There Is No Valid Proof of Gender Identity, And There Never Will Be
While I am glad journalists are highlighting the flaws in psychological studies about gender identity and I view this as valuable work and am happy it’s being done, I am taking a different tack here. Because even if every one of these studies were executed flawlessly and even if the results they claimed to reach were accurate, those results still would not justify the way psychologists are trying to use them. My argument is simple: It is impossible for psychology to prove that the “gender” of gender identity is real.
Gender identity believers declare that “gender is different than sex” and that our gender identity is our inner sense of what our “gender” is and represents something innate and immutable about ourselves, something core to our being as a person. But what exactly is this “gender” they are speaking of? It isn’t helpful to provide their definition because their definition of the word often doesn’t match the way they actually use it, so let me try to describe it. We start with our physical body. Okay, that’s obvious. We can see it. We can touch it. It’s material. It’s provably there. Now imagine an incorporeal something around that physical body, an aura, a manifestation of a human soul, a twirly mist, something immaterial, something transcendental. And this transcendental gender that surrounds each of us, so its believers claim, has a masculine or feminine aspect to it, or both, or neither, or something entirely unrelated to masculine/feminine. And our gender identity is our internal sense of what that transcendental gender is.
But here’s the thing: transcendental gender doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist in the same way that dragons, and vampires, and werewolves don’t exist. It isn’t actually there. Gender identity is an internal sense of nothing. What it’s identifying isn’t real.
The thoughts are there, yes. The beliefs are there, yes. The internal sense is there, yes, the wish, the fantasy, the preference. But this is not the type of thing that can be considered part of provable reality because this is not the type of thing that is actually provable. Gender identity is simply a personal belief, not worthy of any more recognition or protection than any other personal belief, and it is impossible for psychology to prove otherwise.
What Psychology Actually Claims
If you pay attention to the claims that psychological studies make in favor of gender identity or “gender” surgeries, you’ll note they never actually claim to prove that the “gender” which gender identity is supposedly identifying actually exists. They only focus on the effect that treating that belief as true has on the mental health of their patients.
Consider some examples:
“Pubertal Suppression for Transgender Youth and Risk of Suicidal Ideation”: Link
After adjustment for demographic variables and level of family support for gender identity, those who received treatment with pubertal suppression, when compared with those who wanted pubertal suppression but did not receive it, had lower odds of lifetime suicidal ideation
Does “lower odds of lifetime suicidal ideation” prove that “gender” exists? No.
“Well-being and suicidality among transgender youth after gender-affirming hormones”: Link
After gender-affirming hormones, a significant increase in levels of general well-being and a significant decrease in levels of suicidality were observed.
Does “a significant increase in levels of general well-being” prove that “gender” exists? No.
“A Systematic Review of the Psychological Benefits of Gender-Affirming Surgery”: Link
Most of the studies included in this review indicate that GAS lead to multiple, significant psychological benefits among individuals with gender dysphoria
Does “significant psychological benefits” prove that “gender” exists? No.
Psychology never makes the claim it can directly demonstrate that “gender” exists in a real, objective sense because the field of psychology is incapable of making such measurements. If there actually is a transcendental gender, it would have to be discovered by a new field of science with new instruments capable of measuring whatever this “gender” people believe in is actually composed of.
Instead, psychologists run tests where they treat a certain belief as true, including medical intervention to prevent the natural disproof from manifesting itself (e.g. puberty blockers and surgical modifications). And then they tell us that treating a belief as true had a positive impact on their patient’s mental health, which apparently means we’re supposed to treat the belief as true?
Were you aware that this is how reality was being decided by our society? Do you, like me, live in a secular society? Is this how you expected your secular society decided what is real? That we were deciding reality itself based on what specific privileged people claim makes them happier? I’m assuming this is surprising to you, hopefully shocking, yet this is the demand being made of us by the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, etc. All supposedly secular organizations, all currently acting in a very anti-secular way.
