Social Justice and Gender Ideology: Part II (The Transgender Movement)

In addressing the social injustice of the contemporary societal (and governmental) attack on the family I began writing last Sunday of the gender ideology and the transgender movement. By way of preliminary I pointed out that the transgender movement is rooted in the same fundamental premise as radical feminism, which holds that all gender roles, expectations, and characteristics are pure social constructs that have nothing to do with actual male and female biology. Nevertheless, even if radical feminism sought a radical equality between men and women, it did not finally try to deny the male-female duality.

The transgender movement, however, has adopted the basic principle of feminism, namely that gender is nothing more than a social construct, with no real roots in ‘nature’, or at least no relevant roots in nature, and taken it further. If gender is no more than a social construct, then there is no reason why a man might not decide he is really a woman or a woman decide that she is really a man. The body is irrelevant. If the person with a man’s body wants to adopt the social construct of ‘femininity’ for his identity, that is his right. Further, if he wants even to modify his body accordingly, why not? Further, if gender is only a social construct, why only two genders? Why not a whole ‘gender spectrum’.

Now, while I have followed the basic logic of the argument, we should not look too closely at the logic, because the logic is purely in service of the ideology. So, on the one hand, the transgender movement will argue that people were born a certain way (male person in a female body) and since they have no power over the matter, should be accommodated. Then they will turn around and declare that a person has a right to choose their gender, that no gender should be forced on anyone, much less should any gender be ‘assigned’ at birth.

But let’s return to the basic premise, that gender is no more than a social construct, pure nurture and no nature. Not only is the premise patently wrong (scientific studies on sex differences have time and again confirmed common sense; one example being that little girls like to look at faces, but little boys like to look at things), but also it is extremely destructive of children.

The destructive character of gender ideology is brought to absurd and tragic extremes when toddlers are allowed to choose their ‘gender’, prepubescent children are given ‘puberty blockers’ (powerful drugs whose long term effects are little understood, but generally will cause sterility) to ‘block’ the unwanted development of their bodily sex, and teenagers are given cross-sex hormones (also powerful drugs) and even allowed to choose self-mutilating surgery to conform their body to the likeness of their chosen gender. This is extreme child abuse in more ways than one. This is not only a failure of the guidance due to children, it is positive misguidance.

Guidance and, we could say, true education are necessary for the nurture of human nature. Boys are meant to grow to be men and girls are meant to grow to be women, but while the biological growth follows from a basic minimum of nutrition and health care, the full human growth and maturation is a most delicate process and one that is far from certain in its outcome.

The basic maturity for a man is that he is capable of entering into a marriage and becoming a reasonably decent husband and father; the basic maturity for a woman is that she is capable of entering into marriage and becoming a reasonably decent wife and mother. That means that a young man and a young woman, by their 20th year at most, are capable of making the lifetime commitment of marriage.d

Nevertheless, because of radical feminism, we already threw out sex-specific education. If boys have been guided to become men, it is only because of what they received in their family; if girls have been guided to become women, it is only because of what they received in their family. Nevertheless, those family structures have been under incessant attack, while the schools, giving expression to public policy, only prepare boys and girls indifferently to pursue a ‘career’, a life of work.

Between the schools (sex-education) and the popular culture teenagers learn that, in regard to sex, anything goes between consenting adults, only they should avoid pregnancy and avoid disease. That is our current public sexual morality.

This has left children with no basic capacity to tell the difference between right and wrong in one of the most basic areas of human life, the most basic realm of human social life. This has left children clueless as to what marriage is all about, though nature inevitably inclines them towards marriage.

This fundamental confusion that has come from abandoning one of the most fundamental tasks of education; leaving children without guidance, left to figure things out for themselves, has led us to this ultimate degree of confusion about basic human reality that is revealed in the celebration of the transgender movement.

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Fr. Joseph Levine graduated from Thomas Aquinas College and after a long journey was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Baker, Oregon. He currently serves as pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church in The Dalles on the Columbia River.