Medical cognitive dissonance
I attended the Genspect Conference in Denver this weekend - virtually - but was able to watch and listen to every single speaker. I appreciated the variety of views and perspectives which made me think about all the different angles of gender confusion.
I too have a young adult, spectrum-y, daughter enchanted by the idea of being someone else - namely a male someone else, although occasionally a spirit animal. Knock yourself out! I am a fierce mama bear that longs for my children to hunt, provide, fend for themselves and leave the nest. All the things mama bears want for their cubs.
I am prone to say (more likely think) things like:
“Don't cut off your breasts till someone has touched them."
"Belief doesn't make it real or true."
"Feelings come and go - don't ever make a decision based on a feeling - get facts."
Rest assured - I don't say all of these things to my daughter. I tell her I love her. I am compassionate towards her confusion. I am there to help her in any way that supports health and wellness. But I won't use her preferred pronouns or name and I won't attend to her needs "post-surgery" should she go that route. Why? Because that is a profound adult decision. So, own it! She knows I love her fiercely. I mail her painted cards, packages, cookies, and gifts on a regular basis. I call her every week and do family therapy every other week.
Like all of us, it's a long story. I am raging mad at many institutions. I am also a social justice warrior, Black Lives Matter supporter, Me Too victim and Science is Real promotor. I am a pro-life feminist, progressive liberal Christian, Democrat with three daughters and a husband of 34 years. And I am in the wilderness when it comes to faith and politics.
“Science is real” is often where my head goes these days. Science is real unless someone believes or feels differently which makes for messy education and dividing opinions. Apparently, I can simply believe that climate change isn’t real and that makes it true. I can pollute all I want – because it isn’t true – unless I believe it to be true. Science about women in sports doesn’t matter. Science about women giving birth – must be fake news because some people don’t believe it. We have elevated “belief” to a new type of “truth.” As a society we don’t have to agree or stand for anything except for “belief” which is shaky ground for a democracy trying to hold onto the principles upon which it was founded.
I am continuously perplexed by the news. California banned red dye partially because it can cause infertility. That seems reasonable. However, anyone can go to California and be “cured” of gender dysphoria even though it also causes infertility.
I read a recent New York Times article about bariatric surgery being performed on children - Should they? Is it safe? Does it help? Should parents give informed consent? Let’s just ask the kids what they “believe” in from a medical standpoint and whatever is believed in that moment – will be done to them.
Belief is such a beautiful word when used in the context of the human spirit, resilience, grit, determination, but we are stealing it’s rich meaning when we put a stake in the ground and remove the mystery of it by calling it “truth.”