Biological Sex Is a Physical Category
Let’s be clear about what is at stake here: biological sex is a physical category. This isn’t some abstract concept. This is an actual material category within the material world. Consider how our biological sex is determined. Is it based on identity? Is it based on what makes us happiest? No, it’s based on proof. We don’t decide what sex we are. Reality decides it for us. In most cases, all it takes is a basic observation of someone’s anatomy. But even in the rare cases of physical defect, observations can be made of an individual’s DNA, etc; and in all cases, the determination is made based on proof.
There is a sub-genre of gender identity apologetics that goes something like this: “Biological sex is complicated, so complicated, you wouldn’t believe how complicated. In fact let me go multiple pages telling you how much more complicated it is than you ever imagined”, and then they throw in at the end “and that’s why everyone should believe in gender identity!” It’s amusing to read these non sequiturs because they completely miss the point. It doesn’t matter how simple or complicated biological sex is to determine. The only thing that matters is that it is determined based on proof. If it can be proven you have this set of physical characteristics, you are a male. If it can be proven you have these other physical characteristics, you are a female.
Gender Identity Is Overriding Biological Sex
And because biological sex is determined based on proof, it is rightfully considered part of our society’s shared reality, which means we structure things around it. We build separate bathrooms based on biological sex, and separate prisons. We create separate sports leagues. We have different pronouns, one per sex, and we structure our language and communication about sexual attraction based on this physical category.
But then believers in gender identity come along and demand that biological sex be overridden by gender identity. They demand that bathrooms be determined by gender identity, not sex. They demand that prisons be based on gender identity, not sex. They demand that sports leagues be based on gender identity, not sex. They demand that pronouns be based on gender identity, not sex. They demand that sexual attraction be based on gender identity, not sex.
And remember, the “gender” of gender identity doesn’t exist! We have all these ways our society has shaped itself around the provable reality of biological sex, and gender identity—a belief in something that doesn’t even exist!—is being allowed to override it.
Claims of Happiness Do Not Prove Reality
One might ask, where have we gone wrong? I think it stems from a lost understanding of how a secular society is supposed to determine its shared reality. At some point along the way, people started thinking that for something to be secular it just has to not come from an organized religion. Well, gender identity doesn’t come from an organized religion, does that mean it’s secular? To many today, the answer is yes, and that is the problem.
Secular does not mean non-religion. Secular means non-faith. In other words, secular means provable. This is not an attack on religion. I am a religious man, and I don’t mean in a cultural sense, I mean in an “I believe in things that contradict provable reality” sense. But what right do I have to force people to treat something as true that I cannot prove to be true? That is why a secular society bases its shared reality solely on proof. That way no one is forced to treat the personal beliefs of others as true. If personal beliefs are claimed as religious, then religious accommodation can be provided for them, but nonbelievers always have the right to not treat unprovable beliefs as true.
Yet somewhere along the way, psychology got the strange idea that reality can be proven through human happiness. Now, to a religious person, this might not sound like such a bad idea at first. Don’t you believe that your religion makes you happier, and isn’t that part of the reason why you believe in it? But the obvious problem is manifest as soon as you look outside yourself and notice that the world is full of people made happy by beliefs that contradict yours. Furthermore, the beliefs that make you happy might make someone else unhappy.
Part of the problem is there is no way to objectively measure happiness, and there is always the obvious question of “But should that make you happy?”, which a secular society cannot answer. But a larger problem for psychologists is they are focusing solely on the patient in front of them and forgetting that the universe does not revolve around their patient. Other people exist, and our happiness matters too.
Imagine if you wanted to decide if husbands should be expected to do the dishes or not. So you interview every husband in the world and ask them, “Would it make you happier if your wife always did the dishes?” Unsurprisingly, your study comes back with a resounding “Yes!” And so, following the pattern that psychology is following today, you declare: “Husbands are happier when their wives do the dishes, so wives should always do the dishes.”
If you are a woman, I trust you can see the flaw in this reasoning, and I hope all men can too: What about the wives’ happiness? Don’t they matter too? Of course they do, which is why deciding whether or not husbands should do the dishes, based solely on the “happiness” of the husbands, is not a just way to decide things.
