“[G]ender identity disorder … is largely a product of the twentieth century. It is only in the last eighty years or less that an understanding of the work of hormones etc. and the necessary surgical skills have developed to enable sex re assignment surgery to occur.”
He characterizes cross-gendered expression as an “addiction” and “false comfort.”In fact gender variant expression has been known to be inherent in the expression of transgendered individuals from their earliest ages throughout history and across cultures.Gender dysphoria in individuals is a product of their living in cultures that are hostile and oppressive.Mr. Tiller cites Scripture to assert a dogmatic dichotomy of sex while this same source provides evidence for the historical recognition and acceptance of natal intersexuality and the practice of surgical gender modification.
“For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have made themselves eunuchs because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
Although our modern word “transgender” does not occur in Scripture, in its language the modern transgendered would be called “eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs,” either through surgical castration (orchiectomy or oophorectomy) in sex reassignment surgery or through medical castration by the use of hormones (the treatment of sexual offenders with hormones is commonly called chemical castration).
It would be ingenuous to presume that transgender expression was not found among eunuchs of biblical times. There is evidence from ancient historians that at least some of these eunuchs displayed gender expressions similar to modern day transgendered people:
“First-century Jewish commentators, such as Josephus, ...regarded eunuchs as unnatural ‘monstrosities’ who must be shunned on account of their gross effeminacy and generative impotence (Antiquities IV 8,40), and Philo, who classified eunuchs as various ‘worthless persons’ banned from the sacred assembly because they ‘debase the currency of nature and violate it by assuming the passions and the outward form of licentious women.’ (Special Laws I 324-35).”
These eunuchs obviously did not present themselves as men.The negative reactions of these commentators reveal that these eunuchs of antiquity struggled with many of the same prejudices that transgendered people face in modern times.
The account of Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch demonstrates that the early Christian church openly welcomed the inclusion of gender variant individuals.Mr. Tiller selectively cites Deuteronomy 22:5 as an interdiction for crossdressing, but fails to justify our culture’s failure to conform to the adjacent rules in the context of that historical code of conduct.
“If you come across a bird's nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young.You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.”
In his web page titled “Frequently Asked Questions about: Transvestism, or Transsexuality/Transsexualism” Mr. Tiller states that “Psychiatric evidence indicates that gender ambiguity can be responsive to therapies without recourse to surgery.”Although gender dysphoria may be alleviated in some individuals through hormones,therapy and transition without recourse to surgery, there is no evidence that such therapy can alter a firmly established core gender identity.He claims that that pre-operative counseling is increasingly dispensed with exposing increasing numbers of individuals to inappropriate surgery.In fact, the establishment and implementation of standards of care requiring such counseling has been accompanied by a significant observed decrease of post-surgical regrets.
First, as far as Mr. Leach’s credentials are concerned, they consist of his pastoral career and training, having earned a Master of Divinity after attending bible college and seminary. He had a minimal level of training in the health profession, having been a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy, roughly equivalent to a medical assistant. This requires a high school diploma and a few months of training directed toward first aid and performing the simpler tasks of a hospital environment, such as taking vital signs and administering injections and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He would also have become familiar with some medical terminology. The Navy discharged Mr. Leach from the service when he sought help for his cross-dressing, indicating an assessment that determined him unfit for duty.
In his Reality Resource Manuals #1 and #2, Mr. Leach shows some familiarity with gender dysphoria, and intersperses some facts with controversial alternative theories on its causes, descriptions of the emotional trauma suffered by some who have undergone sex reassignment surgery, and some testimonies of individuals who claim to be former homosexuals and cross dressers. Notably, the theories that Mr. Leach proposes fail to address female to male transgenderism. From his personal biography, it is unclear whether Mr. Leach is a transsexual or transvestite–although the latter is suggested according to the classic definition since he mentions an addiction to masturbation with his cross-dressing.He might be considered an autogynephile according to the controversial theory of Ray Blanchard.Some argue that autogynephilia is a narcissistic phase through which some gender dysphorics pass.Mr. Leach departs from current accepted knowledge and does not differentiate transvestism from transsexuality. He claims that one progresses from one to the other as if one’s core gender identity can shift, and that it is all addictive and potentially controllable behavior.
In support of this theory, Mr. Leach lists the following traits as common to “homosexuals and trans-gender men.”
1.Poorly developed same-sex adult relationships
2.Poorly developed same-sex parent relationships
3.Poorly developed same-sex peer relationships
4.Poorly developed relationships with heterosexual males
5.Overly-attached with the mother
6.Feeling more secure in mother’s love
7.Ambivalence about their own sexual identity
8.Attracted to and emulating the feminine in mannerisms, temperament, etc.
