Transgenderism and the Pursuit of Happiness
Transgenderism is increasing worldwide. And society celebrates this as a success.
The number of transgenders, though small, is rapidly growing. In the United States, transgender adults doubled between 2011 and 2016, rising from 700,000 to 1.4 million, according to the Williams Institute. The trend’s continued growth is suggested by the rate of transgender teenagers being higher than in the general populace. And at the same time, more people are undergoing surgery to try to change their anatomy to the opposite sex. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says that in the U.S., 3,200 people underwent sex changes in 2016, a 20 percent jump over the year before.
Trans supporters say that when a person’s thinking doesn’t harmonize with biology, he should not change his thinking—he needs to change his biology. They insist that any effort to correct the thinking is bigoted, discriminatory and unethical. Only by acting like the opposite sex, using hormone blockers or hormone therapy, even going under knife and scalpel, can these people be who they really are. And that will lead to greater fulfillment and happiness in their lives.
But there is another side of the story. It has been ignored and covered up, but it is reality.
Nearly half of people who identify as transgender experience anxiety disorders or depression. An estimated 41 percent have tried to kill themselves. These are many times higher than the rates of mental health issues in the general population. And more and more people who have undergone surgery say they regret it. Some even undergo surgery to undo that surgery.
Becoming transgender has not helped these people be who they really are, and it certainly has not led to happiness.
How can these people be happy?
Diagnosing the Cause
Prof. Miroslav Djordjevic is a leading surgeon in an unusual field: genital reconstruction. For years he has been voicing his concern about rising requests for surgeries to undo prior gender transition surgeries. He says people wishing to undergo the transformation should receive better counsel. He says these decisions are being driven by the effort to be politically correct, rather than to be actually correct—to do what is in each individual’s best interest. He says institutions must overcome fears of political correctness and conduct more research into the serious questions raised by gender-reassignment surgery.
Studies of this subject are rare, but stories of many unhappy transgender people are out there. For example, Ryan T. Anderson’s book When Harry Became Sally has an entire chapter titled “Detransitioners Tell Their Stories,” and it is heartbreaking. Many people describe growing up dissatisfied or questioning their sexual orientation early in life. They tried different forms of sexual experimentation, but they did not find happiness.
Then they were offered a more radical solution: surgically changing their gender.
People have faith in the wonders of modern medicine. They think changing their gender is not only possible but fairly straightforward. But the reality is, biological differences between men and women are extensive and complex. Hormone blockers can prevent a boy’s voice from getting deeper or a girl’s hips from getting wider; hormone treatment can shrink a man’s testicles or cause a woman to grow facial hair. Surgery can remove body parts specific to male or female, and it can attach artificial body parts. But no treatment or procedure can turn a man into a woman or a woman into a man.
Your biological sex is not “assigned at birth,” as trans activists insist. It is embedded into your dna from conception, and it affects every system in your body.
Many individuals who undergo these procedures often find themselves requiring substantially more medical attention afterward. And rather than becoming happier, they often become unhappier. In many cases they become suicidal.
Mental health problems among transgenders are already terribly common: Almost every second transgender person battles some anxiety disorder or depression, and suicide attempts are nearly nine times higher than among “cisgender” Americans. But those who have had transition surgery are 19 times likelier than the average person to die by suicide! This alone shows that the problem goes far beyond simply needing better counsel regarding surgery. Something is dangerously wrong.
Is It Society’s Fault?
Those promoting transgenderism will say that what is “dangerously wrong” is society’s hostility to transgenderism. For example, a 2016 Psychology Today article discussing transgenders’ mental health problems explained: “It has nearly everything to do with the way they are treated” (emphasis added throughout).
The only solution, they say, is to transform society. We must make society wholeheartedly embrace transgender people and any and all forms of gender dysphoria, so that everyone—no matter how they view themselves, what they want to look like, which bathroom or locker room they want to visit, which sport they want to play—is universally considered perfectly healthy and normal. To suggest that the individual might need to adjust his or her thinking is bigoted, discriminatory, unloving. If everyone in society simply accepts everyone and everything, and loves everyone and everything, then the mental health problems, depression and suicidal tendencies experienced by transgender individuals will vanish. These people can only find happiness when society embraces this movement and grants its every conceivable request.
Virtually overnight, the elites in American society—and British, and elsewhere—the politicians, media and educators—have determined that this is how we will solve this problem. This is the message we will send to individuals who are dissatisfied with their biological sex: If you are unhappy because your body doesn’t match your thinking, then we must change your body. And if you change your body and you’re still unhappy, then we must change society. You are unhappy because society refuses to accept you and love you for who you are!