So too with gender identity. Jim, a male, believes he is a woman. Psychology claims that treating him like a woman will improve his mental health. But treating a male like a woman will harm the mental health of Mary and Sara, who don’t want males in female bathrooms or dressing rooms; and it will harm the mental health of Laura, who is an athlete who wants the ability to compete solely against females; and it will harm the mental health of David, who doesn’t want to be expected to be attracted to other males.
And this is why determining reality based on happiness is unjust. How do you weigh the competing claims of happiness against each other? Yes, I understand it would be convenient for you to say, “Treating Jim like a woman shouldn’t make these people unhappy”, but it does. What are you going to do, send them to reeducation camps? The only recourse is what we are witnessing today: Some people are elevated into the status of a demigod, whose happiness is so important that the rest of us are expected to base reality itself around them, and those who object are dehumanized, thereby justifying why their happiness doesn’t matter. Because what does it matter if a “bigot” or a “transphobe” or a “hateful TERF” is unhappy?
Furthermore, human happiness isn’t a reliable measurement of reality anyway because between human emotion and reality lies a human, whose personal beliefs and overall emotional resilience can make them more or less capable of dealing with a reality that at times, frankly, sucks; therefore, the fact that a person is happy or sad, stable or suicidal, doesn’t prove that the underlying reality is good or bad. Instead, it could simply be that that person hasn’t developed a healthy way to deal with reality.
Imagine there are four soldiers whose Humvee is hit by an IED. Two of the soldiers tragically lose their legs, but two leave the accident relatively unharmed. Now imagine ten years later the four soldiers are given a psychological exam where they are asked to describe their emotional state as a consequence of that tragedy. Afterward, a psychologist is given just the self-report of their emotional state. Could that psychologist use their self-report to accurately identify which of the soldiers lost their legs and which didn’t? No, they couldn’t. It might be that one or both of the soldiers who lost their legs would nevertheless have a more positive emotional state than one or both who didn’t. Why? Because their personal beliefs and emotional resilience make them better able to deal with a tragic reality. How then can psychologists use a human’s emotional state to prove the existence of an unseen reality? They can’t. There is no way for them to distinguish between a supposed unseen reality and a human’s response to reality. The fact that a person feels distress, even extreme distress, about reality does not prove there is an unseen reality that is causing their reaction. Instead, they simply might not have the tools or the state of mind to appropriately deal with a reality that they deeply wish were different.
When psychologists demand that reality itself be based on what they claim makes their patients happy, they are not making a rational argument. They are making an anti-secular emotional plea.
“Identity” Is Not a Magic Ticket Around the Burden of Proof
At this point, some might try to work around the unprovability of gender identity by saying something like, “But it’s an identity!” as if that makes a difference. But calling something an identity is not a magic ticket around the burden of proof. To say “I identify as” means the same thing as “My personal belief is that I am”. This is obvious when you consider that one person’s identity can contradict another person’s identity. It is not possible to determine reality in this way.
To demonstrate: I self-identify as a human with the sufficient wisdom to determine whether or not someone else’s identity is part of provable reality. This identity of mine is based on an internal sense of who I am as a person and is critically important to me. And using this wisdom, which I identify as having, I have determined that gender identity is not part of provable reality.
My own identity, therefore, contradicts the identity of those who claim to identify as a “gender”, which demonstrates that using identity as a way to determine reality requires you to pick whose identity to prioritize and whose identity to deprioritize, the same problem seen when trying to determine reality based on happiness.
Nothing Based on Self-Identity Can Be Considered Immutable
As an aside, gender identity believers will often claim that our gender identity is immutable, but how in the world can they know that? To know if something is immutable, you have to be able to have an accurate measurement of it in the past, and in the present, and the ability to have an accurate measurement of it in the future. Only then can you prove that it never changes. But gender identity relies entirely on self-identity. There is no objective way to measure it. And we know for a fact that people’s self-identity changes. The drastic cases are those of detransitioners, whose self-identity of “being” transgender was taken so seriously that doctors literally modified their bodies because of it, yet these individuals later realized they made a horrible mistake. Their self-identity changed. And even within those who continue to believe they are transgender, you will find a history of their self-identity changing from one “gender” to another. So which one is the “immutable” gender identity and which ones are the wrong ones, and how are we supposed to know the difference?
