Thursday, November 15, 2018

Hateful propaganda from Witherspoon's pseudo-intellectual blog

Yet another absurd attempt at conforming the real world to the catechism of the Catholic Church.
The title of the latest incoherent anti-LGBT polemic from Witherspoon Institute is: Where Angels Fear to Tread: The Fraud of Transgenderism. I note that it has also been published to an orthodox Anglican outlet. The authors are Babette Francis and John Ballantyne.

Ms. Francis heads the Australian Endeavour Forum which is like the hate group World Congress of Families. Mr. Ballantyne claims to be a Melbourne-based historian and journalist. I cannot find an academic appointment.

In other words, neither of these individuals is remotely qualified to weigh in on medical science. Neither am I but the facts I state and the opinions I render are consistent with the overwhelming consensus of science regarding gender.

Every time I view one of these things I question the determination of people to reconcile faith-based religion with evidence-based science. Most intelligent and rational people concur that when faith and science are in conflict, the science prevails. But not these two.
Hard on the heels of the recent global campaign to legalize same-sex “marriage” has come another more radical product of the sexual revolution: the promotion across all levels of society of the radical ideology of transgenderism.
These people are incapable of authoring a single sentence without editorial bias. Ultra-conservative Christianity is an ideology. Being transgender is not.

Transgender people have existed since the beginning of time. It is referenced in ancient Hindu texts as a third sex. Pottery shards found in ancient Egypt from around 2000 BCE reveal the presence of transgender people.

Being transgender has nothing to do with either marriage equality or the so-called sexual revolution. Some people experience incongruent gender and sex. It causes, in some people, extreme discomfort; suffering. The misery can be abated by assuming their gender. It is called gender-affirmation and it is fully supported by medical science. Some Christian conservatives are determined not to understand this utterly simple dynamic.
Referring to the current campaign to promote transgenderism, Drs. Michelle Cretella and Felipe E. Vizcarrondo, two American pediatricians, recently commented that:
In the last five years, gender ideology has overtaken every major public institution in our society from mass and social media…
Michelle Cretella is a devout defender of the faith. She is also a hate group leader (American College of Pediatricians). Felipe E. Vizcarrondo is a well regarded Miami physician. He is also a prolific contributor to Catholic media and, in this case, has favored faith over science. I just posted a warning at Healthgrades.

Once people refer to “gender ideology” they have lost all credibility. Conservative Christianity is an ideology. Being transgender is a reaction to a medical condition. It is not subject to approval.
Dr. John Whitehall, Professor of Pediatrics at Sydney University, has frequently warned about the grave medical risks associated with the massive hormonal and surgical intervention in the body of a child in the futile pursuit of a change of sex.
I have done some research on Dr. Whitehall. He admits that he has never treated a child with gender dysphoria and has compared himself to Jesus in battling his many critics. The most important thing is that he is at odds with the position of the largest and most prestigious organization of pediatricians in the world: The American Academy of Pediatrics. Whitehall insists that gender diverse children are mentally ill. This contradicts the finding of the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, pretty much the entire medical establishment.

Whitehall, Francis and Ballantyne are obsessed with the “Dutch Protocol.” This includes:
The blocking of puberty: drugs known as puberty-blockers are administered. Dr. Whitehall warns that “The effects of blockers are not ‘safe’ and ‘reversible,’ as asserted by proponents of the Dutch Protocol.”
Whitehall is out of his depth. He is also in disagreement with the Endocrine Society. If puberty blockers are withdrawn the effect is that the child experiences puberty.

In order to assure that his credibility is thoroughly destroyed Whitehall quotes (as authoritative) from an article in the religious blog New Atlantis which was not subjected to peer review. Paul W. Hruz joined McHugh and Mayer. Of the three, Hruz is an endocrinologist but his specialty is the treatment of diabetes. He has never treated a child with gender dysphoria and he is at odds with his own professional organization.
Cross-sex hormones: administering cross-sex hormones, e.g., testosterone for a female seeking to identify as male, and estrogen for a male seeking to identify as female. According to Dr. Whitehall, “In time, exposure to [these] opposite hormones will lead to chemical castration.”
Whitehall could be correct. These are patients in their later teens and they are weighing alternatives. They are fully informed of the side effects but prefer those to their misery with gender incongruence. All treatments for all ailments have side effects.

Regarding gender-affirming surgery:
Regarding the construction of alternate genitals, Dr. Whitehall observes that “these surgeries are difficult, often multi-staged, fraught with complications, and limited in outcome.”
To support his opinion he cites a nonexistent article at Quadrant, a Christian outlet. It also means that Francis and Ballantyne did not bother to check the links in their own article. It said what they wanted to hear and that was all they needed.

