Friday, December 4, 2015

Austin Ruse v. Jazz Jennings and Science - Guess Who Wins

Jazz Jennings

The Catholic Church does not acceps the science that transgender people exists. Therefore, Austin Ruse cannot accept the science that transgender people exist.

According to Mr. Ruse in a piece at Crisis Magazine titled “Have the Courage to Say, ‘Jazz is Not a Girl’”:

“Jazz” Jennings is a deeply troubled 15-year-old boy who thinks he’s a girl and who has been raised as a girl since an early age.

Jennings has become a breakout star in the transsexual firmament. Starting with self-made YouTube videos that drew an immediate audience. When he was seven-years-old his parents actually let him appear on a Barbara Walters show announcing his transsexualism. “Jazz” now has a reality show on TLC. …
My personal observations of Jazz are the result of a limited number of media appearances. From what I can see, every teen should be so “troubled.” That kid has it together. Jazz is affable, for sure. She is also smart, articulate and confident. She is the beneficiary of loving and intelligent parental support.

With respect to the science, I'll start with some things that the American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded (emphasis not added):
While we do not understand why some children identify with a gender different from their birth sex, the cause is likely both biological and social. There is no evidence that parenting is responsible for a child having a gender identity that is not in line with his or her biological sex. Experiencing childhood trauma will not cause a child to become gender non-conforming, transgender, or homosexual. There is nothing "wrong" with your child. However, children perceived as "different" may suffer from teasing or bullying. If this is happening, speak with the child's teacher and the school to create a plan to prevent bullying. The most important thing to remember is to support, love, and accept your child as he or she is. 
According to a 2013 technical report:
For transgender youth, pediatricians should provide the opportunity to acknowledge and affirm their feelings of gender dysphoria and desires to transition to the opposite gender. Referral of transgender youth to a qualified mental health professional is critical to assist with the dysphoria, to educate them, and to assess their readiness for transition. With appropriate assistance and care, sexual minority youth should live healthy, productive lives while transitioning through adolescence and young adulthood.
According to the American Psychiatric Association's treatment recommendations for gender non-conforming adolescents:
1) psychological and psychiatric assessment and diagnosis of adolescents presenting with a wish for sex reassignment … 2) psychotherapy (including counseling and supportive therapy as indicated) with these adolescents, including enumeration of the issues that psychotherapy should address. These would include issues that arise with adolescents who are transitioning gender, including the real life experience; 3) assessment of indications and readiness for suspension of puberty and/or cross-sex hormones as well as provision of documentation to specialists in other disciplines involved in caring for the adolescent; 4) psychoeducation of family members and institutions regarding GV and GID; and 5) assessment of the safety of the family/school/community environment in terms of gender-atypicality-related bullying and stigmatization, and to address suitable protective measures.
Nowhere in the literature does there seem to appear the notion that transgender children are just confused and need to be compelled to be gender conforming. Conservative Catholics usually trot out Paul McHugh, at Johns Hopkins.

McHugh, at 84 years of age, has made some important contributions to psychiatry. At the same time he is a conservative Catholic and he submitted an amicus brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor opposing the recognition of same-sex marriage. McHugh claimed that sexual orientation is ambiguous or undefinable. He also claimed that “scholars do not know enough about what sexual orientation is, what causes it, and why and how it sometimes changes for the Court to recognize it as the defining feature of a new suspect class.” He is at odds with his own professional organization and the overwhelming consensus of science based upon an enormous body of peer reviewed research. His attempt to muddy the waters, on behalf of the Church, was unsuccessful.

Getting back to Mr. Ruse, his problem is a reading at public schools of a popular book:
A few weeks ago a lawyer and activist named Jessica Herthel was invited by a school district in Wisconsin to read from I am Jazz, which she wrote with “Jazz.” Herthel, a Harvard-educated lawyer, is connected to something called the Stonewall National Museum and Archives, the mission of which is to insinuate homosexual propaganda into the American school systems.
I wrote about this matter on November 23 and have since been in contact with the school district. I am not sure why Ruse puts Jazz in scare quotes — are there any leftovers after all those quotes consumed by “marriage?”

