By Ryan Anderson
Jan 22, 2018
By Rachael Platt
May 05, 2019
- America is in the midst of what has been called a “transgender moment.”
Called that by whom? Gender dysphoria was buried once and it came back. This isn’t a moment. It’s not a movement nor a revolution nor an ideology. It’s a medical condition that hurts badly and has only 1 known cure.
- In the past 10 years, dozens of pediatric gender clinics have sprung up throughout the United States.
Great. Proof acceptance is gaining. There are some 700,000 people in the USA alone who suffer from gender dysphoria. For this we get dozens of clinics.
- Many psychologists and psychiatrists think of gender dysphoria as similar to other dysphorias, or forms of discomfort with one’s body, such as anorexia.
“Similar” is a very vague comparison. This could mean gender dysphoria is similar to other dysphorias because they all have “dysphoria” in their name.
Twenty-eight years ago, the release of “When Harry Met Sally” highlighted one big debate: whether men and women could really be just friends.
That question may still be up in the air, but now we are being forced to confront a more fundamental debate: whether men can really become women.
The fundamental debate has nothing to do with asking if we can do the impossible (modify DNA).
The fundamental questions are
- what do you do about the transgender people that don’t pass as the opposite sex? Obviously someone that passes isn’t a problem.
- what do we do about children – especially those ready to commit suicide?
America is in the midst of what has been called a “transgender moment.” In the space of a year, transgender issues went from something that most Americans had never heard of to a cause claiming the mantle of civil rights.
Nobody ever heard of us. And so nobody ever knew what to do with us.
Is the pursuit of civil rights ignoble?
We are the social lepers. No matter what we do we are punished. Is it too much to ask for society to cut it out and stop kicking us?
But can a boy truly be “trapped” in a girl’s body? Biologically, no. Psychologically yes.
Can modern medicine really “reassign” sex? From a chromosomal perspective, no. From a figurative perspective, plastic surgery can perform miracles.
Is sex something “assigned” in the first place? Yes. The sperm that enters the egg assigns the child’s sex. When the doctor calls out the sex of the baby at birth that is figuratively called “assigning sex.”
What’s the loving response to a friend or child experiencing a gender-identity conflict? That’s really going to depend on the friend or child. This is a very complex question since it will involve the person’s state of mind.
What should our law say on these issues? Equal Opportunity. No discrimination. That’s it.
These shouldn’t be difficult questions.
If they were equal in complexity I would agree.
Just a few years before “When Harry Met Sally” hit theaters, Dr. Paul McHugh thought he had convinced the vast majority of medical professionals not to go along with bold claims about sex and gender being proffered by some of his colleagues. And as chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, McHugh put a stop to sex reassignment surgery at Hopkins.
A tragic moment in 1979.
Once the elite Johns Hopkins did this, many medical centers across the nation followed suit.
Burying gender dysphoria for 36 years.
If more people knew about it hundreds of children like me would have been saved years of isolation, depression and suicide ideation. As a result of McHugh’s work the only thing we heard was “hide or be punished and humiliated.” And you now see the results: 40% suicide rate.
But in recent years we have seen a resurgence of these drastic procedures—not in light of new scientific evidence, mind you, but as a result of a growing ideological movement. Such is our transgender moment.
Imagine that. Bury a mental condition and it comes back anyway.
The evidence of results is in the number of successfully treated patients. That is, people who report their dysphoria has significantly improved.
The people increasingly in the spotlight of this moment are children.
In the past 10 years, dozens of pediatric gender clinics have sprung up throughout the United States. In 2007, Boston Children’s Hospital “became the first major program in the United States to focus on transgender children and adolescents,” as their own website brags.
Again, given the size of the transgender population, why is this bad?
A decade later, over 45 gender clinics had opened their doors to our nation’s children—telling parents that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones may be the only way to prevent teen suicides.
With a 100% success rate over 10 years. (Nobody can expect that to continue.)
Children are not coached into this. They aren’t told who they are or what they must do.
Unfortunately there are many factors that affect suicide ideation. Having a crushing mental condition lifted helps. It doesn’t cure depression.
Never mind that according to the best studies—the ones that even transgender activists themselves cite—80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria will come to identify with and embrace their bodily sex.
Do never mind it. Those 80-95 percent of children lack characteristics of transgender children. Through decades of observation professionals know what those characteristics are: persistent, insistent and consistent claim of being the opposite sex.
Never mind that 41 percent of people who identify as transgender will attempt suicide at some point in their lives, compared to 4.6 percent of the general population.
