Monday, December 11, 2017

Witherspoon poseurs urge Trump to counter 'transgender ideology' in public schools

Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins
Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins
We are informed that Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins are senior fellows with the American Principles Project. APP was co-founded by Robert George and Luis Tellez, an Opus Dei numerary. The two were co-founders of Witherspoon Institute and National Organization for Marriage.

APP has a long history of anti-LGBT bigotry. In 2009, for what it called “The Innocence Project,” George recorded a video claiming that Kevin Jennings, an Obama appointee to the U.S. Department of Education, posed a threat to children because Jennings is gay. American Principles Project has tried to scrub that from their site but we have long memories.

The current diatribe, published to Witherspoon's blog, does nothing to challenge American Principles Project's anti-LGBT reputation. The complete title of the polemic is: “Will the Trump Administration Push Back Against Transgender Ideology in Schools?”

The meaningless phrase, “transgender ideology,” was coined by Pope Francis. It is meaningless because an ideology is a belief system based on faith. Being transgender is how people with gender dysphoria mitigate their symptoms (depression and anxiety) through gender affirmation. It is an issue of medical science. Unlike faith, science is based on evidence. Because the subject is public schools, this is about trans and gender nonconforming youth. No kid ever volunteered to have gender dysphoria. No kid ever wanted to be transgender.

Robbins' and McGroarty's subtitle is no more intellectually honest than the title:
Until policy-makers and the public realize the factual and moral bankruptcy of transgender ideology, pressure will continue to mount to normalize the tragically abnormal.
When they attempt to address issues regarding trans youth the real subject is gender dysphoria. How can a medical condition be morally bankrupt? Medical science knows of no cure or even treatment for gender dysphoria. The only means of addressing the symptoms is gender affirmation. When children are denied the ability to express their gender, children die. It is just that simple.

After noting that Betsy DeVos rescinded Obama era guidance on trans kids in public schools:
But on the other hand, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson issued a letter to OCR [ED Office of Civil Rights] regional directors that suggests that the overreach of the Obama years may linger under Trump. While this letter was intended to resolve questions about how OCR will handle complaints filed by transgender students, observers on both sides of the issue are confused about its actual meaning.

This confusion is harmful to constitutional governance, to the safe and efficient operation of public schools, to parental rights, and ultimately to students who identify as transgender themselves.
What is harmful to transgender students is the ideology of conservative Christians who have a religious objection to people being transgender. Equally harmful to trans youth is Trump's pandering to conservative Christians who were largely responsible for his election.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination in federally funded education programs “on the basis of sex.” That phrase is the nub of the legal dispute about claims based not on sex but on confusion about sex.
Before getting to the legalities, perhaps these folks should address the plight of vulnerable trans kids in public schools. Furthermore, claiming that trans people are confused is a form of Christian opprobrium suggesting that we need to un-confuse them. Trans people are not confused. To the contrary, they are quite certain about their gender. Medical science recognizes that sex and gender are two different constructs. Furthermore — one more time — there is no known medical intervention that cures or diminishes gender dysphoria.
The letter also lists several types of allegations over which OCR may assert jurisdiction. These include failure to assess whether a hostile environment is created by
sexual harassment (i.e., unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature) or gender-based harassment (i.e., based on sex stereotyping, such as acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex-stereotyping, such as refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred name or pronouns when the school uses preferred names for gender-conforming students or when the refusal is motivated by animus toward people who do not conform to sex stereotypes) . . .
Right because people with a medical condition should not be punished for having a medical condition. The ideology of calling a medical condition an ideology doesn't make it so. Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty have introduced too much bullshit to be taken seriously or to be considered intellectually honest. They are modern Knights Templar — Defenders of the Faith.
Feelings, Not Law

Too many of the letter’s provisions appear to be based on feelings, not law. Obviously, any discriminatory conduct directed toward a student who identifies as transgender because of his or her biological sex falls within the prohibitions of Title IX, as it would if directed at any other student. …
The claim is that psychiatric conditions are somehow less credible than physical conditions. Last time I checked the rigors of board certification of a psychiatrist are comparable to those of a surgeon. Both graduate from medical school and then enter residency programs for several years. Are psychiatrists fakirs? Relegating psychiatric conditions to confusion doesn't make it so.
What About Parental Rights?
While there are certainly parents who are willing and even eager to play along with the fantasy, many parents are horrified at the thought that their daughter would be treated as a boy or their son as a girl.
At the risk of repeating myself, Christianity is a belief system while science is based on evidence. These two authors do violence to trans youth by relegating it to fantasy which is another form of claiming it is confusion. Gender is very real. The scientific consensus is that gender, at times, is incongruent with sex. That is a medical fact. Children do not require permission to have gender dysphoria or any other medical condition.

