The Instigator
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The Contender
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Transgenderism is a mental illness.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/8/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,232 times Debate No: 79492
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
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Resolution: Transgenderism is a mental illness. Definitions: "Transgenderism": The condition of being transgender (i.e., being one "whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender." [1]) "Mental illness": A mental disorder, also called a mental illness, psychological disorder or psychiatric disorder, is mental or behavioral pattern that causes either suffering or a poor ability to function in ordinary life [2]. Rules: The first round is for acceptance only. This debate is impossible to accept right now; post a comment if you are interested. [1] [2]


Let me start off by thanking InVinoVeritas for this debate and for accepting me on the con side.

I will be arguing two separate but plausible ideas:
1. That gender conformity is an illusion or is fictitious and therefore no one can conform to it. This would then make everyone a non-conformist and negate pro's assertion that transgenderism is a mental illness.

2. It may possibly be a broad enough term as to be effectively all inclusive. i.e. everyone who claims a gender is in compliance with gender conformity. This would then, by default, negate the assertion by pro that transgenderism is a mental illness.

Thank you, and I look forward to the next round.
Debate Round No. 1


In the rules of Round 1, I stated that "the first round was for acceptance only." The opponent included much more in his first round than an acceptance. I suggest that voters take this into consideration when deciding on conduct points.


Transexualism is grounded in delusion and dysfunction, and it leads to social maladjustment. Therefore, by any reasonable standard, it is a mental illness (as defined in the first round.)


Transexualism is grounded in delusion, because there is no reason to believe that their "transgender" identity is based on empirical reality. Let me make two central statements on this issue:

1. I may believe that I am a duck, but that does not, in itself, make me a duck. There are certain things that make a duck a duck, and if I lack the key characteristics that distinguish a duck from other species, then I am not a duck, regardless of what I
believe. Likewise, a woman is a woman, and a man is a man. Surely, the distinction between a man and a woman is partly driven by social conventions, but much of the distinction is built into basic biological features (chromosomes, natural hormones, reproductive organs, brain structure, etc.) And many of the "gendered" social conventions are grounded in the nature of this biological separation; we can see this through cross-cultural analysis.

2. A schizophrenic may consider himself to be Jesus Christ. We do not respond by saying, "Well, maybe he is Jesus Christ!" or "We can't enter his head. We don't know whether or not he's Jesus Christ!" We do assume that he is divine or that he is likely to be divine. We label him mentally ill and attempt to treat him.


If you are unable to function as you are structured, then you are dysfunctional. If you are man and can't function as a man (or you are a woman and can't function as a woman), then you are dysfunctional. Indeed, a hand is dysfunctional if it cannot function as a hand. And when a hand cannot function as a hand, we attempt to treat it and make it function again; we do not opt to embrace it as dysfunctional, though we sometimes have to out of a lack of treatment options.

Through genital mutilation and hormone treatments, many transgender people cause irreparable damage to their bodies. The desire to self-harm to become something that one can never become is surely pathological, if you use the standard that we set for, say, schizophrenics and those stricken with bipolar disorder. Yet we pretend that it is moral and right to embrace it.

Social Maladjustment

Transgender people are viewed by a majority of the public as freaks. They do not function as the correct sex due to delusional thinking. They do not fit into the norm. No society has ever embraced cross-dressers and "gender-benders" as entirely normal. Transgender people will never be considered normal and will always suffer due to their delusional outlook and the dysfunction that is caused by such an outlook.


Because transexualism is delusional, leads to dysfunction, and ultimately causes extreme social maladjustment, a reasonable conclusion to make is that transexualism is a pathology of the mind; it is a mental illness.

Thank you.


Thank you for your argument.

Yes, I did say more than "I accept". I ask the voters to analyze the rule: "The first round is for acceptance only." One can deduce that the only action permitted by anyone in round one is the act of acceptance. My opponent did not follow his own rule as he spelled out more than his acceptance. One could argue that there is an implicit meaning behind "acceptance only" that could further the sentence to read: The first round is for acceptance only for my opponent and does not apply to anyone else. That might be in fact how this community works, however, I am very new to this community and therefore have not learned implicit speech contained within your vernacular.
I ask the the voters to consider that my opponent did not follow the explicit instruction in their own rule and therefore I was not out of school not following it either.

Sex: Either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.
Gender: The state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).

Point 1. "I may believe that I am a duck, but that does not, in itself, make me a duck."
This premise is flawed in that this example deals with existence or state of being and not social identity. Transgenderism is not the denial of the state of being human. Transgenderism is the human not identifying with the gender expectation of social normalcy.

My opponent then errors again by conflating a person's sex with their gender. Man is a reference to sexual identification, as is woman. His argument might better apply to transsexualism. Therefore his correlating transgenderism with the denial of ones sex is a moot point.

Point 2. Schizophrenia is a recognized brain disease and transgenderism is not. Schizophrenia can be proven with brain scans, transgenderism can not. Furthermore, schizophrenia can be acquired from external forces, such as heavy metal toxicity. transgenderism can not. Therefore I patently dismiss this example as mere hyperbole.

Point 3. Dysfunction and mental illness are not one in the same. We do not generally accept modality based dysfunction because the dysfunction inhibits purpose. i.e. The hand is meant to move and if it no longer moves as designed it is dysfunctional. Gender has no intrinsic function, only socially constructed ones. Therefore there can be no dysfunction.
We would not declare a father that stays at home to raise his children dysfunctional even though he is not functioning within his generally assigned gender role.

