Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Hate Group Propagandist's Dishonesty on the Rise

Pending legislation in California provides an opportunity for the holier-than-thou set to trot out deceitful anti-LGBTQ talking points in a letter to the state's legislators.
Peter Sprigg
Wednesday, Peter Sprigg, on behalf of Family Research Council, is promoting misleading anti-transgender hyperbole. Sprigg, a Baptist minister, is FRC's purported LGBTQ “expert.” His latest deceptive bombast is titled: Amidst a Global Pandemic, California Legislators Seek $15 Million for Transgender Hormone Therapy and Dance Classes.

Sprigg's spew is one of the reasons that Family Research Council is deemed an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Peter Sprigg provides the talking points to support FRC's bigoted agenda.

In this case we begin with Sprigg's title which asserts that concern for transgender healthcare is inappropriate during the coronavirus crisis. I can do the same thing: Amidst a Global Pandemic a Hate Group is Promoting Bigotry and Ignorance.

The fact that things happen during a pandemic which have no relationship to the pandemic does not mean that those things are somehow unworthy of attention.

I will get to Sprigg's BS about dance classes later.

Mr. Sprigg is a graduate of the Paul Joseph Goebbels Academy of Cognitive Dissonance (I accept the Godwin).
Dear California Legislators:

I am writing to urge that you oppose Assembly Bill 2218, which would establish a “Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund” with an appropriation of $15 million. I am writing on behalf of Family Research Council …
Well of course Sprigg opposes anything that might benefit a transgender person:
  1. Peter Sprigg is a zero-sum adherent. He believes that anything that benefits an LGBTQ person is to the detriment of the hate group.
  2. Peter Sprigg objects to the existence of transgender people because he is a biblical literalist and the reality of trans folks poses a contradiction with scripture.
The Christian right has a universal hotkey to type out this deception:
No “hormone therapy” (neither puberty-blocking hormones nor cross-sex hormones) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the purposes of facilitating gender transition.
The above is true but irrelevant. About 25% of all prescriptions are for off-label conditions. GnRH agonists (puberty blockers), for example, are proven safe and effective for treating a number of conditions including prostate cancer and precocious puberty.

They are equally safe for treating children with gender dysphoria. The same is true for hormones which have scores, if not hundreds, of uses. The experts in this field, the Endocrine Society and the Pediatric Endocrine Society, endorse the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in their clinical practice guidelines.

Later on, in the same paragraph, Peter Sprigg adds more bovine matter to his mountain of dishonesty:
And the American Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health reported that “steroidal hormones,” “GnRH analogs” (puberty blockers) and “antiandrogens” are all used “off-label” for “gender re-affirming therapy”—because their use “lacks scientific evidence.”
The above is an outright lie. That is not what the report says. It is best summarized with this graphic:
As you can see, there are off-label uses of hormone therapies which are “supported by strong scientific evidence.” Compounded hormones, by the way, are custom-made by a patient's pharmacist and are strongly disapproved of (as you can see).

Add yet another fetid object:
…the lack of proof that using these hormones for gender transition is safe and effective is a strong argument against the state funding these largely experimental treatments.
There is considerable proof that these therapies are safe and effective. Proof comes in the form of research published to reputable academic journals. FDA approval requires a long and expensive voyage through the agency's bureaucracy.

Sprigg is building a bullshit skyscraper:
Similarly, evidence does not support the assertion that gender reassignment surgery is “medically necessary.” In 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (CMS) declined to issue a new “national coverage determination” (NCD) that would mandate coverage for such surgery under Medicare …
The first sentence of that decision reads:
Currently, the local Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) determine coverage of gender reassignment surgery on a case-by-case basis.
Sprigg fails to appreciate that this was a Medicare determination (for senior citizens). Furthermore, Medicare continues to make determinations on a case-by-case basis. But Sprigg offers another deliberate lie:
…a new “national coverage determination” (NCD) that would mandate coverage for such surgery under Medicare, declaring that “there is not enough high quality evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes.”
There is no period after the word “outcomes.” The quoted passage is much lengthier (emphasis added):
…there is not enough high quality evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria and whether patients most likely to benefit from these types of surgical intervention can be identified prospectively.
Later on, more deception:
One of the strongest studies, out of Sweden, showed a suicide rate among post-surgical transgender patients that was 19 times that of the general population.
Sprigg omits the description of participants in the 2011 study: “All 324 sex-reassigned persons (191 male-to-females, 133 female-to-males) in Sweden, 1973–2003.” So yeah, people who had gender confirmation surgery a half-century ago faced stigmatization and marginalization.

These people did not commit suicide because they had surgery. They likely committed suicide because of bigots like Peter Sprigg who has a religious objection to transgender people. In fact, the conclusions of the study were not to eliminate gender confirmation surgery.

They concluded that the surgery was effective but that is needed to be augmented with other therapies:
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.
Reverting to form (ugh!):
In addition to directly funding procedures of questionable medical value (as well as “guided meditation” and “dancing, painting, and writing classes”), this bill would also fund programming that essentially amounts to ideological indoctrination, in the form of “trans-inclusive best practices” and the creation of “educational materials” and “capacity building training.”
Sprigg edited out important information:
The grants shall be available to Trans-led organizations for the purpose of facilitating therapeutic arts programs, such as dancing, painting, or writing.
The key word is “therapeutic.” Art therapy is a long-accepted form of psychological healing. Less Sprigg:Less healing required. And again:
The grants shall be available to Trans-led organizations for the purpose of increasing the capacity of health care professionals to effectively provide transgender health care and institute trans-inclusive best practices. This includes the creation of educational materials or facilitation of capacity building trainings.
Training clinicians on how to best serve an underserved and marginalized population is not some form of sinister indoctrination. Since when is “best practices” pejorative?

Always the victim:
It also seems ironic that the sponsors of this legislation, who I presume would support laws to prohibit “discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity,” are actually mandating such discrimination by giving favored treatment to organizations that meet a numerical quota of officers, board members, or a fiscal sponsor who themselves “identify as TGI” (“transgender, gender nonconforming, or intersex”).
Discriminating against whom exactly? Coordinating activities through a related group makes perfect sense and helps to ensure that the money is spent appropriately.

Sprigg goes off on his coronavirus jihad but it is really silly. The bill makes available $15 million. That amounts to 0.007% of the state's budget. For every million dollars the state spends, 70 bucks makes its way to this program.

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