For this reason, if something is based on self-identity, it cannot be considered to be immutable.
Psychology Has No Right to Expect People To Affirm
My final point about psychology and gender identity is that psychologists are asking things of people that they have no right to ask. To show what I mean, let’s consider an extreme hypothetical about the plight of “incels”, which is short for “involuntary celibates”. These are men who would like to have sex with women but are unable to because woman are not attracted to them. Certainly this would have negative effects on the mental health of these unfortunate men. Suppose a group of psychologists did a study where they first interviewed incels and verified the poor state of their mental health. Then, seeking a solution to improve their patients’ mental health, they declared that for the next month all women were required to sexually submit to them: If an incel approached a woman, any woman, and demanded something sexually from her, she was required to consent to it. Now imagine after that hellish month for women that the psychologists sat down with the incels and interviewed them again about their mental health. Is there any doubt that the incels would report it had greatly improved? Half of the human race had been forced to submit to their every desire. They had been treated like demigods! Is there any question that they would report being “happier” because of it?
But who cares if that would make incels happier or not? What about the rights of women! Women are not just the means to improving the mental health of incels. Women, like all humans, are ends in themselves. Psychologists have no right to demand we prioritize someone else’s mental health over our own rights. But that is what they are doing with gender identity. We have a secular right to not treat unprovable beliefs as true. Yet psychologists are demanding that we “affirm” their patients’ gender identities (treat them as true), claiming that doing so improves their patients’ mental health. But any mental health improvement for their patients is irrelevant because they are asking something that they have no right to ask. The universe does not revolve around their patients. Other people exist too, and we are just as important as their patients are. We are not just the means to improving the mental health of psychologists’ patients. We are ends in ourselves. Psychology needs to stop expecting things of people it has no right to expect.
Using Brain Scans for Religious Apologetics
We now come to brain scans, which are often claimed to be proof of gender identity without any attention paid to what the research is actually saying and without considering why the research is not being used as the proof it claims to be. So let’s talk about science versus religious apologetics. What’s the difference? I would say that one difference is the manner in which they move from evidence to conclusion. Science ideally works from the bottom up. Evidence is gathered and based on that evidence, hypotheses are formed, which are tested and replaced if the evidence doesn’t match them. In the end we arrive at a theory, which represents the best understanding we have of the evidence to date, yet if new evidence arrives that contradicts that theory, then the theory will be discarded and we will work once again from the bottom, trying to make sense of what Nature is telling us about reality.
Now contrast that with religious apologetics, which works from the top down. With religious apologetics, there is no need to arrive at a theory based on the underlying evidence because the “truth” is already known. Evidence is not sought to disprove this “truth” because that is not the goal of religious apologetics. It is working from the top down. It’s not interested in what Nature has to say. It’s only interested in gathering nuggets of compatible evidence, never enough to actually reach the supposed “truth” from the bottom up, but sufficient to make believers comfortable in believing it. A key point about religious apologetics is that the “truth” is never actually in danger of being disproven. Any disproof will simply be ignored. In other words, the evidence that is cited as proof of a “truth” would never be accepted as disproof if it had gone the other way.
Using brain scans today to claim proof of gender identity is an example of religious apologetics. The claims are inevitably a discussion of averages. These people, on average, have this characteristic. These people do not, etc. This type of evidence would never have arrived at a theory of an unseen “gender” if people were working from the bottom up, but people are working from the top down. They already have “truth”. They are just looking for compatible evidence. And whatever they put forward as evidence would never be accepted as disproof. If it was, then why are brain scans not treated as disproof of gender identity today?
