Suicide is a terrible thing.
I have known a few people who have taken their own lives, and it is always unbelievably distressing for all involved, and indicative of extreme distress.
Whilst I fully understand, and indeed agree with, the Church's condemnation of suicide, I am also strongly of the view that in many cases, the notion that someone took his or her life 'while of unsound mind' is the most accurate description; and that of course reduces the moral culpability of the person concerned, so that I hope that we may hope for his or her eternal salvation.
All of which is by way of preamble to what I really want to write about. A young man who identified himself as a woman, and therefore as transgendered, recently committed suicide. He left a note, blaming, inter alia, the fact that his parents could not accept that he was a woman.
The LGBTQetc activists, their ideological allies, and many of sympathetic mind, all hurried to seize and control the narrative. Twitter and other media have been awash with comments to the effect that his parents effectively killed him. They point to the high incidence of suicides among transgendered people, and some are calling for the prosecution of his parents for referring him to Christian counsellors who tried to help him reconcile with the fact that he was a boy, not a girl.
There are, of course, conflicting views of reality here. On the one hand, his parents subscribe to the view that if you are born a boy and believe yourself to be 'really' a girl, the problem is a psychological (or even spiritual) one.
On the other hand, the LGBTQetc lobby and their allies believe that one's natural sex is irrelevant, a social construct based on the flimsy evidence of biological difference, and that what really counts is how one self-identifies.
What is apparent to me is that neither view is provable empirically, from evidence. Each rests on certain anthropological and philosophical assumptions.
According to the first theory, the high level of suicides amongst people who identify as transgender is most likely to be because such people are psychologically disturbed, and are living with an irreconcilable contradiction about their very identity.
According to the second theory (whose advocates will certainly see me as 'part of the problem' because I have used masculine pronouns about someone who identified himself as a woman) the suicide rate is most likely to be attributable to the persecution transgendered people suffer in a society that systematically oppresses them.
Thus those in the second camp are clear that the parents of the poor young man who killed himself are responsible for his death as they did not affirm his chosen identity, but rather persecuted him, as they sought to solve what they saw as his psychological problem.
But from the other perspective, one could as well say that it is precisely the LGBTQetc lobby who bear some moral responsibility for this young man's death. By affirming that he was right (and had a right) to identify as a woman, and further that the appropriate way to interpret his parents' concern was that they were hateful and oppressive, they could equally be said to have contributed to the dreadful despair that led to his suicide.
Of course, those who accept the whole intellectual framework of victimhood which is an integral part of the LGBTQetc movement will point to my privilege and my lack of personal experience of the issues involved here, and conclude not only that my arguments are invalid, but also that I have no right to comment.
I reject that approach to thinking and discourse. Indeed, there is a strong case to be made for the fact that we are not alway the best judges in our own cases; that someone disinterested may often have a valuable perspective to bring to bear. The fact that this poor young person genuinely felt oppressed by his parents' behaviour does not mean that such behaviour was necessarily oppressive (it may have been of course: I am talking about the logic of the argument, not the facts of this case - not least because I mistrust all the reporting I have seen from both sides of the argument). By the same token, my arguments may be valid or invalid: but that should be proven by addressing them, not by writing them off a priori.
I will also, doubtless, be branded as transphobic, and probably as a hater, for writing this; though in fact I have no ill-will towards people who identify as transgendered. I simply think that they are acting on a false set of assumptions and beliefs.
But the problem remains: how can one decide which account of the variations in human sexuality is correct? One can't appeal to the evidence, as all evidence is subject to interpretation according to one's philosophy. So the argument is a philosophical one; but that is glossed over in the media, and the cumulative effect of repeated assertions about 'equality' and 'inclusiveness' and 'acceptance' have so deadened the intellectual attentiveness of so many that most do not realise that there is an argument to be had.
Which is why I wrote this.
As ever, I am open to correction and discussion if I have misunderstood or misrepresented anything in this post.
Please remember to pray for all those suffering from disordered sexuality - which, let's face it, is all of us - and particularly for parents and children who are struggling to understand and respond to such difficult issues; and for the repose of the souls of all who have taken their lives while of unsound mind.
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