scientific evidence indicates that gender identity disorders result
principally from cultural causes and moreover, modern society is
facilitating them, according to an analysis published Friday.
for the Catholic
World Report, Anne Hendershott chronicles an
exploding “transgender industry” illustrated by a massive surge in the
number of referrals for gender-identity treatment, in some cases
increasing by as much as 2800 percent in less than ten years.
societies such as the UK, Sweden, Australia, and the USA have seen a
spectacular rise in the number of persons, especially young people,
seeking treatment for gender identity issues, paralleling the attention
given to gender theory in communications, medicine, and the
the U.S., the percentage of adults who currently identify as transgender
is double what is was in 2011, according to the best estimates.
of this should come as a surprise, Hendershott notes. In the year 2000,
bioethicist Carl Elliott published a ground-breaking article in
Monthly titled “A New Way to be Mad,” which
foretold this rapid growth in gender-identity issues by comparing them
to past psychological epidemics.
do certain psychopathologies arise, seemingly out of nowhere, in certain
societies and during certain historical periods, and then disappear just
as suddenly?” he asked.
suggested that psychiatrists and other clinicians helped to create the
psychological epidemics in the past “simply by the way they viewed the
disorders—by the kinds of questions they asked patients, the treatments
they used, the diagnostic categories available to them at the time, and
the way these patients fit within those categories.”
fundamental thesis—backed up by abundant data and persuasive
argumentation—is that rapid growth of a particular psychological
disorder may often be abetted, if not directly caused, by the very ones
who are purportedly treating it, as well as by society at large.
a particularly insightful passage, Elliott wrote:
regarding a phenomenon as a psychiatric diagnosis—treating it,
reifying it in psychiatric diagnostic manuals, developing instruments
to measure it, inventing scales to rate its severity, establishing
ways to reimburse the costs of its treatment, encouraging
pharmaceutical companies to search for effective drugs, directing
patients to support groups, writing about possible causes in
journals—psychiatrists may be unwittingly colluding with broader
cultural forces to contribute to the spread of a mental disorder.
one possible read, he proposed, once “transsexual” and “gender-identity
disorder” and “sex reassignment surgery” became common linguistic
currency, “more people began conceptualizing and interpreting their
experience in these terms. They began to make sense of their lives in a
way that hadn’t been available to them before, and to some degree they
actually became the kinds of people described by these terms.”
other words, it is quite possible that our cultural and historical
conditions “have not just revealed transsexuals but created them,” he
this thesis is true, “we can expect tremendous growth, as an entire
industry is emerging to meet the growing need,” Hendershott writes.
is, in fact, already happening all around us.
education specialists designing ‘safe schools’ for transgender children,
to transgender practitioners, publicly funded medical clinics,
reimbursement schedules, and a growing body of academic work and
activism, the transgender industry has exploded,” she writes.
clear scientific indicator of the principally cultural rather than
biological roots of gender disorders is their uneven distribution among
the population. If gender-identity disorder were truly a biological
fact, it would be equally distributed throughout the population, whereas
we find that it isn’t.
data from the Williams Institute reveals that the highest percentage of
transgender-identified adults live in Washington, DC. In fact, the
district of Columbia has nearly double the number of transgender
individuals as the next highest state (Hawaii).
percentage of individuals living in the Washington, DC, who identify as
transgender is 2.8 percent—“more than triple the percentage of those
living in the next highest states of Hawaii or California,” Hendershott
far back as 2013, the New
York Times pronounced Washington, DC, the
‘gayest place in America,’ with a thriving transgender population. There
is an annual ‘DC High Heel Drag Race’ held in DuPont Circle,” she adds.
the findings of a meta-analysis of other studies published in The
New Atlantis by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul
McHugh, Hendershott writes that “the hypothesis that gender identity is
an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of
biological sex—that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’
or a ‘woman trapped in a man’s body’ is not supported by scientific
of this suggests that the current transgender boom may just be getting
started and we can expect it to continue swelling, perhaps until another
jour arises to take its place.
Thomas D. Williams on Twitter