to learn and to understand human sexuality. The last sentence in the quotation above is incoherent to me. Why is something accessible to human reason and common sense because it’s based on revelation? I thought god worked in mysterious ways? If we can take human reason and common sense to revelation, then the only things that remain of revelation are reasonable and evidence-based, making revelation unnecessary.

Oh, and one more quote: The simple truth remains this: human persons all share happiness as their final end and nothing can ultimately satisfy that longing except for relationship with the Creator in Whose image we are made. I’d like to see some evidence on that, please. If this assertion is true, Christians or at least Catholics should surely be happier than other people?

Well, I’m not sure how reliable Klofft is in his theology, either. I thought the Catholic Church accepted evolution, but he says: The revelation of God about the meaning of the human person as taught by the Catholic Church reveals that we are creatures, lovingly fashioned by a Craftsman Who is Himself personal and relationship. Surely one can’t describe the cruel and wasteful process of evolution as lovingly fashioning creatures?

All this waffle, no evidence, no substance and not much logic in this long article by Christopher P. Klofft. What’s the point? To me, it appears like an exercise in creating an intellectual smokescreen with the aim to cover up how out-of-touch, anti-scientific and inhumane Catholic teachings on sex and gender are.