Ms. Herthel is director of the Stonewall National Education Project which is part of a small non-profit, a 501(c)3, Stonewall National Museum and Archives. The mission of the project is to be a Ruse antidote or a Ruse inoculation. Students are entitled to understand more about their LGBT peers and in some cases themselves. Mr. Ruse calls this “propaganda” because the consensus of social and medical sciences does not conform to interpretations of ancients texts nor the teachings of the Catholic Church. Those teachings represent many centuries of work product from theologians. My shrink, who is an observant Catholic, would propose that he should not be an arbiter of Catholic dogma and theologians should not subvert scientific findings.

Mr. Ruse has six months to get worked up because SNEP's next national symposium  will be held in May.  Apparently the event is completely sold out as they are not accepting additional applications.

Ruse goes on to note:
In the letter the school sent to parents they reiterated the novel idea that there is such a thing as a girl brain in a boy body. The school district also explains that gender is “assigned” at birth and that “a girl who likes short hair and likes a boy name is now a boy.”

The school district gave parents only one school day warning that this was about to happen. A threat letter from Liberty Counsel, the folks who also represent Kim Davis, stopped the reading, at least for now.

The school district did not tell parents or the kids that “Jazz’s” parents have allowed their son to injest potentially dangerous drugs and hormones both to stunt his growth as a boy and to grow the secondary sexual characteristics of a girl, namely breasts.

They did not tell the parents or the kids about a new World Health Organization report that shows the incidence of HIV infection is 49 times higher among the so-called transsexuals than the general population.
That is not at all what the letter said. The original letter is here. I prefer to rely on that rather than Mr. Ruse's favorite News Source, Beitbart which routinely refers to transgender citizens in the pejorative as “trannies.” The letter explains the need to support gender non-conforming students. The letter goes on to explain that a transgender child was attending the school and the school district's efforts to support her and her family. The letter did not discuss Ms. Jenning's treatment but there is no hidden agenda.

Parents were not provided with a “warning.” It was an explanation.

The worldwide HIV rate is irrelevant to the treatment of gender identity disorder. It's like a physician saying to a child: “I can fix your broken leg but if you go on to play professional football you will have a much higher incidence of brain damage. Are you sure that you want me to fix the fracture?”

Relying on Breitbart, Mr. Ruse makes a statement out of context. I have included the applicable text from the actual report as a footnote.1 The 49% stat is correct but the integrity of the data is highly suspect and this is a very under-served population, particularly in countries with the greatest exposure rates. I should add that approximately 70% of new HIV cases are in sub-Saharan Africa. 88% of children infected with HIV live in this area.

Suffice it to say, Jazz is a resident of Florida. Jazz does not reside in Swaziland. Neither do the Wisconsin students at issue.
And they did not tell the parents or the kids that transsexuals are a hot commodity in the flesh trade, that a significant portion of them ply that trade and they did not explain that transsexuals who sell their bodies are nine times more likely to contact the HIV virus than transsexuals who are not prostitutes.
Probably not and Ruse's statement is preposterous. This is the kind of rhetoric that has caused Ruse's organization (C-Fam) to be categorized as a hate group. Suffice it to say that Jazz isn't a prostitute and isn't likely to be one in the future. Where one falls on the sexual orientation and sexual identity continua is unrelated to parenting. Becoming a prostitute probably is.

