Bruce Jenner, marches everywhere, a series in the New York Times … It seems as though transgenderism is the next big thing in sexual rights. Why? Is there something here we really need to comes to terms with? Dutch psychologist Gerard van den Aardweg gives some straightforward answers to our questions?


MercatorNet: Nowadays Facebook allows people to choose amongst 50 or so genders. What’s the problem with allowing people to be fluid in their sexuality?

Gerard van den Aardweg: The gender rage is a modern mythology of a low intellectual level because it denies the evident reality of human nature. Not only physically, but also psychologically, man is born either male or female and there is nothing to “choose” in this regard. Because of bad habits or mental disturbances the masculinity and femininity of a relatively small number of people do not mature normally so that they do not or cannot identify with their own sex or with their natural heterosexuality. That is a question of a psychologically diseased imagination, of a fantasized, warped self-image and not of a different biological or psychological masculine or feminine nature.

The human fantasy may produce any false “gender” or “identity”. For example, pedophiles imagine that their innermost nature makes them attracted to children. For some of them even a measure of violence or sadism is a natural part of this love, as in the case of some homosexuals. Others imagine that their nature prompts them to exhibitionism, heterosexual or homosexual sadism, masochism, etc.

Some people feel their identity is the reincarnation of some real or imagined person of the past; some may be seized by the feeling they are an animal, as was the case with the French Cardinal Richelieu, who periodically felt like a horse and frightened those around him  by storming at a gallop and neighing through the house. And the wide range of strange sexual preferences connected with abnormal “identifications” is well known.

Of course, these examples belong to the field of pathology. Fortunately, 95 percent of people identify with their natural psychological and biological sex and with its corresponding heterosexuality. The 50 or more “genders” of Facebook are deviations, statistically and mentally. Transgenderism is the showpiece among them. The stupidity of the thing is, however, that they are presented as normal, on a par with man’s natural biological and psychological instincts. Thus Facebook irresponsibly contributes to the corruption and confusion of the minds, especially of the young, with respect to the manhood-womanhood dimension of human nature and the naturalness of heterosexuality. It so plays its part in the promotion of the powerful anti-marriage and anti-family ideology which controls most of the media.

M: The number of people claiming to be transgender, or claiming that their children are transgender, has exploded in recent years. Why?

GVDA: Has it really exploded? That was also the impression concerning homosexuality in the 1960s and 1970s when it rather suddenly became a big issue. It is true, many more people with same-sex feelings than before began living them out, but it was especially the overwhelming publicity on homosexuality which made people believe the number of homosexuals was exploding. The best recent statistical studies still suggest that this proportion is roughly the same as 100 years ago. We must be sceptical about impressions created by the media.

Knowingly or not, half a century ago they supported the gay-rights propaganda item that at least 5 percent of the population is homosexual (even one in 10, as the fraudulent Kinsey claimed). But 2 percent is the best estimate. Anyway, the current transgender attention in the Western media is certainly part of a campaign to normalize it. The logic of the propaganda is: the more “transgenders” people believe there are, the more they will think it is normal. In reality, an estimated prevalence of 0.1 percent of the population suffering from transgender feelings would already be a great over-estimation.

M: Do transgenders think they have the soul of the opposite sex from early childhood on? Is one born that way?

GVDA: No, despite a few vague, multi-interpretable, and not replicated, findings, nothing indicates biological origin. The idea of having the soul of the opposite sex gradually arises in childhood, particularly in adolescence. In their fantasies they gradually identify with the opposite sex, as a wishful daydream, to escape from their awareness and frustration about being outsiders who do not belong to the world of their own sex.

By the way, the intensity of this fantasized opposite-sex self-image is often fluid. Many who at some time in puberty nurtured a desire to change their sex spontaneously get rid of it as they grow older. And one study found that only one-third of pre-adolescent children who strongly rejected their own sex still manifested the same attitude 10 years later. So beware of medical interventions that are irreversible and of psychological “therapies” that affirm growing transgender tendencies in young people!

M: Is it possible to change one’s sex? If not, why do some people feel dissonance between their gender identity and their bodies?  

GVDA: One cannot change one’s sex. So-called sex reassignment surgery is deceit and self-deceit. By this brutal surgery, the body is only seemingly transformed; in fact it is mutilated.

As I said before, feelings of dissonance between gender identity and body mostly develop gradually in childhood and become more intense in adolescence. “Transgender” is the term for people with extreme feelings of this kind, but there are many degrees of intensity and duration. These feelings are fantasies, stemming from discontent with the child’s sex. This discontent has often to do with the child’s feeling of being less valued because of its gender, or of being particularly valued for behavior and interests that are more characteristic of the opposite sex.

For instance, male transgenders may have been reared by a mother who encouraged “girlishness” in them (and sometimes wished the boy had been a girl), while their father was distant or did not value or encourage his boyish side. Not seldom a transsexual woman developed outspoken boyish behavior and attitudes under the influence of her father while her mother was distant or did not stimulate the development of her feminine side. In other cases, the boy wanted to be like a sister who was his parents’ favorite while he felt neglected, and the like. I can give here only some indications.

