Declining Southern Baptist Convention continues tradition of bigotry, now targeting trans people
June 12, 2014
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June 19, 2014

Clinging to a dangerous past: Dr Paul McHugh’s selective reading of transgender medical literature

By Mari Brighe


In a June 12th opinion article in the Wall Street Journal, well-known anti-transgender psychiatrist Dr Paul McHugh attempts to make a case against supporting hormonal and surgical transition for transgender individuals. McHugh, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, has been actively working against the medical treatment of trans people since the 1970’s. As the university’s chief psychiatrist, he was instrumental in closing the Johns Hopkins Gender Program in 1979, one of the first programs of its kind, citing the 1977 study by his Hopkins colleague Dr Jon Meyer, which claimed that surgical intervention did not improve the psychological functioning of the individuals treated.  McHugh himself admits to directing Meyer to conduct to further his anti-trans agenda in a 2004 article titled “Surgical Sex”. In the same article, McHugh also continues to preach the largely discredited “autogynephilia” theory of Ray Blanchard and J. Michael Bailey. McHugh is also known for filing an amicus curiae brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry, asserting that homosexuality is a choice, as well as for his participation of the campaign against Kansas abortion provider Dr George Tiller– who was murdered in 2009 by a anti-abortion activist.

Dr McHugh first attempts to draw a number of false and offensive parallels between gender dysphoria and conditions like anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphia in an attempt to demonstrate his assertion that gender dysphoria is not based in “physical reality”:

“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken—it does not correspond with physical reality. … The transgendered suffer a disorder of “assumption” like those in other disorders familiar to psychiatrists. With the transgendered, the disordered assumption is that the individual differs from what seems given in nature—namely one’s maleness or femaleness. Other kinds of disordered assumptions are held by those who suffer from anorexia and bulimia nervosa, where the assumption that departs from physical reality is the belief by the dangerously thin that they are overweight.”

Unfortunately, it appears that McHugh has decided to ignore the growing body of neurological and genetic research providing evidence of a biological basis for gender dysphoria. A 2009 study found a correlation between an increased number of a certain kind of sequence repeat in the Androgen Receptor gene and gender dysphoria. Another study in 2009 identified significant differences in cerebral grey matter structure in trans women who had yet to start hormone therapy when compared to cis men. In 2011, researchers noted that the structure of a sexually-dimorphic region of the brain, known as the intermediate nucleus, of trans women fell somewhere between cis men and cis women, while a similar difference was not noted castrated cis men. A 2013 functional brain imaging study of adolescents with gender dysphoria demonstrated a tendency for trans teens to perform more similarly to their identified sex (as opposed to their assigned sex) in a verbal fluency assessment, with similar correlation in brain activity during the assessment. Lastly, in 2013, a large study of monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (fraternal) twins where at least one twin was transgender showed a far higher concordance of a diagnosis of gender dysphoria among monozygotic than dizygotic twins (33% vs 2.6%), which is strong indicator the existence of a biological factor in a trait. While much of the research into the biological aspects of trans people is still very new, Dr McHugh’s assertion that no evidence for a biological basis for trans identities demonstrates a deplorable ignorance of current medical research.

McHugh then goes on imply that transgender surgeries do not improve the lives of trans people, and are actually causing harm:

“It now appears that our long-ago decision was a wise one. A 2011 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden produced the most illuminating results yet regarding the transgendered, evidence that should give advocates pause. The long-term study—up to 30 years—followed 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery. The study revealed that beginning about 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable nontransgender population. This disturbing result has as yet no explanation but probably reflects the growing sense of isolation reported by the aging transgendered after surgery. The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription.”

McHugh, again, appears to selectively reading the literature to support his own agenda. It is first important to note that Dr McHugh is grossly misconstruing the findings of the Karolinka study. The study compared the mental health of post-surgical trans people with age-matched cisgender controls. The study itself posits absolutely zero link between gender confirming surgery itself and the mental health of these people, and the authors themselves caution against interpreting the data in such a way:

“It is therefore important to note that the current study is only informative with respect to transsexuals persons health after sex reassignment; no inferences can be drawn as to the effectiveness of sex reassignment as a treatment for transsexualism. In other words, the results should not be interpreted such as sex reassignment per se increases morbidity and mortality. Things might have been even worse without sex reassignment. As an analogy, similar studies have found increased somatic morbidity, suicide rate, and overall mortality for patients treated for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This is important information, but it does not follow that mood stabilizing treatment or antipsychotic treatment is the culprit.”

Again, returning to the available medical literature on the subject, research seems to actually indicate that medical transition (including hormone therapy) has positive effects on the psychological states of trans people. A study published earlier this year found significant reductions in all comorbid anxiety and depression, as well as lowered overall functional impairment in trans individuals just 12 months after initiating hormone therapy. A study released in late 2013 showed that individuals on hormone therapy have both lower-levels of self-reported stress and lower blood cortisol levels (a key physiological marker of stress). Given the known effects of stress on physical health, this could also translate to risk reduction for a number of chronic illnesses. Even breast augmentation, often maligned as a particularly “cosmetic” intervention, demonstrated significant increases in sexual and psychosocial well-being. Other studies in 2009 and 2011 have shown similarly positive responses in both trans men and trans women who underwent gender-confirming surgeries. While it might be understandable (though not excusable) for Dr McHugh to be unaware of the genetic and neurobiological research on trans people, it is inexcusable for a lauded psychiatrist to be either so woefully ignorant or deliberately deceptive in his presentation of the state of psychological research regarding the transgender population.

Missing entirely from McHugh’s analysis is any understanding or even mention of the tremendous discrimination, harassment, violence, and economic stability faced by the transgender community. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 78% of trans students had experienced harassment at school, 90% of trans people have experienced harassment in the workplace, 26% had a lost a job due to being trans (which, in-turn, leads to a 4-fold increase in risk of homelessness), 19% had experienced housing discrimination, 19% had been refused health-care, 22% had been harassed by law enforcement. Overall, 63% of trans people had experienced a serious form of discrimination, while 23% had experienced what the NTDS categorized as “catastrophic” levels of discrimination. It can come as little surprise that people struggling with a serious condition of body integrity who are then simultaneously subjected to massive structural discrimination with little in the way access to the usual safety nets would be so likely to attempt to take their own lives. These are not individuals for whom transition-related treatment has failed; these are individuals that our society and social justice systems have failed.

Perhaps most offensively, Dr McHugh then goes on to attempt to break down transgender individuals into three wide and poorly defined categories- with absolutely zero research or evidence other than his own personal say-so. In the first category, he both equates trans people with criminals and takes an unnecessarily person swipe at Chelsea Manning:

“One group includes male prisoners like Pvt. Bradley Manning, the convicted national-security leaker who now wishes to be called Chelsea. Facing long sentences and the rigors of a men’s prison, they have an obvious motive for wanting to change their sex and hence their prison. Given that they committed their crimes as males, they should be punished as such; after serving their time, they will be free to reconsider their gender.”

This short paragraph is so problematic that it’s difficult to figure out where to begin. Firstly, Chelsea Manning has completed a legal name change. She is not stating a preference- her legal first name is Chelsea. Phrasing her identity in this manner is blatantly dismissive. Furthermore, Manning’s struggles with gender identity began long before her trial or conviction, so to attempt to cast it as an attempt to avoid men’s prison is frankly absurd and amounts to little more than a personal attack tangential to McHugh’s entire piece. More pressingly, given that few prisons provide transition-related care to prisoners, and that trans prisoners are at far higher risk of rape and assault from prisoners and prison staff alike, it’s ludicrous to claim that any “advantage” is gained in coming out as trans while incarcerated. McHugh’s next category blames the internet for the existence of trans identities:

“Another subgroup consists of young men and women susceptible to suggestion from “everything is normal” sex education, amplified by Internet chat groups. These are the transgender subjects most like anorexia nervosa patients: They become persuaded that seeking a drastic physical change will banish their psycho-social problems. “Diversity” counselors in their schools, rather like cult leaders, may encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery. “

Extensive scouring of the Internet via Google turned up zero sex education programs with an “everything is normal” mantra, though the phrase does turn up in a number of blogs advocating “abstinence only” sex education, an approach shown to utterly fail to produce any positive outcomes. I could also find no evidence of the supposed “diversity counselors” he mentions, and his comparison of those who support young LGBT individuals to cult leaders is nothing more than tired repetition of the same conservative fear-mongering of the queer population that endures in right-leaning population. It’s political posturing that he’s attempting to disguise as legitimate medical opinion through the abuse of his MD credentials and title at Johns Hopkins. McHugh also continues his obsessive focus on “transgender surgery”, which born out in the rest of article. He appears to harbor the same misconception that most of the US population does, that transgender = surgery. The truth is, of course, that the majority of medical side of gender transition is hormonal treatment, and only a small minority of trans people will ever have surgery (whether by choice or lack of availability). His insistence on discussing surgery as the primary medical aspect of transgender care is just further evidence of how dangerous out-of-touch Dr McHugh is with the current state of medicine. In his last self-designed category, McHugh places young children:

“Then there is the subgroup of very young, often prepubescent children who notice distinct sex roles in the culture and, exploring how they fit in, begin imitating the opposite sex. Misguided doctors at medical centers including Boston’s Children’s Hospital have begun trying to treat this behavior by administering puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous—even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility. Given that close to 80% of such children would abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated, these medical interventions come close to child abuse.”

Here again, Dr McHugh appears to be warping and distorting medical reality to fit his own narrative and political position. McHugh is correct in his assertion that 80% of gender-nonconforming children do not go on to adult gender dysphoria. However, gender identity is far more firm in adolescents. Puberty suppression is NOT provided to prepubescent children- the current WPATH Standards of Care indicate that individuals should reach at least the Tanner Stage II of sexual development (meaning puberty has begun) before suppression can begin. Dr McHugh is drawing a false comparison, attempting to assert that the adolescents provided with puberty suppression are the same children of whom 80% will not have persistent gender dysphoria. They are, in fact, two very different and non-comparable groups. Furthermore, McHugh’s categorization of these treatments as dangerous (and constituting child abuse) is simply false. He provides zero evidentiary support for this statement, while medical research has established that delaying puberty is a safe intervention. Taken as a whole, it seems clear that Dr McHugh’s absurdly designed “categories” of trans people are little more than political grandstanding and fear-mongering created to smear and defame the whole of the transgender populace.

It is important to remember that the opinions of Dr McHugh fly in the face of currently accepted medical practice and the positions of many major medical associations. The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Psychiatric Society, the American Public Health Association, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health have all adopted positions supporting the medical necessity of transition-related care, including hormonal and surgical interventions, as well as expressing support for insurance coverage of these interventions. Despite his authoritative sounding title at a respected medical institution, Dr McHugh’s opinions do not represent the views of the mainstream medical establishment, rather they are the erroneous, bigoted beliefs of a scientist who appears far too invested in his own antiquated, disproven theories and his anti-LGBT political position than the current state of medical affairs.

Dr McHugh’s piece concludes with a firm assertion that trans people are nothing but mentally disturbed individuals:

“At the heart of the problem is confusion over the nature of the transgendered. “Sex change” is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”

In these final words, the true purpose of this missive appears to become clear. This appears to be a case of gaslighting in the most insidious and heinous of forms, that of a physician attacking a highly vulnerable minority that has already suffered for decades at the hands of the medical profession. His view of gender dysphoria as a psychological disturbance has been consigned to the wastebasket of medical history, much like hysteria, lunacy, and the disease view of homosexuality. However, it appears that McHugh’s ultimate goal here is to derail the ongoing press for transgender rights and equality by asserting that we’re all mentally ill, and hoping that his medical credentials will lend weight to that assertion. His reprehensible, dishonest misapplication of the current medical research to further his own political agenda is despicable, and it’s shameful that the Wall Street Journal would in such a piece.

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  1. William Ric-Hansen says:

    Well whilst he might be selective in his reading of facts, the author is no different. There are other studies that have different conclusions all the time.

    Regarding the mental illness thing, showing that there is a genetic or biological basis for something does not show it is not a mental illness. Depression and Anxiety disorders are disorders but there is a biological and genetic basis (most of the time). Modern man seems convinced that if something can be proven to have a biological footprint that it’s natural or normal. That is not the case.

    Regarding whether someones gender changes, that depends how you define gender. If you use a biological basis for gender, it’s clear that actually peoples gender can’t really change in 99% of the cases (Caitlyn Jenner for example). If you start talking about gender identity and saying that determines gender then anyone can change gender. But that’s really just semantics, when we talk about gender using different definitions then you’ll never get anywhere.

  2. […] nu este mai mult decât un element marginal disconsiderat în propriul domeniu, puteți citi asta aici, aici, aici, aici, aici și aici. Nicio organizație medicală seculară sau organizație pentru […]

  3. Chase says:

    What I find funvn’y and sad is that people are saying this doctor is transphobic. He was head of one of best most prestigious hospitals in the world. He is an expert and to argue otherwise is idiotic. Just because you dont agree with it doesnt mean he is wrong. It is not healthy to do this to your body. Especially when you hear parents giving hormones. They should be charged with child abuse.

    • Cristan says:

      I’ll just leave Mchugh’s own words here to counter your credulous appeal to authority: “It was part of my intention, when I arrived in Baltimore in 1975, to help end it.”

  4. […] peppered his career over the last quarter of a century. Houston-based non-profit TransAdvocate has documented (among other things) his problematic linking of trans identities with mental illness, and let’s […]

  5. Jaisal says:

    Claiming that the mainstream medical community supports medical transition is no guarantee in itself that transition is the best treatment. Psychiatry and surgery have a very chequered history. It is not so long ago that frontal lobotomy was the gold standard treatment for many mental health problems, that forced sterilisation of those with learning difficulties or unmarried mothers was advocated and that conversion therapy for gay people was standard practice. All of these were mainstream medical opinions.

    It seems therefore very important to at least consider with an open mind the evidence of those who buck the current trend. The author frequently asserts that McHugh’s motivation for disagreement witht the currently fashionable mode of treatment can be attributed to bigotry. But could it not just as well be attributed to his concern that current treatments are in some instances unethical.

