Rev. Mark Ongly

Elevator Pitch on Transgenderism      

OK, maybe if the building is tall

Annual Conference is not my favorite event. For an introvert like me, it’s kind of a gauntlet—every ten steps seeing a face you’ve not seen in years and trying to remember the name. Awkward.

And there is always conflict. (Yes, I’m conflict avoidant too!)

This year proposed legislation included a proposal to petition the PA legislature to prohibit biological boys from competing with girls. I stood to the mic to share some facts about the trans phenomenon. Because it seemed helpful to many, here are the details and a few other thoughts.

Traditionally, feeling like a woman trapped in a man’s body has been called “gender dysphoria.” Here are the facts I shared at the mic.

Gender dysphoria is real. Very real. There are those who feel as though their gender doesn’t match their biological sex. They describe it as an “inner chafing,” like going through the day while hearing fingernails on chalkboards. They deserve our compassion and understanding. No question.

Gender dysphoria is rare. Before 2012, it occurred almost exclusively in boys and in only .01% of kids. That has skyrocketed in ten years.[i]

Gender dysphoria often disappears. Traditional therapy by world recognized leaders of just a decade ago was characterized by “watchful waiting.” Therapy was certainly provided to help the child or teen deal with the dysphoria, but no physical changes were recommended until their early or mid-twenties. In 70% of the cases, children outgrew the dysphoria.[ii]

Gender dysphoria has nearly always been found in little boys. Not girls. And until 2012, the onset of dysphoria rarely, if ever, hit kids in their teens. Often, it would begin to subside after puberty.

So what changed in 2012? That’s when teens began to glue iPhones to their palms. Since that time, the rates of teen suicide, cutting, drug use, bullying, and identifying as trans have all skyrocketed.

It’s not hard to figure out. If young girls are obsessively checking their Facebook page to see how many people liked the pic they posted, self-esteem is likely to take a big hit. Of course, they are going to check out how many “likes” Susie so-and-so received, and slide further south. Add to it the kind of snarky comments junior high kids make, and BOOM! Maybe I’m just not feminine enough. Maybe I was meant to be a boy. Maybe I’m trans! I’d better look to see what Google says.

The internet has an abundance of propaganda. There they will find trans gurus on YouTube—biological females excitedly relating the buzz from getting their first “T-shot” and exulting in the freedom they felt when they had “top surgery”. 

Tragically, the educational system is increasingly an enabler. They provide cover for the confused kids from their “transphobic” parents, who would supposedly harm the teen. They conceal identities and instruct teachers to use preferred pronouns and new names. Those kids who come out as trans are cheered as heroes. Suddenly, their self-esteem is boosted. They feel happy. It just feels right.[iii]

If you were able to hear Bob Kaylor’s address at Annual Conference, you heard a tremendous thumbnail sketch of how our culture has evolved to this point. Referring to the works of Carl R. Trueman, he described how the Millennials and younger generations have bought into a Moral Therapeutic Deism. In brief: God exists but is distant. Our aim in life is to be happy. And as long as there’s consent and no one gets hurt, then what’s the harm?

The goal in life is to be happy. Not just the right to pursue happiness, but an entitlement to it.[iv]

Before my three minutes at the mic ended, I gave the example of Lia Thomas. Just a few days earlier, she had been interviewed on Good Morning America. Colin Wright, an evolutionary biologist and whiskey aficionado whose blog I subscribe to, had content, context and commentary on his site.[v] Here’s the snippet I read at the mic:

INTERVIEWER: There are some who look at the data and suggest that you’re enjoying a competitive advantage. What do you say to that? 

THOMAS: There’s a lot of factors that go into a race and how well you do, and the biggest change for me is that I’m happy, and sophomore year, where I had my best times competing with the men, I was miserable. And so having that be lifted is incredibly relieving and allows me to put my all into training, into racing. Trans people don’t transition for athletics. We transition to be happy and authentic and our true selves. Transitioning to get an advantage is not something that ever factors into our decisions.

And right now you are thinking, “But what about the happiness of the girls who were trounced?”

This craze of transgenderism which is scarring and sterilizing teens is but one reason to stand with a new denomination which judges culture through the lens of scripture, rather than discounting scripture because of social trends.

While at the mic, I quoted Wright, who rightly quips: “But female sports do not exist to serve as group therapy for miserable males.” That comment alone could have been a mic dropper. But us conflict-avoidant introverts just don’t do that kind of thing.

Note: This article is an adaptation of one I posted on my blog Tsunami Surfing titled “Elevator Pitch on Transgenderism”.

[i] Abigail Shrier. Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, Loc. 143.

[ii] Abigail Shrier. Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, Loc. 2694.

[iii] Much of this info can be found in Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.  No, she’s not a conservative Christian on a crusade. Far from it. She’s an independent journalist who holds an A.B. from Columbia College; a B.Phil. from the University of Oxford; and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She’s written for the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek.

[iv] Carl Trueman’s not the first or only one to conclude this. MTD has been a discussion among many. My first glimpse was Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation

[v] Mom, if you are reading this, I don’t drink whiskey. Honest!