Ryan Anderson’s Book on Transgender People is Creating an Uproar

Anderson argues that American society’s growing acceptance of transgenderism has more to do with ideology than science.

“We need to respect the dignity of people who identify as transgender,” he argues in the book, “but without encouraging children to undergo experimental transition treatments, and without trampling on the needs and interests of others.” Anderson has tweeted that “gender dysphoria is a serious mental health issue.” By contrast, “transgenderism is a belief system that increasingly looks like a cultish religion . . . being forced on the public by the state,” he said.

 

Ryan T. Anderson’s new book isn’t even out yet, but it has already hit Amazon bestseller lists.

In “When Harry Became Sally,” Anderson, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, makes what some feel is an inflammatory case against transgender people. He argues that American society’s growing acceptance of transgenderism has more to do with ideology than science.

“The best biology, psychology, and philosophy,” Anderson writes, “all support an understanding of sex as a bodily reality and of gender as a social manifestation of bodily sex. Biology isn’t bigotry.”

He raises questions about gender dysphoria — a condition in which one feels an identity opposite to one’s biological sex — and asks whether some cases could be linked to “social hostility to people who don’t conform to gender norms or who have same-sex attractions.”

“We need to respect the dignity of people who identify as transgender,” he argues in the book, “but without encouraging children to undergo experimental transition treatments, and without trampling on the needs and interests of others.”

Anderson has tweeted that “gender dysphoria is a serious mental health issue.” By contrast, “transgenderism is a belief system that increasingly looks like a cultish religion . . . being forced on the public by the state,” he said.

Among the academics Anderson cites in his argument is Paul McHugh, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. McHugh is famous for helping shut down a pioneering transgender program at the university that began in the 1970s and for lobbying against Medicaid coverage for gender reassignment surgery. Hopkins did not reopen a transgender health service until last year.

The reaction to Anderson’s book has been swift. Conservative writers have hailed Anderson — who regularly appears on CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC as a conservative voice on the news — as a “fearless intellectual” who is saying things no one else will dare say because they are too politically correct. “Transitioning is not a magic wand for instant gratification as the media so heedlessly baits people to believe,” Corine Gatti wrote in the Christian Post. She wondered, why isn’t anyone else “addressing the dark side of transitioning?”

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