Transgenderism should not be considered a mental illness.
Transgenderism should not be considered a mental illness.
(Personally, I'm neutral on this issue, I just want to learn more by debating.)
Transgenderism: "A state or condition in which a person"s identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional ideas of male or female gender."
Consider: "...deem to be; regard as..."
Mental illness: "...disorders in which a person's thoughts, emotions, or behaviour are so abnormal as to cause suffering to himself, herself, or other people."
1st round: Simply greetings and acceptance (i.e. Opponent agrees to the debate and terms of the debate).
2nd round: Main arguments only.
3rd round: Rebuttals/counters/additional points.
- No abuse of semantics.
(This is standard since I gave definitions)
- A forfeit is an automatic loss.
Apologies, as I am fairly new to debate.org. I look forward to hearing your points and hope we both might be able to learn something.
I also promise to abide to all the rules.
Thanks for accepting this debate. I think it’ll be interesting.
Here are some questions I must raise for my argument. Can transgender people’s thoughts, emotions, or behavior really be classified as “abnormal”? They strive to adhere to the characteristics of a certain gender that they feel most comfortable with, so isn’t it only natural for them to do so?
Also, take notice again on the definition of *consider* I have provided for this debate.
"...deem to be; regard as..."
What that implies is that this debate is in the context of how society perceives transgender people, whether or not they meet the conditions for the provided definition of a mental illness.
What constitutes abnormalness?
Transgender people are practically only abnormal in the context of knowing their biological status. Depending on how much a transgender individual adheres to the characteristics of a certain gender, society would likely deem them as normal if they were not given this information, hence why some transgenders would arguably be normal.
Furthermore, it is important to understand how the rest of society perceives whether transgender people should be considered abnormal or not since the standard of normalcy is generally derived from how society perceives things in the first place. The standard of normalcy can be known as how much individuals conform to their gender roles (i.e. what they wear, what they look like, how they behave etc.) in the context of this debate.
Therefore, the burden of proof is on pro to present evidence that transgenders can conform to gender roles and characteristics to the extent that society would perceive them as normal, so I will now give a scenario for my argument.
Imagine that you just met the two people in the photo below:
Now assume that you had to ask yourself this question: Is the person on the left a...
The correct answer is actually A. because this photo is in fact, of a transgender woman who is actually a male and a transgender man who is actually female. If you watch the video on Youtube, you’ll see that even their voices sound feminine and masculine to the extent that one would astonishingly perceive them as normal despite both being transgender people.
(https://www.youtube.com... about 10 minutes if you're interested.)
As further proof for whether it could actually be plausible to answer the question based on their gender characteristics (masculinity and feminity), here are some comments from the youtube video from people reacting to how conforming the two individuals are to their gender roles: http://prnt.sc..., http://prnt.sc..., http://prnt.sc....
(By the way, I was partially influenced by this youtube video to make this debate in the first place as I think it's an interesting issue. But again, I’m neutral on this position at the moment and transgenderism as a mental illness could just as well be argued superiorly by my opponent and I would have no personal feelings against it if society were to class transgenderism as a mental illness if it was logically proved as so.)
This scenario demonstrates two notions:
1.The notion that gender is a socially constructed concept.
- The term gender can be defined as “the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex”. This is important for this debate for negating potential claims from my opponent, such as if it would be unrealistic if a person were to claim they are a women despite having been born a male.
2. The notion that the standard for normalcy is derived from how society perceives the gender roles of individuals.
Of course, there are transgenders who would not easily conform to their gender characteristics and roles. However, the main point presented from the scenario is that transgender people may or may not be perceived as abnormal which is why it would not be a valid argument to say that transgenders are generally abnormal. Hence, why you cannot classify transgenderism as a mental illness since not all transgenders can be perceived as “abnormal” by society.
Even if transgender people could be considered abnormal, transgenderism does not inherently cause suffering.
-People who feel they do not belong with their biological gender feel more comfortable in assigning themselves a new gender identity. These people do this because they feel they can relate more to the characteristics of a certain gender over the sex they were born with. If anything, transgenderism alleviates the suffering felt from not being the gender they want to be.
What about the suffering that transgenders might feel from being offended by some people? Doesn’t transgenderism indirectly cause suffering? Transgender people often do feel depression and have suicidal thoughts as a result from being discriminated.
However, that is assuming transgenderism as the cause to their own feelings. Arguably, the “cause” of their suffering would be language from others that they would perceive as offensive. Transgenderism in and of itself did not “cause” suffering.
In summation, it would be invalid to classify transgenderism as a mental illness as transgender people are not with certainty “abnormal” in the viewpoint of society and nor are they the causation of their own suffering.
Transgenders definitely are not normal. I, personally, would rather have been born a female than a male due to numerous social and biological benefits, but I am fine with my gender as a male and can go on living my life. Transgenders downright LOATH the fact that they are their assigned genders. They don't FEEL like their gender even though their hormones SHOULD be telling them otherwise. I feel like a male, but just wish that I was female, and not even with great zeal. It's just some days I would go "Hey, I would be doing this easier if I was a female." Just like how some people wish they were a different eye color.
