by Peter Sprigg
July 2, 2015
It is odd that Slate, in a piece by Jacob Brogan, argues that Family Research Council’s detailed new paper by Dale O’Leary and Peter Sprigg, “Understanding and Responding to the Transgender Movement,” represents “a flag of surrender.” Since this is the first comprehensive research paper specifically on the transgender movement that FRC has published in its 32-year existence, it is not a “surrender,” but the exact opposite — a clear declaration of our intention to engage actively in the debate over this issue and offer an alternative path to the leftist social agenda that only harms those struggling with gender dysphoria. Although the paper has been in the works for months, the fact that it was finally completed and published in the same month as Bruce Jenner’s much-publicized “coming out” as “Caitlyn” makes it all the more timely.
It should not be any surprise that the paper addresses “leftist concepts and categories.” After all, the first purpose of the paper, as expressed in the title itself, is to “understand” the transgender movement — which is entirely reliant on “leftist concepts and categories,” and not on scientific research. For example, the paper certainly discusses “the contrast between sex and gender” in leftist thought, but we do not “internalize” it — on the contrary, we explicitly reject the “distorted psychological self-concept that one’s ‘gender identity’ is different from one’s biological sex.”
The fact that we quote sources on the left, such as the homosexual former Congressman Barney Frank and the lesbian feminist Janice Raymond, illustrates that concern about some aspects of the trans-agenda does not only arise from “traditional values” — which would make it easier for Brogan to dismiss such concerns. Brogan is correct to say that in our paper, “leftist identity politics” have been “turned back against themselves” — because we have exposed that such concepts are incoherent, illogical, indefensible, and/or internally inconsistent.
The fact that “the far right no longer controls the conversation on gender and sexuality issues” — at least in the major cultural institutions of the news media, the entertainment media, and the educational establishment — has been true ever since the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. The stranglehold of political correctness on those institutions is not something new to 2015. However, the “intellectual foundation of our own” is the undeniable reality that biological sex is immutable. The further (and sadder) reality is that if “gender transition” and “gender reassignment surgery” are supposed to ease the psychological problems of those with “gender dysphoria,” they are a proven failure. It matters not that we cite older sources to support this, since the reality has not changed (although expert psychiatrist Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins has continued to speak out on this issue right up to the present day).
I give Brogan credit for at least having read the paper (that is more than I can say for some of the people who wrote “reviews” of my book about the redefinition of marriage, Outrage). However, he ignores (or perhaps did not read) the entire second section, dealing with the public policy responses to the transgender movement. It is there where FRC intends to engage — and will never surrender.