That has nothing to do with making a correct diagnosis. Nor does it say anything about the effectiveness of treatment. That number DOES change based on family responses.
Never mind that people who have had transition surgery are nineteen times more likely than average to die by suicide. Than the general population.
The study also says:
The authors concluded […] that the evidence base for sex reassignment “is of very low quality due to the serious methodological limitations of included studies.”
This study design sheds new light on transsexual persons’ health after sex reassignment. It does not, however, address whether sex reassignment is an effective treatment or not.
These statistics should stop us in our tracks. Clearly, we must work to find ways to effectively prevent these suicides and address the underlying causes. We certainly shouldn’t be encouraging children to “transition.”
This is called conflating facts.
Furthermore, encouraged or not, children are being correctly diagnosed and correctly treated.
As Walt Heyer shows, any child forced into transitioning will come to regret it. Yet nearly all the regret to date is from self diagnosis.
Many psychologists and psychiatrists think of gender dysphoria as similar to other dysphorias, or forms of discomfort with one’s body, such as anorexia.
They all involve a discomfort with the body. After that the comparison breaks down.
The feelings of discomfort can lead to mistaken beliefs about oneself or about reality, and then to actions in accordance with those false beliefs.
It can lead all sorts of things. That doesn’t mean it’s likely.
A person’s awareness of self develops around the age of 3. This awareness of self isn’t chosen. It isn’t a belief. Nor is it a delusion. How it emerges is unknown. That it can emerge opposite to the sex of the body is unknown.
That the awareness of self does emerge as the opposite sex, though infrequent, is fact.
The most helpful therapies focus not on achieving the impossible—changing bodies to conform to thoughts and feelings—but on helping people accept and even embrace the truth about their bodies and reality.
The most helpful therapies accomplish enough change to make gender dysphoria manageable, if not cured. The Swedish study that provided the “19x the suicide rate” statistic also states, “Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, [alleviates] gender dysphoria“.
Helping a mental condition through manipulation of hormones is not a unique treatment as a host of mental conditions (e.g. headaches, depression, etc) are handled though modification of hormones. When the diagnosis is correct the treatment for gender dysphoria works 98% of the time.
Evidence of “conversion therapy” effectiveness doesn’t exist. There are no standards or controls around this methodology, just a general, “we’ll talk you out of it.”
In many places conversion therapy centers were shutdown for extremely abusive practices. This has resulted it’s being legally banned.
Ryan would call conversion therapy “helpful.”
Operating in the background is a sound understanding of physical and mental health—proper function of one’s body and mind—and a sound understanding of medicine as a practice aimed at restoring health, not simply satisfying the desires of patients.
If patients aren’t satisfied with the results, what exactly are you doing?
For human beings to flourish, they need to feel comfortable in their own bodies, readily identify with their sex, and believe that they are who they actually are.
How is this achieved?
WHO you are is not defined by your body. Someone born without arms doesn’t have a lesser identity than a body-builder.
In my new book, “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” I argue that McHugh got it right. The best biology, psychology, and philosophy all support an understanding of sex as a bodily reality, and of gender as a social manifestation of bodily sex. Biology isn’t bigotry.
You’re assuming the nature of identity is socially driven and thus can easily be changed through social interaction. That’s a HUGE claim with no evidence to support it.
That’s not bigotry, but neither is it honesty!
In my book I offer a balanced approach to the policy issues, a nuanced vision of human embodiment, and a sober and honest survey of the human costs of getting human nature wrong.
Debating regret is grand. It’s important to remember that medicine is run by people and people make mistakes. Thus those that regret will always exist in every treatment. That doesn’t change the reality for MILLIONS of transgender people.
Your type shutdown gender dysphoria in 1979. All the statistics since show the terrible consequences – suicide rate at 40%, abuse and murder rates at insane levels, discrimination leaving 15% unemployed and 40% underemployed, poverty… And you think this is the proper way to handle things?
Despite activists’ best efforts to put up a unified front, Harry cannot become Sally. Activists’ desperate insistence to the contrary suggests that the transgender moment is fleeting.
First, treating gender dysphoria isn’t about becoming someone else. That someone else has always existed. It’s about being authentic and showing people the real person inside, not the mask called “the body.”
Second, nobody is attempting to resequence DNA. Modifying the 23rd chromosome will only help at conception – years before a diagnosis can be made. After birth hormones direct body shape, not DNA. Thus modifying hormone levels achieves the desired goal of correcting the body shape.