    Given for example that 80% of gender non conforming children desist and grow up to be happy with their sex, the current trend for affirming a child’s stated identity without question and increasingly advocating early social transition seems to be dubious. Especially when a Dutch study revealed that early social transition is the greatest predicative factor in medical transition. If a child can live happily without surgery and a lifetime of hornonal treatment this is surely the best outcome.

    He is also right in his claim that medical transition does not change biological sex is a fact hardly evidence of an accusation of being a bigot. At best it is possible to say that for some people resembling the opposite sex through surgery may make them happier but anyone claiming that it has really changed their sex is suffering under a delusion.

    The influence of social contagion especially in adolescents is well documented in anorexia and other conditions. There are many tumblr and reddit sites teenagers visit questioning their gender identity where they are given such advice as ‘ if you’re questioning your gender identity then that’s good evidence in itself that you’re trans’ or told that on the basis that they play opposite sex avatars on computer games or that they always liked playing soccer that this is concrete evidence of trans identity. The fact that there has been a 400% increase in youth referals to gender clinics is suspect. Can there really be that many young people who were in the closet? When whole groups of school friends are transitioning together one much surely ask if there isn’t at least an element of contagion and fashion involved.

    Bradley Manning may genuinely have had gender issues that predated his prison sentence but McHugh’s point regarding the advantages of claiming a trans identity are correct. In the UK a recent government report by gender specialists found that there was a rising tide of male prisoners claiming a trans identity most of some were sex offenders and whom the specialists felt the claims were spurious. The motivation was transferal to a womens prison, in the hope of an easier ride along with the idea that parole boards might be more sympathetic.

    The brain studies to determine a neurobiological basis for transness are not definitive. A biological basis for homosexuality is yet to be found and there are a thousand more studies in this. That is not to say that homosexuality is a choice rather that epigenetics and environment seem to play the largest part. Trying to claim brain differences as proof of anything is problematic given that the brain is plastic. It is hard to ascertain whether a difference in the brain is causing a behaviour or whether it is the result of a behaviour.

    Many of the trans studies do not control for sexual orientation station so that the differences are actually those registered between gay and straight men rather than trans women and straight men.

    Twin studies show for same sex identical twins there is a higher chance than between non identical twins to be trans (similar results are found for gay people). However they are also more likely to have had the same environment growing up. The evidence that there may be a slim genetic or hornonal effect is not evidence that trans people really are the opposite sex. It could as easily be evidence that the brain is more likely to be in error like in a car with with a faulty thermostat.

    For many trans people the aetiology of their condition is unclear but there are several examples where gender identity with was not the reason rather a history of sexual abuse, not wanting to go through puberty, a parents expectation or preference for the opposite sex, internalised homophobia etc. It would seem that caution is needed before prescribing that the drastic measures of hormones and surgery are the first line treatment. Given that the treatment often involves sterilisation and is in counties such as Iran clearly used as a form of gay conversion therapy, being a little more circumspect would be wise.

    The article itself is hugely biased andd slammed intent on promoting it’s agenda by doing its best to undermine McHugh largely by mudslinging rather than proper analysis. The caveats Mchugh lists show he has a far more nuances view on the subject than the author of the article is prepared to concede.

    • Cristan says:

      If the reality was that PMcH wasn’t caught lying numerous times and the central issue really was a mere appeal to authority, you might have a point. The problem with your comment is that his view was the gold standard about half a century ago and, moreover, his peers from around the world have called him out for lying in the media about research, oftentimes relying upon disco-era “research” like the Sissy Boy Syndrome study, as you’ve done here:

      Given for example that 80% of gender non conforming children desist and grow up to be happy with their sex, the current trend for affirming a child’s stated identity without question and increasingly advocating early social transition seems to be dubious. Especially when a Dutch study revealed that early social transition is the greatest predicative factor in medical transition. If a child can live happily without surgery and a lifetime of hornonal treatment this is surely the best outcome.

      Since you seem to, at least on the surface, know something about tras research, the source you’re pulling from is either incredibly bias or you want to harm children. Either you don’t know (because your source is bias) that the DSM standard for kids receiving a “gender identity disorder” diagnosis was changed after CAMH sexologists wormed their way onto the DSM GID workgroup so that kids DID NOT NEED TO HAVE GENDER DYSPHORIA to get a “gender identity disorder” DX or you know and want to pretend that gender dysphoric and non-gender dysphoric kids are the same thing. Since 1994, the DSM was changed by CAMH sexologiests to conform with Dr. Green’s sissy boy syndrome standards. Before, in the DSM III, kids had to have an insistent and persistent experience of their BODY that was trans. That was changed in the DSM IV so that a child could be given a GID diagnosis for merely being gender non-conforming. Pretending that the “research” you’re citing doesn’t use this (now) discarded (and very sexists) standard is harmful to gender nonconforming kids and transsexual kids alike. Choosing to spread this misinformation is choosing to harm children. You should stop doing it.

      He is also right in his claim that medical transition does not change biological sex is a fact hardly evidence of an accusation of being a bigot. At best it is possible to say that for some people resembling the opposite sex through surgery may make them happier but anyone claiming that it has really changed their sex is suffering under a delusion.

      Ah, here we go. Sex essentialism. Let me guess, you’re part of a group that thinks sex boils down to a handly slogan or two, amirite? Phenotype isn’t a sexed attribute or, if it is, the only “real” phenotype if it’s what one is born with and that doesn’t change, right? People don’t have masculinized bodies, they are “male bodies”; people don’t have feminized bodies, they are “female bodies”, right?

      As far as brain studies go, I agree. They aren’t definitive. I think more research should be done, but pretending that what you’ve written here is anything like a reasonable response to someone who’s been called out by his peers numerous times for lying is silly. Pretending that gender nonconforming kids and transsexual kids are the same thing is also silly… and very dangerous. Again, if you care about kids, you should stop promoting the sissy boy syndrome standards. Those standards have killed kids.

  6. Andi says:

    “His reprehensible, dishonest misapplication of the current medical research to further his own political agenda is despicable, and it’s shameful that the Wall Street Journal would such a piece.”

    Missing a word or two at the end of the article; WSJ would _______ such a piece?

  7. […] the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Society, the two dredged up obscure and outdated scientific theories in an attempt to pathologize transgender people (thereby justifying their […]

  8. Kat says:

    Very aptly put. People like this Dr. are sick and should lose title of scientist when they begin and continue to foster beliefs wish and whims as superior to facts, as science is the purview of fact. He has now demonstrated that he is a theologian, not a scientist. Grade A work on this article, by the way… you totally rebutted all these ridiculous assertions by this “doctor”.

  9. Amy says:

    I do agree with the article, but I can’t help thinking that trans-sexuality is still…wrong. We have studies proving trans-sexuality is okay and other studies proving its not, but the whole idea of trans-sexuality is people questioning their gender and believing they are the wrong gender, right?
    The whole idea of trans-sexuality sounds crazy to be honest. I’m a woman, but if I believe that I’m a man people should suddenly call me a man and I am a man because of what I think? If I’m born a woman then I can’t change it. No matter what a person does to change their gender they will always be the gender that they were born as, and maybe transgender citizens could understand that and acknowledge it.
    I’m not justifying trans-gender people as mentally ill or ignoring the fact that they do face discrimination and stigma. However, I believe that gender isn’t a choice and people are either born a girl or boy. People can associate themselves as any gender they want, but they’ll still be either a girl or a boy. Jenner may be a “girl” now but in my eyes he is Bruce, a man.

  10. […] The TransAdvocate | Clinging to a dangerous past: Dr Paul McHugh?s selective reading of transgender … i cannot remember how often i have said you dont understand how science operates. there are varying opinions in medicine, every field. so far i have presented the argument for gender reassignment based on cutting edge neuropsychiatric research, i think that is a compelling case. paul mchugh is more conservative. the other article you cited is yet another perspective, that gender is socially not biologically determined. you might ponder that the two sources you have posted lately on this thread directly contradict each other. the fact that there are different opinions in medicine is no surprise, its the norm. there is still a small crowd who argue there is no such disease as schizophrenia, its due to bad parenting. there are even a few anti vaccine doctors around. your appeal to authority, pointing to one doctor as 'evidence' simply shows, again, you dont understand the topic. […]

  11. A 2011 Swedish study proves that trans people are more suicidal due to transition, are likely rapists and that trans women exhibit male socialization. Or does it?
    By Cristan Williams@cristanwilliams

    Perhaps you’ve heard that a Swedish study found that trans people who access medical care are more likely to commit suicide. Writing for the Wall Street Journal, former Johns Hopkins chief psychiatrist and anti-LGBT activist Dr. Paul McHugh cited a Swedish study to make the following fact assertion:
    A 2011 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden produced the most illuminating results yet regarding the transgendered [sic], evidence that should give advocates pause. The long-term study—up to 30 years—followed 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery. The study revealed that beginning about 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered [sic] began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable nontransgender population. This disturbing result has as yet no explanation but probably reflects the growing sense of isolation reported by the aging transgendered [sic] after surgery. The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription.
    McHugh’s fact assertions were uncritically repeated by The American Conservative, Lifesite, The Christian Post, The Washington Times, Newsmax, One News Now, The Libertarian Republic, and Fox News. While McHugh’s misrepresentation of the study was debunked, the “trans medical care = suicide” meme was born. Since McHugh’s Wall Street Journal article, this meme has managed to worm it’s way into everything from news outlets to comment sections.
    Echoing McHugh, TERF opinion leader, author and lecturer Dr. Sheila Jeffreys wrote in her 2014 book, Gender Hurts:
    There is still a remarkable absence of recent studies that follow up those who have SRS to find out whether this treatment is efficacious despite the great expansion of the industry of transgendering [sic]. A 2011 long-term follow-up study from Sweden found that sex reassignment was not efficacious because after sex reassignment transgenders [sic] had higher risks of psychiatric morbidity, suicidal behaviour and mortality overall than the general population, when using controls of the same birth sex. The study concluded that ‘sex reassignment’ may alleviate ‘gender dysphoria’ but ‘may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment’ (Dhejne et al ., 2011 ). 1
    Jeffreys’ source for “factual material” on trans issues, Linda V. Shanko (AKA “Gallus Mag”) of Gender Trender wrote:2
    The only long-term study of transgender outcomes concluded that “Male to Female” transsexuals retain male-pattern criminality, including crimes against women. Are all transwomen predators? Of course not: They are predators at exactly the same rates as any other males. Now that the public is starting to pay attention, that genie won’t be going back into the bottle anytime soon. What is once seen cannot be unseen.
    TERF3 Attorney Elizabeth Hungerford of Sex Not Gender cited the study as evidence of the often appealed to yet never quantified “male socialization” TERFs assert trans women forever exhibit. Hungerford said the study “vindicates the experience of many women that transwomen as a group retain–or are unable to fully discard– some male pattern behaviors associated with male socialization… The criminal conviction rates documented in this study provide empirical evidence for this view.”
    Fact Checking the Hyperbole
    I’ve only scratched the surface of the amount of anti-trans hyperbole that cites the 2011 study titled, Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden by Dr. Cecilia Dhejne, et al. I contacted Dhejne after I witnessed her work used to support the claim that trans women are rapists and she agreed to the following interview:
    Cristan Williams: How did you first hear about trans people and when was it that you first met a trans person?
    Cecilia Dhejne: I don’t recall when I first heard about someone being transgender, though I think I first became aware of the existence of trans people as a teenager. In 1985 I took classes in sexology and around that time I also participated in a Nordic Association for Clinical Sexology meeting where I heard Dr. Friedeman Pfäflin speak about his work with trans people in Germany. Additionally, at the same conference I was able to hear Dr. Espen Esther Pirelli Benestad talk about hir experience. I began working with trans people clinically in 1999 and from there, I started up the gender team in Stockholm.
    Williams: Would you please talk about how you became interested in researching trans health outcomes?
    Dhejne: In 1999 when I started the Stockholm gender team, we were conducting diagnostic evaluations to help trans people start their social and medical transition. Our team included psychologists, and a social worker, and we worked in close collaboration with endocrinologists, plastic surgeons as well as speech and language pathologists at the Karolinska University Hospital.
    At that time, the need for quality research was obvious to our team; we wanted our work to be evidence based. For instance, the endocrinologist had continued to see patients post-transition and while many reported that they were quite happy, others reported difficulties. We therefore wanted to better document, measure and understand the needs of our patient population.
    If we found a need for a more robust service delivery model to increase treatment efficacy, that would invariably impact programmatic budgets and, of course, those changes would need to be justified by a documented need. Moreover, data driven treatment models can present opportunities to publish findings which, in turn, helps increase the overall quality of evidence-based trans care.
    Williams: Before I contacted you for this interview, were you aware of the way your work was being misrepresented?
    Dhejne: Yes! It’s very frustrating! I’ve even seen professors use my work to support ridiculous claims. I’ve often had to respond myself by commenting on articles, speaking with journalists, and talking about this problem at conferences. The Huffington Post wrote an article about the way my research is misrepresented. At the same time, I know of instances where ethical researchers and clinicians have used this study to expand and improve access to trans health care and impact systems of anti-trans oppression.
    Of course trans medical and psychological care is efficacious. A 2010 meta-analysis confirmed by studies thereafter show that medical gender confirming interventions reduces gender dysphoria.
    Williams: Earlier this year an Ohio news outlet cited your study to support the following fact assertion as part of an argument for denying trans people equal rights:
    Would the proposed ordinance truly advance the public good and the dignity of our transgender citizens? Significant evidence shows that, after sex reassignment, transsexuals “have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population,” according to a long-term cohort study in Sweden reported in 2011.
    If current treatment, that is, psychiatric support in dressing and living as the opposite sex and ultimately sex-reassignment surgery, does not benefit transgender individuals, then neither will access to the preferred bathroom. Rational thinking concludes that the proposed ordinance benefits neither the transgender individual nor the general public.
    The story references your 2011 study. This study states, “The overall mortality for sex-reassigned persons was higher during follow-up (aHR 2.8; 95% CI 1.8–4.3) than for controls of the same birth sex, particularly death from suicide (aHR 19.1; 95% CI 5.8–62.9). Sex-reassigned persons also had an increased risk for suicide attempts (aHR 4.9; 95% CI 2.9–8.5) and psychiatric inpatient care (aHR 2.8; 95% CI 2.0–3.9).” However, those citing your work never seem to note that your study also includes the following very large caveat:
    It is therefore important to note that the current study is only informative with respect to transsexual persons health after sex reassignment; no inferences can be drawn as to the effectiveness of sex reassignment as a treatment for transsexualism. In other words, the results should not be interpreted such as sex reassignment per se increases morbidity and mortality. Things might have been even worse without sex reassignment. As an analogy, similar studies have found increased somatic morbidity, suicide rate, and overall mortality for patients treated for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This is important information, but it does not follow that mood stabilizing treatment or antipsychotic treatment is the culprit.
    Moreover, people using your study to support spurious anti-trans fact claims also seem to not understand that your study findings aggregate two chronological groups. In simple language, would you please explain what the above paragraph means and what your study findings show for those trans people transitioning after 1989?
    Dhejne: The aim of trans medical interventions is to bring a trans person’s body more inline with their gender identity, resulting in the measurable diminishment of their gender dysphoria. However trans people as a group also experience significant social oppression in the form of bullying, abuse, rape and hate crimes. Medical transition alone won’t resolve the effects of crushing social oppression: social anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress.
    What we’ve found is that treatment models which ignore the effect of cultural oppression and outright hate aren’t enough. We need to understand that our treatment models must be responsive to not only gender dysphoria, but the effects of anti-trans hate as well. That’s what improved care means.
    Williams: Would you please comment on the below examples of the way your work is being used and represented within the media:

