Adapted from remarks by Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, Family Research Council
to World Congress of Families – Chisinau, Moldova
(Panel Discussion on “Gender Ideology—The Latest Attack on the Family and the Legal Challenges It Poses”)
Friday, September 14, 2018
I want to share with you today five myths about “gender identity.”
These are five things that are believed and taught by transgender activists, which simply are not true.
1. If the mind is in conflict with the body, the mind is right.
This is the most fundamental belief of the transgender movement. If a person is biologically male, but that person feels or believes that he is a woman, then he is female. And if a biological female believes she is male, then she is male.
But why should anyone believe that?
Contrary to the claims of the transgender activists, this belief is not “scientific.” In fact, since science deals with an examination of the physical world, the rejection of the physical body is anti-scientific.
The belief that the mind is right and the body wrong when they conflict is a philosophical—almost a religious—viewpoint. It has nothing to do with science.
It is bad enough when adults are deceived in this way—but it is tragic when it happens to children. Certainly, some children, even from a very young age, engage in behaviors that do not conform to the typical expectations for their sex.
However, myth number two is:
2. Gender non-conforming children will always grow up to be transgender adults.
Actually, there is much evidence that the vast majority of such children, if left to themselves, eventually accept their biological sex. According to the American Psychiatric Association, anywhere from 70 to 97.8 percent of gender non-conforming boys, and 50 to 88 percent of gender non-conforming girls, will not become transgender. However, if they are encouraged by adults to make a social transition, and they receive hormones that prevent normal puberty from occurring, they may be locked in to a path that leads to great suffering.
3. Gender transition (hormones and surgery) is “medically necessary.”
This is the claim that transgender activists make in order to justify forcing government health programs and private health insurance companies to pay for these expensive procedures.
This claim has everything to do with money, and nothing to do with medicine.
The vast majority of people who identify as transgender are physically normal, physically healthy people. Hormones and surgery do not help their bodies work better—instead, they destroy healthy body systems and healthy body parts.
The claim is that hormones and surgery are “necessary” to improve the mental health of transgender people, not their physical health. Has evidence proven this? No.
In 2016, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees two of the largest federal health care programs, refused to order routine coverage for gender reassignment surgery. They said:
One of the best studies, out of Sweden, showed the following about patients after they had gender reassignment surgery. Compared to the general Swedish population, they were:
- “[T]here is not enough high quality evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes.”
- “Overall, the quality and strength of evidence were low.”
- The four best studies “did not demonstrate clinically significant changes” for the better.
This sounds medically dangerous—not “medically necessary.”
4. “Gender identity” discrimination is a form of “sex discrimination.”
In the United States, the majority of states have not added “gender identity” as a protected category in laws against discrimination, nor has the U.S. Congress.
Therefore, transgender activists have begun urging courts to interpret laws against “sex discrimination” to include “gender identity.” Since our federal law against sex discrimination in employment and in education were passed in 1964 and in 1972, it is unlikely that legislators intended “sex” to mean anything other than being biologically male or female.
A 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision included a passing comment that “gender stereotyping”—for example, telling a woman she is not feminine enough—could be a form of “sex discrimination.” But even that case does not stand for the proposition that a man can become a woman, or a woman can become a man.
5. The transgender movement is a progressive movement.
This may be the most surprising for me to list as a “myth.”
Although we speak about the “LGBT movement,” there are many “LG”—self-identified lesbians and gays—who are concerned about the “T” (those who identify as transgender). They are not happy that masculine girls and feminine boys—who at one time might have grown up to identify as lesbians or as gay men—are now being told that they are actually the opposite sex.
Meanwhile, some feminists point out that transgender activists often are not trying to overcome gender stereotypes. Instead, they are trying to conform to rigid stereotypes—but of the opposite sex.
It would seem more “progressive” to simply say that there are different ways to be a boy or a man, and different ways to be a girl or a woman—and none of them require changing your gender or mutilating your body.
- 2.8 times as likely to have died of any causes;
- 2.8 times as likely to have a psychiatric hospitalization;
- 4.9 times as likely to attempt suicide;
- 19.1 times as likely to die by suicide.
On Friday, a federal judge ruled that Dumont v. Lyon, the ACLU’s lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, may proceed, finding that the plaintiffs—two same-sex couples who allege they were turned away by certain faith-based placing agencies when they sought to adopt—have standing to sue.
