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The latest media spew about the woman formerly known as Bruce Jenner has made the transgendered the cause du jour. Compared with appearing on the Kardashian television show, appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair as a transgendered person is actually a step up from the tabloid sewer for Bruce Jenner. But whatever you think of Caitlyn Jenner, we can at least agree on two things: 1) people have a right to do whatever they want to with their bodies, and 2) the rest of us don’t have to like it.

And for all its good intentions, the increasing acceptance of the transgendered has reached delusional levels that stand to do long-lasting harm.

People who are transgendered should be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else. Treating people with respect means telling them the truth, and if we tell the transgendered that their problems can be solved with hormone treatments and surgery, we’re not being truthful. Gender dysphoria is a mental condition and ought to be treated as such.

There are other disorders that cause people to want to radically alter their bodies in ways that reputable practitioners of medicine will not perform. There are people who wish to have their limbs amputated or become partially paralyzed, and no legitimate doctor will approve such surgery. Gender reassignment surgery should rank among those surgeries doctors won’t do. I am well aware that many transgendered people do not get genital surgery and it’s considered rude to ask if they have. Indeed it is rude to ask someone about the state of their genitals, but if you are making a public pronouncement that you are not the gender you were born into, it begs the question of ‘Just how serious are you about this new identity?’ At any rate, with or without surgery to the genitals, transitioning from one sex to another requires very serious and extreme medical treatment. Those afflicted adults are entitled to seek whatever treatments they can afford, but they shouldn’t take offense when the general public considers it to be the ghastly mutilation that it is or decline to endorse or pay for it.

This is not an excuse to disrespect people who are suffering from gender identity disorder. Trannies shouldn’t lose their jobs for being transgendered, unless their jobs are something incredibly gender specific that their transition would render them incapable of performing. But let’s at least respect our transgendered friends enough to speak to them truthfully.

Someday medical science will have a better answer for people who do not feel that they are in the right body. Right now the going treatment for people who feel they are actually of the opposite sex is to treat them with hormones and surgically alter them to make them look like the gender of their choice. People should be free to do that to themselves if it makes them happy, but the compulsion to do this results from a person’s mental state, and making someone appear to be a man or a women when they are not will not change their basic biological reality, only turn them into a caricature of the opposite gender.

There will come a time, sooner rather than later, when today’s reliance on gender reassignment surgery and all its variant treatments will be considered barbaric and indulgent. Future generations will look at photos of transgendered people the way we look at photos of Chinese foot binding today: as brutal, outdated and an affront to human dignity.

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