    Source: Washington Post

    Source: TownHall

    Source: Dr. Paul McHugh via LifeSite

    Source: Medium

    Source: The Dr. Drew Show as noted on Twitter
    Dhejne: People who misuse the study always omit the fact that the study clearly states that it is not an evaluation of gender dysphoria treatment. If we look at the literature, we find that several recent studies conclude that WPATH Standards of Care compliant treatment decrease gender dysphoria and improves mental health.
    Williams: Other anti-trans activists have seized upon your study to make certain fact assertions about a supposed inherent criminal nature trans women possess, as exemplified by the following twitter exchange:

    Using simple language, would you please speak to those using your work to support the fact assertion that trans women and cis men are alike when it comes to perpetrating incidences of rape, murder, torture, etc? In other words, would you please clarify the following:
    A.) As to the “male pattern regarding criminality” your study reviewed, would you please speak to whether your sample is representative of the trans population as a whole?
    B.) Does your study support the notion that trans women, epidemiologically speaking, are likely rapists?
    C.) Did your study show that trans women, epidemiologically speaking, are just as likely to rape cis women as cis men?
    D.) In the way that your study’s morbidity and mortality sample is reviewed as two chronological groups, did you use the same chronological metric for your criminality sample and, if so, what did you find?
    E.) Is your “male pattern regarding criminality” a simple comparison of percentages of overall conviction rates between cis males and trans women or is it a quantitative conviction category comparison between the two? In other words, trans women (who may experience around a 50% unemployment rate4 5 6) will generally bear a greater burden of convictions associated with social oppression, poverty and homelessness (squatting, loitering, panhandling, prostitution and non-violent crimes such as drug use and petty theft) than cis men. When your study looked at the “male pattern regarding criminality” between cis men and trans women, are you saying that your data shows that cis men are being convicted for crimes associated with oppression, poverty and homelessness at a rate similar to that found in the trans population?
    Dhejne: The individual in the image who is making claims about trans criminality, specifically rape likelihood, is misrepresenting the study findings. The study as a whole covers the period between 1973 and 2003. If one divides the cohort into two groups, 1973 to 1988 and 1989 to 2003, one observes that for the latter group (1989 – 2003), differences in mortality, suicide attempts and crime disappear. This means that for the 1989 to 2003 group, we did not find a male pattern of criminality.
    As to the criminality metric itself, we were measuring and comparing the total number of convictions, not conviction type. We were not saying that cisgender males are convicted of crimes associated with marginalization and poverty. We didn’t control for that and we were certainly not saying that we found that trans women were a rape risk. What we were saying was that for the 1973 to 1988 cohort group and the cisgender male group, both experienced similar rates of convictions. As I said, this pattern is not observed in the 1989 to 2003 cohort group.
    The difference we observed between the 1989 to 2003 cohort and the control group is that the trans cohort group accessed more mental health care, which is appropriate given the level of ongoing discrimination the group faces. What the data tells us is that things are getting measurably better and the issues we found affecting the 1973 to 1988 cohort group likely reflects a time when trans health and psychological care was less effective and social stigma was far worse.
    There you have it. To be clear:
    No, the study does not show that medical transition results in suicide or suicidal ideation. The study explicitly states that such is not the case and those using this study to make that claim are using fallacious logic.
    No, the study does not prove that trans women are rapists or likely to be rapists. The “male pattern of criminality” found in the 1973 to 1988 cohort group was not a euphemism for rape.
    No, the study does not prove that trans women exhibit male socialization. The “male pattern of criminality” found in the 1973 to 1988 cohort group was not a claim that trans women were convicted of the same types of crime as cis men.
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    About Latest Posts Cristan WilliamsEditor-in-Chief at TransAdvocateCristan Williams is a trans historical researcher and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable health care for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites and, chairs the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group, is the jurisdictional representative to the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS), serves on the national steering body for UCHAPS and is the Executive Director of the Transgender Foundation of America. Latest posts by Cristan Williams (see all) Fact check: study shows transition makes trans people suicidal – November 2, 2015 Study: Trans kid’s gender implicit; govt report condemns conversion therapy – October 17, 2015 The NY Times goes concern trolling – August 26, 2015 #mdr-e1 .percent { color: #7B11C6; } .spark1 { background-color: #7B11C6; } #mdr-e2 .percent { color:#17C611; } .spark2 { background-color: #17C611; } #mdr-e3 .percent { color:#115AC6; } .spark3 { background-color: #115AC6; } #mdr-e4 .percent { color:#E01D1D; } .spark4 { background-color: #E01D1D; } #mdr-e5 .percent { color: #DB871A; } .spark5 { background-color: #DB871A; } #mdr-e6 .percent { color: ; } .spark6 { background-color: ; }Thanks for rating this! Now tell the world how you feel through social media.
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    Share this:MoreShare on TumblrPocketNotesJeffreys, Sheila. “Doing Transgender: Really Hurting.” In Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism, 60-61. NY, NY: Routledge, 2014.“I am grateful, too, to the new wave of radical feminism both online and offline. Radical feminist bloggers such as Gallus Mag from ‘GenderTrender’ (n.d.a) and Dirt from ‘Dirt from Dirt’, among others, have provided invaluable factual material, references and ideas on their blogs, without which it would have been harder to write this book.” – Ibid, viii.“It’s just that I DO want to exclude some trans people from some situations, depending on the context… So yeah, I am a TERF. And I’m not ashamed. At all.” – Hungerford, Elizabeth “June 11 at 2:47pm.” Facebook. June 11, 2015. Accessed June 19, 2015. Unemployment: Xavier, J., Bobbin, M., & Singer, B. (2005). A needs assessment of transgendered people of color living in Washington, DC. International Journal of Transgenderism, 8(2/3), 31-47. doi: 10.1300/J485v08n02_0467% Unemployment: Kenagy, G. (2005). The health and social service needs of transgender people in Philadelphia. International Journal of Transgenderism, 8(2/3), 45-56. doi: 10.1300/J485v08n02_0542% Unemployment: Kenagy, G., & Bostwick, W. (2005). The health and social service needs of transgender people in Chicago. International Journal of Transgenderism, 8(2/3), 57-66. doi: 10.1300/J485v08n02_06Like this:Like Loading…

    Tags: civil rightsFact-Checkingin the mediaTERFtransphobia

  12. The Mask of Compassion: How LovinglyTo Mess Up a Life I

    Posted on December 5, 2015 by Geena Amandus

    Leave a comment

    Disclaimer: Trigger Alert.
    If you are thinking you are transgender, and thinking about transitioning, or if you are transitioning, or you are post-operative–if you choose gender confirmation surgery, this is a case for extra caution about both helping professionals and those who are self-identified transgender persons and/or “allies.” There is a lot to be concerned about, even worried about, when contemplating transition. For example: after a point in hormone replacement therapy, you will become sterile, in that you are unlikely to have biological children, ever. Some people manage to think ahead and keep viable sperm for instance. Still, this is a big step in itself. This is why most people I have read tell you to try to get to professionals to help you assess yourself, and watch your health. Consider that international standards of care that serve as guidelines–important ones, for practitioners. Now, please read on.
    Did you ever see the movie Misery? A lead character, a writer played by James Caan, is kidnapped by a fan who is also a nurse, played by Kathy Bates. Both excellent actors. Well, there is a scene where Caan, too injured to escape the snow bound home of this nurse (I cannot remember character names, it has been so long since I saw the movie!) tries to make a run for it after he is feeling better, though he still cannot walk. His captor has left the house. She returns too early though, and he barely makes it back the bed and the room where he is held captive. She finds a clue about his attempt, and knocks him out. When he comes to, he is tied up and she has a wood block between his feet.
    Now, she hah him imprisoned because she found him unconscious right after a big car accident,and he happens to be her favorite writer of romantic fiction. She is obviously delusional obsessed with him and his writings. So she is enraged that he would try to leave.
    She takes a large hammer and hobbles him: breaks his ankles so he cannot so easily escape. However, after she does this, she looks down on the man, now in agony, and expresses her heart-felt love.
    Well, I know most viewers who see this movie, at this point, will be thinking something like: “right, you are one crazy bitch! You obviously think you love him when you really hate him. You are lying!”
    What if, at the moment she is torturing this man, this woman (fictional, but Bates is an excellent actress, and very convincing) her heart is actually filled with love? She is not in the usual sense lying.
    My explanation: readers may want to plug the term “reaction formation” into their search engines. You do not need to go further than Wikipedia to find a good definition. I think this so-called psychic defense is not uncommon, though it is obviously in extreme form in Bate’s character in the movie. It just points to what we find in life: if someone expresses compassion for us, they might be either telling the truth, or they could be manipulating or joking with us. Or, they are telling the truth in part, but there are mixed emotions and agendas they are not aware of….
    Science, and many professionals are supposedly following scientific research, if not practice, has built-in methods to help with human error. That said, professionals, along with the researchers they depend on, are subject to the same social factors, stresses, faults, and motivations as are other humans.
    It is difficult, without the tools of research, to guess why people hold back, or distort, the truth. One definition of ideology is that it always has a kernel of truth, that helps distort real knowledge of our situation. This could be very dangerous with transgender persons, who deal with a host of stressors, and a society that is actively hostile in many ways. Consider the following quote from research on transgender persons:
    “Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group ( last read November 29, 2015).”
    Fortunately, here the writers are somewhat cautious: sex reassignment, or confirmation surgery, alleviates gender dysphoria. Further, their findings only “suggest” that this surgery is not sufficient as treatment for transsexuals. I agree. However, what is the real problem if in fact gender dysphoria is addressed? Some sites you will see will say that transgender people have fewer suicides or attempts when surgery or HRT is done or at least started. Others, perhaps well-meaning though I doubt it (which is why I started this post essay with the story from Misery, I find that the sugar-coated “allies” even here on WordPress are not doing a lot of people any good, and may be adding to the misery of others). Looking at many websites dealing with transgender people, I think that I have heard very few cases of de-transition.
    There are people who do transition who shouldn’t. There are people who do so who are delusional, or have intense problems with dissociation. If they are stable and then go through the same regimen prescribed in international standards of care, then perhaps they are transsexual but they should get needed treatment. The false prophets are right about this one thing: transition therapies and surgeries may be part of the solution, but not all of it.
    That said, please follow the links I provide below the next time you (transgender readers) are contacted by, or you approach well-meaning people who may have a real agenda against either you or trans people in general. I am not advocating paranoia, just justified caution. I have friends I love but I have received ambivalent messages and signals from some of them. I do not expect all to come around in a hurry, and many readers, and I as well, have lost friends already.
    It is urgent to note that there are those scary statistics out there about transgender suicide and depression and other problems. Here is what to look out for:
    First, if you feel verbal or behavioral therapy have hurt you, are you getting a second or third opinion? Some insurance will offer a second opinion when pressed. and some therapists offer a sliding scale. Are you having trouble with hormone replacement therapy? Hormone blockers? Puberty blockers? Most doctors shouldn’t get upset if you want to talk to other professionals just for an opinion, assuming they will not treat side effects or other problems you are having. There are, once again, minimal standards of care out there, and not all doctors are aware of what’s what. I had to tell my family doctor to check my potassium level (cause of a transition med I was on). Knowledge is power.
    Second, are there other medical or mental health problems that could get in the way of transition that have not been addressed. One reason that they are not is that gender therapists usually have their hands full and are not always concentrating on “comorbid,” or added, or intervening problems. If you have a history of trauma, and that word has become more vague with time, and it affects your mood or health to this day, treating gender dysphoria may not be the only solution. You may need ongoing therapy for it, possibly medication management if you think there is a problem with mood and anxiety.
    Yes, the statistics are grim and here is what hate mongers like to say: that it is X (being or “choosing” to be transgender is the cause, the other problems are symptoms.) It could be that Y–being born transgender and getting at least some social support however fragmentary, that brings on unwanted problems. Bullies, haters, paedophiles, among others, target kids who are different, and who is more different often enough than gender non-conforming children. You survived them if you are at all concerned, or are concerned about an adult or teen who did survive them. There are other forms of trauma, systemic violence and discrimination, that are usually not taken into account in mental health and certainly not by most conservatives. The trouble with statistics is not that they lie all the time, it’s that some are used while others are ignored. After surgery suicide is still high compared to the general population. Yet the rate goes down? It increases again sometime after surgery?
    Remember what we said: there are other problems related to being trans and gender non-conforming. The suicide rate is still high post surgery, yet remember it was extremely before surgery!
    Consider the impediments to being who you are before you even came out. What you might have survived–what you did survive. We are an isolated community and help is often others who have been there and not much more. I wrote this out of the fear that what happens to transgender people is often blamed on them because they are transgender to begin with. The next step is to blame what little health care is available for their problems. What I am leaving out here is a long medical, sociological, historical, and philosophical tradition that has criticized the abuses of psychiatry. Of course, I am self promoting in a sense in that I believe I am a better therapist for taking other areas of knowledge into consideration. Finding a good therapist is hard. At the very least they should know about the many social factors that come down on trans people. Be bold and yet use caution. Intelligent, self-centered, boldness.

