Everybody wants to show compassion, especially to people who are emotionally hurting. Most people, however, know that misplaced compassion is even more harmful than lack of compassion, and sometimes we have to look very carefully at exactly what we’re doing when we decide to address someone’s needs. Let’s consider the following example:
Suppose I were to come to believe one day that I feel more like a chicken than a human being and I publicly announced to the world that from now on I want to be considered a chicken. What do you think most people would say? They may feel terrible for my plight and may see the anguish I am going through, but they would clearly realize that, irrespective of the cause, something has gone wrong in my thought process and my feelings to make me believe I am a chicken. They would undoubtedly say I need some sort of help. I am not a chicken, and they need to get me to accept the truth that I have deceived myself. Of course there would be some people who, in compassion for me and in fear of being accused of discrimination against those with different feelings, would go along with me and would tell me that it’s okay for me to be a chicken if I want to be, and they might even build me a chicken coop to live in. They would publicly defend my “right” to live as I wish and would brand anyone who doesn’t allow me to live out my fantasy as “chicken-phobes”. Someone may even find a doctor who is willing to give me avian hormone shots to help me grow feathers and others may teach me how to cluck properly, but is any of this really doing me any good? As much as I may think I’m a chicken, I’m never going to lay an egg! In fact I am not a chicken: I am a man, and the only thing that will truly help me in the long run is to get me the help I need to accept that I am a human being and address whatever the cause is that’s made me think that I am a chicken. Anything to the contrary would be a misplaced compassion, which is far more harmful than lack of compassion.
It may seem a bizarre stretch from this story, and I apologize if anyone is offended by the analogy for I assure you no offense is intended, but I find our modern society guilty of making the very same mistake when it comes to “transgender” individuals. Now please don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are great pains involved by someone in such a situation. I have a good friend of mine whose daughter is going through this at this very moment, and I know the pain both the child and the parents are experiencing. But are we actually helping anyone who thinks they’re a different gender by going along with the charade? We can certainly empathize with their struggle, and we may think we’re helping a girl who think she’s really a boy or vice-versa by telling her she can dress as a man and use the men’s room (even the Obama administration is now encouraging schools all over the country to allow young people to use the bathroom of their choice rather than their natural gender), but the girl is not a boy; she is a girl. We are male or female down to every gene in our body and dressing up in other clothes, even having surgeries to alter the appearance is only doing that: altering the appearance. It’s like putting on a costume, but it does not change reality. I know that we want to understand and help people, but are we in the long run helping people by encouraging them to deceive themselves? It would be far better if we were to help the person accept the reality of their gender and work with them in living as that gender, not encouraging them to delude themselves into thinking they are something which in fact they are not. And especially when we are talking about teenagers, who have their whole lives ahead of them, would it not be far better in the long run for us to help them live with the gender they are rather than encouraging them to live their whole lives pretending to be something they are not? Encouraging someone to be “transgender” is the easy way to convince ourselves we’re helping them, but it is not the right way in the long run.
Consider this real instance: I know of a young woman who is living as a man and dating another woman. Does the other woman know that this “man” she is dating is really another woman? If she does, then she’s a woman dating a woman pretending to be a man. Am I the only one who sees something unhealthy in this whole bizarre scenario? Is encouraging this altered reality really in either of their best interests in the long run? And if she doesn’t know “he’s” really a woman, imagine how hurt and angry she will be when eventually she finds out! Is that fair to the other woman? I find that indefensibly cruel.
I do not want to mislead anyone into thinking I am naïve about the real pain experienced by people and families in these situations, and I’m not for a moment pretending that I can offer a simple solution, but I know what the solution is not: it is of absolutely no help to encourage people to live a lie. This massive social embrace of “transgenderism” is, quite frankly, political correctness run amok. We’re so afraid of being accused of lacking compassion or of discriminating that we don’t tell people the truth for fear of hurting them, so instead, we encourage a farce. As a society we have overdosed on looking for simple solutions to complicated problems, and so we blindly embrace anything that offers a quick answer. But there are no simple solutions; if there were, they would not be complicated problems. When matters are complicated, you can be sure that the solution will be difficult. My question is, what’s the next lie we are going to embrace?
It’s time we start facing the hard reality that encouraging people to identify themselves as “transgender” is convenient and accommodating in the short run, but in the long run it only makes things worse. Counseling and true compassion – not misplaced compassion – that lovingly helps the person live with their God-given gender (or nature-given if you don’t believe in God) is the only hope for true peace of mind for the “transgender” individual. Anything else is nothing more than a real life application of the Emperor’s New Clothes.