Ruse goes on to write:
As reported in New Scientist, [Dr. Daphna] Joel claims to have done the first research of its kind: they took brain scans from 1400 people between 13 and 85 years old. They looked at parts of the brain that have traditionally been considered either male or female. Less than 8 percent of the patients had “all male” or “all female” brains. The rest were “on a continuum.”
I am not at all sure why Ruse sourced that. According to the piece:
Although the team only looked at brain structure, and not function, their findings suggest that we all lie along a continuum of what are traditionally viewed as male and female characteristics. “The study is very helpful in providing biological support for something that we’ve known for some time – that gender isn’t binary,” says Meg John Barker, a psychologist at the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK.
I fully concur. Thank you very much for the link Austin. Ruse goes on to say:
It is a commonplace notion among sexual revolutionaries and cultural Marxists that there are no differences between men and women and that male and female are no more than social constructs.
Red baiting? Well, it was good for a chuckle.
There is no doubt your children are hearing the message of the poor abused boy called “Jazz.” If not him, then others like him. They are being told that gender is fluid, that boy brains can be born into girl bodies and vice versa. They are being told that this is normal and natural and that disagreement with this is “transphobia” and no more than bigotry.
Not at all. Jazz is a success story. As I said she is comfortable in her own skin, likable, smart and articulate. She is really a terrific kid; one that any parent should be proud of. The simple scientific fact (as Ruse seems to have confirmed above) is that gender identity does not always align with one's chromosomes. The teachings constructed by theologians of the Catholic Church and scripture do not conform to the scientific reality. That is true for many issues. People have a choice of which reality the will adopt.
What is needed these days is courage, utter fearlessness in standing for the truth. We must have the courage of Walt Heyer, a man who lived for many years as a woman and now runs a website called “Sex Change Regret” that tells the story of dozens and dozens of men and women who went through the nightmare that “Jazz” is only beginning.
They keep trotting this guy out as if it proves something. Heyer transitioned to female in his 40s. He transitioned back to male approximately eight years later. Heyer pushes the idea that transgender people are confused and that transgender people will regret sex reassignment surgery. Although he admits that he was misdiagnosed he has accomplished his agenda of becoming a pseudo-celebrity.  Heyer is at odds with every medical and counseling professional organization.
We must educate ourselves about what transsexualism really is. Dr. Ray Blanchard, a respected trans-friendly researcher from Canada, places transsexualism into two basic categories: “transsexual homosexuals” who want to appear as women in order to attract other men, and “autogynephilic” transsexuals who are sexually aroused by the thought of having breasts and a vagina. Which of these do we want to encourage in our already confused boys and girls? So confused is “Jazz,” at various times he has said he’s attracted to boys but lately has said he is “pansexual.”
Sexual orientation and sexual identity are, indeed, two separate things on two separate continua. What's the point? What possible relevance is there to Jazz's sexual orientation?

As expected, Ruse trots out McHugh (see above) and transgender suicide rates in Sweden. Context is everything. The conclusion of the Swedish study (which includes data going back to 1973) reads:
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.
In other words, transgender individuals need post-surgical psychiatric care. What a shock. Ruse concludes:
There are some things only experts can believe, and one of them is the whole transgender mess. The common man and woman must stand on their common sense and say no, sometimes loudly, to the experts who are trying to poison our minds and the minds of our young. You may be ostracized. If that is the price, so be it.
The experts (supported by a mountain of peer reviewed research) are at odds with ancient texts and the pronouncements of pampered prelates. Shocking I know. Which group is authoritative? If someone has a transgender child, which group should be relied upon? It is not a very difficult choice.

1 In general, health data, including HIV prevalence data, are less robust for transgender people than for the general population due to challenges in sampling, lack of population size estimates and issues of stigma and discrimination. Research and surveillance data that include transgender people frequently fail to disaggregate the data by gender identity and involve sample sizes too small to make reasonable inferences. Transgender people remain severely underserved in the response to HIV, with only 39% of countries reporting in the National Commitment and Policy Instrument 2014 that their national AIDS strategies address transgender people

The existing data specific to transgender people demonstrate a heavy burden of HIV among transgender women, specifically transgender women who have sex with men. A systematic review and meta-analysis found a pooled HIV prevalence of 19% among transgender women in the 15 countries with available, laboratory-confirmed data. Transgender women had odds of HIV infection 49 times greater than the general population. A separate meta-analysis of HIV among transgender women sex workers found that these women had a pooled HIV prevalence of 27%, compared with 15%

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