There are three main actors in this truly shocking story: Jazz Jennings, the boy who was brought up as a girl; Jeanette Jennings, his mother who earned millions through pushing Jazz to ‘transition’; and Dr Jess Ting, the surgeon who allegedly ‘made it up as he went along’ in attempting to change Jazz’s genital anatomy from male to female. The fourth ‘J’ is The Julliard School in New York where Dr Ting studied music before – unfortunately for Jazz – giving it up in favour of medicine and specialising in so-called gender reassignment surgery.
The problem is over the concept itself of transgender(ism), or the related concepts of gender dysphoria and gender incongruence. I submit there are no such entities. They are merely fancy names for an idea, sense, feeling, or delusion someone might have that their ‘gender’ differs from their sex.
What, then, is gender? The most useful definition I could find comes from the doughty Mirriam Webster Dictionary, where in a discussion of the difference between sex and gender, it says: ‘In non-medical and non-technical contexts, there is no clear delineation, and the status of the words remains complicated.’ Quite.
I’m told transgender people have always existed. Well, if they have, good luck to them. But what are transgender people? They used to be known as transsexuals: those who tried to change their physical appearance to resemble that of the opposite sex.
Nowadays, it’s rather more complicated, because such people are not content merely to try to change their sex. We’re told that gender can be expressed in an infinite number of ways: ‘There are as many gender expressions as stars in the sky.‘ But if we come down to earth, we can contemplate at least a range or continuum as suggested by the transgenderists’ appropriation of the rainbow colours: male or female, both, neither, something in between, or something that changes from time to time.
The turn of the tide
Perhaps the tide is now starting to turn. In the great country of America, which is not known for doing anything by halves, we learn:
Nineteen of the fifty US states have enacted bans or restrictions on [so-called] transgender care with many penalising doctors who provide puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgery for children – including ten years in prison in Idaho, fines up to $25,000, and loss of medical license.
Source: The British Medical Journal and passim.
And none too soon, in my opinion.
Furthermore, surgery is ‘the art, practice, or work of treating diseases, injuries, or deformities by manual or operative procedures’ (dictionary.com). Transgender people may not like their bodies, but if they’re physically healthy why should they be operated upon? It’s a travesty of the surgeon’s skill to cause irreversible change to someone’s healthy body because of a problem only affecting the mind.
Text © Gabriel Symonds
Picture credit: Katie Rainbow on Unsplash