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Gender Identity and Human Rights

March 24, 2011

The United States under President Obama has joined in support of the UN Human Rights Council proposed “Joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Of course, we are all interested in ending acts of violence against anyone for any reason. Such acts are or certainly should be crimes in every country regardless of the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. However, granting human rights protections based on “gender identity” will have consequences beyond simple protection of the safety of persons.

In the past, sex referred to totality of being either male or female and gender was used to describe words – a noun or pronoun could be masculine, feminine or neuter. Then the idea was introduced that one’s sex (now reduced to the biological reality of male or female) could be separated from one’s gender (whether a person identified with one’s biological sex or with the other sex).

Adding “gender identity” to the list of protected categories would extend special protection to those who consider themselves ‘transgendered.’ This would included, but not be limited to: androgynous, agender, cross dresser, drag king, drag queen, genderfluid, genderqueer, intergender, neutrois, pansexual, pan-gendered, third gender, third sex, transvestite, two-spirited, transsexuals, sistergirl and brotherboy. Some of the transgendered  suffer from psychological disorders (Gender Identity Disorder – GID) which cause them to fail identify with their biological sex or wish to take on the dress or other characteristics of the other sex. Transsexuals undergo various forms of mutilating surgery to create the appearance in their bodies of the other sex. There are also people who choose to rebel against society by adopting an other sex identity or even a ‘gender’ neutral appearance.

It should be noted that there are persons who suffer from disorders of sexual development, persons whose sexual identity cannot be ascertained at birth due to congenital defects or is incorrectly identified. These persons are some times called ‘intersexed,” implying that sexual identity is a continuum. In most cases, the person’s true sexual identity eventually becomes clear. Such persons do need protection from those who use surgery to assign a sex to them contrary to their genetic makeup.

Aside from the persons with disorders of sexual development, those claiming transgender status are physically normal men and women. Mental health professionals who support surgery do so not because they believe that these are persons with a man’s body and a woman’s brain,[1] but because there is “no efficacious mode of psychologic intervention”[2] for this disorder and if denied surgery they may resort to self-mutilation or suicide.

The question before us is how do we deal with persons who have psychological disorders[3] or are rebelling against society’s recognition of sex difference. These persons want to appear in public as the other sex, they enjoy fooling people, and if they can’t fool them at least force others to go along with the pretence that they are the other sex. They want their legal documents changed and the right to marry a person of either sex.

In addition to their GID, the transgendered are more likely to suffer from other psychological disorders including borderline personality disorder and narcissism. They are extremely resistant to therapy. If their demands are rejected, they can fall into narcissistic rage, viciously attacking anyone who challenges their claim that they really are the other sex.[4] When they are not accepted as the other sex, or simply perceive some slight, such persons are more likely to sue, thus creating a legal nightmare. Granting special rights to the transgendered would mean that the refusal to change a license or other documents of male (with or without surgery) to female would be a human rights abuse. Using the biologically correct pronouns would be discrimination. Men dressed as women could demand the right to use women’s facilities. Health plans could be forced to pay for expensive surgical alterations. Schools would be forced to teach a pro-transgendered agenda and accept transsexual teachers. Treatment of children with GID would be banned, even though it can successfully prevent a transsexual outcome. Contrary views would be considered hate speech. Freedom of religion and speech would be undermined.

Compassion for those with psychological disorders does not require society to protect disorder.


[1] Anne Lawrence, “Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies: An Introduction to the Concept of Autogynephilia,” Transgender Tapestry 85 (Winter 1998).

[2] Ethel Person, The Sexual Century, (New Have, CT: Yale U. Press, 1999) p, 142

[3] Sander Breiner, “Transsexuality Explained,” NARTH Bulletin (March 27, 2008), available on their Web site at http://www.narth.com/docs/transexpl.html.

[4] Anne Lawrence, “Shame and Narcissistic Rage in Autogynephilic Transexualism,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 37.3 (June 2008): 457–461.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael McMonagle permalink
    March 30, 2011 4:54 pm

    Good grief!
    I never knew there were so many genders or transgenders.
    Lots of very sick and misguided people out there who need help urgently and that includes the U.N. and President Obama.

  2. May 6, 2013 4:54 pm

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