The Power Of The Story
A tale of how, for a brief period of time, gender ideology captured the collective imagination of mankind
When my child began questioning her gender, I dove into researching the topic. The more I learnt, the more aghast I became at the way in which society has completely embraced the implausible ideology of gender identity, and the more horrified I felt at the widespread harms being done as a result.
Many months later, I still experience recurrent feelings of disbelief that this could actually be happening in modern society, with its supposedly secular, science based approach to life.
I found myself quite spontaneously engaging in a thought experiment, wondering how people in a far future time would look back on this period. The following is a work of imagination, yet all the details in the story are based on actual recent events—with the obvious exception of the resolution, which hopefully will ensue sooner rather than later.
This story looks back from 2484, which is exactly five hundred years after the date in which George Orwell's "1984" is set. If only we would learn the lessons that this iconic dystopian cautionary tale has to teach us.
The Year 2484
Once upon a time, a long time ago, the imagination of humanity was captured by a Powerful Story. This Story held that every human being had an innate, ineffable essence which was present from birth. This essence could not be precisely defined, nor could it be detected by any test or seen on any scan. Only the person themselves could describe or understand it. Regardless of their age, every person was an expert on their own essence. Therefore, even in the case of very young children, no characteristic or manifestation of this essence could ever be questioned.
It could take an unlimited number of forms. On the one hand it was believed that this essence was immutable and never changed. On the other hand, however, it was simultaneously believed that this essence was fluid and that it could change, perhaps only occasionally, or as many as several times in one day.
This essence was known as a “Gender Identity”.
There were believed to be dozens of possible Gender Identities. Two of the most common ones had the same names as the two human sexes – Female and Male. Confusingly, many people were held to have a Gender Identity named for the OPPOSITE sex. Hence a man, for example, might have a Gender Identity that was in fact Female, or vice versa. The other Gender Identities had a variety of fascinating names; Neutrois, Nonbinary, Androgyne, Multigender, Demiboy, Demigirl are just a few examples.
The Story of Gender Identity was compelling and appealing, as all good stories are. Despite the fact that the central tenets of the Story were entirely implausible, it spread rapidly throughout society in many countries around the globe. The media embraced the Story with enthusiasm. Children were taught the Story in schools. The internet and social media accelerated the spread. Governments passed laws protecting the right of everyone to express their Gender Identity as they saw fit, and forbidding anyone to question, or attempt to change another person’s Gender Identity.
Amazingly, it was believed at that time, that in order to live healthy, happy lives, some people needed to have normal body parts, including their sexual organs, surgically modified or removed. In addition, it was thought necessary for these same people to take synthetic hormones which were manufactured to mimic the hormones normally produced in the bodies of the opposite sex. These medical interventions caused permanent damage to the body. This need was held to be linked in some mysterious way to the person’s Gender Identity, although looking back over the centuries, it is hard to understand why this was thought to be so. This set of medical interventions was termed “transition”.
Although a Gender Identity was held to be a normal, healthy part of every human being’s makeup, paradoxically, it was simultaneously believed that, if transition was not provided promptly to anyone who requested it in the name of Gender Identity, then they would surely commit suicide. Again, looking back it is not possible to understand the reasoning behind this belief, as there is no convincing evidence that this was actually the case.
This concern about suicide was the chief argument promulgated to justify one of the most baffling and disturbing consequences of the Power of the Story - the practice of transition on children and young people. Over a period of some years, many thousands of people (the true number is not known), chiefly children, adolescents and young adults under the age of twenty-five, were permanently sterilized, had their sexual organs modified or removed, and were given synthetic hormones which caused permanent harm to their bodies. Many of these people were gay or lesbian, had autism, or had trauma or other mental health issues.
In most cases, the people involved requested these interventions, or at least were not observed to actively protest. However, knowledge of neurological development at that time was already well advanced, and it was known by scientists and health professionals that people under the age of approximately twenty-five years do not have the cognitive maturity to make such permanent, life changing decisions. Hence, in reality, these young people were being transitioned without their consent.
