When Harry Became Sally provides thoughtful answers to questions arising from our transgender moment. Drawing on the best insights from biology, psychology, and philosophy, Ryan Anderson offers a nuanced view of human embodiment, a balanced approach to public policy on gender identity, and a sober assessment of the human costs of getting human nature wrong.
This book exposes the contrast between the media’s sunny depiction of gender fluidity and the often sad reality of living with gender dysphoria. It gives a voice to people who tried to “transition” by changing their bodies, and found themselves no better off. Especially troubling are the stories told by adults who were encouraged to transition as children but later regretted subjecting themselves to those drastic procedures.
As Anderson shows, the most beneficial therapies focus on helping people accept themselves and live in harmony with their bodies. This understanding is vital for parents with children in schools where counselors may steer a child toward transitioning behind their backs.
Everyone has something at stake in the controversies over transgender ideology, when misguided “antidiscrimination” policies allow biological men into women’s restrooms and penalize Americans who hold to the truth about human nature. Anderson offers a strategy for pushing back with principle and prudence, compassion and grace.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Preface to the Paperback Edition xi
Chapter 1 Our Transgender Moment 9
Chapter 2 What the Activists Say 27
Chapter 3 Detransitioners Tell Their Stories 49
Chapter 4 What Makes Us a Man or a Woman 77
Chapter 5 Transgender Identity and Sex "Reassignment" 93
Chapter 6 Childhood Dysphoria and Desistance 117
Chapter 7 Gender and Culture 145
Chapter 8 Policy in the Common Interest 175
Postscript to the Paperback Edition 215
What People are Saying About This
During this “transgender moment,” a government-enforced tyranny of false presumptions about nature besieges the American family. When Harry Became Sally provides the empirical information needed to refute the transgender suppositions, and—in a most original way—makes historic sense of this social misdirection by noting how the “gender-fluid” pseudo-scientific claims of today’s transgender ideologues derive from dubious arguments previously passed around amongst second-wave feminists. Learn from Ryan Anderson how another craze about the workings of the mind has come to beset American households and put thousands of people at risk.
—Paul McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
When Harry Became Sally is an eminently readable and insightful guide for all who find themselves perplexed by today’s debates on gender identity. Ryan Anderson’s analysis of the ideas that are fueling the transgender movement, their human costs and their political implications will be a valuable resource for parents, educators and policy makers.
—Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University, and author of Rights Talk and A Nation Under Lawyers.
For an informed and sensitive presentation of gender identity issues, When Harry Became Sally is a must-read book. It is especially a must for those in psychiatry, psychology and counselling.
—Paul Vitz, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, New York University, and Senior Scholar, Institute for the Psychological Sciences.
I always read Ryan Anderson with great admiration. When Harry Became Sally is an always focused, informative, fair-minded, lucid and fact-based guide to just and reasonable policies in place of government- and corporation-mandated falsification of science, medicine, public records and history; suppression of free speech and family rights; and many-sided, often irreversible injustice to the vulnerable.
—John Finnis, Professor of Law & Legal Philosophy Emeritus, University of Oxford.
“Do no harm” is a fundamental tenet of medical ethics. But sadly—as shown by Ryan Anderson’s careful examination of the research—people with gender dysphoria are now commonly given treatments that involve grave health hazards and few (if any) lasting benefits. Regardless of political persuasion, all concerned citizens, especially parents, policymakers, and healthcare professionals, should give serious consideration to the evidence presented in this thoughtful and balanced book.
—Melissa Moschella, Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics, Department of Medicine, Columbia University.
Ryan Anderson forthrightly calls out the suspension of disbelief that has led us into ever more bizarre denials of reality, blindfolding our eyes and our heads in the name of political ideology and ensuring the suffering of the mentally ill. Everyone concerned with the welfare of children should read When Harry Became Sally.
—Margaret A. Hagen, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University.
People who experience gender dysphoria deserve to be treated with compassion, kindness, and respect—just like everyone else. It is wrong to despise them, ridicule them, or disrespect them in other ways. As Ryan Anderson shows in his rigorously argued critique of transgender ideology, we can speak and stand up for the truth while loving those who identify as transgender as our neighbors. When Harry Became Sally confirms Anderson’s standing as one of our nation’s most gifted young intellectuals, and without doubt the most fearless.
—Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University.
Ryan Anderson takes up the challenging topic of the “transgender moment” in a clear and biologically well-informed manner. He writes in a thoughtful and accessible manner, and he succeeds in his goal of providing “a sober and honest survey of the human costs of getting human nature wrong.” When Harry Became Sally raises important questions for anyone who is sincerely concerned about the wellbeing of those struggling with their gender identity.”
—Maureen Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah.