With transgenderism looming ever larger, Ignatius Press has produced Dysconnected: The Real Story Behind the Transgender Explosion, by Don Johnson, and it accomplishes something remarkable. The documentary actually makes sense of something insane. Not for any reasons that could be called reassuring, mind you, but they do call for a reckoning, especially as they present a course of excarnation—rather than incarnation—that is contrary to the Catholic Faith.
Dysconnected explores the causes of a disorder that has become part of the social order. Transgenderism is practically popular, or at least its Orwellian lip service is popular. And it is like an explosion, sudden and startling and shattering. After only a few years, there is a widespread normalization of the mental condition that makes people think they were born in the wrong body; and they are affirmed in this dysphoria instead of helped and healed.
As though part of some social experiment, the progressive politicians and the progressive news media are laser focused on it. On the night before the Transgender Day of Remembrance (yes, that’s a thing now), there was a deadly shooting in a Colorado Springs LGBTQ night club. Condemnable as such atrocities are, headlines and statements sizzled with specifically transphobic condemnation from the leftists that have made transgenderism, of all things, their pet issue.
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Recently, our Catholic President was interviewed by the transgender TikToker Dylan Mulvaney. President Biden warmly congratulated that man wearing lipstick and a blouse on identifying as a woman. “God love you,” Biden said before asserting that no one, either legally or morally, had the right “to block [transgender people] from being able to access certain medicines, being able to access certain procedures, and so on…So I feel very, very strongly that you should have every single solitary right including use of your gender-identity bathrooms in public.”
God love us all—because this toxicity is everywhere, taking on more dramatic shape with every passing month. Take the new Guaranteed Income for Transgender People (GIFT) program out of San Francisco, for instance—free money from our Democratic lawmakers to help cover the costs of a trans life. With all the efforts to hurry mentally ill people along the path of falsehood and harry those who would object, the central theme of Dysconnected is striking because it centers on detransitioning people, documenting their remorse, their recovery, and their reaction. Their testimonies, while encouraging, point indelibly to the reckoning that is assuredly coming for a society that would dare to approve such inhuman and inhumane choices.
Of particular interest in the film is Daisy Strongin. In her struggle to find herself, Strongin underwent “top surgery” (a double mastectomy) when she was 20, after over a year on testosterone. But when she found that her peace of mind was no less secure after the irreversible surgery, she courageously abandoned her transition, embraced her femininity, married a man, and became a mother. Her story is powerful and shows not only the possibility for healing people who suffer as Daisy did (and perhaps still does), but also how the agenda and the available means of “affirming healthcare” are not cures.
Daisy is happier today, but she lives with a burden of regret for what she did to her body in order to have the body she thought she needed to live. Daisy wants her story to be told to save young girls in particular, a demographic that has seen an astounding 5,000 percent increase in transgenderism across the country. Dysconnected takes on the crisis with precision and perspective, looking at several cultural collapses as direct contributors to the explosion of transgenderism.
Dysphoria is not uncommon (especially in adolescents) but that should not result in surgery to force the body to fit the sense of self, especially at an age that is almost defined by tumult. Formation is an intense experience and can be fraught with turmoil. Transgenderism, of course, is posed as a facet of formation, and hence the movement’s insidious inculcation in schools and universities, making itself an influence on those who are becoming who they are. But instead of helping young people work through discordant feelings, the transgender movement “affirms” them, calling what is out of tune in tune. With smiling pressure, it lauds children as they make their own diagnoses for surgeons in a matter that is not rooted in biology.
And the world is somehow accepting this brainwashing, mutilating, upheaval of the truth of who we are as human beings. “Male and female He created them.” But that is just what is happening. What else can be said if society wishes to save face on all the horses they have let out of the barn, like pornography? The average age of encountering hardcore porn is 9, and given the debasing and often violent nature of this readily accessible content, is it a surprise that girls would rather be boys than be subject to what they conclude sex is all about? Such wild and wicked distortion leads to fear, and young people are the victims. Dysconnected posits that transgenderism is one of the cries for help and escape.
Another factor arising from sexual deviancies is the damage caused by abuse, making sexuality and its associated gender a terror for children who try to find healing by erasing who they were when they were victimized. The film offers evidence that everyone who suffers from gender dysphoria has suffered some form of emotional or physical trauma in their lives. They need help, and you can’t fix a broken heart by cutting off someone’s genitals.
But most alarming and eye-opening is Dysconnected’s presentation of transgenderism as a cult, pushing the ideology by urging vulnerable young people—whether due to autism, neglect, loneliness, sexual abuse, or porn scarring—telling them that reality-denial and even medical intervention is necessary for happiness and to prevent suicide. But should anyone resist or change their mind, they are shunned or lambasted. The one-way street of transgenderism, even for those who struggle, is a telltale sign of a group that doesn’t really have people’s best interests at heart.
Dysconnected probes into the ways the medical, mental health, education, and pharmaceutical industries have all fallen into place (to say nothing of the political establishment) in facilitating and foisting a swift gender transition as the resolution to gender dysphoria, raking in both power and money in the business of making sick people sicker, affirming instead of helping, and putting people on a highway to unnatural medicalization in the rejection of one’s own body in preference to the will. Of course, the Internet is a great disembodier and customizer of reality that lends itself to this social contagion.
But the excarnational way is nothing more than the way of Satan, he who would not accept reality even unto his own overthrow. Following his rebellion against creation, the body is meaningless and optional; but in rejecting the union of body and soul, people are choosing nothing more than death, which is, of course, the wage of sin. Christopher West, president of the Theology of the Body Institute, speaks with ringing clarity in Dysconnected:
Christianity has always stood in marked contrast to that dualistic rupture of body and soul by proclaiming not a salvation from the flesh, but a salvation of the flesh. Christ took on flesh to redeem our flesh. God took on a body to redeem our bodies. Religion is not as it is often thought to be, at least the Christian religion…a flight from the body to reach a spiritual reality. It is rather the opposite movement. It’s God taking on a body to reach us. This is our faith. Our faith as Christians centers around Christ, the Word made Flesh, and that’s where the war is. It’s a war for incarnation versus excarnation, and what we’re living in today, this gnostic split, where the body has no say on my identity, that’s the religion of the anti-Word, that’s the religion of excarnation. We must proclaim faith in the Incarnation.
Interestingly, the term “transsexual” has disappeared from the LGBTQ vernacular because it’s not loose enough for an excarnational agenda. Sex is about biology, pure and simple. Gender is about psychology, an airier thing, and therefore more suitable for the purposes of turning truth into something transient. But sex is at the heart of the matter, for if the absolute, if physical reality, can be altered through ideology, then nothing is sacred or beyond the pale of human control. In short, truth does not matter, and we may quite literally, as the hipster slogan says, live our truth.
Catholics shouldn’t be surprised at the travesties and tragedies in our trans-truth society. Resist we must, and with calm courage; but part of the process of reclaiming truth is acknowledging that truth is not a tenet in our national debate and deliberation. Dysconnected is an orienting and informative piece that can clear the intentionally muddy waters and arm people with the data and the drive to speak out.
The film is available on the Runaway Planet Pictures website, and DVDs are available through Ignatius Press. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s worth it to be assured of your own connection to the truth in order to help the disconnected with compassion and the love of Christ. There is a reckoning to be fearful of, but this fear is not transphobia—it is fear for what transgenderism will engender in the long run. Its explosion has been unsettling and damaging enough. What comes crawling through the rubble will be another matter.