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OPINION

What Dennis Prager Got Wrong About Transgender Identity

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Matthew Barakat

For the more than 30 years, Dennis Prager has been one of the leading conservative voices in America. In particular, with devastating clarity, he has exposed the destructive illogic of the left, often leaning on the wisdom of the Bible to inform his expositions. But in his recent article dealing with transgender identity, my esteemed colleague and friend has missed the mark badly. (I sent this to him before posting it publicly.)

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The article in question was titled, “Why Does the Bible Say ‘Neither Sex May Wear the Clothing of the Other Sex?’”, discussing the apparent biblical prohibition on crossdressing in Deuteronomy 22:5.

Prager stated that this was “an extraordinarily important Torah law,” since it pointed to the Torah distinction between male and female, one of the most fundamental distinctions in the Scriptures.

He noted (quite accurately), “In the Torah’s views, these distinctions reflect God’s design—and therefore a Designer. In the biblical worldview, recognition of this design makes civilization possible. The demise of these distinctions would mean the end of civilization as we know it.”

I could not have said it any better or with any more clarity.

As for Deuteronomy 22:5, he wrote, “The most recent distinction to be erased is the subject of this Torah law: the distinction between male and female. Its purpose is to maintain this distinction. How we dress is the most obvious way we declare our sex.”

This would apply, then, to a man who is clearly and indisputably male who dresses like a woman (or vice versa). As an example of this, Prager pointed to 2014 Eurovision winner “Thomas Neuwirth, a bearded Austrian man, who performed under the name Conchita Wurst.”

So far so good.

Where Prager errs, quite drastically and surprisingly, is when he writes, “an individual who identifies as a member of the other sex (‘transgender’ or ‘transsexual’), appears to be a member of that sex, takes on a name associated with that sex, and dresses as a member of that sex is not necessarily blurring the distinction God made. The individual who truly feels estranged from his or her biological sex is to be given sympathy, not condemnation. If that person does not publicly blur the male-female distinction, that person would not appear to be violating this law.”

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To be sure, we should show compassion to those who are genuinely confused about their gender identity. Absolutely.

But it is absurd to think that a bearded man who dresses like a woman has violated the Torah while a biological male who does his best to destroy biological reality and transform himself into a woman has not violated Torah law.

Really now, which is a greater assault on the fundamental distinctions established at creation by God? A man dressing up like a woman, or a man claiming that gender is a mental perception rather than a biological reality? The former makes a mockery of the male-female distinction. The latter seeks to obliterate that distinction entirely.

How about a woman surgically removing the healthy breasts God gave her, then mutilating her private parts and getting a male-looking add-on, then taking hormones for life that will daily fight against her God-given femaleness, now claiming to be a man? How is that not infinitely worse (and more in violation of God’s design) than that same woman crossdressing?

Not only so, but transgender ideology declares all-out war on male-female distinctiveness, with ridiculous claims such as, “Men can menstruate too”; or, “Women can have penises”; or, “Men can get pregnant.” Indeed, some have advocated for the term “chestfeeding” rather than “breastfeeding” so as not to discriminate.

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This is cultural madness. This is the very articulation of the chaos that Prager decries. To quote my friend again, “The demise of these distinctions would mean the end of civilization as we know it.”

It is happening in front of our eyes, with transgender ideology helping to lead the way.

As podcaster Joe Rogan noted (while speaking with Tulsi Gabbard), “I mean, with wokeness you can identify as a woman, you get to use the female restroom like okay, but what is it? What’s a woman? You know, can a man get pregnant? Okay, well, what is it, can a biological male get pregnant? And then people panic and they start, ‘the people that identify as a woman are capable of being pregnant and people that identify as a male are capable of also being pregnant.’ Like, what are you saying?”

He continued, “. . . it doesn’t mean you can’t have trans people. It doesn’t mean that … you’re not denying anyone’s existence either, they exist. However, if you want to be pregnant, you must be a biological female. This is science. This is something that we have all studied and looked at and observed. . . . It’s no getting around it. If you want to breed, if you want the egg in the womb, if you want the whole thing to happen, the uterus, the baby. That’s a woman. Just because you have a [expletive] beard because you’re taking testosterone, you’re still a woman, like this is crazy.”

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This is common sense talking. This is a reminder of reality.

Interestingly, some of the most vocal voices against transgender identity are feminists (including many lesbian feminists), since they rightly understand that if a biological male can identify as a female, then the category of female no longer has any real meaning. (For more on this, see the book Female Erasure: What You Need To Know About Gender Politics' War on Women, the Female Sex and Human Rights.)

And what shall we say about the assault on children, where in the name of compassion, 10-year-olds are given drugs that could sterilize them for life and girls as young as 13 are having full mastectomies? Is this not a direct assault on God’s design? Is this not a terribly misguided attempt to deny “male and female He created them”?

Thousands of cells continue to shout out, “I am male” or “I am female” no matter how many drugs are taken and how many surgeries are performed. Yet sex-change surgery and radical hormone treatments are a less serious Torah offense than simply crossdressing?

Prager ends his article stating, “How God regards an individual who is convinced he or she is living in the wrong body is not addressed here. I believe God both has standards (that we never blur the male-female distinction) and compassion (for those few individuals who do not identify with their biological sex), and so should we.”

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It would have been far better to say, “While having compassion on those who are confused and pained over their gender identity, we must never affirm transgender ideology, since it undermines the male-female distinction.”

Dennis, please do reconsider your position (Proverbs 1:5a).

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