It is impossible to overstate the radical implications of the assumptions underlying this train of thought.
For starters, this thinking encourages many thousands more people to pursue transgenderism. It encourages thousands to pursue medical transitioning treatments—puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery.
But far more radically, it forces society to completely remake itself. In order to prioritize what is supposed to be the path to happiness for these individuals, we must establish transgender restrooms. We must require medical insurance to pay for transitioning treatments. We must allow biologically born men to play sports against women. We must replace some of our public-school curriculum with transgender instruction, to liberate the next generation from discrimination and bias. We must strip authority from parents who would discourage gender fluidity in their children. We must make it criminal to “misgender” someone. We must prioritize the transgender agenda over privacy, public safety and religious freedom. And anyone who disagrees can be publicly shamed, if not legally punished.
Then, the reasoning goes, we will have a truly fair, equitable, accepting, loving and happy world!
Guided by this reasoning, educators are encouraging our elementary schoolchildren to question their biological sex. When any child decides to identify as a transgender, their peers are admonished to support them.
What happens, then, when the transgender child has trouble with other kids, or is unhappy, or feels isolated or lonely? Increasingly, the blame is put on society and on the other kids.
What does common sense tell you about this trend?
Encouraging gender dysphoria in a child does not make that child happier. Studies show that 80 to 95 percent of children who have those feelings outgrow them and come to accept their biological sex if they are just allowed to develop normally.
Convincing a child that his feeling of gender confusion is correct—that there is something wrong, and it must be changed—will not make that child happy. Convincing him further that any trouble with other kids (which every kid has) is a result of the other kids’ bigotry—this will not make that child happy. It will only feed that child’s sense of grievance, victimhood and martyrdom.
More broadly, installing transgender restrooms in every building in America will not lead transgender people from depression into happiness. Winning wrestling matches and powerlifting completions against women is unlikely to give transgenders a genuine sense of accomplishment. Preventing any and all critical discussion about this movement will not give them the reassurance they need for life.
No matter how accepted or how powerful this movement becomes, it will not lead to happiness. Already we see that every concession society makes to this movement’s demands only leads to 10 more demands.
Here is the truth: The notion that sex changes and societal transformation will solve the depression, misery and heartache of this troubled group of people is a dangerous lie.
It is a lie being promoted at tremendous cost. It is increasing the agitation and unhappiness of so many who identify as transgender. Society is paying the cost in public safety, parental authority, freedom of speech and religious liberty.
And beyond that, it is coming at the expense of truth itself.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
A friend of mine recently met with a transgender client. His company told him, We must use her preferred pronouns, and call her by her chosen name. It turned out the individual was a man, looked like a man, dressed like a man, and sounded like a man, but everyone referred to him as if he were a woman.
My friend said, I’ve never been forced to deny reality like that! It was like “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
That’s the Hans Christian Anderson folktale about the fashion-obsessed emperor who commissioned weavers to make him the finest clothes money can buy. But the weavers are conmen. They say they’re making the most luxurious, beautiful clothes imaginable—but explain that the fabric is invisible to anyone either unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid.” For days, they pretend to weave, but there’s no thread on the looms. The emperor’s noblemen, fearing they might be the only one who can’t see them and not wanting to appear stupid or unfit for their position, all pretend to see the clothes. And of course, the emperor does the same thing. So—he ends up being paraded out into the streets wearing nothing at all! The townsfolk uncomfortably go along with the charade because no one wants to be exposed as being stupid. But finally a little child blurts out the obvious truth: The emperor is naked!
Dr. Paul McHugh was chair of psychiatry at John Hopkins Medical School and psychiatrist in chief at John Hopkins Hospital in the late 1970s. He grew concerned about the results of sex-reassignment surgeries and, in 1979, stopped them at that facility. He said it was “fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness,” and said psychiatrists could better help people by “trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia.”
Dr. McHugh says today’s gender-reassignment debate is today’s Emperor’s New Clothes. “Onlookers to the contemporary transgender parade” know that “a disfavored opinion is worse than bad taste,” so they ignore clear facts and simply shut their mouths. He says, “I am ever trying to be the boy among the bystanders who points to what’s real. I do so not only because truth matters, but also because overlooked amid the hoopla … stand many victims.”