Transgenders also are definitely causing suffering to themselves. Your trapped in a body that your mind is rejecting on a deep and personal level. That has got to be tough and I respect anyone going through that. As mentioned, it greatly heightens the risk of depression and anxiety as well.
TL;DR : Transgender is a mental illness as it causes someone to feel like the opposite gender despite their biological processes, and it does indeed cause much inherent harm.
Now that our main arguments have been created, time for rebuttals.
“Strong and persistent identification with the opposite sex is what marks one with being transgender, or gender dysphoria.” (Con)
-First of all, there is a distinct difference between the term “sex” and the term “gender”. I stated this in my main argument earlier that gender isdefined as the “the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex”.
-Most important to this definition, is the word “associated”. It implies that a person does not have to be a certain sex in order to show the gender characteristics “associated” with that sex. Arguably, many transgender people are certainly aware of their biological sex so if you’re implying that they confuse themselves as the opposite biological sex, that is virtually something else entirely different from transgenderism.
“ People who truly experience this have a strong disgust at their own genitalia, going so far as to perform self castrations.” (Con)
-The definition I have provided does not include your point that transgender people feel “strong disgust at their own genitalia” and therefore, the burden of proof is on you to show that they actually do. Even if you did find evidence though, based on the definition I have provided, a transgender does not necessarily have to feel that way in order to be “truly”(i.e. genuinely) transgender. Transgenderism is solely a matter of a person’s identity not conforming to conventional ideas of gender whether or not some of them actually do feel “strong disgust”
“…but I am fine with my gender as a male…” (Con) , “ ...the fact that they are their assigned genders” (Con).
-Correction: *...but I am fine with my sex as a male…*, assuming you meant to say you are biologically a male.
-I established this earlier, gender does not exclusively apply to biological sex given the definition of “gender” and the definition of “sex” (http://prnt.sc...).
“Transgenders also are definitely causing suffering to themselves.” (Con)
-How are they causing suffering to themselves? Burden of proof is on you again to show how they do so. More importantly, I don’t see how being more masculine or more feminine would cause suffering to themselves. If anything, acting as a transgender alleviates the uncomfortableness of not having the characteristics of the gender they want to be and does not necessarily pertain to whether or not they feel uncomfortable of their genitalia.
“ Your trapped in a body that your mind is rejecting on a deep and personal level.” (Con)
-It's not accurate to say that they are rejecting their body in particular, but that they are rejecting an identity. Its also arguably not accurate to say that they are “trapped” since they can change their identity by changing their gender characteristics (i.e. becoming more masculine or more feminine).
“As mentioned, it greatly heightens the risk of depression and anxiety as well.” (Con)
-You did not provide evidence for this claim. Even if you had done so, arguably transgenderism is not a plausible factor since there are factors such as discrimination from others that may cause them to be that way and not transgenderism inherently.
“Depression and anxiety” that some transgender people feel is from cause and effect. I will sequence this in order to demonstrate this:
Firstly, a person desires to change their gender out of preference. =>Secondly, they change it by conforming to characteristics of the opposite gender. => Third, they then face discrimination such as for job employment and that causes them to be depressed.
The main idea behind this is that there are a myriad of other factors that could have caused the depression and anxiety that some transgender people feel besides transgenderism itself.
Now I want to tie up some loose details concerning the arguments I made in the last round. Mainly, discussing how transgenderism alleviates suffering.
One of the reasons why I included the scenario where you had to choose between male and female for the person on the left, was because I wanted to demonstrate how they adhere to the standard of normalcy. Which is to say that they perfectly adhered to specific genders to the point that one would likely not question what gender they were.
Is there something inherently “abnormal” with being more masculine or more feminine?
Obviously not since most of society conforms to either of the two. If you watched the entire Youtube video, you’ll find that they live fairly content lives. Hypothetically, what if they did not change their gender? Wouldn’t they be suffering in contrast to how they are now? Arguably, they would be. The same reasoning could apply to many other transgender people. Being a transgender for some people actually alleviates suffering rather than impose suffering.
Therefore, relative to the definition I provided, it should not be considered a mental illness since it arguably does the opposite.
Besides, if we look at the actual amount of people who are transgender, it's low. About 700,000 people in the U.S are transgender. Abnormal just means not normal. Statistically, 0.3 percent of the U.S population is trans. Transgenders are rare. Transgenders are very far from the norm.
Also, being transgender very much causes harm in in of itself. Why would you want to be a male when you are biologically a female? The two children in the video you listed clearly did not have easy childhoods. As for being transgender being a "cure" for the suffering, the girl was clearly already transgender when he was about to commit suicide. Even when she was too young to even attend school, she wanted her male genitalia removed and was very distraught about it. Simply saying you are the other identity won't make your internal suffering go away.
One last note, I want to just say that my argument was not meant to label transgenders as bad people. I just wanted to say that being transgender is indeed a mental illness. My views on transgenders were not in any way meant to be revealed in this argument, and I respect anyone who makes that choice.