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Truth On Campus Is Painful, But Compassionate

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve witnessed a cultural transformation wherein people describe themselves in terms of how they “identify.” It’s common to hear men say they “identify as a woman” or in some extreme cases to hear a Caucasian person identify as black.


However, no amount of identifying as a woman will make a man have a period. No amount of identifying as a woman will allow a man to grow or birth a child. Identifying as a woman makes a man a woman as much as my identifying as a 2-year-old makes me a toddler. Our identity and our reality are the same, as much as we may try to make it otherwise.

Sadly, the notion that reality is what we make it is the new status quo of the radical Left - a small but loud, and often vitriolic, minority. And the rest of us have two options: go along with this new status quo or stand firmly in truth and objective reality. Generally, the first option is easier; those who go along with the new rules will have the imprimatur of the Hollywood elite, mainstream media, and academic elites. Those who maintain that identifying as something doesn’t necessarily alter reality will face the ire of those who call themselves progressive.

It’s important to note, as we navigate these waters, that the new standard of, ‘you are what you identify as,’ isn’t applied consistently. When Leftist stalwart Elizabeth Warren identified as a Native American, for instance, few people questioned or challenged her claim. But once a DNA test and her inability to document tribal affiliation with any Native American group proved conclusively that she is not what she had always “identified as,” no one -- not even Warren -- continued to claim that she was Native American. There wasn’t even a discussion about Warren continuing to identify as such after that moment.


But when it comes to sex, the standard changes radically. For example, I’ve been blowing the minds of my student audiences lately any time I state that pregnancy is a possible outcome of sex between a man and a woman. This simple biological fact has elicited outrage from students, like this one, who are offended but can’t provide evidence that my statement is factually untrue. Leftist ideology has become so pervasive in our culture and institutions that biology itself is now offensive to students.

What are the rest of us to do? If it’s discriminatory to object to Leftist ideology with facts and biology, is it, conversely, compassionate to play along and abide what we know to be untrue? Especially when we believe this ideology to be, in some cases, harmful?

I don’t think it is. I believe we have to speak the truth whether or not the truth is popular. It is not compassionate when we pretend that reality and biology are malleable. It is not compassionate to tell a man that he is indeed a woman. Because, in the end, it is only the truth that will set us free. Often the truth is hard, and that is what compassion is for. It is for helping our fellow humans through the trials imposed by reality -- trials that we all face. It is not compassionate to help them to ignore the realities that will inevitably come around to call.


In my own life, biological reality is very hard to accept on a day-to-day basis. Two of my four children have cystic fibrosis. I wish they didn’t. I wish their lungs were as healthy as my other two children’s. But it wouldn’t be compassionate for my kids’ doctors to tell my family that Gunner and Gracie don’t have cystic fibrosis. Because the biological reality is that they do. And their doctors show compassion and human support when they say, “The reality is that your children have this disease; but we are going to walk alongside you and navigate these difficult waters together.”

Likewise, when men and women suffer from gender dysphoria, it is not compassionate for the rest of us to tell them that their bodies are not the biological sex that they clearly are. It is compassionate for us to come alongside our friends and family who are suffering, just as we would a friend or family member suffering from any other condition of the body or mind and figure out how we can help them through the difficulty.

What I wish that students knew and took time to consider before protesting me on college campuses is that I do my best to speak the truth out of love, not hatred. I know that what I say is often hard to hear. I know that it is counter-cultural to some people. But I say it because I believe the truth has power, and that compassion is informed by and rooted in the truth.


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