WATCH: Blaire White, Colin Wright, Josh Slocum and Justin Gibson debate trans activism

"I don't think we should be led by children, and I think that's crazy," Josh Slocum said.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

Can you be born in the wrong body? This was the question asked by Keri Smith at Mythinformed's Better Discourse event in Fort Worth, Tex., on Saturday. Blaire White, Colin Wright, Josh Slocum, and Justin Gibson dug into the debate.

Gibson, who claimed he "doesn't believe in a soul or anything like that," said that the key consideration for "gender affirmative" care is if it will make people happier. If it does, then surgeries, pharmaceuticals, should be employed to alter the body to match a person's mental perception of who they are.

White, a biological male who has undergone gender transition, doesn't believe that she was born in the wrong body, instead feeling that where she is now, living as a trans person, was who she was meant to be.

Slocum noted that perhaps most people do not believe that they can be born in the wrong body at all, that the very concept is essentially absurd. Wright had a similar view, stating that the body and the mind grow together, and that the question of whether or not a body can be wrong is in the realm of the metaphysical.

Science, he said, doesn't back up the idea that the mind can be entirely anathema to the body. This idea injects teleology into science, and science does not back the mind/body split.

Smith posed the question as to why so many people are identifying as transgender, and why there has been a booming increase in the number of people doing so.

Wright posed the idea that there was social contagion going on, and he brought up Canadian organization E-Gale, which is responsible for much of the literature being distributed in schools about the issue. This group claims that if a person doesn't conform to gender stereotypes, they are likely trans.

Gender identity clinics, Gibson said, treat children and teens who do not conform to gender stereotypes, and are not simply seeking to transition kids. But for Wright, gender nonconformity is pretty standard.

"If gender identity isn't rooted in biology," Gibson asked, "is it spiritual?" His view is that gender identity is a biological condition.

Slocum doesn't accept the construct of gender identity, and said that "there have been people who have felt discomfort" with gender stereotypes, but that doesn't mean they are in the wrong body.

"Gender identity is just your gender that you feel deep in your heart," Gibson said. Slocum noted that this was circular.

Gibson expanded, saying that in the same way that "wires can get crossed" with sexual orientation, that is also true with gender identity. Slocum noted that he doesn't believe sexual orientation is entirely biological either.

White said that gender identity is absolutely real, and said that research shows that women's brain scans are similar to brain scans of men who have gender dysphoria.

Wright, a biologist, said that some people "feel very deeply" about their gender and others don't.

A big issue in this debate, that kept coming up in this conversation, were definitions. Each panelist essentially had their own definitions of these terms.

We have, "unfortunately, a medical establishment that hasn't really caught up to this definitional change," Wright said. As such more people are being pushed into medical transition.

Smith brought up the question of trans-racialism, asking why transgenderism is more acceptable than someone who identifies as another race.

For Gibson, again, happiness is the key. "I just want happier people," he said. He essentially keeps this utilitarian perspective across the board, maintaining an integrity to his belief system: more happiness is equivalent to more good. Happiness was not definitionally explored by the panel.

"I don't believe this is settled science," Slocum said. He said that there is a high correlation between children and teens with gender dysphoria and "multiple psychiatric comorbidities" stemming primarily from parental abuse and neglect issues. There are many reasons, Slocum said, including social contagion and trends.

Wright said that there is a correlation between homosexuality and being gender non-conforming, and that dysphoria could stem from feeling different from friends in terms of identifying with gender stereotypical traits.

White said that social contagion is definitely part of this, fueled by social media, but that this "doesn't erase" actual trans people. "Everyone is right and wrong about everything," White said.

Gibson said that rapid onset gender dysphoria, and social contagion, isn't really a bad thing because it helps those who are gender dysphoric to find their place in society.

But for Slocum, a social message that men and women can be sissies or butch without saying that you're not a real man or woman. And the gay rights movement, he said, was about that, about saying that there's no one right way to be male or female.

Gibson said "everything is rooted in biology because otherwise it would be cybernetic or supernatural" and he wants to create a situation where there are "more happy kids."

For Wright, rapid onset gender dysphoria "has to do with the changing definitions that we have and that are commonly found in children's classrooms… and that it's something that kids are receiving." He brought up the "gender bread person," which has "manness and womanness on a sliding scale."

The traits that are listed to help determine which is which are secondary sex characteristics. "This is what kids are receiving," Wright said. "The takeaway message from a lot of these that little girls going through puberty might see" regarding breast shape and size, which of course vary substantially.

Wright said that much of the "huge spike" in gender dysphoria could be due to the educational prevalence about trans.