It isn’t possible to identify an individual’s gender identity based on a brain scan. You can say, oh, this person falls within the averages, etc, but that raises the point: Don’t some people fall outside of the averages? And if they do, why isn’t that considered disproof of their gender identity? The reason is obvious: It’s because we aren’t dealing with science here. We’re dealing with religious apologetics.
Let’s examine this point a little more. If brain scans actually are proof of gender identity, then why are they not being used to actually prove an individual’s gender identity? Consider the drastic steps that are taken on behalf of gender identity: People are literally modifying their bodies because of this. Women’s breasts are being cut off. Genitalia are being deformed, shaped into insufficient approximations of the opposite sex. And people at times deeply regret this. They believed at one point that they were a different “gender”, they modified their bodies because of that belief, and later as they consider the irreversible damage they have done to themselves, they deeply, deeply regret their decision.
Well, if brain scans are proof of gender identity, then why are they not used prior to surgery to prove that surgery is actually needed? If a man believes he is a woman, why isn’t his brain scan examined to verify that he actually is a woman? Once again, the reason is obvious: If his brain scan were examined, there is a chance his results would fall outside of what is supposedly “proof” of him being a woman. In other words, his brain scan would disprove his gender identity, and that is a possibility that believers in gender identity will not allow to happen.
Gender Identity Believers Have the Burden of Proof
Gender identity believers claim there is an incorporeal “gender”, something that is an immutable part of us, something that is more important to us than even our biological sex, yet something that we cannot see or measure in any way. Well, the burden of proof is on them. If they want that to be believed, they have to prove it is true. Otherwise the default answer is that “gender” doesn’t exist.
Keep this in mind whenever proof of gender identity is claimed through brain scans. What is the default answer for the assembled evidence? The default answer is that “gender” doesn’t exist, so if there is a reasonable explanation for the results that doesn’t involve an invisible “gender”, then that conclusion is the correct one, and with brain scans this means that the more likely conclusion is that we are looking at evidence of personal belief, not evidence of reality.
In other words, we are looking at either the result of personal belief inside the brain or else the cause of personal belief. To demonstrate what I mean, consider the case of reincarnation. Suppose an objective correlation in people’s brains is discovered that 100% matches a person’s belief that their last incarnation was as a deer. Would that prove that reincarnation is true and that that person actually lived their life previously as a deer? Obviously not. I trust that if you don’t believe in reincarnation, you will naturally start with the assumption that it isn’t true. Any discovered correlation between brain scans and truth claims about previous incarnations would therefore be treated as proof of one’s personal belief, not proof of an objective fact about reality. In other words, objective criteria in brain scans like this could be used to demonstrate that someone believed this about themselves, but they could not be used to prove that their belief was true.
For this reason, it is impossible to use brain scans to provide proof of a “gender” that doesn’t correspond to male or female. Concepts such as non-binary or two-spirit cannot be proven through brain scans because it is impossible to distinguish between whether someone actually is that “gender” or if someone simply believes they are that “gender”. And since the burden of proof is on gender identity believers, they will never be able to prove that their belief is true through brain scans.
A Male/Female Brain Would Not Prove that “Gender” Exists
Lastly, let’s consider the claim that a person’s brain can be objectively proven to be a “male brain” or a “female brain” and that a male who believes he is a woman can be proven to have a “female brain” and that a female who believes she is a man can be proven to have a “male brain”.
To really understand the implications of treating this claim as true, let’s consider two scenarios:
Imagine a female, who agrees that her gender is female, gets a brain scan and its results fall within the averages claimed to be a “male brain”. Does that prove she is a transgender even though she believes she isn’t? Does that prove, despite both her physical body and her own beliefs, that she is actually a man?
Now imagine a male, who believes his “gender” is female, gets a brain scan and its results fall within the averages of what is claimed to be a “male brain”. Does that prove that he isn’t a transgender? Does that prove he is actually a man, despite believing he is a woman?
If you claim that brain scans are proof of “gender”, but you aren’t willing to treat them as disproof when they contradict someone’s gender identity, then it’s obvious you’re simply engaging in religious apologetics. You already have your belief, and you won’t allow it to be disproven.
