Sunday, September 23, 2018

The disgraceful McHugh crew

At VVS two physicians mislead and misinform on behalf of the Church
Listening to Paul R. McHugh are (L-R) Peter Sprigg of Family Research Counsel, (Activist Mommy) Elizabeth Johnston and Hate Group Leader (American College of Pediatricians) Michelle Cretella.
Washington DC: On Saturday, the Values Voter Summit assembled a panel to discuss the harms caused by “gender ideology.” Perhaps they want to confirm the fact that the prime sponsor of VVS, Family Research Council, is an anti-LGBT hate group.

Neither Peter Sprigg nor Elizabeth Johnston know anything about juvenile gender dysphoria. Sprigg's training is as a Baptist preacher. Johnston is just a Facebook celebrity.

The term “gender ideology” is used by religious conservatives to suggest that being transgender is a philosophy or a doctrine. Obviously they are confusing something that they do not approve of with the religion that has trapped them in unprofessional surroundings.

The simple fact is that people become transgender to mitigate the suffering caused by gender dysphoria. The research (which is becoming increasingly abundant) demonstrates that teens who transition have levels of stress reasonably comparable to the general public.

Another fact is that Michelle Cretella and Paul McHugh are being dishonest. They know perfectly well that there is no intervention known to medical science that addresses gender dysphoria.

Fortunately neither of these quacks still practice medicine. They are both advocates of thoroughly discredited conversion therapy which they tweaked to address gender dysphoria. No research published to a respectable peer-reviewed academic journal supports conversion therapy for either sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to Michelle Cretella:
America is engaged in large-scale child abuse and complicit in this is my field, my field of pediatrics, psychiatry, our education system, mass media and social media.
That is quite an expansive conspiracy. Cretella's own (former) professional association, American Academy of Pediatrics, has issued guidelines for trans youth that directly contradict Cretella.

Should a parent listen to the unlicensed Dr. Cretella or the highly respected peer organization? Cretella would have people believe that AAP's guidelines are a politically correct conspiracy.

If Cretella has some research to support her position, that would be one thing. Cretella's guidance is based upon the opinions of Vatican eunuchs who are theologians and catechists, not physicians.

Cretella went on to urge the audience not to employ the language of “transgender activists.” According to Cretella, every being has a biological sex, not something additional called a gender or a gender identity hardwired into one's brain or DNA.

All those “transgender activists” are actually highly trained doctors and scientists. For example, the lead author of the AAP statement is Jason Richard Rafferty. Rafferty has an MD, a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Education, all from Harvard. He is triple board certified: Pediatrics, General Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

If Michelle Cretella is so certain that Dr. Rafferty is acting as an advocate rather than a doctor and scientist then I would suggest that she challenge Rafferty to a debate. Rafferty and the other authors of the AAP statement cited 94 peer-reviewed studies. Cretella (and McHugh) can cite none.

What Cretella said is that gender does not exist. That assertion is quackery supported, not by research, but by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The science is unambiguous: Gender is a separate construct from natal sex. Were that not the case then nobody would have gender dysphoria in the first place. Cretella and McHugh say that people do not have a psychiatric condition, they are just confused. There is no research to support that contention.

Cretella reiterates her quackery:
Sex is not assigned by people. I don't assign sex to my patients when I see them in the delivery room. It declares itself. We recognize it. Our bodies tell us who we are.
Fortunately, Cretella has not had patients for a number of years and she was not an obstetrician. This is just another way to say that gender does not exist. She is doing so as a Defender of the Faith — not as a medical doctor.

Cretella went on to describe the side effects of puberty blockers and hormones that some transgender people use. There is no denying that hormones have side effects. The question becomes a balance between side effects and benefits. Gender dysphoria is a very serious condition. Because of the potential for self-harm it can be life threatening.

Michelle Cretella accepts the teachings of the Catholic Church which disapproves of gender transitioning. To promote religious dogma she needs to change the reality of what gender dysphoria is. That is why we end up with her asserting that there is no such thing as gender as a separate construct from natal sex.

Furthermore, Cretella wants us to believe (in spite of a huge body of evidence otherwise) that gender dysphoria is just some form of confusion that people can be talked out of. She is unbothered by the lack of evidence to support her contention that the condition can disappear because of talk therapy.

According to the Christian Post:
To many gasps and other expressions of horror from the crowd, Cretella described several instances in which pediatricians disseminated confusing messages to young children about their sex.

One Los Angeles based pediatrician counseled an 8-year-old girl who was tomboyish, athletic and being bullied at school. After asking the child if she was a boy or girl, and the child replied that she was indeed a girl, the pediatrician used an example of a Pop-Tart to suggest otherwise.
Even if that parson's story is true, so what? One sub par practitioner does not undercut the truth about gender and gender affirmation. Cretella is also a sub par practitioner and she promotes conversion therapy which is pseudoscience.

Cretella chimed in further:
If individual beliefs trump reality, our First Amendment rights are gone. No parent rights, no religious rights, and [no] girls' and women's rights. Total erasure. We need to stand up not just for the sake of our children but for our very most basic liberties.
Aside from the fact that gender is reality, that makes no sense whatsoever. It is a word salad comprised of Tea Party rhetoric, medical quackery and crackpot religious dogma.

Paul McHugh was no better than Cretella.

McHugh cited that Swedish study to incorrectly claim that gender affirmation has no effect on the suicide rate. He claims, of course, that Sweden is a very tolerant country. What McHugh intentionally fails to mention is that some of the sample had surgery as far back as 1973. The most recent surgery was 15 years ago (2003).

Furthermore, participants were much older on average than today's surgical candidates. As such they would have had a difficult time passing as their gender. The study's conclusion, which McHugh also fails to mention, does not support his position derived from his religious beliefs:
Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group.
In addition, candidates for gender affirming surgery are usually required to participate in a year of professional counseling prior to surgery. I have no idea what the protocol was 30 or 40 years ago. Without citing specifics, McHugh spouted this gibberish:
We are now working to give children, particularly hormones and surgery, that we are not sure are the best for them. The scan data that is available for these treatments and hormones have been described officially in the literature as evidence of low-quality.
“Scan data” is ambiguous. However, I suspect that he is referring to x-ray, MRI or CAT-scan data of the organs of patients who have received hormones. Furthermore, the word “officially” is intentionally misleading. Medical literature (peer-reviewed research) is usually free of official authority.

McHugh also indulged in the notion that children have gender dysphoria because of social contagion. That is just noisy nonsense and, yes, I am aware of the Littman paper.

If any of this rhetoric from Cretella and McHugh was the result of scientific investigation  I would have some respect for their statements. The reality is that these are two non-practicing physicians who are misleading and misinforming people in order to conform medical science to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Cretella is not a psychiatrist. While McHugh was a psychiatrist this is not his area of expertise and he has not practiced medicine in a number of years. Neither Cretella nor McHugh are qualified to hold themselves out as experts on juvenile gender dysphoria.

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