The notion of transgendering is not new: Lord Cornbury, colonial governor of New York in the early 18th century, was rumored to take nighttime walks down Broadway dressed in his wife’s clothes. Deborah Sampson picked up a musket and enlisted in the Continental Army for 18 months, and during the Civil War at least 400 women signed up under men’s names in the Union Army (for reasons seldom explored). Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge, a fictional assault on all middle-class gender assumptions, topped the best-seller charts in the late 1960s, at about the time that sex-change operations were in the exploratory stage and sexual identity was claiming cover story status in Time and Newsweek. In college I palled around with a young man who wondered aloud if he was really a woman. It was kind of a fad.
But today, after hitching a ride on the lesbian, gay, bisexual train, transgenderism is no longer just a fad. Any social movement that causes the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to change its diagnosis has clearly come into its own. The upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will reclassify gender identity confusion (my word, not theirs) from a “disorder” to a “dysphoria.” I had to look up “dysphoria.” The definition is broad as a barn door: “An emotional state of anxiety, depression, or restlessness; state of feeling unwell or unhappy.”
So dysphoria could apply, theoretically, to my feelings of discomfort raised by the long-buried memory of Myra Breckinridge.But the APA has apparently settled on it as the least stigmatic way to describe a growing phenomenon:
“For a person to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, there must be a marked difference between the individual’s expressed/experienced gender and the gender others would assign him or her, and it must continue for at least six months.”
This definition completely overlooks the reason “others would assign” a certain gender: Male bodies are distinctly different from female bodies. That fact is never referenced in the two-page apology for reclassification found on the APA website.
Nor was it a factor in the Twitter discussion that arose at the birth of little Prince George, whose parents fondly assume he is a boy. Not so, lectured an admittedly tiny but vocal subset of celebrants: “[T]hey shouldn’t declare its gender so quickly! I kinda want them to raise it in such a way that it can choose.” No such wistfulness in this forceful comment: “The royal baby is not a boy, because ze is not yet old enough to choose zir own gender.” Or, more forcefully still: “STOP CALLING THE #ROYAL BABY A BOY. ZIR BIOLOGICAL SEX IS NOT RELEVANT.” (Notice how gender confusion leads to pronoun dysfunction.)
“God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes” (Ecclesiastes 7:29). One of our many schemes is Gnosticism, or the idea that the body doesn’t matter—an ancient heresy that thrives in mind-over-matter theologies today. Gender fluidity is Gnosticism run amok, and sooner or later reality will pull it up short. In the meantime it’s messing with too many heads.