In order to actually claim that a male can have a “female brain”, you would have to be able to identify specific objective criteria that match 100% with all females that believe their “gender” is female and all males that believe their “gender” is female. If even one person falls outside that criteria, then you have not actually discovered proof of a “female brain” that can be used in the way you want to use it. Furthermore, you would have to demonstrate that this criteria is not something that is effected by, for example, injecting a male with female hormones or other influences from the environment.
But let’s say that impossible task is reached. What then? If there comes a time when we can actually prove that a specific male has a “female brain”, would that prove the existence of “gender”? Absolutely not. Once again, would having a “female brain” be proof that one actually is a female, or would it be proof that one believes they are female? In other words, everyone that has a brain like this will believe they are female, but does that make them female?
In the end, the argument ends up becoming one based on happiness. If someone has a “female brain”, then it could be argued that they’d be happier living their life as a woman. But does that obligate the rest of the world to treat this male as a woman? No, it doesn’t. If the proof says that this is a male with a “female brain”, then the reality is that this is a male with a “female brain”. In other words: he is still a male.
The very, very best case that could be made by gender identity believers should this unlikely situation arise is that the physical category of biological sex should be expanded to include the brain, thereby transforming a male with a “female brain” from a transgender into someone with an intersex defect. But this expansion of the physical category of biological sex would not be required. We as a society would have to decide whether to do so or not. On one side would be claims of human happiness: “It would make them happier to be treated based on their brain than their body.” On the other side would be arguments about the purpose of biological sex and its role in human reproduction. I know which way I would argue. Regardless, this development would be the end of belief in “gender” because at this point we would all be arguing based on proof, with self-identified gender identity left completely in the past.
Secular Compassion for Personal Beliefs
How is it that secular societies have found themselves entangled in such irrational knots regarding gender identity? Why is it so hard to simply say “No” when we are asked to define reality based on what people claim makes them happy? I think in large part it comes down to human compassion and a misunderstanding of how that compassion should be shown by a secular society.
There is no doubt that many people legitimately believe in gender identity. Their willingness to carve up their own bodies is evidence of this fact. When someone believes something so deeply, and when the friction between their personal beliefs and reality causes obvious emotional pain, it is understandable, even expected, to feel compassion toward them. But consider the minority religions within your society. In my case this would include Muslims, Buddhists, and Sikhs, among others. These people believe something deeply as well. Don’t you feel compassion for them too? Shouldn’t you feel the same degree of compassion toward them as you feel toward those who believe they are a different “gender” than their biological sex?
Yet we are able to show compassion to minority religions without actually treating their beliefs as true. Why is that? It’s because they have chosen the correct path to receive secular compassion for their personal beliefs: religious freedom. Muslims are not asking us to treat the truth claims of Islam as true. Sikhs are not demanding we shape our definition of reality around what they believe. The only thing they are asking is to be given an appropriate amount of space for them to live as if their beliefs were true. This is what religious freedom provides, and it provides it while simultaneously protecting the rights of nonbelievers. A secular state cannot treat religious beliefs as true, and it therefore cannot expect nonbelieving citizens to do so either.
And so we reach the problem: Those who believe in gender identity are not taking the path of religious freedom. They are claiming that their beliefs aren’t religious at all. As a result, it might appear that the only way to show compassion to them is to bend reality on their behalf. But that is a false choice. We do not have to limit ourselves to either violating secular neutrality (by bending reality) or to not providing compassion for personal beliefs. The path of religious freedom is always open, whether a person is willing to take it or not. Continuing to point them toward that path is a display of compassion, and it is the only legitimate form of compassion toward personal beliefs that a secular society can offer.
Ultimate Reality, Provable Reality, Secular Neutrality
As I close, I want to speak about two different realities: one, an absolute, ultimate one; and the other, a pragmatic, provable one. As I said before, I am a religious man. God, prophets, angels, scriptures, revelation—I believe in these things and more. Yet, none of that is provable, not in a secular sense, so how is it that a person like me who believes such things can, on the other hand, speak so much about proof and argue that our society’s reality must be determined by proof?
