JACK BECKMAN-SMITH


Transgenderism: Facts versus Feelings


OPINION: Transgender individuals in our society, and how the state should treat them. Why biology must be taken into consideration for the sake of equity.


Only a couple years ago, prominent transgender figures like Kaitlyn Jenner would have never gained the support and praise that they do today. It seems modern-day culture has developed an immense appetite for the most obscure and underrepresented peoples with the strangest stories. A trickle of tolerance has developed into a flash flood, crushing all those questioning of certain narratives and truths the mainstream has formed.

One of those surfacing narratives is the one surrounding gender.

In the past you’d have been given strange looks for questioning the gender binary. In the future, you’ll be ridiculed and attacked for questioning the seemingly infinite gender spectrum.

In a world where people berate medical professionals for assigning sexes to children at birth, we give those same children hormonal treatment to make them more like the other gender.

Mack Beggs, a 17-year-old from Trinity High School in Texas, recently won gold in his 110-pound weight class in the Texas state finals. The only thing is Beggs was competing in the girl’s division.

Beggs was born a female, but has begun transitioning to become a male. To help him transition, he’s been taking testosterone. However, he must still compete in his assigned sex’s league according to state law.

Beggs and many others would like him to compete in the male division.

But who’s right in this case? The state? Or Beggs?

Well, neither of them are really right. Beggs was born a woman, yes. But he has taken testosterone to put him at levels 15 times greater than in an average man. Testosterone is known as the natural male sex hormone, and it greatly increases muscle growth and strength. Anabolic steroids mimic testosterone in its structure and properties.

So just as steroid abusers are considered invalid competitors, those taking hormone therapy should also be considered invalid competitors.

However, people shouldn’t be picking and choosing their gender as they like.

Certainly, it is their choice to identify however they like, but they cannot change biology however they like.

The notion that gender is separate from sex has really only become popular in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. What really constitutes gender? The way our brain works? Well, the cells in our brain determine how our brain works and your cells either have a set of XX (female-determining) or XY (male-determining) chromosomes. Chemical imbalances such as excess testosterone or estrogen may sway you to act and appear more like the opposite gender but that is a medical disorder. You aren’t all of a sudden the opposite gender because you’re chemically imbalanced.

As many kids grow older, they may become chemically imbalanced during their sexual maturation. This is normal, and these imbalances go away once they reach adulthood.

But many parents and activists looking to bring justice and tolerance into this world have taken it upon themselves to help children transition at early ages. At an age where children can be confused about their feelings, some parents feel even the slightest of tomboy-ish or girl-ish acts warrant a gender reassignment.

These kinds of drastic measures that some parents are tempted to take may be endangering and crippling their children. These gender transition treatments may not even make trans individuals happier. The suicide rate, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, remains the same even for individuals that have transitioned. In their lifetime, 41% of trans individuals will attempt suicide. It is hard to understand fully how trans-individual’s brains work, and it’s especially hard since the Williams Institute, a UCLA sexual-orientation and identity law research group, reports that only 0.3% of U.S. citizens identify as transgender.

We do not know for certain whether the surgeries and transitions help.

So should Beggs have competed in his birth sex’s bracket? If not, why? Because he identifies as a man? Well that raises the question, what about people who identify as neither? Or people who identify as a gender different from man or woman? Do we make brackets for them or abolish the sex-based leagues?

If gender is determined by preference and not biology, then what of other things like age and race? Can I drink because I am a 21-year-old man in a 16-year-old’s body? Can I get an African American Scholarship to a university if I identify as African American even though I am mostly white? When do we throw out biology for the sake of someone’s feelings? Do doctors tell their patients that they’re A-OK just to make them feel better? Can I identify as a healthy person and thus be considered one?

The answer to all these questions is “no.” We must consider biological fact, especially when discussing public policy. As for transgender individuals, more insight and research into their minds is necessary to know what will help them the most.