Later on:
Dr. Michelle Cretella has added: “From studies of adults we know that the risks of cross-sex hormones include, but are not limited to, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, diabetes, and cancers.”

The psychological consequences of transgenderism are especially alarming. A Swedish study from 2011 showed that people who “transition” had a suicide rate almost twenty times higher than the rest of the population.
Cretella isn't even licensed anymore which means that she no longer has continuing education obligations. Hormones have risks. People make informed decisions. Cretella cites an article (not peer reviewed) by Paul W. Hruz who doesn't treat people with gender dysphoria.

As for the Swedish study it includes people who had surgery more than 40 years ago. The conclusions of the study are not to avoid transitioning but to improve counseling. Who knows what the suicide rate for the same people would have been had they not transitioned?
Dr. Paul McHugh, the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, explains that “‘sex change’ is biologically impossible.” People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa.
We all know about Paul R. McHugh. He is nearly 90 years of age and has not practiced in many years. McHugh is a staunch Defender of the Faith. He has admitted to preferencing Catholic dogma over science. In short McHugh is a crackpot. In this case he is pretending that gender does not exist which is Catholic ideology.
In reality, gender dysphoria is more often than not a passing phase in the lives of certain children. The American Psychological Association’s Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology has revealed that, before the widespread promotion of transgender affirmation, 75 to 95 percent of pre-pubertal children who were uncomfortable or distressed with their biological sex eventually outgrew that distress.
Dr. Kristina Olson has done some more current research. She has received nearly $2 million in grants this year and is an acknowledged expert. Olson makes two points about desistance rates in peer-reviewed research published to esteemed academic journals:
  1. The studies on which those statistics are based are old and unreliable and;
  2. Once the discomfort is severe enough that the child transitions they almost never desist.
Dr. McHugh says: “At Johns Hopkins, after pioneering sex-change surgery, we demonstrated that the practice brought no important benefits. As a result, we stopped offering that form of treatment in the 1970s.”
40+ years ago. Very impressive. Johns Hopkins resumed gender-affirming surgery in 2017.
However, in today’s climate of political correctness, it is more than a health professional’s career is worth to offer a gender-confused patient an alternative to pursuing sex-reassignment. In some states, as Dr. McHugh has noted, “a doctor who would look into the psychological history of a transgendered boy or girl in search of a resolvable conflict could lose his or her license to practice medicine.”
Oh the poor crackpots. That is entirely untrue. McHugh cannot cite peer-reviewed research to confirm that gender dysphoria is the result of underlying psychological issues. The entire medical establishment says otherwise and McHugh is trying to conform the real world to the catechism of the Catholic Church. It doesn't work.
In the space of a few years, these sorts of severe legal prohibitions—usually known as “anti-reparative” and “anti-conversion” laws—have spread to many more jurisdictions, not only across the United States, but also in Canada, Britain, and Australia. Transgender ideology, it appears, brooks no opposition from any quarter.
These prohibitions would not exist were it not for the fact that there is no proof that these “therapies” are effective and not harmful. Quite the contrary.

After listing some victims of “political correctness.”
In the United States, Brown University succumbed to political pressure when it cancelled authorization of a news story of a recent study by one of its assistant professors of public health, Lisa Littman, on “rapid-onset gender dysphoria.”
Brown pulled the news release when the journal found serious questions about methodology. The article remains under review. No one has demonstrated what amounts to gender dysphoria contagion.
The examples described above of the ongoing intimidation—sometimes, actual sackings—of doctors and academics who question transgender dogma represent only a small part of a very sinister assault on the independence of the medical profession from political interference. Dr. Whitehall recently reflected: “In fifty years of medicine, I have not witnessed such reluctance to express an opinion among my colleagues.”
Oh bullshit. We expect medical opinions to be based on medical science which is demonstrated by publication in respectable academic journals with rigorous peer review. Attempts to persuade the public that there is such a thing as “transgender dogma” are the intellectually dishonest musings of people who are slaves to Christian dogma.

Idiotic attempts to challenge science in order to bolster religious beliefs are bound to have negative consequences. When we consult with a medical professional we expect sound medical advice based on science. We do not wish to be treated according to Christian scripture or the Talmud.

This is just one more bit of bigotry from people who cannot reconcile the fact that medicine does not correlate to Bronze Age texts.

I will continue to push back in spite of the fact that it is repetitive. I want parents to act in accordance with science. Any physician who places religion over science in treating patients is committing medical malpractice. Ms. Francis and Mr. Ballantyne, who are not doctors, are simply demonstrating their lack of curiosity and their incompetence in critical thinking.

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