Those victims include parents who want to spare their children the miseries involved in trying to transition—who are bullied into encouraging these problems. They include teens being swept up into a lifestyle that leads to terrible side effects. They include transgenders being lied to about the cause of their unhappiness and about the solution.
Lies cannot produce true happiness. Yet the transgender movement is waging an assault on truth unprecedented in human history. It has come to consider biological reality a mere “social construct,” while exalting gender disorientation within 2-year-old children as “fixed truth.” Our May-June 2019 Trumpet cover story, “Climate, Gender and the Fight Over Truth,” explained how dangerous this assault on truth is, how many victims it is claiming, and who is its real author. The Bible describes him as the father of lies (John 8:44).
The Path to Happiness
Can a person who is conflicted over his or her sexuality achieve real happiness? Leading advocates of the transgender movement, who identify as transgender themselves, are wrestling with this question.
A transgender New York Times opinion writer last year admitted that upcoming genital surgery wouldn’t bring happiness. “This is what I want,” the author wrote, “but there is no guarantee it will make me happier. In fact, I don’t expect it to. That shouldn’t disqualify me from getting it.” This author considers being a transgender the worst thing that ever happened in life (next to being born as a boy) and says nothing will change that. The author gives no solution and puts all blame on being born in the wrong body.
Transgender proponents say transgenderism—and remaking our entire society—leads to happiness. That is proving to be obviously and terribly false. Their solutions misplace the real cause of the unhappiness.
Still, the underlying desire of every person, including transgenders, is happiness. Yet few people have ever found true happiness. Why?
The Bible reveals the cause of these problems—and the solution.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). The solutions people pursue seem right to them. But it turns out that perceptions can be deceiving. Often it isn’t until we see the failed results of our efforts that we realize we saw only part of the picture, or we misdiagnosed the problem. All too often, society refuses to even acknowledge the disastrous results of its own policies, and continues to double down on its mistakes.
Jeremiah 17:9 says the human heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” That heart can lead us wildly astray through selfish motives, impure desires and various forms of self-deception.
What is the solution? It always comes back to trusting God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). When we stop trying to devise our own solutions, and we fear God and do as He says, then we are on the right track. That is the beginning of knowledge.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments …” (Psalm 111:10).
God has actually spelled out the way that leads to success in life: that is, His law. The Ten Commandments, the statutes and judgments: Put God first, don’t kill or hate, avoid sexual sins, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t covet, honor your parents, keep the Sabbath, and so on. People dismiss it as simplistic or archaic, but it actually yields the outcome that everyone wants!
As Proverbs 29:18 states, “[H]e that keepeth the law, happy is he.” That is the purpose for which God gave His law: to show human beings the path to happiness!
Do you want to be happy? Is your life plagued by discouragement, doubt, depression, loneliness, even suicidal thoughts? Then put God to the test. He promises that if you obey Him, it will transform your life in the most beautiful way imaginable. If you keep the law, you will be happy!
There is no other path to happiness!
Mankind has rebelled against God’s law since the Garden of Eden. That is why we live in a world of increasing misery and depression.
Some of the laws God gave us relate to family. They govern marriage, how a man should treat his wife and a wife her husband, what their roles are, their responsibilities toward their children, and the children’s responsibility toward them. There is a profound reason why God established family and created those laws: Not only do they lead to happiness in our physical lives, they also point to an even more important spiritual reality. God created family to point to His wonderful spiritual Family. In His great mercy, God grants everyone, on the condition of repentance, access into this spiritual family. (This truth is proved in Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s free booklet The God Family Vision.)
The God who created male and female (Genesis 1:27) did so with deliberate intent and purpose, and gave laws to ensure we respect that. Among them is this clear command in Deuteronomy 22:5: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
God gave us those laws for a wonderful purpose, but because of ignorance, or flat-out rebellion, people have broken them with impunity. And generations have suffered for it. In recent decades, mankind has attacked these family laws on an epic scale with unprecedented aggression. Misery and unhappiness are mounting higher and higher as a result.
Bible prophecy reveals that this lawless course will culminate in an unbearable climax of human suffering! Sadly, only then will mankind become humble and willing to be taught by God.
You, individually, however, can take a different course. You can turn your personal life around if you turn to God in repentance. You can reject the path that society has taken, learn about the laws that govern family, and reap the marvelous fruits. Obey those laws, and you can be happy!
To learn more about God’s truth on family, the causes of society’s rejection of it, where this course is leading, and why you need to take a different path, request a free copy of our booklet Redefining Family.