A Review of When Harry Became Sally. By Ryan Anderson.

Encounter Books, 2018.

A few short years ago hardly anyone was talking about – let alone acting on – the transgender agenda. Everyone knew that simply claiming you are the opposite sex to what you were born was not a sign of liberation but of delusion. Such people did not need glamorisation but help.

All that has changed of course and now we have decided that sex, biology, DNA and reality itself are all simply social constructs, and we can decide on what sex we want to be at any time for any reason. Such is the sign of a culture that has completely spun out of control.

That is all the more reason why a sane, sensible, serious and scientific look at this issue is needed. And that is just what Ryan Anderson offers us here is this vital volume. I am aware of a handful of other books critiquing the gender bender activism, but this is without doubt the most thorough, most comprehensive, and most helpful volume thus far released.

Anderson begins by noting what the trans activists are all about – and it is scary stuff indeed. As with all social activists, their aim is to remake society in their own image, regardless of the cost. Coercive utopianism, in other words, is the name of the game.

He quotes plenty of the activists, and then notes how incredibly confusing and contradictory their views actually are. Just consider some of the many questions that arise here:

If gender is a social construct, how can gender identity be innate and immutable? How can one’s identity with respect to a social construct be determined by biology in the womb? How can one’s identity be unchangeable (immutable) with respect to an ever-changing social construct? And if gender identity is innate, how can it be “fluid”? … Which is it? Is our gender identity biologically determined and immutable, or self-created and changeable?

The truth is, the claims of the activists “are confusing because they are philosophically incoherent.” But it is not just philosophy and rationality that the trans movement is at odds with, but science itself. And what science tells us about the biological basis of sex must not be banished or belittled by the ideology of the activists.

Any standard embryology textbook tells us about the genesis of sex. Our sex is determined not after birth, nor is it a social construct, but it is set at fertilisation. It is established in the womb, with the presence of an XX or XY chromosomal composition.

As one textbook puts it, the normal pattern is this: “an X-carrying sperm produces a female (XX) embryo, and a Y-carrying sperm produces a male (XY) embryo.” This is simply basic biology. Of course chromosomal and hormonal pathologies can occur.

So there are a very small percentage of people born with ambiguous genitalia, the incomplete development of reproductive organs, and the like. But these are quite rare, and really have nothing to do with the whole trans movement.

People with disorders of sexual development (DSDs), says Anderson, do not constitute a “third sex”. Moreover, “most people with a DSD do not identify as transgender, and most people who do identify as transgender do not have a DSD.” There are various causes and treatments of DSDs, but none of it really has to do with transgenderism.

Men and women are not only differentiated by their reproductive organs, but also by things like the brain itself. It is our largest “sexed” organ. Anderson says this does not mean there are male brains and female brains, but the science is clear that the brains of each sex make a real difference in many aspects of life.

But science and biology are ignored by the activists, and their radical ideology takes centre stage. At the core of this ideology is the claim that feelings determine reality. And since children are especially being targeted by the activists, this becomes very dangerous indeed.

The simple truth is, three-year-old boys would not even know what it feels like to be a girl. They are steered into thinking they are the opposite sex largely by outside pressure. Just a few years ago we did not have countless kids questioning their sex.

Today we see it everywhere. Did biology change overnight? No, but the ramped-up activism of the radical ideologues has, and schools are especially where the militants are seeking their prey. But our children deserve much better.

Says Anderson, “Children need our protection and guidance as they navigate the challenges of growing into adulthood. We need medical professionals willing to help them mature in harmony with their bodies, rather than deploy experimental treatments to refashion their bodies.”

And concern for our kids is easily come by if we simply listen to the heartbreaking stories of those who have detransitioned. Anderson features a number of these tragic tales, and they alone should persuade us to keep the activists’ hands off our kids.

Not only do many who transition regret it later and seek to go back to who they were, but the suicide rates are extremely high for those who identify as transgender and go on to transition. But the human face must supplement the raw data. Consider just one story, that of a young woman who sought to live as a man:

Taking testosterone didn’t get to the root of my suffering, it only relieved it temporarily. I came out of my transition with many of the same problems I had before and then some. Being supported in my trans identity didn’t help me, letting go of it and accepting myself as a woman did. Changing my body didn’t help me find lasting peace. I helped myself by tracing back my trans identity and dysphoria to trauma and working through how I’d been hurt.

This is just a small part of her story, and just one of many that Anderson helpfully shares with us. These are the stories the activists and the mainstream media do not want you to hear. And mere reconstructive surgery does not change one’s sex. It is a mirage, and one we must reject outright:

“Surgeons are becoming more skillful in building and attaching artificial genitalia, but they do not change a person’s biological sex with those ‘add-ons.’ No matter how technically advanced the plastic surgery becomes, it doesn’t create an actual sex organ, but a mere simulacrum.”

