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The Trans Lobby Loves Ad Hominems

If they had confidence in the good faith of their own argument, they wouldn't have to call conservatives "virulently anti-trans."

I want to ask our friends on the left a question. And I hope I can ask it in good faith, because I really do want to know the answer.

Recently, New York Magazine ran an article called, “How Texas Became the Most Virulently Anti-Trans State in America.” What do you folks make of that headline?

Please be honest. Because, to me, it looks like you’re being gaslighted.

New York Magazine is upset that Texas governor Greg Abbott is trying to halt “gender-affirming care” for minors. This includes “reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilization, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen.” And you may be for or against. But from where I’m standing, he hasn’t actually changed anything.

Doctors only began “treating” transgendered children with hormone therapy in 2004. Back then, the procedure was controversial even among progressives. Before then, anyone who injected little girls with testosterone would be charged with a felony. Anyone who castrated a little boy went to prison.

“Gender-affirming care” has become more widespread by slipping through a kind of permanent loophole in American law, whereby doctors are allowed to do things normal people are not (e.g., injecting little girls with testosterone). At first, few people took notice of the procedure because it was extremely rare. So was Gender Identity Disorder, as it was known in the benighted Noughties.

Today, as many as one in ten young Americans identify as “gender-diverse.” More of them are also seeking “gender-affirming care.” Clearly, governments can’t keep turning a blind eye to these procedures. It has to take some kind of position.

Now, you may think the State of Texas is going about this the completely wrong way. You may think Gov. Abbott should follow the science, believe all trans kids, etc. Just for the sake of argument, I’ll grant you all of that. But do you really think that makes Texans “virulently anti-trans”?

Maybe you think that giving puberty-blockers to children is a no-brainer. Thus, if you oppose sex changes for minors, there’s only one possible reason: You feel a visceral hatred for trans people. There can be no alternative. It has to be mindless, deep-seated bigotry.

You may say “Yes, that’s exactly what I think.” But I don’t believe you really mean it. I can’t.

Now, look, I’m not saying you doubt the party line. You’re a true believer. I get that. You are 100 percent convinced that children should be able to access this “gender-affirming care.” But do you really think we conservatives are motivated only by hatred?

During an April 6 testimony, Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra vowed to use taxpayer money to fund sex-reassignment surgery for minors. Yet even according to pro-trans sources, “only” 8 percent of transgender people will eventually detransition. (The real number is probably much higher, especially for minors.) That means at least one in ten children who receive one of Becerra’s sex-reassignment surgeries will come to regret their decision.

That may not bother you. I’m not sure how, yet if you say it doesn’t, I’ll believe you. But can you not see how some people—Greg Abbott, for instance—may find those statistics a little disturbing? Can you not see why some people may be reluctant to make this procedure available for free to every man, woman, and child in America? Or are you going to double down on the “virulently anti-trans” theory?

I just don’t buy it. You can’t not see where we’re coming from. It’s impossible. It’s not even bad faith. It’s just nonsense.

I have to believe that, deep down, you understand our concerns. And so there must be a part of you that wonders why progressives in the media are so hell-bent on dismissing conservatives as mere transphobes.

Of course, they might have the very best reasons. Maybe it’s because they’re deeply concerned for the wellbeing of trans kids. Becerra said, “I will do everything I can” to “protect the rights of any American” to receive “gender-affirming care.” Maybe that includes defaming and browbeating his critics. But has that tactic ever worked?

Think back to all the arguments you’ve had in your life. When you feel like all the data and logic are on your side, how many ad hominems do you use? Close to zero, I’ll bet. How about when you’re on the ropes—when your opponent is clearly in the right, but you just can’t let go of the bone? Probably quite a lot.

So, let me ask you one last question, my left-leaning friend. Why are there so many ad hominems coming from the left in the trans debate? Why do respectable publications like New York indulge in so much name-calling? What are they trying to hide?

Let me give you our theory. After gay marriage was settled in 2015, progressives needed a new cause. So, they decided to put all their eggs in the trans basket. Come to find, though, that ordinary Americans are repulsed by the idea of letting trans boys change in the girl’s locker room. They don’t want to incarcerate trans men in female prisons. And very few of us would ever support the idea of letting children consent to having their breasts and penises cut off by surgeons. Adults? Maybe. But not children.

So, progressives did what we humans always do: They started slinging mud. Anyone who questions the latest gender theory must be anti-trans—virulently so. And where do we get the latest gender orthodoxy? From the Journal of the American Medical Association? Oh, no, from New York Magazine, of course.

To conservatives, it seems pretty clear this isn’t about children, or healthcare, or science. It is about politics. Progressives refused to admit that they were too quick to embrace the most radical pro-trans line. Now, instead of walking it back a little, they’re doubling down.

In a couple of decades, we’ll hear from thousands upon thousands of men and women who fell victim to this ideology. “When I was four, I started wearing my sister’s dresses. My mother told me I was trans. I didn’t know what ‘trans’ was, of course, except that it made all of her mom friends jealous. Then came the injections.”

Children who are on puberty blockers when they reach adolescence are apt to have stunted growth and brittle bones. Girls won’t develop hips or breasts, and will likely be infertile. Boys will not be able to build muscle mass or grow facial hair. Their genitals won’t develop, either; they’ll remain small and impotent for the rest of their lives. And they’ll be at a much higher risk of suicide.

No amount of “detransitioning” can undo that damage. You only get one shot at puberty. If you miss it, that’s it. Governor Abbott doesn’t think children should be able to make that call. If they choose to watch SpongeBob SquarePants, they’re clearly not rational actors. They can’t be trusted with their own life changing medical decisions. When they hit maturity, they can do what they like. But before Timmy chooses to be a girl, let him try being a boy first.

To New York Magazine and its ilk, that’s unconscionable. It’s a violation of Timmy’s human rights. It’s self-evidently evil. There’s no reason anyone could think that was a good idea—none except a profound, irrational hatred for trans people. Of course, that’s a complete and utter lie. You know it as well as I do.

I’m sure the media told you that we conservatives are on the wrong side of history. The future will vindicate the trans rights movement, just as it vindicated the civil rights movement. Well, that’s a lie, too. Mark my words: Someday, and someday soon, we’ll put “trans kids” in the same category as the castrati of Italy and the bacha bazi of Afghanistan. They’re all children who have suffered irreparable harm, both physical and psychological, to gratify adults.

Deep down, I think you know that everything I’m saying is true. Why not admit your mistake before any more children get hurt? Really, it’s the politicians and journalists who are to blame. Why take the fall for their mistake? Why make yourself culpable in their wrongdoing? Stop letting them gaslight you. You don’t have to play along.

Michael Warren Davis is author of The Reactionary Mind. Subscribe to his newsletter “The Common Man” on Substack.