Monday, October 1, 2018

Nat'l Catholic Register: "Is Transgenderism in Teens Contagious?"

Michelle Cretella makes another appearance to spread her nonsense on behalf of the Church.
Marcia Segelstein interviews Michelle Cretella re: trans youth
Image credit: National Catholic Register
It would be easy to overlook a post by Marcia Segelstein at National Catholic Register. However, NCR has an enormous readership and posts are echoed elsewhere.

When it comes to the health care of their children parents need to make some important decisions and those should be based on evidentiary science in contrast to religious dogma.

The religious dogma is very seductive because no one wants one of their kids to suffer from gender dysphoria and possibly become transgender. Telling parents that their kids will outgrow the condition is something that most parents will want to hear and for many kids that is the reality. However, that is not always the case. Then what?

The good news is that the medical professionals who specialize in this area are adept at objectively diagnosing the condition and its severity. To combat this reality, the Defenders of the Faith portray the medical professionals as “activists.” and “elites.” They want parents to believe that if they seek treatment for their child from a doctor who specializes in juvenile gender dysphoria that the physician will cause the child to become transgender. That, of course, is baloney.

NCR's constituent parents are already predisposed to believe the dogma. All it takes are some articles like the one in NCR citing a former pediatrician who sounds authoritative and parents might allow a child to suffer and possibly resort to self-harm. The suffering and possible bloodletting exist because the Catholic Church teaches that transgender people do not exist.

According to Ms. Segelstein:
A Brown University School of Public Health study recently found that “social and peer contagion” may play a role in “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” among adolescents and young adults. Gender dysphoria is believing yourself to be the opposite gender from your biological sex. Rapid-onset gender dysphoria is when such feelings manifest themselves suddenly – within days or weeks – without having been present in early youth.
Ms. Segelstein presupposes that there is such a thing as rapid onset gender dysphoria. That has not been proved. We do not have the professional evaluations of any “adolescents and young adults” who have supposedly contracted gender dysphoria through contagion.

I am quite familiar with the Littman Study. Dr. Lisa Littman is an assistant professor (presumably non-tenured) at Brown University. Her paper is not a “Brown University School of Public Health study” as Segelstein claims. It is a Lisa Littman study. I have written about this paper (which should be deemed irrelevant). One thing that I did not appreciate when I first wrote about this is the fact that Littman is an Ob/Gyn who took an interest in gender dysphoria. It is not her field.

In my view, Littman is guilty of academic malfeasance. Academic freedom does not extend to intentionally misleading and misinforming the general public. Part of Brown's September 5 statement reads:
After the research paper was published in the Journal PLOS ONE, concerns were raised about the paper’s research design and methodology by leading academics in the field. These concerns were serious enough that PLOS ONE announced that it would conduct a post-publication re-review of the article to “seek further expert assessment on the study’s methodology and analyses.”
This gets more destructive:
In other words, Littman’s research led her to believe, as columnist Ben Shapiro wrote, “that friends and online sources could spread certain beliefs. Examples include the belief that non-specific symptoms such as feeling uncomfortable in their own skins or feeling like they don’t fit in – which could be a part of normal puberty or associated with trauma – should be perceived as gender dysphoria…”

Put more simply, adolescents can be influenced by peer pressure and social media when it comes to identifying as transgender.
Ben Shapiro does not know what he is talking about. Gender dysphoria is not a philosophy or a doctrine. Nor is there any evidence that puberty or some sort of trauma can create gender dysphoria. Moreover they are using transgender and gender dysphoria interchangeably. Not every adolescent who develops gender dysphoria will become transgender.
The study coincides with news out of the United Kingdom that in only eight years the number of children seeking sex change treatments there has increased more than 4,000 percent. A report in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper details what it calls “an explosion in the number of children wanting to change sex.”
That is very misleading as is the phrase “sex change treatments.” Honestly I cannot find the raw data anywhere. The Telegraph reports:
In 2009/10 a total of 40 girls were referred by doctors for gender treatment. By 2017/18 that number had soared to 1,806. Referrals for boys have risen from 57 to 713 in the same period.
1,806 is a very tiny number of girls (the UK has a population of nearly 66 million). We don't know what “gender treatment” means. Over the last eight years people have become more aware of gender issues and more are seeking treatment at younger ages.

