The following comes from the Executive Summary of a study by Dr. Lawrence B. Mayer, titled “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences:”
The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body” or “a woman trapped in a man’s body” — is not supported by scientific evidence.
According to a recent estimate, about 0.6% of U.S. adults identify as a gender that does not correspond to their biological sex.
Studies comparing the brain structures of transgender and non-transgender individuals have demonstrated weak correlations between brain structure and cross-gender identification. These correlations do not provide any evidence for a neurobiological basis for cross-gender identification.
Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes. One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about 5 times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.
And from the preface:
[N]early all children ultimately identify with their biological sex. [Emphasis added by FWP.]
The implication of the quoted material is quite clear:
However, it has a second implication as well:
Let’s stipulate, entirely for the sake of argument, that Dr. Mayer’s assertions as quoted above are as accurate as contemporary science can make them. Would that constitute a sound basis for outlawing sex reconstructive surgery (SRS)?
We humans have an irritating tendency to want to extinguish what we disapprove. Once governments arose, particularly the sort whose officials are chosen by ballot, this tendency entered our laws. The best current example is, of course, the War on Drugs.
That tendency isn’t always wrong. I dislike and strongly disapprove of murder, assault, robbery, kidnapping, fraud, rape, advertising that insults my intelligence, and taxation. I’d like to see all of them outlawed, especially that last one. (My hopes in this direction will probably be forever unfulfilled.) But my desires in this regard are modest compared to most Americans. They’d like to see the long arm of the law reach much further. Many believe that a heavy enough weight of popular disapproval should suffice to have something banned.
We’ve experienced a number of such bans. Probably the best known is alcohol Prohibition. However, there have been many others, including some that are still in force. For example, the state of New York still has laws on the books that outlaw adultery and fornication. Until recently, several states outlawed sodomy, both anal and oral. And of course, we all know about Massachusetts’s statutes against witchcraft. That these laws are seldom enforced makes no difference to their legal standing.
A significant majority of Americans disapprove of sex reconstructive surgery. Some would like to see it outlawed, though their arguments against it vary. Once again, if we stipulate that Dr. Mayer’s assertions above are as accurate as medical science can make them, would that plus the weight of popular disapproval constitute sufficient rationale for banning SRS?
The history of laws passed to suppress some disapproved practice that affects only voluntarily participating adults is not a happy one. In the usual case, such laws are used selectively, to harass or punish persons the political elite dislikes. That aspect of them contributes to the general loss of respect for the law. This is particularly the case when the enforcement of the law requires the violation of rights guaranteed by the Constitution. But none of that has ever slowed the charge of those who think to create the Kingdom of God on Earth by legislative action.
As Darrell Huff observed in his classic How to Lie with Statistics, it’s a dangerous thing for any researcher to present his conclusions about some controversial practice without including his personal opinion of it. My own opinions, therefore, follow:
- Sex reconstructive surgery is a drastic step no matter at what point in one’s life he chooses it.
- It appears to work out badly (i.e., the patient is made miserable by it) more than half the time.
- The consequences of a bad decision appear very serious.
- Therefore, I would seriously question the judgment of anyone who opts for it.
- Nevertheless, for consenting adults, it should be as legal as any other elective surgery.
But that’s just me, Fran the freedom-weenie, who’s ever ready to let you go to hell in your own chosen fashion. (Cf. Eric Frank Russell’s classic novelette “Basic Right.”) How do you stand, Gentle Reader?