Wednesday, January 10, 2018

NOM is selling Ryan Anderson's moronic book

I am a capitalist. I am not disturbed that National Organization for Marriage will receive up to a 7.5% commission from Amazon.com for peddling Ryan T. Anderson's latest book. The  book, however, and Brian Brown's marketing language, are more repulsive than they are disturbing.

Anderson's pretentious tome is titled When Harry Became Sally. In pre-release, it is priced at $23.99. The book expresses a certainty about medical science that is based upon religious dogma. Once again, faith over evidence.

While Brian S. Brown's economic logic is sound, his introduction to the book and Anderson's lack of scholarship provide a template for absurdism. I will get back to Mr. Brown but first, about that book. That idiotic, irresponsible book.

It is hardly speculative to suggest that Anderson started with the fundamentalist Catholic premise (based solely on religious dogma) that gender transitioning is evil. The intent of the book is to support the teachings of the Catholic Church with a patina of secularism. It has absolutely no correlation to the accepted medical standards for the care and treatment of transgender people.

I lack the erudition to do much more than summarize what seems to be the consensus of researchers and clinicians whose first interest is in the well-being of their patients. I realize that I am being repetitive but here is what I know (you can skip this part if you like):
  • Gender dysphoria can cause enormous stress in a child. This includes the potential for severe anxiety and depression which can lead to self-harm.
  • There does not exist a medical intervention to treat gender dysphoria. There is no talk therapy to make someone's gender congruent with their natal sex.
  • For many people, transitioning to their gender mitigates the stresses of gender dysphoria. We must remember that, without some form of relief, gender dysphoria can be as life threatening as stage IV cancer. In the case of children they, and they alone, make all of the decisions.
  • The earlier in life someone transitions, if they deem it necessary, the happier they will be as adults.
Amazon.com (via the publisher) provides a lengthy summary. If parents believe Anderson, who majored in music and then philosophy, then this book is dangerous. There are no answers here for a parent or for anyone with gender dysphoria. Anderson's experts are probably not experts. They are likely to be the same religiously motivated crackpots who have participated in Anderson's phony panels at Heritage Foundation.

What Anderson really provides are arguments for the faithful to support Church teachings. The idea is to arm them with BS in order to oppose the needs of trans people at school board meetings and other venues. There is no real concern for people because the Church's position is that transgender people do not really exist. Anderson believes that those teachings come from God and are inerrant. According to the book summary:
But can a boy truly be “trapped” in a girl’s body? Can modern medicine really “reassign” sex? Is sex something “assigned” in the first place? What’s the loving response to a friend or child experiencing a gender-identity conflict? What should our law say on these issues?

When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment provides thoughtful answers to all of these questions. Drawing on the best insights from biology, psychology, and philosophy, Ryan T. Anderson offers a balanced approach to the policy issues, a nuanced vision of human embodiment, and a sober and honest survey of the human costs of getting human nature wrong.
The language, the person trapped in the wrong body, is from 50 years ago. It doesn't mean anything anymore. The intellectually honest question is whether or not a person can have divergent gender and natal sex. Science clearly answers that question with a “yes.” Once you dismiss that with religious dogma, nothing else in the book really matters. The Church's teachings are based on ancient manuscripts and the opinions of celibate men who have no medical or scientific training. The rest of the book isn't relevant reasoning. It is debate prep.

Anderson is begging the question with regards to law and public policy. If gender dysphoria exists (the scientific view) then people with gender dysphoria should be part of a protected class. Anderson wants to impose conservative Christian beliefs on everyone else. There is no “balanced approach.” That is middle-of-the-bus theory rather than relegating the minority to the rear section. “Getting human nature wrong” provides the paradigm for the belief that gender dysphoria does not exist. Anderson (I think that he is gay) has previously stated that we are all born heterosexual and cisgender. Anything else would be a mistake and God doesn't make mistakes.

One more quote from the summary:
He reveals a grim contrast between the media’s sunny depiction and the often sad realities of gender-identity struggles. He introduces readers to people who tried to “transition” but found themselves no better off. Especially troubling is the suffering felt by adults who were encouraged to transition as children but later came to regret it.
Let's have some selective observation — just for fun.” The existence of a few people who are unhappy with their sexuality is irrelevant. There are just too many variables including the dates, family composition and the qualifications of the people who treated the individual. Just the idea that children were “encouraged” to transition is faulty. Children with gender dysphoria should be making all of the decisions.

There is one editorial review after the summary. It comes from the religious right's favorite crackpot and Defender of the Fatih, Paul R. McHugh. McHugh has never published any peer-reviewed research on human sexuality. Despite his title at Johns Hopkins, he is retired and 87 years of age. He has not practiced medicine in many years.

Now, regarding Brian S. Brown's email:
After the US Supreme Court illegitimately redefined marriage in 2015 in the anti-constitutional Obergefell ruling, the LGBT community immediately pivoted to challenging gender. After all, if marriage can be redefined, stripping it of its essential component as a gendered institution, why can't gender itself be redefined? And that is precisely the course they have been pursuing.
“Illegitimate” and “anti-constitutional” mean a decision that Brian Brown doesn't like, usually because the bishops of the Catholic Church do not like it. Accepting the scientific fact that gender and natal sex are incongruent in a small percentage of people does not “redefine” gender. That is just stupid, for lack of a better word. Moreover, there is no grand conspiracy on the part of the LGBT community and science has known about gender dysphoria (previously known as gender identity disorder) for many years. Minneapolis identified trans people as a protected class about 40 years ago.

The reality is that only ten years ago, the consensus was to prevent children from becoming transgender. Over the last few years that has changed. We don't have more transgender people in total but there are more transgender and gender nonconforming school kids. Their presence has created a national Christian shit fit. The religious right has created a controversy that never should have existed. Public policy reflects the religiosity of the region that these kids are in. In North Carolina, for example, they were targeted for discrimination. In other locales they have been accommodated without incident. You would think, from the Christian reaction, that there are hordes of these children. We are talking about one or two students in the average high school. Get a grip!

Brown is also re-purposing the language used to oppose marriage equality. How did that work out for him, and Anderson for that matter?

It gets worse:
Ryan forthrightly uses reason and science to challenge the false narrative of the LGBT community, and exposes the consequences to society – and to those who are confused about their gender – of pursuing this dangerous idea. He offers those struggling to understand this issue a loving, honest and nuanced look at the facts of the matter …
It is Brown and Anderson who are confused because, for them, religion is a cult. Nor are there consequences for society to provide accommodations for a small percentage of the population (about 0.6%). It is discrimination, ignorance and backward thinking that have consequences for society and there is nothing “loving” about substituting what amounts to superstition for mainstream medical science. Anderson is peddling willful ignorance and Brown is peddling Anderson.

I love this part:
Ryan Anderson is a true champion for marriage. In 2014, NOM bestowed upon him the Public Square Leadership Award for his courageous witness to the truth of marriage in academia, on college campuses, in the media and throughout the culture.
If you want to see something pathetic, here is Robert P. George giving an award to Anderson on behalf of an irrelevant pressure group. Anderson mentions that he has four brothers, a fact I did not previously know. I wonder where, in the order, he was born. The male sibling effect is remarkably efficient as a predictor of sexual orientation.
In the end some of the faithful might buy this book to confirm what they already “know.” They will believe that they are opposing a movement that is antagonistic to their religion. In reality there is always the possibility that they will be opposing their own sons and daughters; nieces and nephews. Gender dysphoria is a condition that is agnostic.

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