    Here are some links that I found helpful researching this. Note that three focus on Paul McHugh, MD who is an enemy of transgender people, among others “McHugh is also known for his work defending Catholic priests against sex abuse charges. He was a founder and board member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, and he was named to a lay panel assembled by the Roman Catholic Church in 2002 to look into sexual abuse by priests, which led to protests from victims’ rights groups.” Note he is well credentialed has power in his school and profession, and no doubt will influence generations of doctors to come, some of whom you will run into later. Sad. You see, my writings might also be based on a handful of bad articles described flawed or even fraudulent research. Anyway, he is only one example, though a more famous one. Not all our problems are internet trolls and well known hate groups. Love and care are often just a mask for something else. accessed December 4, 2015 (accessed December 4, 2015) (accessed December 4, 2015. (accessed December 4, 2015).

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    About Geena Amandus
    Why transgender? For both personal and professional reasons I have concentrated on important issues related to gender, especially Transgender issues. This later term includes a lot under its umbrella and I know my focus is on “male to female” transgender issues, though female to male is almost equally important to me. I also realize that some of you may be uncomfortable with “transgender” as a label. However, none better has been proposed so be patient.
    I am a middle aged transgendered woman living in Upstate New York, and in the middle of a transition. Though where was the beginning? Since I started talking about it with my best friend fifteen years ago. Then went back and forth as relationships will often make one do. In the end, your true self will out! Mine did–started up again less than two years ago. I want to share knowledge with a personal, not secret, tone, hence “gnosis.”
    Finally, I think it is possible to have hope without blind faith. There is a lot of trouble and crisis in the world, yet it is not too late.

    ‹ 380 Health Professionals Attend First Trans Healthcare Conference

    Tagged with: ethics, gender confirmation surgery, gender issues, HRT-hormone replacement therapy, Mental Health, reaction formation, transgender transsexual, Transition Posted in Human Rights, Mental Health, psychotherapy, social problem, transgender, transsexual, Trauma, Violence

  13. Matt Walsh wrote an article today entitled “Parents, Teach Your Kids To Be Virtuous. The Schools Can’t Do It For You.” Sounds innocuous enough, and maybe, in some alternate universe, it would provide some helpful advice to parents on loving their kids and helping them to be empathetic, compassionate, loving people. In this universe, where Walsh is a hateful, bigoted hack, we get a racist missive decrying the African American community in the United States for all of the school violence it creates while somehow, conveniently, ignoring one of the most visible and horrific types of violence in the country today: school shootings. Unfortunately for Walsh, school shootings have a race, and it’s not black. More unfortunately, Walsh goes on to attack black families for the supposed failures of their children. He smashes the myriad of woes facing the black community into a simplified object of blame. Walsh’s article is horribly uneven and disconnected from reality, so much so that I feel obligated to respond. Evangelicals should be ashamed to have allowed or encouraged Matt Walsh to become any sort of voice for them. If they are actually serious about following Jesus they ought to take a long hard look at the kinds of people whose voices they are promoting.
    Walsh begins the article with an eye catching list of video incidents of black teens assaulting either each other or their teachers. It is not pretty. Here is what he has to say about it.
    “Traditionally, teachers have been a favored group among liberals, but these incidents are not covered in the mainstream media, and they are generally ignored by the Social Justice Warrior crowd because, as we’ve seen, often the assailants are black teens.”
    As a self-identified Social Justice Warrior (complete with sword and shield, viking helmet and blog) I’ll try to explain to Walsh what I think about this. I am studying to be a counselor. I want to work in schools with difficult students. I am doing anything but ignoring these incidents. The difference is that I’m not interested in blaming the students or their culture. Blame does nothing but divide. It creates an us vs them scenario. It gives Walsh the easy way out to point to his very Christian very white goodness while demonizing these black teenagers as bad and violent. Blame tells these children it is completely and totally their fault, when in fact it is a complex group of systems (family, school, societal, etc) that repeatedly failed them. By blaming these incidents on the kids and their parents (and their culture by association) Walsh frees himself and his readers from any involvement or need to help. Walsh makes it clear that to him these kids are the problem. It is far easier to blame these kids behind a keyboard and computer than it is to actually work on ways to help them or to examine the societal structures that are failing them so miserably.
    Unlike Walsh, I’m not interested in labeling an entire race or even group of students solely because they grew up in broken systems. Labeling dismisses the fact that each of these kids has a story. There are real reasons that they got to the point in the videos. Again, it is easy to color these teenagers based solely upon their actions in a 30 second video clip; far easier than addressing the years of systemic failure that they have endured. In these videos I see heartbreak, sadness, anger, frustration, fear, frustration, confusion, helplessness, hopelessness and more. Walsh only sees violent black teenagers.
    These black teenagers are being defined by perhaps the worst 30 seconds of their lives, I too, would look pretty horrible if I were defined in the same way. Walsh seems more interested in selling the story of black violence than in contemplating any sort of hope or restoration for people who are children of the same God he is.  
    My wife is a teacher. She teaches in a great school with a fantastic support system, but she still occasionally has to deal with a kid being violent or defiant. You know what she does not do? She does not blame their violence or defiance on their culture or even their parent or parents. She looks at the story of their life. She recognizes that violence comes very often from an inability to work with their emotions and circumstances in life. She helps kids express their emotions safely. She works to show them love and be in situations where they can grow. She does not take the single 30 second outburst of violence or anger as a diagnosis of who they are as a person.    
    It is possible that Walsh pulled his next paragraph from white supremacist forum Stormfront, because it is basically a copypasta of one of their most favorite talking points.
    “I haven’t stacked the deck here. I looked up videos of students assaulting teachers in school, and all that I found, maybe except for one, involved black students. I don’t believe that to be a coincidence. Black Americans are, after all, responsible for 50 percent of the murders in this country, and almost 40 percent of our rapes, robberies, and assaults, despite making up only 13 percent of the population. The black teens brutalizing white teachers especially shouldn’t be a surprise, because blacks commit about eight times more crimes against whites than the reverse.”  
    These numbers are scary sounding, but what do they actually mean? The truth is it is complicated, unless of course you just go the full racist route and assume it is because black Americans are more naturally more violent than white Americans. Antiracist activist Tim Wise has some ideas that might put these statistics in perspective.
    Only about 1 percent of African Americans — and no more than 2 percent of black males — will commit a violent crime in a given year;
    No more than 0.7 percent (seven-tenths of one percent) of African Americans will commit a violent crime against a white person in a given year, and fewer than 0.3 (three-tenths of one percent) of whites will be victimized by a black person in a given year
    Whites are 6 times as likely to be murdered by another white person as by a black person; and overall, the percentage of white Americans who will be murdered by a black offender in a given year is only 2/10,000ths of 1 percent (0.0002).
    any given black person is 2.75 times as likely to be murdered by a white person as any given white person is to be murdered by an African American.
    Yes crime rates and homicides are higher in predominantly African American communities. But crime and criminality are not heritable traits. If we are truly concerned with violence in America, we need to look at poverty and the justice system. We need to wonder why the United States is such a criminally violent nation, not just in the African American community. We need to examine the Prison Industrial Complex, the mass incarceration of men of color, and the hopelessness of poverty that is still a huge part of the richest nation in the world.   
    But Walsh of course is not concerned with anything more complex than a systematic denunciation of black people as the problem and liberals as their would-be saviors.
    “These are all facts. Relevant facts. Staggering, terrible, nightmarish facts. But inconvenient facts. Politically incorrect facts. And that means they must be ignored, and so must the victims, even if the victims are — in the case of public school teachers — usually quite popular and beloved by liberals. In liberalism, there is a hierarchy of Approved Victim Groups. Blacks are above teachers and women, but below gays and transgenders. Naturally, white men, white conservative women, and Christians are all at the bottom of the pyramid.”
    White people are under attack. We are below not only black people, but also teachers, women, gays AND transgenders on Walsh’s Victimhood Hierarchytm. Even worse, CHRISTIANS are somehow on the lowest rung of this hierarchy.
    I think Walsh forgot about the effects on Black Americans of over 100 years of slavery followed by 100 years of legal discrimination through Jim Crow laws followed by the travesty of Mass Incarceration.
    I also think he maybe forgot that gay people and transgender people experience suicide and bullying rates much MUCH higher than the national average. Of course, he would probably claim that the suicide rates are somehow connected to mental disorders and what he affectionately calls “perversions.” Except they’re not.
    Walsh thinks that transgender and LGBT people choose to be gay. Here’s his thought process:
    “A person can indeed “become” gay or “transgender,” due to the heavy, almost suffocating influence society has on his sexual formation.”
    Our society is so suffocating toward healthy masculinity and femininity that we force children to become gay and transgender, bullying and suicide and problems with societal integration be damned. I guess Walsh missed this part of the news where we are starting to see evidence that homosexuality and transgenderism are both results of natural (but rare) in-utero hormonal processes. It seems Walsh has forgotten about the suffocating influence that conservative Christianity also has on sexuality, but I already wrote about that (and will probably write more).
    Walsh’s Victimhood Hierarchytm is dehumanizing bullshit. He assumes that people like myself do not actually care about our brothers and sisters as much as we want them to achieve victimhood status. And he ignores our brothers and sisters who have faced discrimination, harassment and violence simply because of who they loved or the color of their skin or the way they worship God.
    My hope is that someday we would all be on equal footing. I hope that discrimination and hatred will have no place in society, and that someday we might be able to recognize the God who loves us all more than we can imagine. Until that day though, we need to be aware of the ways that our brothers and sisters are maligned simply for who they are. Walsh’s depiction of a victimhood hierarchy spits in the face of real victims of violence and hatred everywhere. I would love it if my brothers and sisters could experience life without being attacked simply for who they are as an image of the Imago Dei, but people like Matt Walsh make that impossible.By ignoring and dismissing their problems, Walsh denies the humanity of people in the same way that their attackers do. He is telling people who have faced repeated discrimination and harassment that not only is the discrimination and harassment their fault but that it was deserved because they need to change who they are to fit into his acceptable version of society. He is more concerned with a shoddy interpretation of an ancient book than in loving the neighbors who are not exactly like him here and now.
    “Black teens can punch old ladies and tackle the principal and the incidents will always be glossed over or entirely ignored. In fact, in light of the faux-racial controversy contrived by race hustlers after a white school resource officer removed an unruly black student from the classroom last week, liberals have called for a reduction in the number of police officers stationed in public schools. They’re not only ignoring the chaos in our schools, but actively attempting to facilitate it.”
    Here is the article Walsh says calls for a reduction in police officers stationed in public schools. Except it does no such thing. What it does is point out the worrying way in which black youths are disproportionately disciplined in school by police. The horrifying way in which unarmed black men are disproportionately shot and killed by police. The hope crushing way in which the criminal justice system in the United States targets men of color. Of course, rather than talking about any of this, Walsh hand waves these worrying trends away. He does not address a single part of the article. Matt Walsh is far too much of a coward to address the actual inequality that African Americans face today. He would much rather score political points by dismissing these problems as a liberal attempt to reduce school resource officers than to even consider that maybe, just maybe, black Americans systemically grow up in far more difficult situations than he has.
    “It’s clear to me, and to any rational adult, that our schools need more security, not less. These incidents are not isolated. They are not aberrations. They are not exceptions to the rule. Increasingly, they have become the rule.”
    Citation Needed.
    If Walsh even bothered to look at the data for this he would have noticed that school violence is actually on the decrease. The Indicators of School Crime and Safety report shows a drop in nearly every form of violence at school over the past 15 years. At the same time, we are seeing an uptick in mass shootings not by black men, but by disenfranchised white men. I will not argue that these white male shooters are somehow indicative of problems within the white community, because white people will certainly respond by saying that they are not representative of ALL white people. So why does Walsh get to do the same thing with these black teenagers? And why are these situations somehow indicative of a community problem while white teens who go on murder sprees are not? Just a few days ago Walsh wrote an article decrying calls for increased gun control in the wake of mass shootings in Oregon and North Carolina. So Walsh will not blame the ridiculously easy access to guns and he will not blame the white community for raising young males who are enticed by violence and hatred to the point of going on murder sprees but he will blame the black community for a few comparatively far less damaging incidents of school violence? How is that anything but a horrifically racist double standard?
    “Of course, this isn’t only a problem with black kids. White, black, and brown alike are often plagued by parents who probably don’t even know what the phrase “moral formation” means. But it’s especially a problem in the black community because over 70 percent of these kids are born out of wedlock, and over half will grow up in a single parents home, deprived of any sort of full time father figure.”
    Translation: “I’m going to mention white and brown people to be equal, but actually I need to be clear that it really is the black people with the problems.” The incidence rate of black children being born out of wedlock with limited interaction with their fathers is a terrible terrible thing, but rather than simply blaming black people for it Walsh would be better served to examine the mass incarceration of African American men. He ought to look at the rates of poverty in black communities. If he were really brave, he might even consider examining the integration (or lack thereof) of African Americans in his own community and how he could help. But he does none of this.
    “If even a simple majority of black parents would get married and stick together in the same house, many of the problems in the black community would disappear. If, let’s say, a good 70 or 80 percent of black fathers would actually be fathers to their children, rather than glorified sperm donors, we wouldn’t constantly hear about supposed “police brutality,” because their kids wouldn’t be throwing furniture at their teachers, or hanging on the street corner looking for every opportunity to start trouble.”
    In Walsh’s view, it is as simple as that. Black families just need to stick together better the way white families do. If their fathers weren’t absent things would be perfect. It’s their fault. Forget the systematic oppression and enslavement. Forget Jim Crow and redlining. Forget police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men. All lives matter; black people need to understand that saying black lives matter is racist and hateful. Their problems really are not that significant.
    “The absolute number one problem in the black community is the failure of black parents to teach their children how to be moral and decent. This is also the number one problem in the white community and in every community, but it happens to be more widespread and more pronounced among black Americans. That’s not a “racist” observation, it’s just an observation.”
    Translation: “As a white man, let me tell black people what is wrong with their communities and culture.”
    Again, Walsh has no data or evidence to support this point. In his view, if black parents were magically better (IE more like white parents) then black children would magically be better too. Bullshit. The issues that affect the African American community are far more complex and far reaching than Walsh is willing or able to acknowledge. If you want to begin to understand the problems and lives of that community do not take my word that Matt Walsh is so so wrong about things. Read actual black authors like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Patricia Raybon, or an African-American Liberation Theologian like James Cone. Talk to your African American neighbors, your brothers and sisters in Christ who don’t look like you. Don’t buy in to Matt Walsh’s garbage.
    American evangelicals have a race problem. You can see it in their mostly segregated churches and colleges. You can see it in the ways that they listen to people like Matt Walsh. But most horrifically, you can see it in the ways they ignore the violence that people of color experience as a regular part of their lives. Their apathy towards the plight of their black brothers and sisters is damning. May God have mercy on our hard hearts.
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  14. By PZ Myers
    They have one! Her name is Gina Loudon, and her qualifications are…

    Loudon, a tea party activist who became a reality star after she and her husband joined ABC’s Wife Swap

    She also has a Ph.D. in a “psychology related field” from an online university, and has published in such distinguished journals as Breitbart, WND, and Townhall. I wonder if the APA would agree with her title.
    She’s also using her lofty position as the Fox News Psychology Expert to dispense dangerous stupidity. She’s against transgender surgery because — I love this, coming from a Tea Party Reality TV star — it’s anti-science.

    And the science is on my side of this, she remarked. I’m not sure why the other side is deciding to be science deniers now. Johns Hopkins University ended their program because they realized that people who go through with the sex change surgery have a 20 fold increase in suicide rates as opposed to those who don’t.

    As is pointed out at the link, she’s referring to a debunked study to make that claim. She seems to buy into the idea that transgender men and women are just mentally disordered, who need more therapy to get over it.
    There’s a video of Loudon. I haven’t watched it. I have a personal rule against watching videos of anyone chatting with Steve Doocy — I only have so many brain cells to spare.

  15. Marriage and Family

    What do the statistics say about transgender mental health?

    (Originally seen on Conjugality: A Blog on the Future of Marriage)
    By Michael Cook
    October 23, 2015
    In the sudden avalanche of publicity for transgender issues since Bruce Jenner announced that he had become Caitlin Jenner, it is often said that transitioning from one sex to the other is a positive experience.
    Some even claim that there is no evidence that sex reassignment surgery is psychologically harmful and that criticism is due only to prejudice and “transphobia”. As one activist has written, “gender dysphoria as a psychological disturbance has been consigned to the wastebasket of medical history, much like hysteria, lunacy, and the disease view of homosexuality”.
    This is simply not true. Any discussion of transgender issues, particularly for adolescents or young adults, must bear in mind the lessons from the following peer-reviewed articles in major journals.
    A study from Boston published earlier this year in the Journal of Adolescent Health, reported that 180 transsexual youth (106 female-to-male; 74 male-to-female) had a two-fold to three-fold increased risk of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety disorder, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, self-harm without lethal intent, and both inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment compared to a control group of youth.
    Although the authors were sympathetic they still commented that “a significantly higher proportion of transgender adolescent and emerging adult patients were burdened by mental health concerns than cisgender youth”.
    A study published in PLoS One in 2011 of over 300 people who had undergone sex reassignment surgery in Sweden over the past 30 years reached a very sombre conclusion:
    “Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group.”
    That study also complained that “there is a dearth of long term, follow-up studies after sex reassignment”. Hence it is much too early to assert that the transgender experience is largely positive.
    A review written last year about research into suicide and transgender population found “an unparalleled level of suicidal behavior among transgender adults”. This was compiled by the Williams Institute, at the UCLA School of Law, an LGBT think tank, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Their conclusions are also quite sobering:
    “The prevalence of suicide attempts among respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality, is 41 percent, which vastly exceeds the 4.6 percent of the overall U.S. population who report a lifetime suicide attempt, and is also higher than the 10-20 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults who report ever attempting suicide.”
    None of these sad statistics is news.
    Read the rest here

    Tags: gender dysphoria, mental health, sex reassignment, suicide rates for transgender, transgender

    About Mary Jane
    Mary Jane is a graduate student who enjoys playing sports, drinking good wine, and reading all things Catholic, though not necessarily in that order. A native of Southern California, she also takes great delight in bragging to family and friends back home about the pristine state of her lungs–certain that this tribute to the merits of voluntarily inhaling vast quantities of crisp, freezing Minnesota air is having a positive effect on the skeptics of Northern living.

    View all posts by Mary Jane →

  16. Winning and losing moves in the battle against transphobia

  17. Cristan says:

    Views: 147A couple of days ago I wrote about my feelings of disgust regarding the behavior of some Tumblr TERFs. While I was responding to an older Tumbr TERF post, they continued to fire back at trans people on Tumblr who were citing my work.
    TERFs Fire Back: The 1999 TERF Death Threat didn’t happen in 2000

    In 1999, a TERF mob forced a 16 year old trans kid to stand before them for hours while they systematically berated her, even going so far as to openly threaten her live with a knife. In refutation, they linked to an Off Our Backs article coauthored by MichFest organizer, Lisa Vogel and Karla Mantilla in which they discuss the 2000 MichFest. I invite you to reread the previous sentence. The incident in question took place in 1999 and the Tumblr TERFs’ “proof” that the events of 1999 never happened is an article that discusses the following year’s events as asserted by MichFest organizer Lisa Vogel. Do I really need to spell out why an article about an event that took place in the future – in 2000 – doesn’t constitute evidence refuting what happened to a 16 year old at MichFest in 1999?
    TERFs Fire Back: Janice Raymond isn’t Culpable because THIS!!1!
    To support the assertion that Janice Raymond had nothing to do with the 1981 study that precipitated the end to public and 3rd party trans care funding in the early 1980s was to selectively quote a 2013 HHS finding:

    The author of the post I’m responding to,”radFem-mama” chose to quote that HHS’ decision was based on 2 primary findings, which she highlights in bold: rates of complications and the efficacy of a “transsexual” diagnosis. Unfortunately for radFem-mama, anyone who cares to read the original 1981 report will immediately note that this report concluded THREE findings and that the third finding drew upon Raymond’s research alone. Also, let’s be clear about something. The 2013 findings state:

    The NCHCT forwarded its 1981 report to officials of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), now called CMS, with a memorandum dated May 6, 1981 recommending “that transsexual surgery not be covered by Medicare at this time.” HCFA issued the NCD language as part of its Coverage Issues Manual of coverage instructions for Medicare contractors; CMS published the manual in the Federal Register on August 21, 1989. – Page 4

    To be clear, the 1981 report was available to it’s targeted audience at that time. Who were the NCHCT/OHTA target audience?

    Providers, generally; physicians; acute facility administrators; long-term care facility administrators; other care givers; health/medical professional associations; consumer associations; employers; unions and other employee organizations; third party payers; government regulators; biomedical researchers; public policy-makers, legislators; policy research organizations; Federal health programs. – National Academy of Sciences, National Center For Health Services Research and Health Care Technology Assessment Office of Health Technology Assessment, 1988

    Consider the reach NCHCT/OHTA reports had:

    With the creation of NCHCT and the development of a formal assessment process, these third-party payers began to request the results of evaluations. These insurance carriers included both those in the government (CHAMPUS and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program) and those in the private sector such as Mutual of Omaha, Nationwide, Travelers, Aetna Life and Casualty, Connecticut General Life, Equitable Life Assurance Society, John Hancock Mutual Life, Metropolitan Life, Prudential Life, and Lincoln National Life. – Seymour Perry, M.D., Health Affairs, 8/1982, p 124

    Let’s return to the original 1981 NCHCT/OHTA (by 1981 the NCHCT was in the process of becoming the Office of Health Technology Assessment) findings. Raymond is the only researcher that the government agency thanks and that’s because NCHCT/OHTA “was directed to consider broadly the implications of new and existing medical technologies, including their legal, ethical and social aspects.” [1] Raymond’s research alone represented the whole of NCHCT/OHTA’s consideration regarding the “ethical and social aspects” of trans care.
    The “Discussion” section of the NCHCT/OHTA report reviews three findings:
    One paragraph supporting the claim that trans care is “experimental”
    One paragraph supporting the claim that trans care is “controversial”
    Four paragraphs supporting the claim that trans care is “expensive.”
    The NCHCT/OHTA report drew upon several sources to support these three claims. In determining that trans care was “experimental,” the NCHCT/OHTA report relied on the National Institute of Mental Health of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration’s research. To support the claim that trans care was “expensive,” the NCHCT/OHTA report relied upon research from Health Information Designs. To support the “controversial” claim, the NCHCT/OHTA report relied upon just two sources, one of which was Raymond. The following is the “Discussion” paragraph which supports the “controversial” claim:

    “Over and above the medical and scientific issues, it would also appear that transsexual surgery is controversial in our society. For example, Thomas Szasz has asked whether an old person who desires to be young suffers from the “disease” of being a “transchronological” or does the poor person who wants to be rich suffer from the “disease” of being a “transeconomical?” (Szasz 1979). Some have held that it would be preferable to modify society’s sex role expectations of men and women than to modify either the body or the mind of individuals to fit those expectations. (Raymond 1980).”

    At no point prior to this section does the report claim that trans care is “controversial.” “But Cristan,” you say, “didn’t you just say that Raymond’s research alone was used to support the ‘controversial’ claim?!? It cites somebody named Szasz. Obviously that means that Raymond’s research and somebody else’s research was used, right?!?”
    The Szasz citation refers to a newspaper review of Raymond’s 1979 book, The Transsexual Empire: the making of the she-male. Raymond’s research alone informed 1/3 of NCHCT/OHTA’s findings. In fact, in the 1981 report’s Acknowledgement section, it states the following, the “National Center for Health Care Technology commissioned paper on the social and ethical aspects of transexual surgery by Janice G. Raymond, Ph.D., of Hampshire College, University of Massachusetts, were used in this assessment.”
    RadFem-mamma then (ironically) cites a 2009 United Health insurance policy barring “transsexual surgery” as representing what “insurance companies” covered in 1981. The reason her citation is ironic is that she’s apparently oblivious to the fact that she just proved my fact claim Regarding Raymond’s capability in a way that I, until now, have been unable to do. Let’s review, shall we?
     A.) The 1981 report states, the “National Center for Health Care Technology commissioned paper on the social and ethical aspects of transexual surgery by Janice G. Raymond, Ph.D., of Hampshire College, University of Massachusetts, were used in this assessment.’
    B.) Producing a “social and ethical” report finding was mandated and, in fact, Raymond’s research alone informs the report’s finding that transsexual surgery was “controversial.” Prior to citing Raymond’s book, The Transsexual Empire via Szasz, the 1981 report never mentions transsexual surgery being “controversial.” Let’s review the 1981 “controversial” claim once again. The first sentence shifts the report’s attention from the “medical and scientific issues” it discussed prior to the “controversial” section and turns to Raymond’s work:

    Over and above the medical and scientific issues, it would also appear that transsexual surgery is controversial in our society. For example, Thomas Szasz has asked whether an old person who desires to be young suffers from the “disease” of being a “transchronological” or does the poor person who wants to be rich suffer from the “disease” of being a “transeconomical?” (Szasz 1979). Some have held that it would be preferable to modify society’s sex role expectations of men and women than to modify either the body or the mind of individuals to fit those expectations. (Raymond 1980).

    C.) Let’s review the very first sentence of the section the 2013 HHS ruling considered:

    Now, let’s review the very first sentence justifying the 2009 United Health policy barring “transsexual surgery” that radfem-mamma herself cited as proving her fact assertion that Raymond had nothing to do with the revocation of public and private coverage of trans health care:

    Notice anything similar? Gosh, it seems as if the first line of the 2009 United Health policy barring “transsexual surgery” is a direct quote from the very 1981 NCHCT/OHTA “controversial” findings that Raymond’s research alone supported.
    Thank you, radfem-mama for finding this smoking gun. Until you, in your fumbling attempt to disprove that Raymond had anything to do with the revocation of PRIVATE funding of trans care, I’d not been able to find an example this incontrovertible. You’ve just proved the conclusion of my research correct.  Thank you for finding this!
    TERFs Fire Back: Cristan Williams is still Zoe Brain
    Apparently in radfem-mama’s reality, I’m still Zoe Brain. Radfem-mama is worked up over an opinion piece Brain published on the TransAdvocate wherein Brain estimates the number of trans lives lost since 1981 due to the revocation of public and private funding of trans care:

    Here’s a link to the first copy cached by the Wayback Machine. Note that then, like now, the author is Zoe Brain, not me and that it is, in fact, listed as an opinion piece. Apparently that doesn’t matter to Tumblr TERFs who are on a roll:
    As far as “credibility,” my historical research on TERFs is being published in a peer reviewed journal you’ll be able to read and critique to your heart’s desire. Radfem-mama, please point me to where I can check out your peer reviewed work on trans people or radical feminism. I’d be interested in checking out your work.
    TERFs Fire Back: Cristan Williams loves Paul McHugh

    For the record, the TransAdvocate has a few well-cited article about MaHugh. Here’s two:
    Clinging to a dangerous past: Dr Paul McHugh’s selective reading of transgender medical literature
    World’s experts condemn the McHugh hoax
    When critiquing ideologically driven TERF behavior, it’s usual to focus on TERF behavior. It would probably seem strange to readers if in the middle of a critique of ideologically-driven TERF violence the piece suddenly focuses on the behavior of anti-abortion activists who hate trans people.
    TERFs Fire Back: Obviously TERFs were never violent in 1973

    Obviously pioneering radical feminist activist Robin Tyler totally lied about being beaten by TERFs who rushed the stage, amirite? Maybe since radfem-mamma cares so much about the truth, she could contact Tyler and tell her why she thinks Tyler is lying.

    I find it interesting that radfem”I care about the truth” mamma failed to quote the following part of Morgan’s speech…

    “I charge [Elliott, the trans woman] as an opportunist, an infiltrator, and a destroyer—with the mentality of a rapist. And you women at this Conference know who he [sic] is. Now. You can let him [sic] into your workshops—or you can deal with him [sic].” [2]

    … you know, the pertinent bit that precipitated TERFs beating radfems for protecting a trans women from a TERF bashing?
    TERFs Fire Back: Rivera forgave O’Leary, therefore TERFs didn’t organize an attack on Rivera

    Radfem-mamma is correct, right up until the last sentence. It says a lot that Rivera was able to forgive O’Leary and even regard her as a friend. Everything about Rivera’s behavior suggests the enormity of her heart’s capacity for compassion and love. Those truths in no way change the reality of what happened before or after Rivera was filmed on stage:

    “Women in the GLF were uncomfortable referring to Rivera – who insisted in using women’s bathrooms, even in City hall – as ‘she.’ Pressure mounted. The year 1973 witnessed a clash that would take Rivera out of the movement for the next two decades… As they passed out flyers outlining their opposition to the ‘female impersonators,’ Rivera wrestled for the microphone held by emcee Vitto Russo, before getting hit with it herself. Rivera explained, ‘I had to battle my way up on stage, and literally get beaten up and punched around by people I thought were my comrades, to get to that microphone.” – Benjamin Shepard, That’s Revolting!, pp 126 – 127

    Sylvia Rivera recounted the event: “Jean O’Leary, a founder of Radicalesbians, decided that drag queens were insulting to women… I had been told I was going to speak at the rally. And that’s when things just got out of hand. I’m very militant when it comes to certain things, and I didn’t appreciate what was going down with Jean O’Leary stating that we were insulting women… She told Vito Russo to kick my ass onstage… but I still got up and spoke my piece.” – Susan Glisson (Ed), The Human Tradition in the Civil Rights Movement, p 325

    “[T]his incident precipitated yet another suicide attempt on her part… the events of that day in 1973 ultimately took something out of Sylvia Rivera. In the succeeding years, Sylvia Rivera’s participation in ‘the movement’ waned. Although she attended every Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade (with the exception of two) until her death, Sylvia’s formal participation in organizations like the GLF and the GAA came to a halt.” – ibid.

    Critiquing videos that do not discuss the above realities because they deal with other issues isn’t evidence that supports the idea that Rivera lied about being beaten at a TERF’s behest.
    TERFs Fire Back: Trans people are dangerous
    A favorite trope off practically all hate groups is to focus on people who are part of the group they want to oppress and insinuate that those the group hate act criminally due due to being part of that oppressed group. The Klan loves to report on Black criminals to justify marginalizing Black folks and likewise, TERFs love to report on trans criminals to justify marginalizing trans folks. It’s called the fallacy of composition but since the Klan made it famous, I call it the Klan Fallacy:
    Yes, and I can make a list of cis female criminals who murder, rape and violate women and children and the list would be on orders of magnitude larger than any list of trans criminals any TERF could put together. It’s amazing to me that TERFs seem to revel in this fallacy. Would it not be absurd for me to say that since a 2004 Department of Education study found that 42% of student molestations came from their (presumably cis) woman instructors –- that we should conclude that cis women are an obvious, clear and known danger to school children? Of course not. Claiming or insinuating that trans people should be marginalized and/or feared because within the history of human crime, some minute percentage turn out to be trans, those making the such a claim should be roundly condemned and mocked by all rational people.
    [1] OHTA, Health Care Technology And Its Assessment In Eight Countries, 1994, p 292
    [2] Blasius, Mark. We Are Everywhere: A Historical Sourcebook of Gay and Lesbian Politics. New York: Routledge, 1997. 429.

  18. […] the words of Dr. Paul McHugh, one of the nation’s most respected psychiatrists yet a man despised by many in the transgender community as out of date and out of touch, “Transgendered men do […]

  19. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here,here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with him. […]

  20. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here,here, and […]

  21. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with […]

  22. […] Paul McHugh is a fucking hack and you should be ashamed of yourself to quote him. He was also an ideological accomplice to […]

  23. […] with accepting the reality of the scientific perspective on the issues of transgender treatment. This is a breakdown of some issues with how Dr. McHugh handles information on trans care. that studies show between […]

  24. […] matter that McHugh’s interpretation of the research on transgender people has been thoroughly debunked. It doesn’t matter that McHugh’s biases against all LGBT people, rejecting decades of […]

  25. […] Contrary to MNCPL’s claim, only one study indicated “that 70%-80% of children with transgender feelings spontaneously lose those feelings by the time they are adults” — not multiple studies as MNCPL’s language suggests. MNCPL’s email takes language that comes from Dr. Paul McHugh, a highly-credentialed psychiatrist who used to work at Johns Hopkins University. He’s also a devout Catholic who spins research to malign LGBT rights, according to GLAAD. He’s become an anti-transgender activist in recent years. […]

  26. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here,here, and […]

  27. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here,here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with him. […]

  28. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and […]

  29. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and […]

  30. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and […]

  31. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and […]

  32. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and […]

  33. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and […]

  34. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and […]

  35. Anonymous says:

    Feminist Issues Are Transgender Issues
    Posted on October 15, 2014 by

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    Feminist Issues Are Transgender IssuesLuis Alvarez via Getty Images Earlier this month, the president of the National Organization for Wom …8 Things Parents of Trans Kids Want You to KnowAfter writing a blog for the Huffington Post debunking myths and misperceptionsabout transgender chi …Fighting Back Against Anti-Transgender Talking PointsSince the publication of Time‘s recent cover story “The Transgender Tipping Point,” …

    Luis Alvarez via Getty Images

    Earlier this month, the president of the National Organization for Women, Terry O’Neill, published a blog post on The Huffington Post titled “Why Transphobia Is a Feminist Issue.” It was an excellent and much-needed piece given recent debates about where transgender issues fit with feminism. It also follows the trend of feminists, some of whom were previously ambivalent about or even hostile to to transgender issues, now embracing them.
    This is a logical development, as intersectional feminism recognizes that equality isn’t just for women who look like me: It is equality for all. If we only work on behalf on the “right” kinds of women, it diminishes the movement and repeats mistakes of the past, where feminism was not nearly intersectional enough. Beyond a concept of simple solidarity, though, is that many of the core issues of feminists and transgender people are the same.
    1. Fighting Gender Stereotypes
    In 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of Ann Hopkins, who claimed that her promotion to partnership at her firm was postponed for two years in a row based on the fact that she did not conform to gender stereotypes. The head supervisor of her department, Thomas Beyer, told her that to increase chances of promotion, she needed “to walk more femininely, wear makeup, have her hair styled, and wear jewelry.” Many male employees said they would not be comfortable having her as their partner because she did not act the way they believed a woman should. Upon appeal by Price Waterhouse, the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling that making employment decisions based on gender stereotypes is sex discrimination and therefore a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    While Hopkins was a seminal case in establishing women’s rights in the workplace, it is not a coincidence that virtually every court case that has ruled in favor of transgender protections in the workplace since has relied on the Hopkins case as a foundational argument. Arguing that transgender people should be held to some patriarchal set of gender norms, without applying those expectations to everyone else, requires that you accept that transgender people exist somewhere below both men and women in a legalized caste system. Such an argument should be anathema to anyone who considers themselves a feminist.
    We recognize that gender stereotyping is harmful to everyone and resolve to work against it together. Defining ourselves, our roles in life, and how we express our gender is a universal human right.
    2. Bodily Autonomy
    This past summer two conservatives wrote radically anti-transgender pieces for the national media. In June Dr. Paul McHugh wrote of his opposition to following current medical standards for transgender individuals in the Wall Street Journal. Kevin Williamson similarly wrote a vitriolic and ill-informed piece attacking the identities of transgender people in the National Review the same month.
    It should come as no surprise that both McHugh and Williamson also radically oppose reproductive justice efforts. Dr. McHugh is a self-described orthodox Catholicwhose outlandish views and role in apologetics for church scandals are well documented. Additionally, McHugh opposes all abortion and supported forcing a pregnant 11-year-old girl who had been raped by an adult relative to carry to term, even if it killed her. Kevin Williamson recently called for the hanging of any woman who has an abortion, along with the doctors or nurses who perform it.
    (If you want a detailed analysis of how Dr. McHugh has misrepresented data, rigged studies, left out significant details in his research, and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here,here, and here.)
    Access to medically necessary care and a right to choose what we do with our bodies are fundamental issues for both feminists and transgender people. If we allow other people’s beliefs to get between a transgender person and their doctor, what excuse do we have when those same people try to come between anyone else and their doctor?
    3. Opposing Patriarchy/Kyriarchy
    The structures that are meant to keep women in their place are the exact same ones that attempt to ensure that transgender people self-deport to the closet. Religious institutions that prohibit women from positions of influence within the church universally regard transition as a sin. The glass ceilings that women bump up against are the same ones that transgender women (in particular) face. We’re still fighting about the roles of women and transgender people in the military. Women, and transgender women, continue to fight against their sexuality being pathologized or categorized within false dichotomies (slut vs. frigid, gay man vs. fetishist).
    Transgender people represent an imminent threat to many of the patriarchal power structures and arguments that support them. We blur the lines of what it supposedly “means” to be a man or a woman; we obliterate conventional definitions of sexual orientation and sexuality; we lie at the intersection of so many forms of oppression (sexism, homophobia, racism) that successfully taking on transgender issues makes inroads into many of their strongholds.
    Similarly, we see defenses of the indefensible when it comes to oppression by the same entities trying to enforce gender stereotypes. Vilification and blaming of victims of violence, calls for “right to discriminate” laws against gays and lesbians, defenses of horrific child abuse in the name of discipline, and calls for an end to the concept of separation of church and state — all of these come from power attempting to preserve itself by any means necessary.
    Feminist and transgender issues are interdependent. Bodily autonomy for all or for none. Enforcement of gender stereotypes applies either to all of us or to none of us. You cannot oppose the overarching system of oppressions while giving it a free pass to perpetuate itself against one disadvantaged class.
    We will only succeed together, because feminist issues are transgender issues.

    Related ArticlesWhy We Need to Address Transgender Issues
    Improving Conversations About Transgender Issues
    How LGBT Organizations Can Be Better Transgender Advocates
    Loving a Transgender Person IS a Revolutionary Act
    Do Transgender Athletes Have an Unfair Advantage?

    Originally published at

  36. j John says:

    I feel bad for the mentally ill people that pretend they ate a gender other than what they were born.
    The transgender movement is clearly mental illness, just like homosexuals.
    The truth is the truth, and it doesn’t “evolve” with time.
    The truth is that transgender people need medication, not encouragement

    • Dee Omally says:

      You’re not alone in standing on the banks of the river as you are being passed by the riverboat of truth—truth that finds itself on the RSH (right side of history). There exists no transgender “mental disorder”. Please feel free to reply with your source. Gender dysphoria describes the mismatch between the physical…note physical…body and gender identity which we all have in varying degrees of weight. The medication you refer to is categorized as “psychotropic” meds…and there are plenty but I assure you that hormones address the endocrine system, not the mind. Of course you know this already so my comment is addressed to those who don’t.

      Perhaps you are referring to the DSM/APA manual that often makes errors and in time with science and research acknowledges their errors and does the right thing: removes a false pathology and therefore revises and updates its future publications. Medical and psychological disciplines have never been, are not, and never will achieve a state of perfection. The only persons that “play pretend” are actors/performers who wear disguises for the purpose of showmanship and titillation—the domain of many male (often gay) actors and many straight men who practice cross-dressing as a fetish for sexual diversity and enhancement.

      Thank you for participating and I hope I have been respectful in pointing out the foolishness, inaccuracies, and quack science behind your statement…not you…but your statement. The truth is the truth…and that we exist is not a fable, myth, or fiction—we truly exist. Now excuse me while I go eat me a gender…. 😉

  37. […] the change in cultural authority led to the shutdown of the Hopkins program by the infamous Professor Paul McHugh. That conservative backlash infected the feminist community as well, generating a second wave of […]

  38. […] the change in cultural authority led to the shutdown of the Hopkins program by the infamous Professor Paul McHugh. That conservative backlash infected the feminist community as well, generating a second wave of […]

  39. […] the change in cultural authority led to the shutdown of the Hopkins program by the infamous Professor Paul McHugh. That conservative backlash infected the feminist community as well, generating a second wave of […]

  40. […] the change in cultural authority led to the shutdown of the Hopkins program by the infamous Professor Paul McHugh. That conservative backlash infected the feminist community as well, generating a second wave of […]

  41. […] the change in cultural authority led to the shutdown of the Hopkins program by the infamous Professor Paul McHugh. That conservative backlash infected the feminist community as well, generating a second wave of […]

  42. […] the change in cultural authority led to the shutdown of the Hopkins program by the infamous Professor Paul McHugh. That conservative backlash infected the feminist community as well, generating a second wave of […]

  43. […] the change in cultural authority led to the shutdown of the Hopkins program by the infamous Professor Paul McHugh. That conservative backlash infected the feminist community as well, generating a second wave of […]

  44. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with […]

  45. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with […]

  46. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with […]

  47. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here , here , here , here , here , and here . No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees […]

  48. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with […]

  49. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with […]

  50. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with […]

  51. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with […]

  52. […] and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. No secular medical or mental-health organization agrees with […]

  53. Anonymous says:

    Conservatives and the Transgender Time Warp
    Posted on July 25, 2014 by


    Since the TIME magazine cover story, “The Transgender Tipping Point,” there has been a distinct whiff of panic coming from social conservatives. The idea of transgender people, and their issues, being taken seriously in mainstream culture was seen as some far-off, almost-too-horrible-to-be-believed future. As a result, when this moment came, the right was left without a coherent, pre-planned strategy.
    As little as a year ago very few people saw the rapid emergence of a popular transgender celebrity as a possibility. As a result, conservatives are frantically rummaging through the junk drawer of anti-gay tactics and propaganda from the past five decades and throwing stuff at a wall to see what sticks.
    The most regressive of recent anti-transgender voices have actively called for deliberate systematic discrimination against transgender people in order to force them back into the closet. They see this as “helping” us by not cooperating with the “delusion.” This is an idea that dates back to the 1960s. Similarly, in the ’60s homosexuality was also still considered a mental disorder, and expected to be kept in the closet for the good of all concerned.
    Another recent case revolved around Laura Klug, a transgender public school substitute teacher in Texas who was fired. There was no allegation of misconduct; some parents simply did not want children exposed to transgender people. This is eerily reminiscent of the fight that surrounded theBriggs Initiative in 1978, which would have banned gays and lesbians from being teachers in California.

    Another 1970s throwback is the recently dredged-up octogenarian Dr. Paul McHugh. His personal agenda made him the Mark Regnerus of transgender research. As a result, McHugh hasn’t been relevant since he closed down the gender clinic at Johns Hopkins in 1979.
    This career trajectory is not unlike that of psychiatrist Dr. Charles Socarides, who spent the last 40 years of his life on the margins of science fighting to have homosexuality put back in the DSM after it was removed in 1972.
    The majority of recent propaganda against Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance has been directed against the inclusion of gender identity, and very little with sexual orientation. The talking points against transgender people have been rooted in the sexual predator narrative that was so prevalent in 1980s vintage anti-gay propaganda.

    Left: Anti-gay propaganda from 1986. Right: Screen capture of the anti-trans 2012 “No On 5″ Campaign in Anchorage, Alaska.The right is also pushing the thoroughly discredited “transgender people are potential predators in bathrooms” meme as hard as they can. This scare tactic is designed to appeal to paranoia and fears of rape in gender-segregated spaces, exactly the same way they did with their “gays will rape men in showers if we pass ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'” claims as far back as 1993. Oddly enough,conservatives also argued (and Jon Stewart lampooned) the message that gay men will become sexual predators in showers if we repealed DADT in 2010.
    Likewise, the “ex-gay” myth of the 90s was repackaged to promote “reparative therapy” for transgender people. A few hardy (read: immune to all evidence) souls keep pushing the narrative that there are no transgender people, just gender-confused individuals who need to be “fixed” through therapy. However, the presumed causes of being transgender, and therapies they recommend, are either incredibly light on details, or are exactly the same as those they recommend for “curing” homosexuality. These apparently involve screaming and beating the crap out of pillows with tennis rackets.
    Finally, one relatively new tactic against lesbians and gays has recently been employed against transgender people as well. In 2012 the Human Rights Campaign got ahold of internal National Organization for Marriage memorandums which outlined a race-baiting strategy of “driving a wedge between gays and blacks.” This strategy has been very visible in the efforts to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, where opponents have relied heavily on appealing to black churchgoers to drive turnout at events which demonize transgender people.
    There is more than a whiff of desperation here. It is somewhat understandable given that many conservatives literally see societal acceptance of transgender people as a complete descent intoSatanism, anarchy, madness, and fascism. From a more Machiavellian perspective, conservatives need the transgender community because it’s one of the last groups that it’s socially acceptable to punch down.
    Conservative strategists would likely hate to lose one of their best dog whistles.
    Until recently, they didn’t have to worry. Knowing a lesbian or gay person is highly correlated with acceptance, but only 9% of Americans have a friend or family member who is transgender. Laverne Cox — and by extension, her character Sophia Burset — paint a very human picture of transgender people to a wide audience. She also destroys the straw-man caricatures of transgender people that have been built up over the past few decades.
    Hopefully, this shift in zeitgeist means that the bargain-bin tactics of the religious right end up being put right back there.
    At least until the estate auction.

    Related ArticlesTransgender Military Equality: The Time Is Now
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    Originally published at

  54. […] For more information on debunking this hoax, GO Here: […]

  55. Jake says:

    I just don’t get people sometimes. Trans people have a problem: their body doesn’t match up with their brain, and that can be very uncomfortable. If there was some way to change people’s brain to be okay with their body it might be reasonable to argue for that, but given that the only part we currently have the power to do anything about is the body, that looks to be the best avenue for treatment. Besides “yuck, it’s gross” I can’t really see what there is to even argue about here.

  56. Pamela S says:

    I will offer myself as a counterexample to McHugh’s agenda, I mean, conclusion.

    The name that you see, Pamela, is not one that I chose for myself. It is the name that my parents actually gave me before I was born, because every doctor and other medical professional involved in my mother’s prenatal care was 100% dead certain that my mom was going to have a daughter.

    When I made my surprise appearance in the delivery room, my mom had to think of a different name in fairly short order. It doesn’t help that it’s a name that I dislike to this day.

    I first took my gender identity seriously when I was four, insisting that they refer to me as a girl. My parents began to get disturbed that I just wouldn’t drop it, insisting on it for months and months on end. My dad eventually began referring to me occasionally by a feminized adaptation of by birth name.

    Where does an insistent four year old get that, if not from within?

    I finally stopped when I entered kindergarten, acquiescing for the next several decades to a state of resignation and a kind of self-loathing, accepting yet despising the assigned package in which I live.

    Then, as now, when I see the manner in which so many cis het males conduct themselves, masculinize their appearance, and put forth this concept of “what it means to be a man,” I want to scream and stomp my feet repeatedly, “that’s not me!” And that is indeed, because it isn’t.

    Making the best of a bad situation, I began striving, quite successfully, for a super model’s body. That served to make me detest my exterior package less, and made it easier to live with myself. However, I realized only later why it resulted in a comparatively better fit with my inner self.

    I began realizing that perfecting my assigned physical body caused the world to interact with me in ways that are, in many ways, analogous how how the world interacts with women. I get my ass grabbed at karaoke bars. I know what it feels like to have people talk to my chest rather than my face, because it happens whenever I wear a tight-fitting shirt. I get treated with the extra courtesy that a classical “gentleman” would treat a lady.

    In it’s own surrogate way, it causes the world to interact me in a way that fits, somewhat better, my true inner self.

    But today, reading and hearing the news of the accelerating progress in transgender rights, I have begun to get excited about the possibility that I may, relatively soon, be able to be my true self, while I’m still on this earth.

    I just learned about this site, and I hope to stay around for a while.

  57. […] This confirmed a similar study McHugh had commissioned decades earlier at Johns Hopkins, and for opposing sex-change surgery, he is vilified to this day. […]

  58. […] The TransAdvocate – Dr. Paul McHugh’s “science” is transphobia in disguise. […]

  59. […] more effective to debunk his claims than to censor the op-ed. Genetics researcher Mari Brighe has done a great job of this over at TransAdvocate, so I’ll simply summarize her capable take-down: The single study McHugh cites for opposing […]

  60. Anonymous says:

    Lies, Damn Lies, and Lies About Transgender People
    Posted on June 16, 2014 by

    In the wake of Time magazine’s cover story about the “Transgender Tipping Point,” right-wing commentators have been out in force. This includes the National Review, the Wall Street Journal, The Federalist, and others. All of them operate off of the same set of talking points, which are based on groundless assumptions, poor science, discredited research, and straw-man arguments.The Federalist’s Joy Pullmann takes all those talking points, mashes them together, and adds a bit of libertarian-sounding philosophy and Christian persecution myth for good measure. These are intellectual bullies, however. They seem to expect that no one will stand up and actually check their “facts.”But that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Let’s start with the Federalist blog post. No straw-man arguments here, just their own words.

    Lie #1
    “Unlike President Obama, who is preparing to issue an executive order imposing a directive similar to these ordinances on federal contractors, the Billings city council isn’t a bunch of hardened liberal activists.”
    There has been a long history of presidents issuing executive orders that address the civil rights of employees of federal contractors. This includes “hardened liberal activists” like President Eisenhower. Additionally, 150 other cities have added similar provisions protecting gender identity, many of which are in deep-red states like Utah, Texas, and Arizona.
    Lie #2
    “Except for a tiny number of people with gene disabilities, every human being has either XX or XY chromosomes embedded in every cell of his or her body. That makes each of us biologically male or female, no matter how we feel about that fact.”
    Unless you have Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (CAIS)… or 5-alpha-reductase deficiency. Or Swyer syndrome. Or genetic mosaicism. Or 17-?-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase III deficiency. Or Progestin-induced virilisation. Or prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol, or any of a wide range of endocrine-based disorders that cause a person to experience an intersex condition in which a person has chromosomes that don’t match their primary sexual characteristics.
    Other times, people have both XY and XX cells in their body. A woman with XY chromosomes developed physically as a woman, underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis.
    Chromosomes do not necessarily equal sex.
    Lie #3
    “For that matter, do women typically start sprouting facial hair…? Not without heavy unnatural intervention…”
    Actually, yes — women can sometimes grow beards without any medical intervention whatsoever.

