Transgendered people are individuals who believe that their self-hood does not align with their sex at birth. So for example, someone who was born male but identifies as female would be called a transwoman. This apparently causes problems when it comes to bathrooms, but something I once read, but can now not find to cite, said, “If you care about the gender of the person in the stall next to you, you don’t have to pee badly enough.” That about sums up my feelings on that controversial topic.

Where does transgenderism come from? Well, some say that it is a mental illness. Transgendered people are delusional; their genitals ought to have precedence when determining their mental make-up, so if there is a discrepancy, a quick peak beneath the trousers should clear up any confusion. Let’s go with that for right now. For the sake of argument, being transgender means that you are suffering a mental illness.

I’m going to make a patently false assumption and say that when we consider someone with a mental illness, we want to help them get better. We wouldn’t want to abuse them, sexually assault them, murder them, or commit violence of any kind against them. We wouldn’t want to vocally condemn them as freaks. We would want them to get better. People who abuse the mentally ill are typically considered monsters.

Perhaps transgenderism is morally unacceptable. That certainly would make bullying and harassment a reasonable reaction, I’m sure. The Bible is quite clear in its endorsement of throwing stones. Except we can’t be morally responsible for things outside of our control. If someone declared you morally bankrupt for failing to save the life of a child trapped in a coal mine on the other end of the planet, that would be absurd. It is an impossibility. If you were local and had the skills available to rescue that child, then yes, some degree of culpability could be admonished, but in order for moral responsibility to be present, a measure of ability to perform that action must be present as well. Transgenderism, which research has shown develops concurrently to the overall identity development of the child, as a mental affectation is not a choice, and therefore moral culpability, whatever your argument against transgenderism might be, cannot apply.

What can we do to help transgendered people if judging them and abusing them is out of the question? If we compare their plight to another delusional and incurable mental illness, say, dementia, perhaps we can discover an appropriate treatment plan. Dementia patients frequently believe that they are living in the past, and mistake their adult children with their own siblings, and so on. As it turns out, if well-being and quality of life are our goals, the best treatment plan available to patients with dementia is to acknowledge their delusions and allow them to live in the reality within which they identify. In the context of transgenderism, this would mean that acknowledging the preferred identity is the superior treatment to… verbal abuse, I think is the predominant method today. Some might say that tolerance “encourages” transgenderism, the same way I suppose that treating schizophrenia to a degree that their lives become livable encourages people to become schizophrenics.

I want to take a bit of a detour here. What is an illness, especially a mental illness? If we wish to attribute illness to transgenderism, it’s important we know what we’re calling it. The initial thought could be, “an affectation of the mind or body that produces an uncomfortable feeling.” This is why we consider headaches and the flu to be illnesses, since they make us feel uncomfortable. This can’t be attributed to transgenderism though, because it is their assigned gender that makes them uncomfortable, which would mean that transgenderism is actually the cure to the illness of gender. We’re working under the assumption that transgenderism is the illness here, so this cannot be the case.

Perhaps a better definition might be, “an affectation that produces abnormalities.” The transgendered are a small minority of the population, which would make them technically abnormal, but this is unfortunately too inclusive. Left-handedness is abnormal, but certainly isn’t a mental illness. Nor are green eyes a physical disability. Just because something does not bear a likeness to the majority does not mean it is an illness.

The best definition of illness is something that prevents suitable integration into society. The flu prevents us from working or functioning properly at all. Bipolar disorder produces unpredictable behaviour which leads to social discord if left untreated. The destructive aspects of dementia lead to an inability to communicate with others, or participate in society, and ultimately the greatest alienation from society of all: death. If someone is compelled to deliver puns at every opportunity, this is not considered a mental illness despite how I might think because it only alienates them from people with taste. If someone is compelled to drink at every opportunity, this is considered an illness because they can become destructive, and the long-term physiological damage prevents future social function.

If we view illness as predicated on social ability, then this opens up a serious question. If someone is paralyzed from the waist down and is stuck in a wheelchair, we consider them disabled because they cannot function in our traditional, stair-filled world. However, if there are ramps, suitable desk jobs, household and work accommodations to allow general independence, then wouldn’t this person not be considered disabled at all? If there was a legless human commune somewhere that functioned autonomously without difficulty, then this detriment in our society would be considered the norm and conceiving of it as a disability would be impossible. Left-handedness was once considered a sinful mental affectation because the world was built for right-handed people. Illness, therefore, is not dependent on anything outside of society’s ability to allow it to adapt.

So yes, of course transgendered people are mentally ill because they are indeed unable to adapt in a society that hates them. A society filled with intolerance would not allow a transgendered individual to flourish in the way that a more tolerant society would. I invite you to wonder, then, as to a possible cure.