"The trans thing is so different," White said, decrying the potential problems of becoming a lifelong medical patient at ages as young as 12. This, White says, is a problem. Pubescent children should not be undergoing voluntary double mastectomies.

Slocum confronted Gibson on the prescription of stopping puberty entirely with the use of Lupron, which is used off-label. Gibson is in favor of it if it makes kids happy. Lupron is a drug used for chemical castration.

White said that many trans people who underwent puberty blocking treatment, they have had extreme problems with their surgeries, and were unable to undergo surgery to invert a penis into a "vagina."

"Do you think a 12-year-old can decide that they can be sterilized for life?" White asked, saying that it's only by putting the word "trans" in it that people would say yes. Under any other circumstance, White said, the answer would be no.

The question of whether or not biological males should compete in women's sports came up, and White said that Lia Thomas, UPenn's title-winning swimmer who began transition in 2019, should not be competing in women's sports.

Wright said the question is whether or not "females should have their own leagues to compete fairly," and said that yes, they should. "This is by definition exclusionary," he said, but that this is acceptable because there are sex differences between males and females. To say that men should compete in women's sports, he said, is an admission that you don’t think women should have their own sports categories.

Gibson agreed that identifying as the opposite gender is "not enough to be able to compete in the women's league," noting that he was courting "cancellation by the left." He said that "we can with more research find the best" way to make everyone happy.

Wright said that the average disparity is 30 percent. "Based on all available data," he said, noting that one of the study writers was a biological male who has transitioned, "it's still completely unfair." The studies cited three years' worth of data of cross-sex hormones and showed that males still retained a substantial advantage in strength and other areas.

"A female isn't just a weaker man," Wright said.

Smith brought up the recent issue of males being housed alongside women in women's prisons. "You don't put penises and vaginas in a jail cell," White said.

For Slocum, mental health is a huge component of this debate, saying the "predatory people are taking advantage of the designation trans."

"Lia Thomas is a perfect example," he said. "Lia Thomas is a man who thinks very highly of himself who realizes that if he called himself a woman no one would stop him."

"This is a narcistic liar who is taking advantage of gaps in our safeguarding system" Slocum said. The key concept is that people need to say the truth.

Gibson demanded that Slocum call Thomas "she," and that it would be absurd to believe that Thomas would undergo cross-sex hormones all for the glory of competing in women's collegiate swimming, which he clearly doesn't think is worth anyone's time.

White believes that Thomas is "trans but selfish."

"LGBT wards" was the suggestion by White.

"There needs to be certain safe-guardings," Wright said. He believes that safe-guards must be put into place."

"How do you define woman?" Smith asked.

"An adult human female," Slocum replied simply.

Wright said that the "slippery slope" that broke down gender identity and biological sex is a serious issue, and that he will fight against that.

Gibson said that there's no "threat to biology" to including "transwomen" under the heading and category of women.

Wright said that "sex being blurred, and we're telling people that you can identify your way into a sex category, is eroding lots of areas where sex actually matters." The definition of a woman "requires you to be a female first, and an adult human after that."

"I don’t think we should be erasing what the intent is in erasing" categories of men's and women's prisons, and others.

Gibson wants to "see research on who is going to be the most protected," and to use that determination to figure out where men who claim to be transgender go. He feels fully that because "transwomen" will be assaulted in prison, they should go to women's prison.

"What about the women who are in prison?" Slocum asked. He brought up the two pregnancies in a women's prison in New Jersey, both impregnated by men who identify as transgender.

White said "the default should not be" to put penises in prisons with vaginas, "because they will make babies."

Wright said it's crazy to think we have no reason to believe there could be issues. "We know that males are going to be more of a threat, on average."

We shouldn't just "throw them in and see what happens."

Gibson relies entirely on data to ensure happiness.

"It puts no sorrow in my heart, Keri, to know that you and I are different," White said. White does not believe that transwomen are women.

"Trans women are different from women," Gibson relented, saying "we can argue the nuances."

White said that social hierarchy is being restructured based on these ideologies, and said that "this is incorrect."

Another concern, White said, is that coming out is celebrated, and kids want to be celebrated. When confronted with the idea that there's lots of homophobia and transphobia, White said that this is a "geographical issue."

In many places, such as New York, LA, and other blue states, there's far, far more acceptance and encouragement of LGBTQ identities and those who subscribe to them, whereas in other locales, there are concerns.

The questions of what gender identity is, what men and woman are, are trickling into policy, and affecting children entirely. When asked how to address a "trans" second grader, Slocum said that the child's preference should not be determinative.

"I don't believe that just because a child says this is what I want that creates a reason to do what the child wants," Slocum said.

"I don't think we should be led by children, and I think that's crazy."


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