Friday, September 22, 2017

Matt Barber: Renaissance Man

J. Matt Barber
J. Matt Barber's mail order degree from a fourth-rate law school (Liberty University) seems to have provided him with erudition beyond any reasonable expectations. The dim-witted Barber is now dispensing medical and psychiatric advice. I will get back to Mr. Barber shortly.

Last Saturday (September 16) Scout Schultz, an LGBT advocate at Georgia Tech, was shot and killed by police in what might have been an incident of suicide-by-cop1. Whether or not Schultz posed a legitimate threat, armed only with a pocket knife, and whether or not police could have used non-lethal force are legitimate questions. The incident sparked a violent reaction on campus which is unacceptable (violence is usually the wrong reaction to violence). The death of a 21-year-old is tragic. More so under these circumstances.

Schultz, who identified as non-binary and bisexual, was president of the campus Pride Alliance. In a message on their Facebook page, the Alliance stated:
Scout always reminded us to think critically about the intersection of identities and how a multitude of factors play into one’s experience on Tech’s campus and beyond.
That brings me back to “Bam-Bam.” According to the “news” blog of hate group American Family Association: “Barber: 'Homo-fascism' killed a GA Tech student.” AFA's Steve Jordahl (another wizard) writes:
[A tweet from GLAAD] demanded better "mental health resources" for homosexuals and more training for police officers to deal with the mentally ill.“

The irony of a demand for mental help is that homosexual activists arm-twisted the American Psychological Association to drop homosexuality as a mental illness four decades ago. In more recent years, APA softened its definition of transgenderism to from a disorder to "gender dysphoria" but refused to drop the term altogether.
There is no irony because there is no logical connection. The fact that being gay isn't a mental illness does not mean that gay people are exempt from mental health care. In addition to the same neuroses and conditions that afflict gays and straights, gay people often suffer from minority stress syndrome which can cause a host of symptoms including depression and anxiety. That condition might require a combination of counseling and medication.

Facts matter. It was not the American Psychological Association. Rather, it was the American Psychiatric Association that withdrew homosexuality from the 1974 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Due to pervasive mythology regarding that withdrawal it has been accepted as fact by conservative Christians that the DSM was changed due to gay advocacy (what Jordahl refers to as “arm twisting”). The effort to withdraw homosexuality from the DSM was spearheaded by Dr. Robert Spitzer who was a major developer of the DSM. The change was based on a mountain of peer-reviewed research.

Jordahl's ignorance continues. Being transgender was never classified as a disorder. Transgender is a form of gender affirmation. It relieves the symptoms of what used to be called gender identity disorder and is now called gender dysphoria. Not all people with gender dysphoria are transgender. Again, the revision was not made by the American Psychological Association. It was a DSM determination made by the American Psychiatric Association. “Softened” is the wrong word to describe a medical reevaluation. Conservative Christians want (perhaps  need) to believe that this was political correctness rather than a researched change to the guidelines for patient care.
Transgenders, incidentally, suffer from a double-digit suicide rate.
Jordahl is a fount of wisdom. With gender affirmation and early intervention, their levels of anxiety and depression are near-normal. They then have suicide rates higher than the general population but not significantly higher. More research is required.
Conservative activist and attorney Matt Barber asks rhetorically if a professor, school counselor, or a roommate would dare to link Schultz's sexuality with his lingering mental problems. To do so, he says, would bring the label "homophobe" and likely loss of a job.

"No one dare challenge the new LGBT orthodoxy that says gender identity is a subjective thing," says Barber. "No," he adds, "they're struggling with a mental disorder."
Ah yes, Christians are somehow the victims. That is what this five-watt bulb is implying. Sure. By the way, Barber is not an attorney — he is a lawyer. He doesn't seem to be licensed to practice law anywhere. More importantly, Barber is creating environments that do not exist. Nonconforming sexuality is a stresser. Idiots like Barber create additional external stress. If someone is having difficulty coping with that stress then they need counseling at a minimum. Furthermore, only Christian conservatives consider gender identity subjective or a choice.

Thus, a properly trained counselor, psychologist of psychiatrist certainly would have made the connection between Schultz's distress and his sexuality. That clinician would not have been labeled a homophobe. Once again Mr. Barber proves to have the critical thinking skills of packaged salad. He has established a scenario for victimization that does not exist.

Just to be clear, by changing gender identity disorder to gender dysphoria the psychiatric community recognizes that there is no medical intervention that will cause a person who has gender dysphoria not to have it. The psychiatric focus is therefore on relieving the symptoms of gender dysphoria. Gender affirmation seems to be quite effective. Some people might also require medication. The change does not mean that people with gender dysphoria do not require mental health care. To suggest otherwise is the product of simplistic thinking.

I must add that Mr. Barber is in no position to make a psychiatric assessment of anyone. Aside from the fact that he has no training or experience he seems to be personally unstable. He might very well be insecure about his own sexuality and might, therefore, employ his extreme homophobia as a coping mechanism. I have neither the training nor experience to make a diagnosis but at least mine is a possibility worthy of exploration.
What ultimately killed Schultz, Barber says, is a culture of "homo-fascism" that celebrated an obviously mentally ill young man then blamed the cops who were forced to take his life.
“Homo-facism” means gay people who insist on being treated fairly. One has to wonder why Barber is so determined to denigrate gay people. Why is he so boorish? Mr. Barber lacks the introspection to realize that his apparent obsession is unhealthy to him and to others around him.

Barber's slavish devotion to religion, extreme homophobia and an all-consuming need to disparage LGBT people while asserting omniscience all point to a serious personality disorder.
1 A video shows Schultz shouting at the police “Shoot me!” The family's attorney provides a plausible alternative explanation claiming that the kid was not trying to get shot: “I think [Scout] was having a mental breakdown and didn’t know what to do.”

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