(CP) A new report highlights a growing trend of trans-identified and nonbinary individuals undergoing surgeries to have both male and female genitalia. One conservative scholar says the trend makes the gender identity debate even more of a "puzzler."
The report, published by VICE last Monday, contains interviews with multiple people who call themselves "Salmacians," a term for those seeking bigenital anatomy.
The phrase is derived from the Greek myth of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, and the number of online trans communities using the term has grown.
In the myth, Salmacis merged with her lover, Hermaphroditus, to become an androgynous being after asking the gods to unite the pair. Science fiction writer Raphael Carter coined the phrase "Salmacians" in the 1990s to describe people who desire to have mixed genitalia, according to Vice.
While people who trans identify typically undergo surgery or take drugs to resemble the opposite gender, the article details the process of "nonbinary bottom surgeries" for people looking to achieve bigenital anatomy.
Jay W. Richards, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, believes such surgeries are a "matter of course from the logic of gender ideology."
"Many casual observers think gender ideology claims merely that biological males can have a female gender identity, and vice versa," Richards, who also serves as the William E. Simon senior research fellow in Religious Liberty and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, wrote in a Monday statement to The Christian Post.
"That claim is a puzzler on its own. But gender ideology denies the meaning, even the reality, of biological sex," he continued. "One's gender identity determines who one 'really' is — independent of one's sex body. And gender identity, according to its champions, is defined without reference to sex."
The research fellow questioned what gender identity is anchored in if it's not based on "real sex differences."
If it's centered around one's "sense" of gender, Richards warned that this concept has no "limiting principle."
"The simple idea of males presenting as females, and vice versa, is already obsolete," he wrote. "In its place is a growing variety of concocted gender identities."
One individual VICE interviewed, 42-year-old Hyde Goltz, has a vagina and a "surgically constructed penis." Golz and the three other Salmacians the outlet spoke to claim that undergoing such surgeries put them at odds with medical providers and other trans-identifying people.
Goltz, who runs a blog page about the transition, received derogatory messages from other trans-identifying people. The messages accuse Goltz of "making a mockery" of the movement by "only going halfway."
"That was the hardest hate mail to take — other trans people saying, 'No, you're doing it wrong,'" Goltz told VICE.
Other messages from professionals that Vice described as "trans-medicalists" noted that many people who express a desire to alter their gender typically have a condition known as gender dysphoria.
Richard Santucci, a surgeon at The Crane Center for Transgender Surgery in Austin, Texas, told VICE that he performs the type of surgery Goltz underwent on 20% of his "trans-masculine patients each year, and not just the nonbinary ones."
The surgeon argued that "bottom" procedures and other forms of "trans medicine" are "safe, sound, and proven science" and that "trans healthcare providers" must be attentive to patients exploring their "nonbinary identities."
In an interview for CP's podcast series "Generation Indoctrination: Inside the Transgender Battle," Dr. Quentin Van Meter claims that some in the medical field use pressure tactics to silence objections to transitioning patients.
One of the chief rhetorical weapons activists employ against critics is "if you don't believe what we say then you are bigoted and hateful," Van Meter said, a pediatric endocrinologist and president of the conservative American College of Pediatricians.
"That's kind of the starting point. And it's sort of an unspoken truth because if anybody does really come outside the box and say 'Whoa, this isn't right,' they are immediately attacked."
Dr. Andre Van Mol, a family medicine doctor in Redding, California, raised concerns about minors being allowed to take hormones to later undergo "gender-affirming" surgeries.
He cited an incident involving a colleague presenting an NIH research grant to legislators, in which one of the doctors in the study had lowered the age of the cross-sex hormone cohort inclusion criteria from 13 to 8 years old.
"It's just unbelievable if you didn't know it was happening. And it shouldn't be, and it won't be happening long. This is all going to go down. But we don't want to wait until it simply goes down by the weight of its scientific frailty" and low-quality scientific data, Van Mol said in the podcast.