Want to know some surprising facts about transgenderism? Physician Michael Laidlaw has some to offer in a recent article for Public Discourse:
- More than 60 gender clinics have opened in the U.S. since 2007.
- The transgender student population is growing. Surveys show “as many as 3 percent of school kids now identify as transgender.”
- One gender clinic in the U.K. has seen exponential growth in referrals, with girls representing over a “5,000 percent increase.”
In other words, transgenderism came out of nowhere and became a cultural phenomenon overnight.
One could wax eloquent about woke culture, increased diversity, and greater emphasis on identity. But there are deeper causes which underpin transgenderism. Anthony Esolen gets to the heart of them in the January edition of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.
The first cause, Esolen suggests, is a denial of meaning:
We may say all day long that it is biologically impossible to turn a boy into a girl. The biological impossibility does not matter, because the creatures themselves, the boy and the girl, are not acknowledged in the first place. Modern man, having denied that there is any meaning in created things, finds that his own mind falls to ruin, and he can no longer affirm any meaning in his own body, his sex. He is far from being grateful that there are such creatures as boys and girls. He is made wary and snappish by reminders of that fact. (Emphasis added.)
The second cause might be termed a lack of imagination or creative power:
Imagine gazing up at Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’ and wanting to gussy up the colossal first man with lipstick. Vandals have nothing of their own, so they smudge and smear whatever they can lay their hands on. It gives them a thrill, one that lasts a moment or two, before boredom settles in again. (Emphasis added.)
Finally, boredom with life – and an attempt to erase that boredom through new thrills – lies at the heart of gender surgeries and transgenderism’s popularity:
The motive is not desire, but boredom, or hatred of the goodness of your own sex. It is not so much that the transgressor wants very much to belong to the other sex, as that he wants very much not to belong to his own. He says he is trapped in the ‘wrong’ body, and he suggests that he may do away with that body by violence if he is not granted the escape he wants. He does not accept his sex as a gift, but then, no one else does, either. It is a thing, to be used, like a tool, for procuring what you want. But since there is no aim beyond what the vagaries of desire and the imagination can arouse, he no sooner attains the desire than he finds himself restless again.
In other words, transgenderism may be a startling new arrival on the societal scene, but it’s rise has been a long time coming. It began when we convinced students they were just one of the herd, no different from any other animal that roams the earth, and certainly not accountable to a Higher Power. It likely escalated when we confined them in restrictive school programs, preventing them from moving ahead intellectually, and quashing unique creative endeavors because Johnny at the next desk might feel inferior. Eventually kids get bored with this pattern, go looking for excitement, and find a way to separate themselves from the crowd. What better way to get attention than to buck the norm, mutilate their body, and become the opposite sex?
Will transgenderism remain popular? Perhaps. But if Esolen is right in defining the underlying issues that drive transgenderism, the trend could simply become passé. Might it just be forgotten as the next generation tries to cure its boredom in new forms of destruction, rather than through meaningful creation?
[Image Credit: Pxhere]
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.