We need to let this truth sink in: surgery does NOT change someone’s sex. And biology isn’t bigotry, as Anderson reminds us. Moreover, “just as ‘sex reassignment’ fails to reassign sex biologically, it also fails to bring wholeness psychologically.” At root is a mental issue that needs to be addressed, not a physical one.

In addition to all the harm the trans activists are causing to those who struggle with gender dysphoria, there is real harm to the rest of society as the activists get their way. They expect to radically alter the very makeup of society to implement their aims:

What’s at stake in the transgender moment is the human person. If trans activists succeed in their political agenda, our nation’s children will be indoctrinated in a harmful ideology, and some will live by its lies about their own bodies, at great cost to themselves physically, psychologically, and socially. Lives will be ruined, but pointing out the damage will be forbidden. Dissent from the transgender worldview will be punished in schools, workplaces, and medical clinics. Trying to live in accordance with the truth will be made harder.

But as he reminds us, all this doesn’t have to happen. We need to arm ourselves with the right information, with sound science, and with compassionate concern, and stand against the social and sexual revolutionaries. In an ideological war, information is ammunition.

And we get that aplenty in this utterly essential volume. Well done Dr. Anderson.

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12 Replies to “A Review of When Harry Became Sally. By Ryan Anderson.”

  1. Great timing Bill and an excellent analysis. Just this morning I read about Ryan Anderson’s book in an article which was part of a blog called “Life Site News” by John-Henry Westen. Another article on the same blog shows Dr Jordan Peterson urging parents to fight radical sex ed. in Ontario’s sex-ed. curriculum.
    I’ve already challenged the myth of transgenderism in the so-called “Safe Schools” program. At least in Australia we’ve had advance warning so we can marshal our fight.

  2. Thank-you so much for continuing to expose the lies of the transgender advocates – it is a fantastic article.

  3. The marxist repudiation of reality is the pointy end of the emerging “transgender” movement. But the scene has been set by the seeping of porn culture into the mainstream. From there, social constructs or stereotypes of gender have become increasingly suffocating. Boys and girls have never felt so unfree, so constrained by social expectations. Girls are supposed to occupy themselves entirely with being pretty, being princesses. Boys must be seen to be tough, to adopt the mannerisms and dress of gangster rappers. Boys with interests in poetry or reading who don’t feel comfortable with the macho image must be gay or a girl really. Girls who don’t like frilly dresses or who like physical play must be a boy. Push back against this new culture. Don’t buy pink or blue, don’t refer to your daugher/grandaughter as a princess, don’t sum up their worth in their prettiness. Let each little boy or girl, each child or teen feel acceptance and normal about just being themselves. Welcome and celebrate their unique personality, interests and talents. There is big business in this constraining of gender but we dont have to play along.

  4. Is the emergence of Queer Gender Theory a potent example of what ensues when we live as if we have somehow “killed” God and we must “replace” Him? Are we right to “deconstruct” and “reconstruct” gender and sexuality without any transcendent reference point outside ourselves?

    What does research say about antecedents to gender dysphoria? Is gender dysphoria more common in single-parent families and in families where the biological parents of the children are no longer in a stable relationship under the one roof together?

    if we are to understand the emerging social deconstruction of sexuality and gender, we must have answers to empirical enquiry, not just the subjective, “revisionist”, reconstructions of Post-Modern story-making.

  5. Hi Bill

    As we are supposed care for our enemies, should we also ensure that all kindergarten, primary and secondary school teachers have a plentiful supply of millstones (v6) at the front gate of each of their ‘teaching’ establishments so they take advantage of them.
    They may think that they are getting away it, but (v10) indicates that perhaps the child’s angel is reporting their evil deeds

    Matthew 18:6
    “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
    Matthew 18:10
    “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.[

  6. After the scandal of the pro-abortion charity Oxfam and similar within various U.N. agencies people should be aware of articles such as :-


    These are the sorts of people Labor/Greens policies would have us entrust our children to, with their “Safe Schools” ideologies, instead of respecting the rights of the children’s parents and we should not forget the similar scandals within the BBC. We may be living in an age of substance abuse and endless propaganda on TV and from Hollywood but there will always be a huge biological factor and natural instincts making parents the best people to make decisions regarding their children in all but the most extreme circumstances. The fact is that anti-smacking people are reflecting their own psychological problems rather than any objective analysis as to whether an appropriate smack from a loving and concerned parent is something that should result in government interference or be outlawed.

  7. John Miller…Do you know what cities Ryan Anderson will be speaking in? Would love to see him speak. I wouldn’t imagine he’d be a guest on those lefty shows QandA or The Project.

  8. This is a very strange question and pretty much exposes our very confused and upside down society without God, we now live in —

    If two transgendered folks like senior-aged Bruce/ Caitlyn Jenner and his/her very close friend is very young transgendered male-turned-female, Sophie Hutchins,… Does that make them lesbian, or gay?

    Sorry… but this “must” be asked.. God help us…

  9. Jeremy Woods, I too would love to know if Ryan will be coming to Brisbane, when and where to book tickets. I seem to miss important visitors.

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