9.Envy and jealousy of the attention females receive
10.Instinctively drawn to mother’s side in times of stress to find comfort
11.Feels more understood and loved by mother
12.Disengagement and defensively-detached from father
13.Early childhood experimentation with cross-dressing
14.Incessant obsession with fantasy and pursuit of sexualized-idol
15.Labeled a sissy, effeminate, momma’s boy
16.Temperamentally more inclined to arts, music, nurturing, sensitive
17.Tormented by the bitterness and cycles of shame and guilt
18.Lured into roles of the opposite sex
19.Growing ambivalence toward God
20.Paranoid personality as a result of toxic shame
21.Desire to be taken care of and protected
22.Growing dissatisfaction with own body & appearance
23.Victimized by sexual abuse
24.Made to feel different by personal mannerisms, temperament, personal preferences, choice of interests
Here is my analysis that shows that each of these traits describe situations that are prevalent among much of modern Anglo-American culture including heterosexuals, homosexuals and transgenders:
1.Poorly developed same-sex adult relationships. This is common among all oppressed, stigmatized and discriminated groups due to fear and mistrust of a society that is often hostile toward them. This is also common among mainstream heterosexual males due to social pressures that discourage men from emotional intimacy and that encourage superficial and stereotypical relationships.
2.Poorly developed same-sex parent relationships. These exist among all groups including mainstream heterosexual males and females. Unknown if there is any significant difference in the prevalence of this condition among homosexuals, heterosexuals and transgenders.
3.Poorly developed same-sex peer relationships. This also appears to be common among mainstream heterosexual males due to social pressures that discourage men from emotional intimacy and that encourage superficial and stereotypical relationships. Males may be open to improved peer relationships when they choose not to conform to this stereotypical male role.
4.Poorly developed relationships with heterosexual males. Same as number 1 above.
5.Overly-attached with the mother. This occurs among heterosexuals, homosexuals and transgenders. The cultural expectation is that the mother is more affectionate, empathetic and nurturing than the father. Unknown if there is any significant difference in the incidence among homosexuals, heterosexuals and transgenders.
6.Feeling more secure in mother’s love. Commonly true among all groups. The expectation is that the mother is more affectionate, empathetic and nurturing.
7.Ambivalence about their own sexual identity. Heterosexuals, homosexuals and transgenders are generally well established in their gender identity. Ambivalence may occur among some in all groups. Unknown if there is any significant difference in the level of conviction of sexual identity among homosexuals, heterosexuals and transgenders.
8.Attracted to and emulating the feminine in mannerisms, temperament, etc. Temperament is inborn and mannerisms are learned social behaviors. Social stigma suppresses and discourages “feminine” temperaments and mannerisms among heterosexual males. Homosexuals and transgenders often reject this suppression and express their various innate traits regardless of their classification as typically “masculine” or “feminine.” Heterosexual females experience greater freedom from social disapproval when diverging from their gender role expectations.
9.Envy and jealousy of the attention females receive. All individuals desire attention. Desire for attention as a female is appropriate for all who identify as female. Frustration of this desire is a cause of poor self-esteem and depression.
10.Instinctively drawn to mother’s side in times of stress to find comfort. Same as number 6. Commonly true among all groups. The cultural expectation is that the mother is more affectionate, empathetic and nurturing.
11.Feels more understood and loved by mother. Same as number 6. Commonly true among all groups. The cultural expectation is that the mother is more affectionate, empathetic and nurturing.
12.Disengagement and defensively-detached from father. This also exists among mainstream heterosexual males and females. Unknown if there is any significant difference in the prevalence of this condition among homosexuals, heterosexuals and transgenders.
13.Early childhood experimentation with cross-dressing. Reported common among many males and females during dress-up play.
14.Incessant obsession with fantasy and pursuit of sexualized-idol. Also known as fetishism. This occurs among all groups but in this society is comprised largely of heterosexual males who are the principal consumers of pornography and an advertising industry that exploits sex.
15.Labeled a sissy, effeminate, momma’s boy. Derogatory language is a common form of emotional violence perpetrated against many minority individuals who differ from a majority ideal of appearance or behavior.
16.Temperamentally more inclined to arts, music, nurturing, sensitive. Social pressures typically discourage these positive human qualities that are not currently interpreted as typically “masculine”.
17.Tormented by the bitterness and cycles of shame and guilt. This is the internalization of experienced hatred and stigmatization that is perpetrated by individuals and many organized religious institutions.
18.Lured into roles of the opposite sex. Experimentation across culturally defined gender boundaries is an expression of diversity that is increasingly stigmatized through childhood and adulthood. Gender role variance is not a “lure”, but rather an expression of individual diversity.
19.Growing ambivalence toward God. Lack of a positive relationship with God is common among many males and females in current society. The hostility and stigmatization of many organized religious institutions toward homosexuals, transgenders and other minorities often provokes a sense of disenfranchisement and difficulty with spiritual matters.
20.Paranoid personality (as a result of toxic shame). Paranoid feelings are common among all oppressed and discriminated groups due to fear and mistrust of a society that is often hostile toward them. Fear of bodily harm is reasonable in a hostile environment characterized by discrimination, ridicule, and hate crimes including murder. These feelings are called “common sense” when considering the risks of females in situations in which they are frequently the victims of violent crime. “Toxic shame” is the internalization of the hatred experienced from others. There is no absolute relationship between fear of others and self-hatred.
