Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Yet another Witherspoon 'transgender people don't exist'

Wednesday, Dr. Margaret A. Hagen, a Professor of Psychology at Boston University, takes to Witherspoon's blog with “Transgenderism Has No Basis in Science or Law.” Witherspoon claims that she also has a JD but that is not on her curriculum vitae. Nevertheless, she might.

I have learned how to spot a religious objection to something from a 1,000 yard distance (and more). When it comes to transgender people it takes the form of referring to sex reassignment surgery as “mutilation.”
Surgical Mutilation Is Not the Answer

Some psychiatrists and surgeons have already collaborated to employ mutilation of healthy body parts as “psychotherapy.” …

The genital mutilation of healthy bodies of men and women demands no less serious consideration. The suicide rate in post-surgical patients has been reported to be twenty times higher than in controls matched for birth year and birth sex. It is hard to imagine more iatrogenic treatment. 
Hagen cites a study (I left the link intact) of 324 sex reassigned persons in Sweden from 1973 to 2003. The conclusion of the study is that greater follow-up care is required of post-operative transgender people (in contrast to not doing the surgery as Hagen would prefer). This represents a deliberate confusion of correlation and causation. I have only read the abstract and I am unaware of the time distribution. Safe to say that during the entire study period transgender people were objects of considerable disapproval and denigration. Dr. Hagen remarkably wants to perpetuate this discrimination by essentially claiming that transgender people don't exist. Now where have I heard that before?

According to Dr. Hagen:
Stop Catering to Delusion and Make Laws Based on Reality

Many both in and out of the mental health community see the conviction of oneself as “transgender” as a delusion—a technical term referring to a fixed belief that is not amenable to change in light of conflicting evidence.

The larger community should not accommodate this delusion by pretending to accept it as reality. A deluded person is not “treated” by requiring everyone who encounters him to accept the validity of his or her delusion, contrary to all reality.
Dr. Hagen is a founding member of the Association for Psychological Science, formerly the American Psychological Society. That organization's peer reviewed scholarly journal is Psychological Science. According to Fox News on February 20, 2015:
An ongoing longitudinal study of transgender children and their siblings has revealed that these youths have a strong understanding of their gender identity. The paper’s findings, published in the February edition of the journal Psychological Science, counter the belief that transgender children are confused about their gender or are too young to understand what gender means.

“We found that gender cognition in the transgender kids was indistinguishable from their non-transgender peers and siblings,” study author Nicholas Eaton, an assistant psychology professor at Stony Brook University in New York, said in a news release. “They appear exactly like their non-transgender peers [or] siblings, but in the direction of their gender identity, not their sex.”

For instance, a child who was assigned a male sex at birth but not lives life as a girl had responses in the study that were indistinguishable from non-transgender girls.
The point of all this rhetoric?
We expect our legislators to have rational bases for the laws they enact. We expect our judges to have rational bases for the decisions they reach. Even amid political pandering by those seeking reelection, we expect at least a veneer of rationality in the exercise of legislative and judicial powers. There is simply no rational basis for the laws being proposed and imposed in the realm of transgenderism. There is very little knowledge at all—no common definitions of terms, no accepted methodology, no outcome analyses, no testing and rejecting of hypotheses, no agreed-upon standards, no science. There currently exists no reliable foundation for making these laws that will shape the actions of the larger community as they relate to sexually nonconforming individuals.
In other words, this conforms to Ryan Anderson's notion that anti-discrimination laws protecting transgender citizens are somehow dangerous. The reality is that the Vatican pretends that transgender people don't exist and we end up with this polemic on an ultra-conservative Catholic site. This is also the Roy Moore approach: Create discord and then claim that there is too much confusion to know what to do about it.

Dr. Hagen is also a member of the American Psychological Association. According to that professional organization:
Transgender and gender-variant people have a variety of concerns for which they may seek the assistance of psychologists. In addition to the usual problems that may bring any individual to therapy, transgender and gender-variant people often seek professional help in understanding their gender identities and patterns of gender expression and in addressing the complex social and relational issues that are affected by these.

Transgender persons not uncommonly seek medical services to make their bodies more congruent with their gender identities; involvement of mental health professionals is often necessary or desirable in arranging such services. Moreover, many transgender and gender-variant people experience stigmatization and discrimination as a result of living in a gendered culture into which they often do not easily fit. They may not only experience an inner sense of not belonging but also discrimination, harassment, sometimes lethal violence and denial of basic human rights. These issues, too, often bring transgender people into contact with mental health professionals.

From the Introduction to Transgender Issues, Report of the APA Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance
Also, there is the organization's Resolution on transgender and gender identity and gender expression non-discrimination which is a worthwhile read.

What could possibly account for Dr. Hagen's disagreement with her own professional organization in so many ways?

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