    Lie #4
    “[E]ach of us [are] biologically male or female, no matter how we feel about that fact. To believe otherwise is essentially a psychiatric disorder.”
    No, it’s called reading the medical literature. The organization responsible for defining what is and is not a psychiatric disorder — the American Psychiatric Association, via the DSM-5 — has this to say about the matter:
    “It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.”
    In short, the people who wrote the definition of “psychiatric disorder” categorically reject the statement that a transgender identity is intrinsically disordered.
    Lie #5
    “Dr. Paul McHugh, retired from psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital…”
    Yes, let’s talk about Dr. Paul McHugh.
    He’s an octogenarian, self-described orthodox Catholic whose anti-LGBT bias is well documented. He spent years defending the Catholic Church from sexual abuse allegations. In his role as part of the USCCB’s Review Board, McHugh pushed the idea that the Catholic sex abuse scandal was not about pedophilia but about “homosexual predation on American Catholic youth.”
    McHugh refers to homosexuality as “erroneous desire,” filed an amicus brief arguing in favor of Proposition 8 and making the erroneous claim that homosexuality is a “choice.” Additionally, McHugh defended forcing a pregnant ten-year-old girl who’d been raped by an adult relative to carry the pregnancy to term. He describes post-surgical transgender women as “caricatures of women.”
    If you want a detailed analysis of how Dr. McHugh has misrepresented data, rigged studies, left out significant details in his research, and is nothing more than a poorly-regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. No secular medical or mental health organization agrees with him, because every other available study shows that access to health care improves outcomes for transgender patients.
    Even McHugh’s own (former) academic department denounced his anti-trans stance in testimony before the Maryland Senate this past year, stating that they follow the WPATH Standards of Care. Court cases looking at transgender medical issues have consistently found his work unpersuasive.
    In short, Paul McHugh is the Mark Regnerus of transgender issues.
    Lie #6
    “Billings’ draft LGBTQ ordinance participates in this anti-science view of the human person. For one, it extends its protections to people who fantasize they are neither male nor female, but ‘non-binary,’ or “other.'”
    The science behind the origins of transgender identities shows that they have biological origins and are very much real, in the sense that a transgender person’s identity has hard-coded, biological origins. Study after study show the same things:
    “Gender-dependent differentiation of the brain has been detected at every level of organization–morphological, neurochemical, and functional–and has been shown to be primarily controlled by sex differences in gonadal steroid hormone levels during perinatal development.” — Chung and Wilson, European Journal of Physiology, 2013
    “Gender identity (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender), sexual orientation (hetero-, homo-, or bisexuality) … are programmed into our brain during early development. There is no proof that postnatal social environment has any crucial effect on gender identity or sexual orientation.” — Swaab and Bao, Neuroscience in the 21st Century, 2013
    “There is strong evidence that high concentrations of androgens lead to more male-typical behavior and that this also influences gender identity.” — Jürgensen, et al., Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2010
    In short, the “anti-science” view belongs to those who suggest that a transgender identity is a delusion that can be cured, rather than simply a biological mismatch between primary sexual characteristics and neurological phenotypes during development.
    Lie #7
    “The council attempted to relieve some obvious harm their ordinance would inflict upon residents by including this provision in the ordinance: ‘In places of public accommodation where users normally appear in the nude, users may be required to use the facilities designated for their anatomical sex, regardless of their gender identity.’… Either we should treat people as they think they are, or we should treat them as biology reveals them to be. It makes no sense to do one sometimes and the other at other times. This reveals the council members, at some basic level, realize biology is important.”
    No, it’s because council members realize there’s a difference between bathrooms and showers, and are at least attempting to find reasonable compromises where they think they’re needed. Generally, one does not wander about public bathrooms in the buff. Personal business there is conducted inside little stalls with doors.
    Lie #8
    “Women have been voicing fears about finding men in their bathrooms and locker rooms.”
    While some women may be voicing concerns over this, unsubstantiated fears are not sufficient justification for excluding trans people from public spaces. This statement is pure fear-mongering, and is absolutely baseless.
    Victims’ rights advocates and law enforcement have repeatedly gone on the record to say that these attacks are nonsense. Toni Troop, spokeswoman for the statewide sexual assault victim organization Jane Doe Inc., states:
    “The argument that providing transgender rights will result in an increase of sexual violence against women or men in public bathrooms is beyond specious. The only people at risk are the transgender men and women whose rights to self-determination, dignity and freedom of violence are too often denied. We have not heard of any problems since the passage of the law in Massachusetts in 2011, nor do we expect this to be a problem.
    “While cases of stranger rape and sexual violence occur, sexual violence is most often perpetrated by someone known to the victim and not a stranger in the bush or the bathroom.”
    Lie #9
    “Further, accommodating people’s delusions does not help them. In sane areas of human relationships, we call doing so ‘enabling.’ We even call it enabling when the troubled person we love has a genetic excuse for bad behavior, as do alcoholics and gambling addicts.”
    The scientific evidence says just the opposite. Living in a supportive environment has been shown over and over again to produce superior outcomes to environments that deny transgender people affirmation and medical care. This includes peer-reviewed, large-scale studies of transgender students across the U.S., where transgender students in supportive environments were quantitatively shown to be more successful than in environments where their gender identity is not recognized or supported. (Kosciw, et al. 2012)
    In a controlled, randomized study on gender reassignment surgery (GRS), one group of transsexual women received genital surgery early while another group remained on the ordinary wait list. Those who had surgery showed significant improvement in psychiatric symptoms and social and sexual function, while those who had not yet had surgery showed no improvement. (C. Mate-Kole et al. 1990)
    The available peer-reviewed medical literature has overwhelmingly demonstrated that affirming medical care is effective and of material clinical benefit to individuals with gender dysphoria. Follow-up studies have shown that sex reassignment surgery has an undeniably beneficial effect on postoperative outcomes such as subjective well-being, cosmesis, and sexual function (DeCuypere et al., 2005; Gijs & Brewaeys, 2007; Klein & Gorzalka, 2009; Pfafflin & Junge, 1998). GRS has also been found to lead to a quantitative decrease in suicide attempts and drug use in post-operative populations. (C. Mate-Kole et al. 1990)
    In short, socially and medically affirming people’s gender identities isn’t encouraging “bad behavior” — it is doing what is best for them based on years of qualitative and quantitative research.
    Lie #10
    “More successful therapies have counseled similarly confused people into accepting biological reality… It’s now completely taboo to suggest such a thing for other sex-confused people, but given the extraordinarily high amount of self-harming behaviors they exhibit, the compassionate thing to do would pursue any and every therapy that could give troubled people peace. The cruel thing to do is to participate in and perpetuate their fantasy world.”
    First, science says just the opposite about affirming medical care and its effects on self-harm. Research over the past 20 years has consistently shown that without it, sexual functioning, self-esteem, body image, socioeconomic adjustment, family life, relationships, psychological status, and general life satisfaction are all negatively affected. This is supported by the numerous studies (Murad M., 2010, DeCuypere, 2005, Kuiper M. 1988, Gorton 2011, Clements-Nolle K., 2006), all showing that access to GRS reduces suicidality by a factor of three to six (between 67% and 84%).
    Second, it is accepted within the medical, mental health, and sociology communities that these adverse statistics reflect a combination of minority stress and lack of access to affirming health care. When given access to supportive environments and medical care, quality of life for transgender women (including mental health) is not significantly different from the general population.
    In short, if you really want to bring down the self-harm statistics, the research says to stop discriminating and denying medical care.
    Then there’s the offer of therapy to “fix” the problem. The foremost body of medical and mental health experts on transgender care (WPATH) has this to say about changing people’s gender identities:
    “Treatment aimed at trying to change a person’s gender identity and expression to become more congruent with sex assigned at birth has been attempted in the past without success (Gelder & Marks, 1969; Greenson, 1964), particularly in the long term (Cohen-Kettenis & Kuiper, 1984; Pauly, 1965). Such treatment is no longer considered ethical.”
    The American Psychoanalytic Association issued the following position statement in 2012 on attempts to change a person’s gender identity as a result of past failures, and the harms observed:
    The American Psychoanalytic Association affirms the right of all people to their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression without interference or coercive interventions attempting to change sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
    As with any societal prejudice, bias against individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression negatively affects mental health, contributing to an enduring sense of stigma and pervasive self-criticism through the internalization of such prejudice.
    Psychoanalytic technique does not encompass purposeful attempts to “convert,” “repair,” change or shift an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Such directed efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damaging internalized attitudes.
    Courts are recognizing that changing people’s gender identity has been every bit the damaging failure that changing sexual orientation has been. This makes sense, given the deeply-rooted neurological origins of gender identity. Federal courts in New Jersey and the Ninth Circuit have agreed that the idea of “reparative therapy” for gender identity and sexual orientation is not supported by science. The district court in New Jersey is also allowing plaintiffs to sue for damages as a result of harm caused by “reparative therapy.”
    Simultaneously, a new Williams Institute study on mental health counseling for sexual minorities shows that those who sought mental health counseling from a religious or spiritual adviser — who was, of course, more likely to urge them to “change” — were more likely to subsequently attempt suicide than those who sought no treatment at all.
    Again, academic and legal analysis of the science does not support the claim that the best thing for transgender people is therapy to try to change their gender identity.
    Lie #11
    “The problem with this is that discrimination is not just good, it is necessary for life… We’re all food discriminators, car judgers, kiss gatekeepers, and more. And we should be. There is no way to live without discriminating, except in utter chaos.”

    There is a world of difference between discriminating against a food item and discriminating against a class of human beings. In this case, transgender people do you no substantive harm, yet you are perfectly willing to harm them and their families. Discrimination against a food or a car does not need a rational basis to be ethical. Discrimination against a class of people does.Your religious beliefs in and of themselves are not a rational basis.
    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevented people from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Chaos did not ensue. The Americans with Disabilities Act and Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 made discrimination on the basis of disability or age illegal, and the Union has not collapsed. Over 150 localities have added sexual orientation and gender identity to their anti-discrimination ordinances, and the predicted civic apocalypse has yet to occur.
    Lie #12
    “Right now, leftists demand that churches, business owners, schools, and everyone who holds to certain disadvantaged religions be required to implicitly condone behavior their creeds condemn–in many ways, but prominently by being forced to hire folks whose behavior disgraces their employers’ beliefs.”
    Laws protecting classes of people from discrimination already have broad religious exemptions. For example, Houston’s recent ordinance states:
    Employer means a person who has 50 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and the person’s agent. The term does not include the United States, or a corporation wholly owned by the government of the United States; a bona fide private membership club which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; the state, a state agency, or political subdivision; or a religious organization.
    Even if it wasn’t specifically stated in the laws, the Supreme Court long ago ensconced protections for religious organizations into case law with the decision in Corporation of Presiding Bishops vs. Amos, 483 U.S. 327 (1987). In this case, the Court ruled 9-0 to uphold a provision of Section 702 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 exempting activities of religious organizations from the religious discrimination protections of the Act.
    Churches and church-owned organizations, regardless of denomination, will not be forced to hire LGBT people. Period.
    Lie #13
    “Even a ‘non-discrimination’ ordinance discriminates, by conveying what city council members consider acceptable behavior and what they do not. All such ordinances do is substitute one judgment about what is appropriate sexual behavior for another, far older, judgment. The LGBTQ lobby sneaks their new judgment past everyone by labeling their discrimination ‘non-discrimination.’ That’s an old trick, called ‘lying.'”
    The same argument was made in Loving v. Virginia, Bowers v. Hardwick, Perry v. Hollingsworth, and Windsor. It has also been made repeatedly in cases involving transgender employees like Glenn v. Brumby and Macy v. Holder. The courts weren’t buying it then, and the public isn’t buying it now.
    Lie #14
    “When leftists force homosexual business owners to hire people who attend Westboro Baptist Church, we’ll know they’re following the rules they want to force onto everyone else.”
    We already do. Sirius XM’s CEO is a transgender woman, and there are undoubtedly Christian conservatives working for the company. She, and her company, are subject to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has long protected people from adverse workplace action based on religious beliefs.
    Someone from Westboro can absolutely work at Sirius, and they are legally protected. It’s when you bring your “God Hates Fags” sign to work that there’s a problem, just the same as if you brought a “God Hates ” sign.
    Lie #15
    “Until then, the only logical thing to acknowledge is that the sex-confusion lobby is a bunch of reality-denying hypocrites, and they want to make us all hypocrites whose actions contradict our beliefs rather than fessing up to the truth that theirs don’t fit reality.”
    Funny, I seem to remember your beliefs saying something about bearing false witness, and wow, there’s a lot of it here. The actual academic and legal facts are on our side.
    That’s why we’re winning.

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    Originally published at

    Tags: Acceptance, Chromosomes, Intersex, Lies, Paul McHugh

  61. Nuala Shields says:

    Thank you Mari for this awesome article!

    The facts are out there, but those who choose to hate us, refuse to avail themselves of any education which would completely destroy their obtuse arguments.

    They are stuck on what they thought they learned in their 7th grade health class back in 1966 and they aren’t about to consider peer-reviewed medical evidence which has been published in the last decade or two, much less in the past few years.

  62. voxcorvegis says:

    Isn’t it remarkable how neatly Dr. McHugh’s transgender categories align with all of the American right wing’s favourite cultural bogeymen?

  63. Elizabeth says:

    McHugh was a total douchebag back when John Money was there and was a close cohort of Money’s which makes him an even bigger douchebag. Money was a pedophile and on that subject I speak from a personal experience when he tried to feel me up when i was not quite 14.

    McHugh is a quack like Money was a quack and I am disturbed that he was given space in a paper to write his drivel. Was there an alternate post that contradicted what he wrote? Somehow I doubt that.

    Money was a great believer in parents teaching there children to be feminine and he actually accused me of that when we first met. I was not prepared to handle that type pf criticism and I think he knew that because I was emotional. McHugh was a big supporter of Money and the Reimer case where he had a boy surgically altered into a girl and told the parents to raise her as a girl. It was an abject failure and Reimer eventually went back to male but Money claimed for years, falsely, that this proved his case and McHugh publicly supported Money so that is where a lot of this bullshit comes from.

    Very sad that anyone gave this quack a forum.

    • “Was there an alternate post that contradicted what he wrote?”
      Heh….The Wall Street Journal, as owned by Rupert Murdock? Yah….no.
      Further, most of the comments in reply to the piece ran along the lines of “this is the most rational, well thought out article on this subject I have ever read. Finally some one willing to champion the truth.”
      To conservatives its only “science” if it fully supports whatever fantasies they’ve already concocted in their strange little minds as told to them by their preferred holy man or Bill O’Reilly. Otherwise its obviously wrong.

  64. Dee Omally says:

    Excellent work Mari…where you beautiful people get the energy to produce such great and sourced work baffles me to this day. Trans history and persons will live enhance and quality lives from your very efforts.

    A few years ago when I joined the ranks of the mentally deranged, at least according to this quack, I recall facing that junction in the road: should I, like most before me go ultimately go stealth or be open. For some reason I almost immediately deduced that it was now time to relegate the “stealth” phase to history and be open. I remember thinking about how the LGB—once they made the decision to be loud, proud, and open—were making a bold and necessarily crucial statement: we are your neighbor, your grocer, your waiter and we see no need to be ashamed of our legal right to live our truth. Why should we be so embarrassed or ashamed of who we truly are by remaining in hiding akin to being registered sexual offenders?

    There is no crime and no shame about being gay, as there is not in being trans. Soon, those who threw a kitchen sink of criminal inferences on gay Americans, as they are now with trans persons, recoiled under the power of truth—that gay persons were….surprise, surprise…persons but with a different sexual appetite. That’s it. With gay marriage becoming as normal as any marriage in rapid succession by state, those who opposed gay rights were left holding the kitchen sink so tightly that their trousers remain below their knees to this day.

    As they turn their bigoted sights toward trans persons, for some odd reason primarily transitioned females, they are desperately trying to pull their pants above their knees and become relevant once more. Desperate, they are seeking a direct route out of their own created demise—a demise we know as an * or a footnote by their name under the column we know as WSH (wrong side of history). They go by many names: Kevin Williamson, Lillian Bozzone, Keith Ablow, Denny Burk and of course Paul Mchugh. Interestingly, not one transitioned female shares their morbid views, perhaps because we “don’t exist.”

    The road to equality will, despite advances, always require maintenance and we need to turn only to Russian and Africa to see that rights can be gained, then taken away. We can never rest for this reason alone, however today in Trans history, namely 2014, Paul Mchugh and other quacks are part of an opposition that would not exist were it not for trans equality successes. There simply is no need for ratcheting up the opposition were it not for increased relevance of their “opposition”, we the trans community.

    May I remind my sisters of all stripes that Paul Mchugh need not rest comfortably behind the Psychiatrist name tag—we need look no further than the latest major court squabble to realize that the same name tag can be worn by players who reach entirely conflicting conclusions. A psychiatrist who is a doctor is a member of an occupation that is saturated by theories, always short on facts. In fact, the very field of psychiatry, despite professional repute and perception is one with a failed history of credibility, what with millions having suffered greatly for the pathology of being gay or transgender.

    Suddenly a new day dawns and with it the fresh air of a new truth: a same-sex appetite or a gender transition, with a snap of the DSM finger, perhaps like the waving of a magician’s hand suddenly removes stigma from person, with others like Paul Mchugh still clinging on to the side of a sinking ship. Sacrifice, devotion, intellect, and above all federal law has resulted in the Trans momentum of 2014. We have stepped out from the shadows, deluded that we were claimed to be, only to discover that quack psychiatrists and the SBC have traded places and now cower in fear in the shadows—-and scream to them with ears to hear, that we don’t exist. Ironically, it is they who practice this delusion, while we, by affirming out truth, are now proving to the world that Trans and sanity are not and never have been oxymorons. Just ask a trans child if they exist…without autogynephilia.

  65. Kara says:

    A fascinating article! As an ex-physicist, I can’t help but use science and published papers to help understand myself. I have quite a collection bit this article, well researched as it is, has helped me expand that. Haters, like fundamentalists, dismiss all science that doesn’t support their dogma as “liberal science”. Increasingly though, in addition to proving what trans people have been saying all along, it looks like science, medicine and reality seem to have a liberal bias 😉

  66. phyllis nowacki says:

    I do agree that Blanchard is full of hot air but there are so much medical evidence disputes his claims

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