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The battle over free speech regarding transgender issues continues. Le Journal de Montréal columnist Richard Martineau was temporarily put into the Facebook penalty box for asserting that women have a uterus: a statement which was reported as “hate speech” to the social media outlet. His account was initially blocked for a week, but reinstated a few days later.
Martineau said he received an apology from Facebook. He also thanked his friends and supporters for their support, which raises the question of whether or not lower profile accounts would have had as much success.
The speech in question in Martineau’s situation was a scientific assertion about biological differences between the bodies of males and females. Unfortunately, this comes into conflict with transgender activists who declare that women are defined only by their verbal self identification.
While sensitivity is desirable when dealing with identity groups who suffer discrimination, the battle over gender issues is complicated enough to warrant special care. Primarily, the fact that children not yet old enough to legally consent to sex are being put on hormone blockers or offered transition therapy raises issues of possible child abuse.
At what age should children be permitted to potentially sterilize themselves?
There are ethical boundaries in place that prevent scientists and academics from experimenting on human beings. At the same time, there is political and social pressure on members of society demanding that we accept self-identification, even from prepubescent children, in order to facilitate gender change for those who appear to be gender non-conforming.
The argument for early transition is, in part, that blocking puberty at an early age will make gender transition easier. The argument against treating children, in part, is that many of these children may simply be suffering from gender confusion and not aligning with stereotypes about boys and girls. The fact that some people change their minds during transition or afterwards is marginalized. The long term effects of hormone blockers is not yet known.
Physicians historically take an oath to “first do no harm.”
But what is harm? That seems to be the current dispute between those who think that gender dysphoria can be diagnosed in a half-hour counselling session and those who think greater care should be taken.
Is it hate speech to say that only people with a uterus can give birth? For now, Facebook has decided that is not the case, but that is likely a minor victory for parents of children who have been taken from them by transgender advocacy groups.
It seems absurd that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter could decide such a complicated and important issue when children’s lives and futures are at stake. Afterall, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t a doctor or a clinical psychologist.
The debate about what “gender” means and what people are legally permitted to say about it is far from over. While columnists like Richard Martineau struggle to assert biological facts about which human bodies push children out from their vaginas, parents of children who have expressed gender confusion are having their children taken away from them if they question what should be done about it.
At this moment in time Richard Martineau seems to have won the right to talk about human anatomy. For others, the problem is much more difficult. For some people the battle isn’t just about access to a Facebook or Twitter account, the fight is for the future and life of their daughters or sons.
The most bizarre aspect of this cultural battle seems to be that the activists deplatforming parents, removing them from the lives of their own children, are simultaneously telling us that gender is a social construct. If it’s all just a social construct, then why is it so important to them that these children be sterilized as soon as possible? Why transform a child’s body simply to conform to a false idea about what gender means or looks like?
It is getting progressively more difficult to question those who encourage gender dysphoria being validated as soon as possible and “treated” in children. Legitimate questions and assertions of scientific fact are now being called “hate speech.” And all for what?
There is currently no surgery in the world that will transform a female body into one that produces sperm nor one that can turn a male body into one that can grow and give birth to a fetus via a uterus. Is it hateful to say that?
Maybe, one day, science will find a way to swap reproductive organs between genders, but how far do we want that to go? If you get a uterus transplant, will it come with morning sickness and mood swings? Will you go through menopause when you decide you’re done with reproduction? Do you get to uncheck those boxes in advance?
Right now we don’t even know if children who are give puberty blockers will successfully reproduce without genetic defects. And, if they decide they aren’t really transgender, we don’t know how to restore them.
This conversation is just beginning. And until the conversation is over I suggest that we stop experimenting on our children.