No parent desires their child to have gender dysphoria any more than they want their child to have any other condition. Parents have a responsibility to consult with psychiatrists who have experience in this field. Not all children with gender dysphoria become transgender but every child with gender dysphoria needs to be professionally evaluated — and not by someone who places religious ideology above science.
Normalizing Gender Dysphoria Hurts Children

Dr. Paul McHugh, former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital, has risked his reputation in the increasingly politicized world of psychiatry by openly decrying the normalization of gender dysphoria in children. As McHugh has explained here at Public Discourse, gender dysphoria is a psychosocial disorder that, in the vast majority of cases, will resolve itself as children reach maturity.
Here we go. McHugh is an admitted defender of the faith. He has not published any of his “feelings” to a mainstream, peer-reviewed medical journal. Rather, he opines on conservative Christian blogs. Nor has McHugh done any original research. Rather, he performs literature reviews which, through selective observation, can prove or disprove just about anything short of liverwurst curing cancer. Perhaps even that limitation could be overcome by a motivated practitioner.

Furthermore, McHugh — in his eighties — has not practiced medicine in many years and medicine has changed with the evidence. Johns Hopkins University (Johns Hopkins Medicine and Health System), for example, resumed providing gender affirming surgery more than a year ago. Ten years ago, the protocol was to prevent kids from becoming transgender on the premise that they would grow out of it. Well, they do not grow out of it and the current guidelines allow a child to transition if the child is determined to do so. That approach saves lives.

The idea that kids grow out of gender dysphoria is based on George A. Rekers' flawed “Sissy-Boy Study” from about 40 years ago. Yes, that is the same George Rekers — profoundly anti-gay psychologist and proud member of NARTH — who took a 20 year-old boy (who he found on with him on a European vacation. was a site used to match gay male prostitutes with prospective clients.
The American College of Pediatricians (ACP)—a small, traditionalist alternative to the American Academy of Pediatrics—is blunt about its opposition to enabling the transgender fantasy: “Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.”
“Traditionalist” means Christian conservative and ACPeds is designated an anti-LGBT hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center. ACPeds is more concerned with religious ideology than science.
Both McHugh and Cretella [president of ACPeds] observe that the studies we do have available show that physical treatments for gender dysphoria don’t seem to solve the underlying psychological problems. Cretella reports, “Adults who undergo sex reassignment—even in Sweden, which is among the most LGBT-affirming countries—have a suicide rate nearly 20 times greater than that of the general population.” And as for the charge by LGBT activists that failing to facilitate gender dysphoria will lead to more suicides of children and youth, Cretella responds:
Neither Cretella nor the two authors of this essay have bothered to do what I have done which is to contact the author of the Swedish study. She assigns the Meyer Minority Stress Model to the problems. As progressive as Sweden is today, many of the study's subjects transitioned several decades ago. Robbins and McGroarty are indulging in what McHugh does. They are attempting to prove something through selective observation — ignoring the vast body of peer-reviewed current research.

Cretella, by the way, has never published research to a peer-reviewed journal.
Despite the medical evidence, opportunities for genuine treatment are receding before the tide of politically correct maltreatment. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health claims that the radical transitioning procedures are “safe.” “Two leading pediatric associations—the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Endocrine Society,” Cretella writes, “have followed in lockstep, endorsing the transition-affirmation approach even as the latter organization concedes within its own guidelines that the transition-affirming protocol is based on low evidence.”
What “medical evidence” are these people referring to? Cretella isn't even licensed to practice medicine and is still a staunch proponent of gay conversion therapy in order to conform to the ideology of the Catholic Church. The bottom line is that the Endocrine Society has endorsed the use of puberty blockers and hormones for gender affirming treatment. The American Academy of Pediatrics endorses gender affirmation for the treatment of gender dysphoria. Claiming that they are just being politically correct is the refuge of ideologists when evidence fails to conform to their ideology.
Seven states have already banned “conversion” therapy that might help dysphoric children, and others may soon follow suit. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has introduced a similar bill proposing nationwide legislation.
That's right because conversion therapy is based on religious ideology, not science. It cannot be proved to be either safe or effective. To the contrary it is toxic and ineffective.

This thing comes to a preposterous conclusion:
Until policymakers and the public realize the factual and moral bankruptcy of transgender ideology, pressure will continue to mount to normalize the tragically abnormal. Children who identify as transgender are being used as pawns in a political game. Our schools must resist being drawn into complicity with this travesty, but it’s not clear that the Trump administration understands this. Let us hope that DOEd and OCR will do the right thing for schools, parents, and children.
Being transgender is not a moral issue and the facts, the evidence found in peer-reviewed research, support gender affirmation. The idea that the kids are pawns is just rhetoric. There is no evidence that these two theorists have any concern for the welfare of gender dysphoric children. They have placed religious tenets above the best interests of kids.

Any child who is transgender is so because of a determination to be so. They are determined because they are finding relief from what can be a debilitating condition. What is most disturbing is that people who are bound to a religious ideology are attacking something that doesn't conform to their ideology by calling what they do not like an ideology. I call it intellectually dishonest bullshit. The next time someone in their family has a serious medical condition they should seek out a diagnosis and treatment from a priest. Who needs X-rays when a celibate will do?

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