As I mentioned, conservative Mormons on Twitter base a substantial part of their identity on bullying transgender people under the pretense of standing up for truth and righteousness. Actually, Mormons throughout history have a pretty long track record of bullying marginalized groups and then acting like they're the real victims when they get called out on it. In this case, when they get called out on it, I've seen a variation of this response over and over again: "It isn't loving to affirm someone's delusions." And there's a lot to unpack in that little sentence or others like it.
First, of course, it's a gross oversimplification to dismiss the entire transgender phenomenon as "delusions." Perhaps some percentage of individuals with gender dysphoria really are just delusional. I'm no expert. But there are so many other factors at play. In order for Mormons' theology to work, they need the world to be divided into unambiguous males and unambiguous females, but it just isn't. It never has been. Many biological ambiguities and nuances exist. Even if everyone's body was entirely one or the other, the theology doesn't rule out the possibility of gender mismatches between bodies and the spirits that inhabit them. When this possibility is suggested, most Mormons will try to rule it out by saying "God doesn't make mistakes," but the actual reality of the countless things that can and do wrong with people's bodies would rather suggest that it's guaranteed to happen many times.
Second, it's very, very, obvious in context that conservative Mormons throw around the word "delusions" to mock and delegitimize transgender people, and not because they actually give a rat's ass about transgender people's (or anyone else's) mental health. Delusion is an accurate clinical term, but most people just use it as an insult, and this case is no exception. Given how irrational and/or demonstrably false many of the Mormons' own beliefs are, I could just as easily call them delusions and go around contradicting them as an act of "love," but I try to be a little nicer than that.
Third, you can't cure people of delusions just by telling them they're wrong. Duh. Of course, in thinking that "Nuh-uh" is somehow an adequate solution to gender dysphoria, they're only following in the footsteps of their church, which has nothing to offer transgender people in that regard. It doesn't help them, it just insists that they stay miserable in their own skins because God supposedly said so, according to some old men who have been on the wrong side of nearly every major social issue in American history. The more I think about this version of God, the more petty and small-minded and pathetic he seems.
Fourth, the entire premise of the sentence is debatable. Life is brutal and miserable and short. I don't want to believe anything that isn't true, but if someone else's belief in something that isn't true makes them happy and harms no one, I see nothing loving about trying to take that away from them. In the last years of my great-grandmother's life, she delusionally believed she was living in a motel instead of a nursing home, and nobody tried to correct her because why the hell would they? In an episode of the fantastic evangelical Christian radio show "Adventures in Odyssey" that I used to listen to every day, a mentally ill man had an imaginary dog that he loved very much. This one kid was determined to prove that the dog wasn't real, but the consensus of all the other characters was that he was being a jerk and needed to cut it out. Of course, these people might retort that transgender delusions do harm people, partly because of the lie that children in the US are getting irreversible sex reassignment surgeries and partly just because they feel like a man wearing a dress is an existential threat to their theology. There undoubtedly are people with gender dysphoria for whom full transition isn't a healthy option, but that's up to qualified medical professionals to decide on a case-by-case basis, not for nobodies on Twitter who still don't know that biological females with XY chromosomes exist.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.