The transgender tragedy

Our American Experiment colleague Kathy Kersten has an article in this month’s First Things that I will try to summarize, but that you simply need to read.

The subject is the transgender “movement” that seems to have taken America by storm. Kathy begins with the story of Nova Academy, a top-notch charter school in Minnesota that was blown apart when a couple enrolled their five-year-old son–if I can still describe him (?) as such–who, they said, was “gender non-conforming” and “a boy who likes girl things.” No one really expects five-year-old boys to be macho men in the first place, but Nova tied itself in knots trying to do the politically correct thing, and the school was devastated in the process. Coincidentally, no doubt, the boy’s girl’s father is “a PhD candidate in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota, where his research focuses on ‘the creation and implementation of gender inclusive policies and practices in K–12 public schools.'”

Kathy moves on to the relevant science:

Transgender ideology advances under the banner of progress and enlightened thinking. Yet its fundamental claim—that a human being can change his or her sex—“is starkly, nakedly false,” according to Dr. Paul McHugh, who served for twenty-six years as psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins pioneered sex-change surgery, but abandoned it in the 1970s after research revealed that it did not improve the mental health of patients.

Every cell in the human body marks individuals as either male or female, with males bearing an XY and females an XX chromosome. Sex is not “assigned” at birth. It is identified anatomically when an infant is in the womb and then confirmed at birth. “In mammals such as humans, the female gestates offspring and the male impregnates the female,” McHugh explains in “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” a comprehensive literature review co-authored with Dr. Lawrence Mayer of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in the New Atlantis in fall 2016. “There is no other widely accepted biological classification for the sexes.”

I am old enough to remember when this didn’t need to be explained by a scientist.

If left alone, the vast majority of children who experience “gender dysphoria” turn out fine, as one would expect:

Fortunately, the great majority of young people who struggle with gender dysphoria “identify” with their own sex by late adolescence or adulthood, according to the DSM-5. Estimates range from 70 to 95 percent.

For those who fall into the clutches of transgender ideologues, the future is not so bright. Sex-reassigned individuals are 19 times more likely to commit suicide than those who do not receive such “treatment.” And the other consequences, like sterility and a lifelong dependence on medications to frustrate nature, are also severe. In any other context, the “treatments” to which these poor children are subjected would be considered actionable malpractice.

The whole transgender phenomenon is quite new: “Gender dysphoria in children and adolescents was virtually unheard of fifty years ago.” But today it is a movement, with strong-armed government backing and lots of money changing hands. The ultimate explanation for the transgender phenomenon–money and power–is no doubt familiar. But in the meantime, what is going on is child abuse.

As I said, this summary doesn’t do Kathy’s article justice. You really need to read the whole thing.