In denying the Defendant’s motion to dismiss, the Clinton-appointed District Judge, Paul D. Borman, ruled that the couples have demonstrated plausible Establishment Clause and Equal Protection claims that are “fairly traceable” to the defendant’s practice of entering into contracts with faith-based agencies that operate according to their religious beliefs about marriage. Michigan state law since 2015 has protected the conscience rights of faith-based adoption providers.
In his ruling, Judge Borman explained that because faith-based agencies process 20 percent of the active foster care and adoption cases in Michigan, it is “reasonable to infer that the ability of faith-based agencies to employ religious criteria as a basis to turn away same-sex couples erects at least a 20% barrier to that Prospective Parent Plaintiffs’ ability to adopt or foster a child in the State of Michigan.” Noticeably absent from Judge Borman’s comments on this point is that the ACLU’s clients in the case live closer to four other foster and adoption agencies than St. Vincent Catholic Charities, a co-defendant in the case. All four agencies facilitate adoptions for same-sex couples.
Significant for this case—and others moving forward—Borman cites the Plaintiff’s claim of “stigmatic injury” alongside “practical injuries” as grounds for allowing their Establishment Clause claims to proceed. In addition to claiming that Michigan’s law makes it more difficult for them to adopt, the same-sex couples allege that the state’s practice of contracting with faith-based agencies with religious convictions constitutes a form of harmful discrimination. This is an appeal to “dignitary harm,” a concept that refers to the alleged emotional pain and humiliation suffered when someone disagrees with another’s moral decisions or lifestyle; the notion is increasingly invoked by activists who want to silence dissent from anyone who disagrees with the LGBT agenda.
The longest section in the 93-page ruling was Borman’s rationale for why, in his view, the Plaintiffs have credibly alleged an Establishment Clause violation. The Plaintiffs believe the implementation of Michigan law constitutes an endorsement and promotion of religion which is prohibited by the Establishment Clause. Concurring with the Plaintiffs, Borman employs the second and third prongs of the Lemon test to establish whether Michigan’s law conveys the message that the state endorses the view that opposes same-sex marriage. According to Borman, “The answer is yes.” In an important paragraph he argues that “Plaintiffs plausibly allege and suggest that the State’s practice of contracting with and permitting faith-based child placing agencies to turn away same-sex couples has both a subjective purpose of discriminating against those who oppose the view of the faith-based agencies and objectively endorses the religious view of those agencies that same-sex marriage is wrong.”
Borman also says that while the Establishment Clause does not prohibit Michigan from entering into contracts with religious organizations, the use of religious criteria by faith-based adoption providers suggests “excessive entanglement” between the state and religion. Thus, according to Borman’s opinion, the Defendants will need to prove in the trial phase why current state law protecting faith-based adoption agencies does not constitute an inappropriate promotion of or excessive entanglement of religion.
Turning to the Plaintiff’s Equal Protection claim, Borman is more cautious but permits the claim to proceed to the discovery phase. Notably, he admits the Plaintiff’s burden to prove that Michigan’s law is motivated by anti-gay animus is “admittedly high.”
On one count Borman does rule in favor of the Defendants, finding that the Plaintiffs fail to establish taxpayer standing to assert their Establishment Clause claims. Alongside the same-sex couples, Jennifer Ludolph, a former foster child who also sued the state, objected to the use of taxpayer money to fund child-placing agencies that do not place children in same-sex households due to the provider’s religious convictions on marriage. Borman ruled that all of the Plaintiffs failed to establish taxpayer standing and dismissed with prejudice Ludolph’s claims.
In response to the decision, Mark Rienzi, an attorney with Becket representing St. Vincent said, “Today’s court ruling allows the ACLU’s lawsuit to proceed—a lawsuit aimed at forbidding the state from working with faith-based adoption agencies to help children in need. Such a result would make it much harder for thousands of children to find the loving home they each deserve. Beckett is fighting to make sure that doesn’t happen, and this is just one step along the journey in this case.”
“Safe, legal, and rare.”
That’s how the Democrats described their position on abortion over 20 years ago. Nevertheless, in just one year, 321,384 lives were aborted by Planned Parenthood, and nearly 60 million lives have been lost to abortion in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade.
First off, anything legal is hardly ever rare, and when it comes to abortions, it doesn’t take a genius to know they are not safe—physically or psychologically.
We know the phrase “safe, legal, and rare” was just political coaxing mixed with just enough moral undertones to put people’s consciences at ease about abortion rights. But as usual, when you give the Left an inch, they build a highway.
Now, Democrats in California want young women to have as many abortions as they want, right from their dorm rooms. This is the purpose of California bill SB 320, the first bill of its kind, which has made its way onto Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.
