Three Things I Learned About the Transgender Issue in 2023

COMMENTARY: Sadly, there is no discussion on the intrinsic beauty of male and female in God’s divine plan.

But it is undeniable that a certain kind of careerist feminism has downplayed the beauty of motherhood.
But it is undeniable that a certain kind of careerist feminism has downplayed the beauty of motherhood. (photo: Savvapanf / Shutterstock)

In 2023, I learned three things about the political push to enshrine transgenderism in U.S. society. 

My line of work takes me into some unusual situations and allows me to talk with some fascinating people. I thought I’d summarize the year 2023 with a few things I’ve learned about the transgender issue.

1. The transgender political push was driven from the top-down. 

I interviewed John Bursch, the vice president for appellate advocacy for the Alliance Defending Freedom. The ADF is a public interest law firm defending religious liberty, the right to life, and the meaning of marriage. He argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the state of Michigan in the case that redefined marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges. The occasion for our interview was the publication of his new book, Loving God’s Children: The Church and Gender Ideology. (You should read it if you want a sound guidebook to dealing with the trans issue.) 

In our conversation, he reported that he noticed how the sexual revolutionaries pivoted to the trans issue immediately after the Obergefell decision. The celebration over same-sex civil marriage was short-lived in the mainstream media. In a matter of weeks, the mantra became, “’This is just like same-sex marriage. People are being discriminated against because of who they are.’ … They were ready to quickly shift the culture to the T portion of the LGBT.” 

Bursch mentioned Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and Jared/Jazz Jennings as part of the immediate cultural shift. I looked it up. The “Caitlyn Jenner: The Full Story” story appeared in Vanity Fair magazine on June 25, 2015. The reality TV show I Am Jazz, featuring Jared/Jazz and his family, premiered on July 15, 2015. 

The Obergefell v. Hodges decision, removing the dual-gender requirement from marriage, was announced on June 26, 2015. 

The timing of these events is not “smoking-gun” proof that the media, legal entertainment and political elite had the transgender pivot planned in advance. In principle, the timing could be purely coincidental, not coordinated. 

Possible, yes. Probable? I don’t think so. For my part, I’m adopting a “I can’t prove it, but I’m going to operate on the assumption that it is true until further notice” stance.

2. A man can have a positive pregnancy test. 

Notice I did not say “a man can be pregnant.” 

A network of pregnancy-care centers engaged me to provide them with information about how to handle LGBT issues that they are increasingly seeing at their centers. For instance, men who say they are women come to their centers, asking for services like ultrasounds and pregnancy tests. Who knew this was even a “thing?” The centers asked for my input on how to serve these clients, as well as their potential legal liabilities in these situations. 

I learned from my new friends that a pregnancy test is just a measure of the hCG hormone. For women, an hCG level of less than 5 mIU/mL is considered negative for pregnancy, and anything above 25 mIU/mL is positive for pregnancy, with an hCG level in between considered a gray area that requires retesting. 

But a “positive pregnancy test” in a man, that is, elevated hCG levels, can be an indicator of serious problems, including testicular cancer. Some men’s health experts say “there are no universal healthy ranges of hCG in men, though less than 20 IU/L is generally considered normal in adult men.” By this standard, “positive pregnancy test” in a man of over 25 IU/L is decisively about the normal range. 

The pregnancy-care centers were trying to establish policies to deal with these situations before they arise. Some suggested this sort of language: “We do not perform pregnancy tests on people who were born male. In the event a client that is a biological male has a positive pregnancy test this would be an abnormal finding and could indicate a medical issue that we are not equipped to address. The normal finding would be a negative pregnancy test. No matter the results of the test, the needed treatment would be outside our scope of care.” 

I’m pretty sure the women who first opened pregnancy-care centers in the 1970s had no idea they would need such a policy. As the sexual revolution continues to roll through society, the women in the pregnancy-care-center movement (and this movement is generally 90% women) are on the front lines of dealing with some seriously thorny issues arising from the trans political push. 

Speaking of an authentic women’s movement:

3. Feminism has a complicated but real responsibility for the transgender moment. 

I can hear the howls already. I’m not saying all feminists favor the transgender political push. That is obviously false. I am saying that some of the most significant threads of feminism laid the groundwork for the rise of transgenderism. 

My interview with celebrated detransitioner Chloe Cole made this crystal clear. I asked her what in particular prompted her to desist from a male identity. She recounted learning about the famous Harry Harlow experiments with rhesus monkeys during her high-school psychology class. She learned the importance of the mother-child bond and the importance of the attachment created by breast-feeding. She exclaimed: “I want to do that! I want to have kids!” 

I couldn’t help thinking: What are we doing to our young girls, that she should be surprised by the thought that motherhood would be a beautiful experience? To be sure, feminists are not the only people responsible for this sorry social state of affairs. They share that responsibility with the population controllers, the capitalists who benefit from a steady flow of female labor, pharmaceutical companies who profit from the hormones, academic theoreticians and the media. 

But it is undeniable that a certain kind of careerist feminism has downplayed the beauty of motherhood. Feminist orthodoxy played an outsized role in convincing women that motherhood, at the very least, is unnecessary and very likely hinders the pursuit of a fulfilling life. 

Is it really a stretch to see that this line of thinking can lead a young woman to be ill at ease with and even despise her body? These poor kids are sitting ducks for an ideology that tries to convince them that their female bodies are a problem to be solved by medical and social engineering. 

I know that many self-described feminists vehemently oppose everything about the transgender philosophy. I hope that some of you will reconsider your ideological commitments. People of faith will be glad to talk with you about the beauty of male and female in the divine plan.