But is there a compromise solution?
What happens when two lesbians marry and try to raise a healthy boy? Sometimes, I’m sure, the child finds a male role model somewhere, and he turns out psychologically sound. Sometimes, though, that little boy is so confused and unaffirmed, so shamed by his lack of resemblance to either parent that he decides he is really a girl like both of his parents, that he wants to take hormones to someday grow breasts, and have doctors cut his penis off and carve him out a vagina. And sometimes those lesbian parents – instead of admitting that the child they acquired to complete their “family” is brutally damaged and needs therapy – agree with their 7-year-old’s delusion, and decide that he really is a girl. So they take him to doctors, all right, but not to doctors who will help him overcome the toxic shame and self-hatred he mysteriously developed under their care. No, they take him to the hormone peddlers and the surgeons, to hack away at his vulnerable young body until it matches his tortured mind. And this is all perfectly legal in California. Indeed, the opposing course might not be legal; that state has forbidden therapists from steering confused young people toward heterosexuality.
The story above does not come from a satire by Evelyn Waugh, but from the headlines, and it is only the most gut-churning example of how our modern parenting ethos turns children from human beings into playthings, from sacred trusts into robots we program to act out our narcissism. I don’t claim that such an outrageous example of child abuse is typical of same sex-couples with children. But their arguments, which have triumphed in state after state, make this kind of child mutilation possible, covering it with the fig leaf of parental “love.” So advocates of same-sex marriage are responsible for it, and they should have to answer for it. Just as pro-lifers have to answer, again and again, how they’d deal with pregnancies caused by rape, so marriage “reformers” should have to answer for the abuse of Thomas (now “Tammy”) Lobell.
There is nothing we can do for this child now; the doctors and the bureaucrats have all agreed, and he is on a course of potent and dangerous hormone-blocking drugs to prevent him entering puberty as a boy. (He is now 11.) The ideology of “transgenderism” is triumphant across the country. Instead of helping people with gender confusion to conquer the thoughts that torture them – the self-punishing delusion that they were born into the wrong sex – doctors now routinely ravage their bodies to match the madness. So why not start while their bodies are younger, more pliant? As Descartes taught us long ago, our flesh is merely a meat machine in which one’s spirit is imprisoned. If the ghost can figure out magic that lets it better control the robot, who are we to interfere by trying to convince the ghost he is making a mistake?
Who indeed? The only argument any of us has left to interpose between Thomas Lobell and the team of doctors hired by his abusive mothers is the single, thin reed: He is not yet a “consenting adult.” The day he turns 18, of course, we can shrug and shake our heads. As good individualists, we know that is where our obligations end. Once you’re grown up – whether to be a stock broker, drug addict, or porn actress – you are nobody else’s business, and nobody’s problem but your own. If you didn’t want to risk getting pregnant, then you shouldn’t have slept with me – go find an abortionist.
That is the icy ideology that underlies radical libertarianism – as distinct from the classical or Christian “liberalism” on which Western freedoms were slowly and bravely built. Rightly, our founders (and their British forebears before them) rejected the paternalism of rulers who enforced religious orthodoxy by burning dissenters at the stake, or defended economic privilege by jailing tradesmen who undercut the fixed prices set by guilds. But those who fought for our freedom against inquisitors and mercantilists always knew that liberty can only survive when it is ordered, when strong moral norms inform the citizens who have been liberated, and their natural human concern for their fellow man drives them to care for each other willingly through the kind of private charity that once thrived (as Tocqueville noted) in America.