Littman's paper does not “coincide” with increases over eight years in the UK. There is no evidence that the increase in the UK is due to social media or some form of contagion. Furthermore there are huge differences between referrals, diagnoses and treatment.

Enter Dr. Michelle Cretella, Defender of the Faith™
Dr. Michelle Cretella is Executive Director of the American College of Pediatricians who focused on children’s behavioral health as a general pediatrician. I asked her about the Brown University study, and the increase in children identifying as transgender.

What do you make of the Brown University study?
This study is a critical first step in identifying environmental causes of transgender identification among teens. This study could literally save lives by preventing countless teens from making permanent life-altering decisions they will later regret. Decisions such as procuring a double mastectomy at age 13. Dr. Littman is to be commended for her scholarship and courage in publishing on this politically incorrect topic.
What on earth is “transgender identification?” What saves lives is gender affirmation of children with severe gender dysphoria. That is the view of the American Academy of Pediatrics (the real professional peer group).

Cretella knows perfectly well that surgery at age 13 is very rare. Had the child in question been on puberty blockers then the surgery would likely have been unnecessary. Furthermore, she knows perfectly well that puberty blockers are fully reversible.

Transitioning is not a decision as Cretella portrays it. Children transition because they become obsessed with gaining some relief from the condition. A boy starts to present as female and immediately feels markedly better. Can we call that a “decision?”
Again, Littman did not evaluate children. Her study was of their parents. She has no first-hand knowledge how those children were presenting, what symptoms they had, how long they had them or their severity. “ 256 parents completed online surveys that met the study criteria.”
Getting back to Cretella:
Adolescents have always been subject to peer pressure. But could peer pressure, perhaps heightened by social media, actually trigger kids to believe they were born the wrong sex?
Absolutely. Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development explains what all parents and others who work with teens know: adolescence is a period of identity formation. The one job all teenagers have is to figure out who they are, to try out different roles, try on different identities. And here our society is holding out a mental illness not only as an identity, but as the explanation of, and answer to, all adolescent angst. If only they claim this identity, transition with hormones and surgery, and are affirmed in that decision, all will be well. It also does not help that being “trans” is the hottest identity you can claim these days. Adolescents have stated as much in studies.
Quite a bit of gibberish. Erikson, by the way, died 24 years ago. Cretella continues to mix gender dysphoria, gender identity, adolescence and transitioning into a meaningless soup without any logical connective tissue. No person with gender dysphoria is so because of teen angst. Adolescents are evaluated and treated by professionals with training and experience in this sub-specialty. Cretella isn't even a licensed physician which means that she has not dealt with compulsory continuing education requirements in years. Suffice it to say that no teen is trying out gender dysphoria as if she were trying out to become a cheerleader.

Cretella's confusion is intentional. She skips the requisite gender dysphoria and goes straight to transitioning because she can then claim it as a role or an identity.
Could the current rise in transgender identification among children and teens be, as the Brown study suggests, related to social contagion? Would it be fair to say that transgenderism in teens is contagious?
Yes. Regarding transgender identification, social contagion is unleashed on teens via the internet, mainstream and social media, messaging in schools, peer pressure, and sadly, from the medical elites who propagandize gender ideology as science.
And there you have it. Propagandizing medical elites are engaged in a conspiracy to assign science to an ideology. Really? So the recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics is meant to deceive the general public? For what purpose. We know why Cretella does this. She is a Church apologist. What possible reason could one of the nation's leading medical organization have for intentionally misinforming the public and its member physicians?
In your view how can parents and other adults protect kids from peer pressure that might lead to misguided beliefs and unhealthy behaviors?
Parent child connectedness is the No. 1 protective factor that is ideally nurtured across a child’s life beginning in infancy. For concrete suggestions, the American College of Pediatricians provides newsletters for parents called “Parent Talk”, and also recommends the resources of Dr. Thomas Lickona, a developmental psychologist, father and grandfather, who is also considered the Father of Modern Character Education.
“Believe my BS” is really number one followed by: “Allow me to misinform you in order to conform medical science to scripture.” As for the American College of Pediatricians, the Southern Poverty Law Center calls it a hate group.

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