Helen Joyce, in her very useful 2021 book, Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, takes her stand against the current cultural wave of trans. She seeks to build an edifice of why the pursuit of gender-imitation, especially in the very young, is very wrong. Packed with helpful statistics and analysis, this valuable resource provides a comprehensive guide to ‘what’s happening’ in England and America, at least as of 2021. I recommend the book for background if you have any contact at all with the Transgenderism Movement (which would be everybody).
Her credentials are hard to dispute. Until recently the editor of The Economist, relentlessly logical (she does have a PhD in mathematics), this well-known British journalist shows her sensitivity to the affairs on both sides of the Atlantic. And, as she explains it, she loves children too much to be silent.
A strange colleague to Christians who raise alarm about gender-imitative procedures, this atheist’s analysis yet falls short. In ways that are immediately recognizable to the Christian, her powerful intelligence cannot overcome starting from scratch, without God’s revelation to us. So, Joyce must claim that “we are embodied creatures” (p131) without anything to back that view up. As Christian theology is unavailable to her, she must simply assert some things and hope for the best. This argument is unlikely to prevail with some of the people who matter most.
Again, a loving mother herself, she insists that “any feminism worthy of the name must offer a strong analysis of how society can accommodate and support motherhood.” Oh, really? Who says? This feminist, sadly, has been left far and away behind by the current feminism, in which a woman is not truly free until freed from the obligation to motherhood. Joyce has little to offer the next generation of women tutored in this comprehensive ‘freedom.’
Joyce recognizes that she is leading a charge on a lonely field. She gallops ahead, glancing around and noticing that many of her similarly atheistic feminist friends are not following. She knows it. In fact, she bemoans how the concerned must find allies in, for heaven’s sake, Christian conservatives. In describing the three Connecticut high school girls’ lawsuit challenging the inclusion of trans-guys in their women’s sport, she wrings her hands (p213):
Perhaps the most bizarre consequence of the adoption of gender self-identification by the Left is that the loudest voices speaking up for women’s rights are conservative Christians. The three girls are supported by the Alliance Defending Freedom, though they are not all from conservative Christian families. The simple fact was that nobody else was willing to help them. They approached many attorneys, some of whom were sympathetic but concerned about the inevitable backlash, and big women’s rights organizations, including the Women’s Sports Foundation and the National Women’s Law Center—either of which would seem a perfect fit for girls facing unfair competition. But no luck. ‘They were trying to pretend nothing was happening, or that it wasn’t a big deal,’ says Christy Mitchell.
Like Jordan Peterson, with whom she gets along with quite well, Helen Joyce slings around “the language of the sacred.” In spite of not believing in God or Satan, both public figures feel entitled to borrow Christian language to lend gravity to the human experiences they describe. They are compelled to purposely use terms like “demonic” and “blessed” and “made in God’s image” in their discussion of trans. Of course, lacking the foundation stone for their structure of thought does not prevent them from towering their edifice of right and wrong and expressing indignation at people who won’t occupy it.
For which I suppose we should be glad. Helen Joyce does us all a real service. Perhaps someone in her life might challenge her on what she must take for granted in order to do it.