When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement
© 2018 Ryan Anderson
In the summer of 2015, a former non-issue affecting an extreme minority became, seemingly overnight, a mainstream talking point. All manner of individuals suddenly began announcing they were lopping off body parts and bombarding themselves with chemicals to change their sex, and instead of this being treated like a previously ignored mental issue, it was instead exhalted to the heights — it became a civil rights matter, with strongarm action by the Obama-driven state to boot. When people began getting hit with fines for refusing to use proper pronouns, I realized: we’re deeper in the abyss than I realized. Attempting to make sense of all this is When Harry Became Sally, a criticism of trans-activism which is compassionate, but pointed – so much so that Amazon pulled it from stores, throwing down the memoryhole. No independent thoughts for you, peasant! Watch our latest sex-and-violence filled show, instead.
When Harry Met Sally is not a condemnation of those individuals who experience or claim to experience gender dysphoria; Anderson draws from interviews with people in transition, and frequently reminders readers to be respectful and considerate of people’s pain. His target is the inappropriate medical and governmental response to the issue of dysphoria, which often prevent afflicted individuals from potentially overcoming their distress, while permanently marring victims’ bodies and forcing all of society to pretend A is not A, and that a man in a dress is not a man, but in fact a woman — often under penalty of fines or being condemned as a bigot. (Pro tip: to avoid caring about such judgment, identify as a straight white male. You will then be written off so often as a racist, a sexist, a chauvinist, a –phobe of varying prefixes, that clatter of condemnation will simply fade into the background as irrelevant noise, like traffic.)
Anderson begins by presenting and evaluating the claims of trans activists, an extremely vocal minority whose opinions do not represent most of those allege dysphoria. He then features interviews from people who have de-transitioned, or tried to — medical and surgical alterations in this case are usually irreversible to some degree, as surgically removed parts won’t grow back, synthetic parts are limited, and broken voice boxes or sabotaged testes do not self repair. In his final section, Anderson covers the legal changes sought for or obtained by the previously mentioned minority, and comments on the ramifications – -the increased exposure of women to sexual violence, for instance, and the disappearance of man/woman as meaningful language. (The results of that are sometimes as amusing as they are exasperating – witness the sudden invasion of women’s sports by men in drag. How’s that for progress, ladies?) Anderson draws from a wide spectrum of individuals, none of whom could be conceivably connected to social conservatism by any stretch of the imagination.
There are several criticisms of trans-activism developed within the book, but I’ll share only a few. Anderson attacks the goals of activists as well the results. No one has ever ‘transitioned’ from male to female, or the reverse; at best, what has been achieved is the masculization or the feminization of one’s appearance. Biological sex is fundamental to the development of a human being, and is oriented with a purpose; male and female are not random variations like darker or lighter skin, or attached versus free earlobes, but instead are critical for reproduction. There is no generic human being; we are inherently formed by our sex. There are cultural and individual variations as to how masculinity or femininity are expressed, but the core nature is there. Anderson then examines how treatment of dysphoria is severely distorted: intervention in the form of chemical treatments begins almost immediately, after one or two meetings with a psychiatrist, despite the fact that dysphoria often has psychological roots which individuals can recover from on their own, or in therapy. Many of the women interviewed here discovered that their dysphoria was really self-hatred or internalized misogyny, for instance. (Not mentioned, but of interest: Ted Kaczynski once began the sex change process, but backed off after realizing a misplaced desire for feminine connection had created the desire.) This potential for recovery is derailed by aggressive use of hormones to masculinize or feminize one’s appearance, reinforcing the dysphoria rather than abating it. The fact that intervention does little to help dysphoria is sadly evidenced in the tragically high suicide rate among transitioners. Despite all this, political forces seem hell-bent on making gender fluidity sacrosanct, beyond question – like the efficacy of surgical masks against viruses, another new dogma which our new tech-overlords will purge you for questioning.
For those seeking to learn more about the claims of the activists, or to understand what actually happens to those in transition, and what a mess is being made of language and civil liberties in the name of justice, When Harry Became Sally recommends itself. It could have easily been a screed, pointing the finger at those suffering from confusion and demanding reaction. It was not, and the author goes out of his way to appeal to our better angels, not our worse ones, despite that the positions advocated by some activists amount to theft, political persecution, and child abuse. After reading it, I cannot fathom why Amazon would bar it from shelves, but such is the state of current mass society. The ideals of the American republic have been forgotten and thrown away, not only by DC but by Americans themselves, who seem just as eager to devour one another in ideological hatred as the Chinese of the cultural revolution.