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The Harms of Self-Identification (An Introduction)

Updated: May 5, 2023

Self-Identification, or self-ID, is when someone identifies as someone, or something, other than themselves, that is based on feeling or thought and not fact. Examples of self-ID include:

  • A person who isn't Indigenous identifying as an Indigenous person.

  • A man who identifies as a woman, or a woman as a man.

  • An adult who identifies as a child.

  • Any person who identifies as a non-person, such as a person who believes they are an animal, spirit, or plant.

Some people use multiple categories that they self-identify as.

For the purposes of this post, it is not an example of self-ID when a trans person identifies as such (e.g. a man who identifies as a transwoman or a woman who identifies as a transman, based on specific factors related to transgenderism and transition).

Beyond the obvious psychological concerns that such magical and non-reality-based beliefs as self-ID entail, there are numerous individual health, legal, and social consequences of self-ID that make it a harmful belief system. It is so harmful that self-ID should not be upheld by law or policy, except under rare conditions.

Self-ID harms women

Historically, women, as a biological class, have only had legal personhood and the right to vote for a short time. Women have the legal right to spaces only for biological women. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been one of the individuals leading the push to allow men to self-identify into women-only spaces. While repeating the mantra that "trans women are women", the Prime Minister has walked back women's rights to almost pre-suffrage conditions, doing immeasurable harm to women. Across Canada, there are now almost no protected, women’s only spaces. This includes women’s centres, bathrooms, gyms, sports teams, changing rooms, hospitals, rape shelters, and prisons. This has led to attacks on vulnerable populations of women such as the elderly, imprisoned women, physically and sexually abused women, and women with disabilities. The effect has negatively impacted women’s identification, safety, and fair treatment generally.

Self-ID Harms Gay People

Recognition of gay rights and protected status as a sexual orientation is based on the existence of the sex binary and realities of sexual dimorphism. Attempts at erasing the binary erase gay rights.

Lesbians have been particularly vulnerable as they have been forced to include men in their women’s only spaces. Further, they are being compelled to include gender ideology in their personal lives in a manner that demands they have intimate relations with men who self-ID as women. Men who self-ID as lesbians call lesbians who do not include these men in their dating circle or refuse to have sexual relations with are called "transphobic".

Self-ID Harms Children

The first way children are negatively impacted by self-ID is how minors have been encouraged to self-ID as the opposite sex or non-binary may lead them to a path that goes towards harmful, irreversible pharmaceutical and medical transition. Gay children are particularly at risk of being medicalized young since they are often gender non-conforming. Adults may encourage those children to self-ID as the opposite sex as a result.

The second way children are negatively impacted by self-ID is some adults are taking advantage of self-ID by identifying as children. This allows them to express their wish to and access children to “socialize” with that match their identified age. Linked to this trajectory, some adult pedophiles are re-branding a new self-identity as “minor attracted persons” (“MAPs”). This allows MAPs to define their paedophilia not as a disorder (paraphilia), but instead, as an innate sexual orientation. This appears to be an attempt at achieving protected status under human rights laws protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Self-ID puts children at particular risk of harm by pedophiles when as a protected group, pedophiles can no longer be “discriminated against” by being refused jobs working with minors.

Self-ID and Psychological Harms

The confusion of believing one is non-human, for example, is beyond the scope of this brief to cover, but presents countless foreseen and unforeseen damaging outcomes for an individual and society’s health. When a person loses an understanding of the basic, definable, and immutable categories of being, they lose a grasp on reality.

There is no way to uphold the premises of self-ID for some groups and not others. For example, one cannot reject self-ID for identifying with a chosen race when genetic facts dispute this, but allow it for a chosen sex, an immutable human characteristic. Since self-ID is harmful for so many individuals and groups, it cannot be upheld except in rare cases where discerning identity is so ambiguous, so that not doing so would result in immeasurable harm.


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