Fascinating. That’s the only word I can use to describe the detailed evolution that Dr. Alicia Hendley authors about her own journey from transgender activist to visceral opponent of the movement. Writing at the Feminist Current, Hendley’s piece reads as part confession, part warning for those who believe in the autonomy, independence, and empowerment of women.
To be honest, I’ve always been as confused by feminist support of the trans rights crusade as I have been about their support for abortion.
Legal abortion is the greatest tool of sex traffickers and serial abusers of women you could ever dream up or imagine. It is a quick fix for pedophiles and perverts who make a living off of hurting girls and ruining their lives. And it’s a license to objectify and discard for unscrupulous frat boys who see women as playthings rather than equals. But for some odd reason, supposed feminists provide these cowards cover by confusing abortion as a means of liberation rather than what it is: a means of exploitation.
And it’s a similar situation with transgenderism. The idea that a man can “be” a woman simply by saying he is one is an incredible insult to the complexity, mystique, and majesty of womanhood. Being a woman is far more miraculous than hormone pills and reconstructive surgery. To pretend otherwise is an insult to the entire gender. It remains the greatest of mysteries to me how the leading voices against the illogic of transgenderism aren’t prominent feminists.
But maybe one day they will be. After all, Dr. Hendley wrote how far she came in a relatively short period of time:
Until mid-January, I was a stalwart advocate of what is commonly referred to as “transgender rights.” I didn’t waver in my belief that transwomen are women andtransmen are men, that transgender individuals should be granted access to single-sex spaces based on their chosen “gender” (including female change rooms, homeless shelters, prisons, sexual assault centres, transition houses, etc.), and that those who question such beliefs were misguided at best, and transphobic bigots at worst…
I discounted those who didn’t agree with my belief system — or rather, shouted online at them, in 280 characters or less. I used my PhD in clinical psychology as a sword, despite the fact my knowledge of the science and psychology of sex and gender was minimal. Most people who disagreed with me were women, who repeatedly stated that males could not become female, and that while the rights of every individual in society must be respected and protected, the rights of one group (trans-identified people) cannot be realized at the expense of another (women).
To be sure Hendley knew all the popular arguments, had the conventional wisdom as well as the language down pat. She knew the strategy of name-calling, appeals to authority, references to the “right side of history,” all of it. I encourage everyone with an open mind to read her full testimony and what took place to awaken her to the dangerous fraud of transgenderism. She is incredibly forthright and candid about her mistakes.
But particularly women, and those who truly care about the future of women and their voice in our society, it’s incumbent upon all of us to heed her wise warning:
Now, when I reflect on my “switch” from being an unrelenting trans activist/“ally” to being critical of gender identity ideology and legislation, I’m chilled at how easy it was for me — a psychologist (now retired), ostensibly trained to understand the human mind — to become so caught up in the momentum of “trans rights” that I avoided critical thought, much like a new member of a cult. And, while I’m reluctant to call trans activism a “cult,” I’m aware of many disconcerting similarities: the absolute refusal to allow anyone to criticize issues; silencing, smearing, and ostracizing those who do ask questions (in this case, labeling them “transphobic”) about the ideology of transgenderism; and pressuring individuals (from parents to health professionals) to blindly adhere to the view that some people are “born in the wrong body,” and that the only way to “fix” this error is through medical intervention, such as puberty-suppressing drugs, cross-sex hormones, and various surgeries, rather than with psychological intervention. And, much like in a cult, those who push gender identity ideology discourage independent thought, and instead respond to requests for evidence and facts to support their beliefs with platitudes, mantras, and scare tactics, repeated over and over, until they become reality.
If I could become so easily and wholeheartedly sold on notions like the existence of a “lady brain,” I fear that almost anyone is susceptible to believing that this increasingly large emperor, his brazen nakedness filling the room, is in fact wearing clothes.
Dr. Hendley is right. This isn’t a game. Young people are being manipulated and abused, children are being irreparably damaged, women are being unfairly maligned and silenced, and unless we begin listening to the courageous mea culpas and wise counsel of people like Alicia Hendley, it’s only going to get worse.