Point 4. Social maladjustment simply means that a person is not what society considers normal. People who feel anxious in crowds are considered to suffer from social maladjustment. Because so many people break from social norms in one way or another, one can argue that there is no such thing as normal. At least from the societal normalcy perspective.

"No society has ever embraced cross-dressers and "gender-benders" as entirely normal."
This is blatantly false. Men from nearly all cultures used to play female roles in plays and other such artistic expression. This practice was viewed as normal and accepted by society. In fact, it would have been abnormal to have a woman play a female part.

In England during the 18th century, men would adorn themselves with long-haired wigs and copious amounts of makeup. Often these same men wore high-healed shoes. Such practices would be considered abnormal for men today. We have normalized those customs with women only.

In conclusion, my opponent has failed to meet the burden of proof for his claim that transgenderism is a mental illness. He has made the case that transsexualism is a disorder instead. A conclusion that has been settled by medical science for quite some time under Gender Identity Disorder (GID). We are not talking about transsexualism though. So the case he has made against it is not valid within the purview of this debate.
Debate Round No. 2



"My opponent then errors again by conflating a person's sex with their gender."

The distinction between the terms "sex" and "gender" is misleading and does not contribute at all to this debate. Scientists are fully aware that nature and nurture are deeply interweaved and that there is no way to cleanly separate specific behaviors or mindsets that are "cultural" from those that are "biological."

The notion that there is a "female gender" or "male gender" that exists strictly in the cultural realm, without the influence of biology is patently absurd. As I clearly stated in my argument in the last round, there are social differences between men and women, but most of these are grounded in biology.

If I eat McDonald's, that is fairly arbitrary; McDonald's is just a popular brand within my culture. However, this does not mean that the need for food (and the nutrients, vitamins, etc. that are provided to me through McDonald's cuisine) are "cultural" in nature. Even the acts that we deem to be extremely "cultural" in nature often have deep biological roots. Female and male behaviors are connected with biological traits that have been acquired over the course of evolutionary history. This forms the basis of the work of evolutionary psychologists and biological anthropologists.

Therefore, one who has the genetic/physical traits of a man but believes he is a woman (or vice versa) is sexually confused and incorrect about his identity.


"Schizophrenia is a recognized brain disease and transgenderism is not."

Well, my opponent is begging the question. The whole point of this debate is to decide if transgenderism is a mental illness, i.e., a brain disease.

"Schizophrenia can be proven with brain scans, transgenderism can not."

Schizophrenia was considered a mental illness long before brain scans. Brain scans simply enabled us to have a deeper understanding of its causes. A condition's being a mental illness is not dependent on the possibility of creating brain scans.

"Furthermore, schizophrenia can be acquired from external forces, such as heavy metal toxicity. transgenderism can not."

Entirely irrelevant.


"Dysfunction and mental illness are not one in the same."

Right. But mental illness is a type of dysfunction.

"Gender has no intrinsic function, only socially constructed ones."

Human sexuality (on which gender is based) has an explicit function that developed through evolution: to be conducive to human survival through effective reproductive strategies. There is a clear function to the sex assignment of a person. It is not arbitrary and "socially constructed." By looking into why certain sexual roles and behaviors developed, we can determine what their purposes are.


"People who feel anxious in crowds are considered to suffer from social maladjustment. "

Right. And people who suffer from extreme anxiety that disallows them to function properly are (rightfully) deemed mentally ill.

"This is blatantly false. Men from nearly all cultures used to play female roles in plays and other such artistic expression."

My opponent is misunderstanding what I mean by "normal." Certainly, unique ceremonial events and acts of artistic expression do not necessarily tell us what is normal in day-to-day life. If we watch a Shakespearean play, we see some characters engage in long monologues; this does not mean that we'd consider it normal if we passed by a random person on the street and they were delivering a dramatic, longwinded monologue.

And men's wigs in 18th century England have nothing to do with men cross-dressing. Their wigs and makeup were not intended to mirror female fashion. Therefore, this is irrelevant.


Ending the debate:


"Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (GID) is the formal diagnosis usedby psychologists and physicians to
describe people who experience significant dysphoria (discontent) with the sex and gender they were assigned at birth."

Gender dysphoria does pertain to "gender" (as my opponent defined it), contrary to what my opponent stated in his closing.

GID is classified as a medical disorder by the IDC-10 CM and DSM-5 (called gender dysphoria.)


In conclusion, my arguments from the last round hold. Moreover, I would like to bring up that official psychological and psychiatric diagnostic documents (which those in the fields subscribe to) include transgenderism as a mental disorder, under the label of "Gender dysphoria."

Thank you.



NotThatClever forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Aaand we're done.


NotThatClever forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by NotThatClever 1 year ago
I apologize for my abrupt departure from this debate. I was taken ill and spent more than a week in the hospital. I regret not being able to finish this debate. Please accept my humble apologies.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
Illness is what you feel. Not what someone is thinking. That would be sick.
Posted by NotThatClever 1 year ago
I would be most happy to debate this.
Posted by justanawesomeathiest 1 year ago
I am intrested in this debate.
Posted by Greg4586 1 year ago
Honestly, I just don't know enough about the issue to have a stance on it. While I support trans people shouldn't face some of the conditions they do today for being trans I really know next to nothing about the condition of being trans. I will be looking forwards to watching this debate. I hope whoever accepts will give an informative stance.
Posted by Tough 1 year ago
I want to take the angle that it's a disorder that doesn't need to be 'cured' but merely coped with as opposed to an 'illness' or 'disease' that the person would be better off without.

Down's syndrome is a disease, adhd isn't. Transgenderism is much like adhd in respects to its severity.
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