Given the above, one could be forgiven for believing that medicine at that time was in a primitive state. In fact, the scientific method as we understand it was well established during this period, and was regarded as the standard by which medicine should be practiced. However, such was the Power of the Story of Gender Identity, that the principles of the scientific method were ignored in the application of transition, whilst being rigorously adhered to in all other areas of medical practice. Disturbingly, peak medical bodies actually promoted the fallacious tenets of the Story, and fought actively against attempts to bring a scientific basis to the care of people requesting transition. Despite much discussion and debate amongst historians, it is still not understood how or why this situation was allowed to arise.
As the influence of the Story of Gender Identity spread around the globe, the number of people seeking transition skyrocketed. A large proportion of these people were teenage girls, the classic group (then as now), who are susceptible to social contagion. Inexplicably, society and the media celebrated this development, and attributed it to a strange phenomenon known as “increased acceptance”. Historians cannot find any explanation as to why it was considered that acceptance (as we now understand the term) would encourage people to insist that their bodies be permanently altered, lest they commit suicide.
At the height of the Power of the Story, young children who held that their Gender Identity was the opposite to their actual sex were enabled or encouraged to impersonate the opposite sex in society. Often nobody except their families knew their true sex. They were told that they actually WERE the opposite sex, that they had been “born in the wrong body”, and that their body could be corrected in adolescence with transition. This belief seems incredible to us now, and indeed it was completely implausible even according to the scientific knowledge of that earlier time. It appears that it was all a part of the Story, and hence immune to the critical thinking processes which might otherwise have been applied.
At that time, children as young as eight years old were being given opposite-sex hormones; girls as young as thirteen were having their breasts amputated; and boys as young as sixteen were having their testicles removed, and their penises inverted in an attempt to mimic female genitalia.
In many cases, apparently spellbound by the Power of the Story, parents assented to this. However, increasing numbers of parents became concerned and started to protest. The state began to intervene, and to transition ever-younger adolescents without parental consent. There are reliable accounts of children as young as thirteen being transitioned against their parents’ will, and even of parents being imprisoned for protesting publicly in defiance of attempts by the state to silence them. Incredibly, there are also records of state police forcibly removing children from their homes in order to facilitate their transition.
As the practice of transitioning spread, more and more people became concerned about the adverse impacts of the Power of the Story. Scientists, health professionals, journalists and public figures began to speak out. Vigorous attempts were made to silence them. They were called bigots and haters; they were banned from social media; deplatformed, and censored; they lost their jobs, received death and rape threats and, in some cases, were even harassed and attacked in the streets. Even the courts, whose most sacred duty (then and now) is to uphold truth and justice, refused to protect children from transition.
The brave efforts of thousands of people contributed to the resolution of the crisis. However, what finally turned the tide was the increasing number of “detransitioners” – people who had been transitioned, who came forward with the passage of time to express regret and anger at what had been done to them. A trickle became a flood. Eventually the Power of their sad Stories overcame the Power of the Story of Gender Identity. That power, which had taken decades to reach its zenith, collapsed in a matter of months.
There was much damage to be undone however. Laws had to be reversed. Society had to confront and try to make sense of what it had done to its youngest and most vulnerable members. The many thousands whose bodies had been permanently changed had to be supported, counseled, and helped to heal. Many families had been torn apart by the impacts of the Story, and did not recover.
It has to be said that there were many who went through transition who continued to profess themselves satisfied with the results, at least in the medium term. What happened to them in the long term – whether they regretted being unable to have children, understood that sexual satisfaction had been forever denied them, or had their health seriously damaged or their lives shortened by transition – history does not tell.
Historians have long debated the origin of the Story of Gender Identity, and why it captured the imagination of society for so long. Some say it was a religion. Some say it was a cult. Some say it was a psychic epidemic, like others that have been known to spread like wildfire among adolescents. Some point to greed - there was undoubtedly much money to be made in the administering of transition procedures. Some even claim that, given the nature of the surgical procedures undertaken, and the complete collapse of child safeguarding that occurred, that the Story was advanced by nefarious individuals in pursuit of the gratification of a sexual perversion.
The truth is that we do not know for sure. Perhaps some or all of these factors were involved. Or perhaps it was something else entirely. The Power of a compelling Story - the seductive fantasy of metamorphosis - may have been enough.