“Western civilization is now gripped by a cultural cyclone that is blowing through such limitations with totalitarian force. Transgenderism has shaken the foundations of all we know to be true. Scientific knowledge is rejected and medical practice co-opted in service of a new “reality”—that “gender” is independent of sex, that males and females of any age, even young children, are entitled to their own transgender self-identification based only on their feelings, and that literally every individual and every segment of society must bow to their chosen identity at risk of losing reputation, livelihood, and even freedom itself.”
(Jane Robbins – The Public Discourse) “What we live through, in any age, is the effect on us of mass emotions and of social conditions from which it is almost impossible to detach ourselves. Often the mass emotions are those which seem the noblest, best and most beautiful. And yet, inside a year, five years, a decade, five decades, people will be asking, ‘How could they have believed that?’ because events will have taken place that will have banished the said mass emotions to the dustbin of history.” –Doris Lessing, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside (1987)
The epidemic of supposed gender dysphoria among children and adolescents—“transgenderism”—has often been described as a cult. The designation is in some ways apt. Though lacking a charismatic leader usually found in such movements, other expert descriptions of cults certainly apply: “designed to destabilize an individual’s sense of self by undermining his or her basic consciousness, reality awareness, beliefs and worldview, [and] emotional control.” Cults also lead the target to believe that “anxiety, uncertainty, and self-doubt can be reduced by adopting the concepts put forth by the group.” The promise is a “new identity” that will solve all problems, even as it separates one from family and previous life.
This is especially true in cases of so-called Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, in which previously normal teenagers (usually girls) suddenly announce their desire to transition to the opposite sex. It is readily apparent how a teenager struggling with severe or even common adolescent angst could be lured into such a group.
Perhaps transgenderism is better described as a form of “social contagion.” This term refers to “the spread of ideas, feelings and, some think, neuroses through a community or group by suggestion, gossip, imitation, etc.” The explosion of cases of gender dysphoria, previously an exceedingly rare condition, over the last few years has coincided with a meteoric increase in sympathetic attention to the topic in regular and social media—thus suggesting social contagion. Parents whose children “come out” as transgender when their friends do certainly agree with this explanation.
Individuals who have been ensnared in but escaped from the transgender movement describe it as an ideology, with elements of both the political and the religious. The devotion to the ideology is so deep that, as one psychiatrist describes the mindset, “[a]nyone who hesitates in supporting transition and [sex-reassignment surgery] is a dinosaur committed to an outgrown, inherently discriminatory understanding of trans persons and needs to be defeated in court or in the public arena.”
And yet these descriptions—cult, social contagion, ideology—fail to capture the uniqueness and enormity of what is happening with the transgender movement. Past and current cults have seduced their victims into losing all sense of reality and embracing bizarre and dangerous beliefs; social contagions and mass crazes have affected large groups of seemingly intelligent individuals; ideologies have taken hold that have altered societies and cost lives. But now we are facing something different.
H/T The Aquila Report