Transgender, 1967, and Paul McHugh
I have a little story to tell about scientific evidence and transgender identity.
Here it is.
Paul McHugh and a number of other people recently released a “study” that is designed to support their misguided beliefs about what is right and what is wrong in the world of sex and gender. In the report, McHugh says transgender identity “is not supported by scientific evidence.”
I have a little story to tell about scientific evidence and transgender identity. Here it is.
In January 1967, I got in a little bit of trouble in my rural Kansas home for describing a guy named Bart Starr with a four-letter word. Five days after my 9th birthday, the future Hall of Fame quarterback pretty much had his way with my beloved Kansas City Chiefs. My nine-year-old heart was crushed.
I remember the summer of 1967. My family took a week-long vacation to Colorado. I have many memories of that spectacular trip.
This was also the year I spent two full weeks of my summer vacation, sitting in the stairwell of my parent’s home, and looking at every single page or every single volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
You might wonder why a nine-year-old child might do such a thing. The answer is quite simple. I was looking for scientific evidence. I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Everyone kept telling me I was a boy and there was some evidence that might have lead them to believe that. There was also a lot of evidence no one could see.
I knew I was a girl. I had known it for years. I also believed that it was shameful, horrible, and disgusting. I thought if I could just figure out what was wrong with me, I could fix it. Then, in my nine-year-old way of thinking, I would be like everyone else. I would be okay.
My attempt at finding clarity about my gender offered up no answers. Only more questions. More loneliness. More deceit and isolation. I was more convinced than ever that my life was doomed and my future was destined to be filled with pain.
It would be another 40 years, before I threw away my Steven suit in the summer of 2007. Another four decades of trying to be someone I could never hope to be. Three-fourths of that time was mired in a desperate, alcoholic search for the means by which to fix myself.
You would think, that in the 40 years after my two-week date with the encyclopedia, people in America might have come to an understanding of the damage done by trying to force someone to be who they can not be. You would be partly right.
Many people in America have learned to focus on the harm done to children who don’t fit into the mythical boxes of sex and gender. At the same time, many people have doubled their efforts to preserve a mythical world in which those mythical boxes might have ever been real.
A lot of things happened in 1967. I cussed out a future Hall of Fame quarterback. I saw Pike’s Peak and Garden of the Gods. I didn’t know it, but Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first black justice of the United States Supreme Court.
I learned to hate myself, having found no evidence that there was a scientific explanation for my identity, I boarded myself onto a runaway train of self-hatred and self-destruction.
Today, nearly 50 years after my summer search for scientific evidence, I have some pretty strong views on the subject.
There is no scientific evidence that sex and gender are intrinsically linked.
There is no scientific evidence that you or anyone else can determine my gender.
There is plenty of scientific evidence that invalidating the identities of transgender children has a direct connection to suicide, substance abuse, harassment, and violence. It is you, Paul McHugh, and people like you who stole 40 years of my life. It is you, who holds the noose by which transgender children end their own lives. You are the monster under the bed for thousands upon thousands of children who know a hell of a lot more about who they are than you do.
Science is best left to those people who can discern the difference between truth and ideology. You, Paul McHugh, do not qualify.
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