It sure has been a strange time in Alberta politics. We were once thought of as extremely right-wing fundamentalist red-necks by the rest of Canada. However, when I look around my province, it is very hard to see much sign of this anymore. In Calgary we have the first Muslim mayor in Canada, we have a female premier who won against another woman and her more right wing party, and we have once again publicly funded transgender elective surgery.

It is the last issue I would like to address. When Alberta defunded this surgery in a cost cutting move, I thought it was a good decision. I was much more interested in my taxpayers dollars going to live saving surgeries then for people who were confused on which gender they were. Now that I am paying for what premier Redford says is “just the right thing to do”, I have been thinking about this issue from a few different angles. Here is one of them.

From what I understand, most of these people are born with the physical anatomy of one gender, but feel that they are of another gender. I find this a very interesting phenomenon. At it base, one can only think this way if a soul actually exists. A basic definition for our souls that I will be using here is that aspect of you that has no physical properties; such as consciousness, memories, and emotions. Since the physical matter (cells, DNA, and chemicals) is of one gender, to say that there is something that makes one feel differently is to say that there is something about us that is not merely physical. That we have an aspect of us that can work outside of our physical being. If we are only physical, then there cannot be any conflict with the physical body.

But, this poses a problem for the person who thinks they are transgender. Souls, by their nature, are very different then our physical being in more ways then just the substance their made of. Our physical bodies are public knowledge but our souls have personal knowledge. I will give you an example I heard by philosopher J.P. Moreland to explain what I mean.

Imagine 100 years from now that scientists have figured out every process that happens when we hear something. From the sound waves entering into our ear canal to when we register a sound in our brain. Every step has been discovered and cataloged. Imagine at the same time there was a brilliant scientist who knows everything that has been discovered. The only thing is that she was born deaf and have never heard a sound in her life. Even though she has all public knowledge and knows all physical processes involved, it is clear she lacks some knowledge. Moreland goes on to explain that because of the Laws of Thought (the bases for logic) this logically demonstrates that we have a soul.

What does all this mean to this discussion? First off, the only way this is possible, that there is something that contradicts our physical body, is if there is a soul as I have stated earlier. Second problem is that this is purely personal knowledge. Many jokes are made of how impossible it is for men to understand women, and the reason is we are not women. No man alive can know how it is to be a woman simply because they are a man. But, it gets even more fundamental then this. One woman cannot know what it is like to be another woman. Sure, she can look at the woman’s life and think she knows what it is like to be the other woman, but her understanding will run through the filter of her soul. Even people who go through the same event will understand this event through their filter and will therefore not have the same personal knowledge of the event. So, this begs the question; how would a person who is born in a man’s physical body know if what was felt in his(her) soul was a soul of a woman? It might be that a man has many characteristics that are generally associated with women, such as being more emotional. Yet, I know men who are more emotional then women I know. We risk turning all gender knowledge topsy turvey.

Even if a psychologist studies this phenomenon, the questions which will be asked to obtain the data will go through the personal filter of the person answering, and then the “findings” will go through the filter of the psychologist. This seems to provide a very difficult situation in determining what is going on here which is the best course of action. So, when Ms. Redford says that this is simply the right thing to do, how would she know this? It could be that this is completely the wrong thing to do and by helping them physically change their bodies could be hurting them.

I, For one, do not want my tax payer’s dollars to go to something with such major question marks surrounding it. If Ms. Redford is correct, then a solid case should be made as to why this is the right thing to do. This has a million dollar price tag attached to this decision, and I would like to know if my money is going towards helping someone, particularly since this is an elective surgery. We may be spending a million dollars a day hurting people. These million dollar questions need to be answered before we arbitrarily pay for this elective surgury.