Pre-transsexual children have in common with pre-homosexual children that they were mostly gender-nonconformist and felt inferior with respect to their masculinity or femininity. Feeling inferior and less valued as to their gender qualities led to the cultivation of opposite-sex behavior or attitudes. Many homosexuals identify to some degree with opposite-sex roles, but without wanting to get the body of the opposite sex. Male transsexuality can in fact be regarded as the extreme of effeminate homosexuality.

Furthermore, the transgender’s craving to belong to the opposite sex is a neurotic obsession fuelled by incessant feelings of discontent and inferiority. It is never satisfied. Therefore, men who were operated upon to become women are constantly preoccupied by the effort to prove their super-femininity. These people suffer from a severe neurosis which is resistant to sex surgery.

M: Why does our sex have to be fixed and binary if we have the medical technology to change it? Surely the “real me” is the way I feel and not just my body.

GVDA: We do not have not such technology. We can only play the game of transition. Our body cannot be seen as separate from our psyche. Our psychological manhood or womanhood fit our masculine and feminine body as a key fits a lock. The “real me” can indeed be read from the gender of our body. Transsexuals have no somatic traits of the opposite sex, no abnormal brains, hormones, or genes. As I said, it is bad habits and mental disturbances that drive a young person to imagine a “real me” which in fact is a false “me”, a delusion.

M: Transgender people suffer from high rates of homelessness, unemployment and suicide. Isn’t this due to stigmatization by people hostile to the transgender lifestyle?

GVDA: Transgenders are maladjusted socially, especially in their private relationships. It has been abundantly demonstrated that sex surgery does not improve their life nor, what is worse, their psychological condition. The suicide risk of post-surgery patients is even many times higher than in normal people. That has nothing to do with “being discriminated against”, for most of them do not suffer from unjust treatment but from relational problems, depression, self-destructive tendencies, and sex obsessions. These people are emotionally sick and it is a scandal that our “caring” society and the psychiatric and psychological world refuse to see things as they are and instead of pushing them deeper into their excessively self-centered delusions.

M: Is there any harm in allowing pre-pubescent children or teenagers to change their sex?

GVDA: All the harms associated with criminal child abuse.

M: In your experience, do many transgenders end up regretting their decision?

GVDA: Yes. A positive point is that some who profoundly regretted their “transition” have written their stories or blog on the internet to caution others against falling in the trap of the unscrupulous transgender ideology and industry. A recent autobiography that may help open the eyes of people considering sex surgery is Walt Heyer’s A Transgender’s Faith (2015).

M: A number of leading medical associations have endorsed the normality of transgender, including the American Psychological Association. Transgender activists say that scepticism flies in the face of accepted medical practice. Is this the case?

GVDA: The American Psychiatric Association gave up its scientific integrity in 1973 when it allowed a group of gay psychiatrists to impose their ideology of normality on it, not by virtue of arguments or evidence but simply by bureaucratic manipulation. Since then it gradually became a propaganda instrument for the radical sexual ideology of which Alfred Kinsey had been the great promoter. Gradually, all sexual deformations and disorders are being normalized.. We can expect further progressive moves. The Bulletin of the World Health Organization published an article in 2014 proposing the declassification of all disease categories  related to sexual “orientations”. The classification system of diseases of the WHO is likely to be followed by the APA and then by other professional groups. As for the WHO, it is known to be governed by radical sexual reformers. 

Is sex surgery accepted medical practice? Let me recall the story of the first gender clinic at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, where such operations were regularly performed in the 1970s. The clinic was closed after a follow-up study made it clear that this surgery failed to cure the patients. Their “severe psychological problems” continued.

Undoubtedly, the outcome of solid long-term psychological follow-up studies of more recent cases of transition will not be different. But for such studies there seems to be little interest.

M: Some doctors compare gender dysphoria, dissatisfaction with one’s sex, to anorexia nervosa or bulimia, dissatisfaction with one’s body image. Is that a good analogy?

GVDA: Yes. The similarity between these syndromes consists of dissatisfaction with one’s body image (the view or representation one has of one’s body, which is a matter of the imagination); of the obsessive and unreasonable, inadequate nature of such negative views; and of the compulsive, frantic way people affected by these obsessions try to attain their illusionary physical ideal, without ever being satisfied.

The transgender compulsively complains about possessing the wrong body. He continues complaining over the very same thing, no matter whatever surgery or social affirmation of his “new gender” may take place. If he seeks male relationships, he is no less promiscuous than male homosexuals. His whole life revolves about his pseudo-femininity. He is excessively self-occupied, but cannot find his real self.

M: To sum up, would you say that gender dysphoria is a form of mental illness?

GVDA: Transgenderism is a severe psychological disorder, certainly.  

Gerard van den Aardweg is a Dutch psychologist who specialises in homosexuality and marital problems

Gerard van den Aardweg has worked as a therapist for almost 50 years, specializing in cases of homosexuality and marital problems. He has a global reputation and has written extensively on homosexuality...