Safeguarding Kids from Transgender Treatment

Way back in 2011, when Chaz Bono was being feted by the media and appearing on Dancing with the Stars, I appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show and warned the nation that celebrating transgenderism would lead to an epidemic of young people embracing the notion as a “cure” for unhappiness and social awkwardness.  I was the first physician to appear on national television multiple times insisting we were headed down a dangerous path. 

I also warned that teachers and other adults would suggest that what were once known as tomboys (on the way to becoming happy young women) were actually boys locked in female bodies.  Similarly, the same misguided adults would suggest that shy, emotional, creative boys were actually girls locked in male bodies.

Megyn Kelly accused me of spreading hate on Fox News that day, but has since recanted that position and noted—on programs including The Daily Wire (March 31, 2023)—that her comments to me were wrong.

Everything I warned of, and more, has come to pass.  This includes the demonizing and canceling of people like me who were the first to insist it was wrong to surgically sterilize children and adolescents due to gender dysphoria.  It includes what I now call gender dysphoria by proxy, in which adults with all manner of psychological problems “act out” by championing the idea of removing the sexual organs of girls and boys.  And it includes the toll of ignoring the real and significant psychological problems in transgender youth themselves—like autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or Asperger’s Syndrome.  It includes acts of violence by transgender youth who, like Audrey Elizabeth Hale, who killed six people in Tennessee on March 28, almost certainly have other underlying psychiatric illnesses that were never attended to.

I can tell you that my positing the notion of psychological problems in adults who champion medical sterilization of young people will also incur the wrath of many.  So be it.

Part of the responsibility for the maiming of young people going on in the name of transgenderism lies with the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which has a long history of inventing disorders to embrace any kind of behavior that can possibly be treated in a way that triggers payments to psychiatrists from insurance companies.  That includes binge eating disorder (BED), added to the APA’s voluminous Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in 2013.  And it includes gender dysphoria, also added to the DSM-5 (now updated to the DSM-5-TR, to accommodate even more disorders).

As an aside, I resigned from the American Psychiatric Association in 2011 over their stance on transgenderism in adolescents being appropriately treated with hormone blockers.  I also taped an episode of the Dr. Oz Show and took then-President of the APA Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman to task for helping to coin new diagnoses for conditions that did not actually exist.  I was pretty strident on the topic, and Dr. Oz’s production company refused to air the show.  Dr. Lieberman then attacked me repeatedly and viciously in the media (and might still be at it, were he not removed as head of the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry for suggesting a black, South Sudanese model named Nyakim Gatwech might be a freak of nature because of her dark skin).

Now, after years of being attacked (and after untrue allegations that spurred multiple lawsuits), I am back with more certainties:
  • There is no evidence that children are born with male or female DNA and corresponding anatomy, in which the anatomy is a “mistake” that should be corrected by doctors.
  • There is no evidence that people who undergo hormone treatment and surgery to appear to be the opposite gender (to what their DNA dictates) suffer less from depression and other conditions than if they had skipped the hormones and the surgery, in the first place.
  • Adults who champion stopping puberty in children and adolescents to facilitate gender reassignment are expressing their own political positions, cultural beliefs or psychological needs, not addressing the real needs of the children or adolescents.  Many of these adults will turn out to be best described as displaying what I suggest we call gender dysphoria by proxy.
Our willingness as Americans to permit the maiming of thousands upon thousands of children by zealots or profiteers who destroy their reproductive potential and/or remove their body parts will, if left unchecked, destroy our worthiness as a people and make us vulnerable to defeat by enemies (who would rightly label us as pathological).
Medicine was once, and could be again, a reliable science and noble art practiced by physicians who pay attention to facts and data.  Like our schools and so much of our society, the profession is now in the throes of a challenge to rational thought and behavior that threatens our very existence.

--Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist who was, for 12 years, a Fox News Network Contributor.  He is the author of 16 books, including Living the Truth and the New York Times bestsellers The Seven Wonders (with Glenn Beck) and Inside the Mind of Scott Peterson.

Covered but still creative. by Alexander Grey is licensed under Unsplash

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