Feature 02.10.2023 4 minutes

The Church of Trans

Pride rainbow baloons

Trans ideology consists of incoherent faith-claims, not science.

Using Merriam-Webster’s definition, a religion is “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.” Transgender ideology, especially when mandated by the state, qualifies. When engaging with devotees of this Church of Trans, I start from the rhetorical standpoint that I am a gender atheist, whose counterreligious attitudes ought to have equal protection in law, just as those of atheists have.

In my college days, I was transgender myself. I left my church, abandoning my spiritual belief structure in the name of truth and beauty, after a series of formative experiences. Although trans acolytes promised me brain scans, although they hand-wave at hysterical hormone levels, the reality is there are irreconcilable disagreements even among believers as to the fundamental tenets of this faith system. Even in the time since I first detransitioned, clear schisms have formed. Sects disagree as to when gender identity forms, and whether it stays stable across the lifespan, for the simple reason that gender identity is an unverifiable, immaterial soul-concept. It is not a belief arrived at scientifically. It is a belief acquired from other people, who in turn derived it to justify behaviors that otherwise defied explanation.

The rest of us are told we must take it on faith that another person has a deep, conscious sense of personal identity, undetectable by science at this time, which may form in childhood, or may not, and may be restricted to one of two genders, or may not, and everyone has one, or some people don’t, because they are “agender.” We’re expected to agree we have a gender, too, and ours just happily aligned with the scientifically observable characteristics of our physical bodies—which is why we never noticed there was also a second, invisible attribute of our being. We must prove our belief by saying pronoun prayers. It is demanded that civil law and policy bend to the whims of these conflicting faiths, somehow accommodating all of them, even at the expense of the hard-won rights of the materially-verifiable female sex class, and even if it costs a pound of flesh taken from the body of a child.

My starting precept, as a gender atheist, is that I do not believe in gender identities. I believe other people have spiritual beliefs that I have no obligation to pretend to share, under the First Amendment. From this vantage point, people then approach me, claiming they have a gender identity which lives in their head and communicates to them preferences about clothing, language, make-up, appendages, and hormone levels. My request is that they start by defining this gender identity in a way that could be tested and at least hypothetically falsified. Falsification is the evidence which would logically prove gender identity does not exist. Ideas which cannot be falsified nor verified are not scientific. We have the freedom to adopt or reject such ideas.

The earliest iteration of this church preaches that all people have one of two gender identities, an aspect of human development which forms by age three, which cannot be changed and can sometimes form swapped. If you are one of the unluckily swapped people, your body must be changed to match the gender deity, or you are destined for torment and destruction. The gender identity is constructed as a medical condition, but it is clearly also considered by devotees to exist independent of the body—hence a gender identity, conceived as synonymous with the individual, can be born “in the wrong body.” One must exist apart from and prior to the body to be born into the wrong body. Thus a gender identity is a spirit. This group believes medical transition is necessary, so I refer to them as Our Lady of the Perpetual Hormone Replacement Therapy.

The more modern schism is a sect I call Nonbinitarianism. Nonbinitarians (“non-binary people”) also view gender identity as existing separate from the body, but further, as independent of the mind. A person’s gender identity can change over time or be absent (agender). There are far more than two genders, and humanity is drowning in sex categories, which are also on a spectrum somehow. The purpose of transition is to align body with gender identity, even if this means removing the nipples to create a non-man, non-woman appearance. There are no guardrails on this highway.

These churches find common ground in the belief they should be able to force nonbelievers to play along with and fund their religion, i.e., their pursuit of whatever their personal gender deity tells them is the best way for them to look and live. I refer to this as cisgender dhimmitude. In some places, like San Francisco, it’s becoming so formalized they are proposing tax-funded payments to people simply for church membership. It is in everyone’s interest to recognize this emergent, broader church before it irrevocably cements itself as the new state religion.

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