The answer is that I’m not speaking here as a member of my religion. I have beliefs about reality, about an absolute, ultimate reality, and make no mistake—I am no relativist: I believe that I am right. But there are eight billion other humans on this planet, and most of them likely believe they are right as well. So how are we going to live together? We have to have some common ground—a common reality—so that we can interact together, build communities, and form laws to protect our rights. But whose vision of ultimate reality should we use?
Well, given that I am right, the answer is obvious: everyone should use mine. Unfortunately, some of the eight billion other humans disagree, so what shall we do? History provides countless examples of one solution: We could go to war. We could war and we could war until one of us emerges the stronger and imposes their vision of ultimate reality on everyone else through force. Then, after they lose their power, we could war again and again, repeating the cycle endlessly.
But recent centuries have provided a different option. Through the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution there came a realization that Nature itself has a voice if we’re willing to listen. This is the voice of proof, of scientific observation. It is a limited voice. It knows nothing about morality or the meaning of life, and ultimate reality itself remains elusive to it. But the voice of Nature is sufficient to provide a new vision of reality: a provable reality. Now, in comparison to our personal vision of ultimate reality this isn’t the real reality, but it’s a pragmatic one. It’s sufficient for its purpose. Because now, for the first time, we have an alternate option instead of constantly warring over who gets to decide what reality is. Now we can all agree to let Nature decide for us, to let the proof provide a shared reality for us and thereby stop the never-ending wars.
This is the concept of secular neutrality: a common ground based entirely on proof that we can build our society upon. Yet secular neutrality is only a bare foundation for society. It cannot provide everything we need to live our lives. It doesn’t contain morality, virtue, or honor. It doesn’t explain the meaning of life. It doesn’t reveal the nature of ultimate reality. Those things can only come through our personal vision of ultimate reality, which means we need some way to combine the two, to allow provable reality to set the foundation for our society—its laws, its governance—and yet still allow us to live based on our own personal vision of ultimate reality.
The solution is religious freedom. We all bundle our beliefs about ultimate reality into religions, allowing us to be granted space to live according to our beliefs, while not infringing on the right of others to live according to their own religions. It is not perfect, but I believe that a society founded on secular neutrality with robust religious freedom is the most just arrangement possible for us.
So I’m not speaking to you here as a member of my religion. I’m speaking to you as a secular citizen. And, as a secular citizen, I’m trying to persuade you to see the value in secular neutrality and to understand that the LGBT movement is violating it. Secular neutrality is a truce. The LGBT movement is breaking that truce. Our core beliefs about ultimate reality are supposed to be claimed as religious, thereby making clear what is part of secular neutrality and what is not, but they have refused to do this, preferring instead to exploit a weakness in our current laws: We haven’t yet learned how to protect ourselves from a religion that refuses to call itself a religion.
And so, yes, I am a religious man yet I am using the language of secularism because I understand the nature of the fight we are in and I see secularism as our friend in this fight, not our foe. I am fighting for secular neutrality. It is being threatened today, perhaps more than it has ever been threatened before. I hope you will join me.
There is no valid proof of gender identity, and based on the current fields of science there never will be. Reality cannot be determined based on claims of happiness because one person’s happiness conflicts with another’s and because human emotions aren’t a reliable way to determine it. Reality also cannot be determined based on claims of identity because identity is just a personal belief and one person’s identity conflicts with another’s. Nothing based on self-identity can be considered immutable because we have no way to know what the value is and hence cannot know if it has changed. And it is unjust for psychologists to expect people to affirm the personal beliefs of their patients. The universe does not revolve around their patients. Other people matter too, and we have the right to not treat unprovable beliefs as true.
Using brain scans to “prove” gender identity, while never allowing them to disprove it, is an example of religious apologetics, not science. The only way for a secular society to provide compassion for personal beliefs is through religious freedom. If people choose to not take that route, then that is their choice, but they will have to accept the consequences because secular neutrality must be protected. Under no circumstances can a secular society treat gender identity, or anything based on self-identity, as true.