SB 320—deceptively titled the “College Student Right to Access Act”—would require public universities with on-campus student health centers to provide abortion pills to young college-aged women by January 1, 2022. If signed, California would be the first state to require access to chemical abortions on-campus, and abortion activists will make SB 320 model legislation for the rest of the country.
Legal abortion has created a pathway for bills like SB 320 that try to reinforce the idea that abortion is healthcare. Elective abortion—the taking of innocent unborn life—should never be considered healthcare, and if anything, legislation like SB 320 shows a reckless disregard for the health of young women and presumes that education and motherhood are not compatible.
We’ve known since 2006 that the abortion pill regimen is dangerous, with thousands of reported adverse health events, including several deaths. Recently, the FDA reported 1,445 more adverse events from 2012-2017. Since the introduction of the abortion pill in 2000, the drug has caused 22 deaths, 97 ectopic pregnancies, 1,041 hospitalizations, 598 blood transfusions as a result of blood loss, 411 infections, and 69 severe infections, with a total of 4,185 adverse events reported.
A former Planned Parenthood manager, Abby Johnson, had this experience with her medical abortion:
A blood clot the size of a lemon had fallen into my bath water. Was that my baby? I knew this huge clot was not going to go down the drain, so I reached down to pick it up. I was able to grasp the large clot with both hands and move it to the toilet.
Then came the excruciating pain again. I jumped out of the shower and sat on the toilet. Another lemon sized blood clot. Then another. And another. I thought I was dying. This couldn’t be normal. Planned Parenthood didn’t ever tell me this could happen.
One of SB 320’s co-sponsors, ACT for Women and Girls, says SB 320 is “about making sure that our young people are prepared for their life.”
Can you imagine the mental trauma that would occur to a young woman who sees her abortion take place in her college dorm room, while at the same time enduring the physical trauma of excruciating pain?
We know already that abortion negatively impacts a woman’s mental health. One study in the British Journal of Psychiatry analyzed 22 studies that detailed women who were post-abortive and found that they were more likely to have issues with substance abuse and had greater anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts than non-abortive women.
Instead of “preparing” women for life, the abortion pill is setting them up to be more traumatized through life.
SB 320 does not prepare men or women for life, to take responsibility for their actions, and make wise, moral choices.
In reality, having the abortion pill readily available steps from college dorm rooms does nothing but incentivize the prevailing hook-up culture. Will the future of college “sex weeks” not only include condoms but abortion pills too?
Neither does it enhance the dignity of women. Instead, SB 320 treats women as sex objects, implying that “if she wakes up pregnant, it’s no big deal, since she can easily go to the health center to get some abortion pills.”
No accountability, no responsibility—the gifts of modern feminism.
Modern feminists place opposition between education, work, and family for women. If you’re a young college student who thinks she is pregnant, modern feminists say abortion is the safest route to ensure you will not be uneducated and poor (as if this is the worst thing that can happen to you… the slight elitism should not go unnoticed). Feminists proudly tout they are pro-choice, but the only choice they are in favor of is telling you to abort your child.
There are serious concerns that are not addressed in SB 320 that make the bill look rushed and politicized. SB 320 disregards the risks to women’s health, the potential liability to schools, and unclear fungibility of taxpayer funds. The bill’s funding mechanism is purposefully vague. Private funding until 2021 ignores the fact that a school clinic’s overhead is paid by taxpayers, and the language of the bill leaves open taxpayer-funded abortion after that.
SB 320 leaves more questions than answers in giving women unsupervised access to abortion.
As the abortion industry creates victims, the pro-life movement creates victors.
For instance, 24-year-old single mom Briana Williams graduated from Harvard Law School with her one-year-old daughter, and many other students have shared their stories.
SB 320 is not empowering or safe for women. Better options are prevailing, and those efforts should be supported and funded. Tell Governor Brown how this bill will harm young women and place public universities at risk.
Resources for Women with Unplanned Pregnancies
Pregnant on Campus is an initiative started by Students for Life of America to empower women to choose life by providing resources and support for pregnant and parenting students on campus.
If a woman takes the first pill of the abortion pill regime and then has second thoughts, there is still a way to stop the process. For more information, visit AbortionPillReversal.com. For emergencies, there is a hotline at 877-558-0333.
Find a Pregnancy Center Near You
Care Net pregnancy centers offer accurate and helpful information in a compassionate environment. If you think you may be pregnant and are in search of information about pregnancy options, a free pregnancy test, or post-decision support, the experts at your local Care Net pregnancy center can help. Search here to find one near you.