Thursday, July 27, 2017

Witherspoon Institute's Vomit Comet

Thursday, yet another anti-LGBT piece from the Opus Deist outlet.
Chad Felix Greene
Chad Felix Greene
The vomit comet is the aircraft that NASA uses to accustom new astronauts to the feeling of weightlessness. Witherspoon Institute's pretentious pseudo-intellectual blog, edit by Ryan T. Anderson, produces similar feelings. That brings me to Chad Felix Greene.

Chad Felix Greene claims to be a conservative gay Jew from West Virginia who is HIV+. Greene has a penchant for promoting his intellectual honesty — something that he shows little respect for. In the preface to a 2017 collection of essays, Greene gave much praise to Mike Cernovich (not always understood but a strong leader). Cernovich is the cynical troll who is responsible for the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and who accuses everyone he disagrees with of being a pedophile. In that same book is an essay titled Bruce Jenner is a Republican. Clearly Mr. Greene has a transphobia problem. Where is the intellectual honesty in that.

Greene's Witherspoon polemic is titled: “Transgender Suicides: What to Do About Them.” I do not know what Greene's educational background is but it is probably safe to assume that he is not a psychiatrist. His subtitle reads:
I have personally experienced gender dysphoria, and I explored transition in my early twenties. I am aware of the emotional struggle, but I am also aware of the empowering realization that I alone control how I perceive the world.
It ends:
We cannot forget the real tragedy in all of this. People suffering from genuine mental anguish are being promised that with enough surgery, camouflage, social acceptance, legal protection, educational campaigns, and so on, they will finally feel whole as a person. Worse, they are told that the only reason they continue to suffer is due to the intolerance and hatred of those around them. The current method of addressing this concern is only making matters worse. Treatment needs to address the core problem.
There is not much of value between the two. Some selected quotes:
I have personally experienced gender dysphoria, and I explored transition in my early twenties.
That is irrelevant. Apparently the discomfort was not severe enough to warrant transition. Most people with gender dysphoria are neither transgender nor seek to be transgender. It can produce anything, from mild inconvenience to life threatening catastrophe. Thus, if one wants to write about gender dysphoria it is incumbent on that individual to know more than Mr. Greene seems to project.
If It Needs Treatment, Isn’t It an Illness?

The various liberal resources are shockingly equivocal as to what gender identity actually is. Gender identity is an “innermost knowing,” an issue of hormone imbalance, the result of a male brain in a female body, or a ‘transsexual’ brain, maybe an inherited characteristic, and many other possibilities, depending on whom you ask. According to some, gender is an inborn and permanent state; for others, a fluid awareness that might change by the day. How is it possible that a condition so insusceptible of consistent definition could be universally declared fatal without medical treatment?
Ryan T. Anderson has tweeted the first line several times. He also re-tweeted this:
Getting back to the quoted text, Mr. Intellectual Honesty claims that there is a universal truth declaration that does not exist. Moreover, whether one calls it an illness or a dysphoria (discomfort) is irrelevant to the suffering that it can create. Mr. Greene should have done what I have done which is to contact some of the prominent researchers and clinicians in this field. That bit of intellectual curiosity might result in a reduction of ignorance.

The realities are more important than Mr. Greene (whose principal virtue seems to be self-promotion).

There are more transgender youth today than there were ten or even five years ago. The reason for that is a change in treatment protocol. Ten years ago, psychiatrists treated adolescent gender dysphoria by preventing kids from being transgender. It created much misery and suffering. Today (based upon research) the approach is to treat the symptoms with gender affirmation where and when appropriate. We (and Mr. Greene) need to trust the clinicians who specialize in this area and work with pediatric gender patients every day.

Kids are the primary issue

All of these so-called bathroom laws are directed at children in public school. The debate over military service is relatively new and of less ferocity than answering the simple question of where trans kids can pee. That is what has been driving religious fundamentalists batshit for a couple of years now.

Research affecting children attracts investigators who are agnostic with respect to the outcome. At least they should be. We need more research but, based upon what we know today, gender affirmation reduces the depression and anxiety experience by people with gender dysphoria to normal or near-normal levels. That saves lives. If the research changes then the approach will change.

Greene is as competent as a fundamentalist when it comes to citing studies that he likes:
An uncomfortable truth is that many surveys, including a 2011 Swedish study, indicate that suicide rates remain high after sex-reassignment surgery (the Swedish study reports that people who have had sex-reassignment surgery are 19 times more likely to die by suicide than is the general population); and the National Center for Transgender Equality reported in 2015 that 40% of people who identify as transgender have attempted suicide
Greene should do what I did which is to have a dialog with the primary author of that Swedish study who speaks perfect English. She cites the Meyer Minority Stress Model to explain the suicides. Moreover, the data reflect people transitioning later in life than they do today.

Greene is correct (to a point) regarding the 2015 NCTE survey:
Among the starkest findings is that 40% of respondents have attempted suicide in their lifetime—nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate in the U.S. population (4.6%).
The survey is also full of findings like these which Greene selectively ignored:
The findings reveal disturbing patterns of mistreatment and discrimination and startling disparities between transgender people in the survey and the U.S. population when it comes to the most basic elements of life, such as finding a job, having a place to live, accessing medical care, and enjoying the support of family and community. Survey respondents also experienced harassment and violence at alarmingly high rates. Several themes emerge from the thousands of data points presented in the full survey report.
And;
The findings show large economic disparities between transgender people in the survey and the U.S. population. Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents were living in poverty, compared to 14% in the U.S. population. A major contributor to the high rate of poverty is likely respondents’ 15% unemployment rate—three times higher than the unemployment rate in the U.S. population at the time of the survey (5%).

Respondents were also far less likely to own a home, with only 16% of respondents reporting homeownership, compared to 63% of the U.S. population. Even more concerning, nearly one-third (30%) of respondents have experienced homelessness at some point in their lifetime, and 12% reported experiencing homelessness in the year prior to completing the survey because they were transgender.
And;
  • Nearly half (46%) of respondents were verbally harassed in the past year because of being transgender.
  • Nearly one in ten (9%) respondents were physically attacked in the past year because of being transgender.
  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents were sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime and one in ten (10%) were sexually assaulted in the past year. Respondents who have done sex work (72%), those who have experienced homelessness (65%), and people with disabilities (61%) were more likely to have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
  • More than half (54%) experienced some form of intimate partner violence, including acts involving coercive control and physical harm.
  • Nearly one-quarter (24%) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner, compared to 18% in the U.S. population.
Perhaps Mr. Greene should have read the survey in full. Perhaps he did not want to. The self-harm correlates to the actions of others who discriminate against, and do violence to, transgender people because of their own insecurities or disapproval. Moreover, living in abject poverty with limited options makes people very depressed. Depression is the primary reason that people kill themselves.

More importantly, Greene should consider whether his actions improve the lives of trans people or create more discrimination and mistreatment. Greene should at least demonstrate that he understands the issue. What I see is someone who understands self-promotion and an opportunity to publish an essay to an orthodox Catholic blog; one that has been excessively homophobic over the years. According to Ryan T. Anderson Greene is “objectively disordered.” All you have to do is to ask  Anderson and he will fess up. Anderson is a Catholic cultist.

Lie with dogs, Mr. Greene, and wake up with fleas.

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