Thursday, February 1, 2018

The intellectual dishonesty is more appalling than the anti-LGBT premise

For self-aggrandizement, how many conservative Christians will recycle Paul McHugh's porous arguments? The line forms to Ryan T. Anderson's right.
Daniel Payne
Daniel Payne
Daniel Payne required 2,300 words of Gish Gallop to assert the Christian ideology that transgender people are delusional and that we are experiencing a transgender fad. The outlet for Payne's drivel is Witherspoon Institute's blog. Witherspoon is an ultra-conservative Catholic organization run by an Opus Dei numerary. It funded most of the thoroughly debunked Regnerus “research” in an attempt to derail marriage equality. Most of the spew that appears on Witherspoon's blog is pseudo-intellectual religious gibberish masquerading as secular perspective.

I require only the title, the subtitle and the oFor self-aggrandizement, how many conservative Christians will recycle Paul McHugh's porous arguments? The line forms to Ryan T. Anderson's right.

ne paragraph to demolish this nonsense. There is nothing original in Payne's diatribe titled: “Casualties of a Social, Psychological, and Medical Fad: The Dangers of Transgender Ideology in Medicine.” We have seen it all before from the usual suspects. The subtitle and first paragraph read:
Dr. Paul McHugh is optimistic that the ascendency of transgender ideology is a passing fad. Yet the damage that transgender ideology can wreak in even just ten or fifteen years—the hormones, the surgery, the irreversible decisions, the mutilated bodies—is considerable.

If popular opinion is to be believed, living as if one were the opposite sex is simply a healthy variant on a spectrum rather than a mental disease in need of serious treatment. What transgender individuals need, the thinking goes, is not to be told that they are delusional and in need of psychotherapy; it is for society to accept them as they are, and for medical and psychological professionals to help them “transition” to their “true gender.”

There is nothing faddish about being transgender. What is conveniently mis-characterized as a fad is really an indication that younger people suffering with gender dysphoria are being treated earlier in life. A 2008 peer-reviewed paper out of VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam explains this quite clearly and, again, that's from ten years ago reporting a change that began five to six years prior:
Over the last 5–6 years the age of adolescents applying for SR has dropped considerably. It is no longer unusual to have 12-year-olds presenting at gender identity clinics with the wish to undergo SR [non-surgical sex reassignment]. Most are accompanied and supported by their parents. These youngsters are no longer willing to wait for many years, knowing that the alienating experience of development of the secondary sex characteristics of their biological sex by then will have been completed and can only be incompletely reversed at a high price of medical interventions.
Fifteen years later that does not describe a fad. It is evidence of an advance in medicine that relieves suffering and prevents self-harm.


Conservative Christianity is an ideology. Payne is projecting because it is his polemic that is an expression of an ideology. A small group of people are intent on recycling the same talking points as if their iteration will provide a unique viewpoint.

Perhaps conservative Christian adherents are incapable of appreciating the difference between an ideology and informed medical practice. The dedicated clinicians who specialize in this area of medicine have only one concern: The best interests of their patients. Young people are carefully evaluated, counseled and re-evaluated over long periods of time, usually by a team of therapists. Many, if not most, of their patients never transition. Those who do are suffering acute anxiety and depression. They are getting relief by transitioning and, as the same study points out, they function quite normally as a result:
In several studies this protocol has been evaluated. From these studies it appeared that the youth who were selected for early hormone treatment (starting between 16 and 18 years) no longer suffered from gender dysphoria, and that 1–5 years after surgery, they were socially and psychologically functioning not very different from their peers.
That result might not align with biblical lore but, by any reasonable standard, it is an extremely favorable medical outcome.

Conservative Christians would have people believe that the highly
skilled and trained clinicians who treat children are crazed crackpots
Dr. Paul McHugh

Dr. McHugh is pushing 90 and has not practiced medicine in years. He is first and foremost an orthodox Catholic and Defender of the Faith. Furthermore, post mortem examinations have found that transgender people have some brain structures consistent with the opposite sex. There is much more to this than McHugh will acknowledge.

McHugh preferences religion over science, For example, to support the teachings of the Church, McHugh submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the Proposition 8 case arguing that homosexuality is a choice. He is, therefore, an advocate of discredited conversion therapy. McHugh is now attempting to re-purpose conversion nonsense to children suffering with gender dysphoria. The former member of the United State Conference of Catholic Bishop's National Review Board has interests other than what is best for patients.

Delusional and in need of psychotherapy

Ten to 15 years ago doctors prevented young people from becoming transgender. It doesn't work. Perhaps Mr. Payne can cite some current peer-reviewed research supporting psychotherapy to treat gender dysphoria. There exists no known medical intervention to directly treat gender dysphoria. Proposing that one exists represents dishonesty to support religious wishful thinking.

The Witherspoon blog is edited by Ryan T. Anderson. Apparently he will publish anything, no matter how moronic, if it seems to support his equally moronic book about transgender people. Anderson was a music major who became a philosopher. The poseur is now an expert in sexuality. Sure. We don't know much about Payne's background but it is safe to say that he lacks expertise in medicine or counseling (as well as common sense).

The risks of promoting this religious bullshit are all too real. Were parents to embrace this, children will needlessly suffer. Moreover, this schlock scholarship becomes the pretext for discrimination and oppression of a particularly vulnerable group of people. Pushing junk science for religious purposes is a form of bigotry that will not be easily forgiven. How many child suicides will be acceptable if Christianity is supported?

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