Suppose a 16-year-old boy has just gone through the early stages of puberty. He loves baseball and was one of the top players in the 11-12 little league. Now, however, the other boys have surpassed him physically, and he has become a mediocre player — couldn’t even make the high school team.
He has an epiphany. He no longer identifies with his 16-year-old body, which has made him feel weak, inept and awkward. His self-esteem has been shattered, and he yearns for a time when he was content and comfortable within his own body, so he decides on reshaping himself to resemble an 11-year-old boy. With new-found body hair completely shaved, he starts wearing clothes typical of boys that age and learns the new video games they now enjoy. A name change is undertaken, switching from Joseph to the “Joey” he called as a youngster. Joey even seeks surgical attention for his vocal cords so he can revive the tender tone of a boy five years younger. Upon his return, all he did was bash home runs and toss no-hitters.
Preposterous? Please do not dismiss this as a transphobic thought experiment. On the contrary, it alerts us to confused attitudes towards science and how we — liberals and conservatives — can be erratic when agreeing or disagreeing with its findings. This thought experiment asks us: If you accept that a man can identify himself as a woman and thus compete in female sports, on what basis do you reject the 16-year-old identifying himself as an 11-year-old playing little league?
To respond that this analogy fails because gender identity is more pervasive than what we might call “transchronos” (those who want to switch the chronological state of their bodies) is misleading. Transgender individuals comprise less than 1% of the general population. On the other hand, once human beings reach 40, most rue the youthful days when they couldn’t wait to look older. Past 40, many of us will devote considerable effort and money to looking younger, feeling younger, identifying as younger (as in the “you’re only as old as you feel” mantra.) Most of us are “transchronos.”
Dare we respond that being 16 years old is an objective or natural fact? That will not work if we also ignore the objective or natural facts that zoologists, botanists and human …….