21.Desire to be taken care of and protected. This desire is common and normal among all humans. Theists look to God as Provider and Protector and strive to provide these to each other in caring relationships.
22.Growing dissatisfaction with own body & appearance. Transsexuals experience dissatisfaction with their physical anatomy from an early age. Symptoms of dysphoria and depression become aggravated with denial and suppression. Dissatisfaction with physical appearance is endemic in this society. It is cultivated and exploited by the cosmetic and esthetic surgery industries that promote unrealistic images of beauty that provoke poor self-esteem and depression among males and females alike. Heterosexuals and homosexuals, including non-transsexual cross dressers, are typically satisfied with their anatomy.
23.Victimized by sexual abuse. Occurs among some in all groups, especially perpetrated by heterosexual males upon females. Unknown if there is any significant difference in the prevalence of sexual abuse among homosexuals, heterosexuals and transgenders.
24.Made to feel different by personal mannerisms, temperament, personal preferences, choice of interests. This awareness of an alternate identity is characteristic among many individuals of minority groups who show variation from mainstream cultural norms. This incurs stigmatization and alienation when an individual resists the society's attempts to coerce assimilation.
25.Growing self-contempt. This is common among socially stigmatized minority groups and is the internalization of experienced hatred. It may lead to fatalism, addictions and other self-injurious behaviors, self-denial and suppression.
This analysis can lead one to the following conclusion. Modern Anglo-American society presents an environment which has discouraged diversity and that has allowed the perpetration of discriminatory and violent behaviors by individuals and institutions disproportionately against women and members of sexual and ethnic minorities. Many established religious institutions have traditionally sanctioned the perpetuation of such oppressive behavior although this may be in contradiction of their proclaimed teachings and philosophies. One does not logically conclude that arrested emotional development is a common cause of homosexuality and transsexualism. To the contrary, there exists a pervasive hostile environment in our culture that would probably interfere with the full development of healthy relationships among some members of these discriminated minorities.
Contrast this macho image of masculinity with the biblical presentation of Jesus of Nazareth whose life the Christian church has always held as the role model for humanity. Jesus regularly transgressed religious taboos and social gender stereotypes. He modeled mature spirituality, kind, nurturing and empathic relationships toward others and preached peace and love of neighbor in a society dominated by a rigorous sexist and legalistic religious patriarchy and where many advocated for violent rebellion against foreign domination. The religious authorities rebuked him for associating with outcasts, e.g., publicans and sinners (Matt. 9:11), (Matt. 11:19), (Mark 2:16), (Luke 5:30), (Luke 7:34), (Luke 8:39), (Luke 15:2), Zaccheus (Luke 19:7), and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:9,27). Were Jesus exercising his ministry in modern times, no doubt he would be preaching reconciliation and inclusion to gender dysphorics and others whom many of today's dogmatic religious institutions now condemn and abandon in the tradition of the Pharisees.
Mr. Leach's claim to being “cured” may be questioned as he admits to still having recurring desires to cross-dress although he suppresses these with medications, intensive counseling, reinforcement by like-minded peers, and a conscious effort to redirect his thoughts through prayer and meditation. Even if Mr. Leach truly has GID, it is known that in some its symptoms may be mild and may respond to minimal measures, or it can be cyclical, with its severity waxing and waning over periods of years–it remains to be seen for how long Mr. Leach maintains the control that he now claims to have.
When it has been scientifically demonstrated that therapy does not reverse gender identity, how does one explain these claims to be a recovered transsexual? Supposing that one truly has gender dysphoria, what may be involved is a defense mechanism called “Reaction Formation.”
Definition of REACTION-FORMATION: The blocking of desire by its opposite. “Reaction-formation” is the term Freud uses to describe the mechanism whereby the ego reacts to the impulses of the id by creating an antithetical formation that blocks repressed drives. For example, someone who feels homosexual desire might repress that desire by turning it into hatred for all homosexuals.
In this case, one would consider a female core gender identity as an inherently evil self-deception that is incompatible with their value system, therefore they may suppress this identity by assuming an opposite role–becoming a leader in a fundamentalist denomination and/or establishing a mission to save others from gender dysphoria. Thus, one may free himself of guilt and distract himself from dysphoria by constructing a situation in which he believes he can exert control and superiority over his gender dysphoria and, by extension, over those who subscribe to his program. As Mr. Leach admits to a recurrent struggle with his dysphoria this defense mechanism is not perfect, but it may be sufficient to maintain suppression of his symptoms for the present.
As guilt is a major motivator in this method of suppression, the individual who chooses it would be at risk for depression associated with relapses due to cyclic variations in severity of dysphoria and inconsistent effort. The results of reparative therapy programs would then not differ significantly from the cycles of purging and relapse that gender dysphorics commonly report with their own efforts.
If in fact those who promote reparative therapy programs have been able to attain peace of mind, suppression of transgender behaviors and an ability to function as a heterosexual in their birth-assigned gender to their satisfaction and that of their family and peers, then they would understandably want to share this accomplishment through this work. The crucial question is how effective such treatments may be for others–a claim which the scientific literature to date does not support.