The Wrong Side of History (Credibility, and Science): A Rebuttal of UFI’s Transphobic Diatribe

July 17, 2014 in General

Moan. Once again, Bob McCoskrie of Family First seems to be pathetically unaware that one needs firm evidence based propositions to defeat progressive social policy proposals. That’s not what one gets in his latest diatribe against transgender rights, “The Wrong Side of Biology.” As usual, he’s channelling another US Christian Right pressure group- “United Families International.”  I’ve reproduced this below, with rebuttals.

  A quick perusal of recent news stories does give one pause.

1.  U.S. Health and Human Services board rules transgender Medicare recipients can seek coverage for sex-change surgery
Now tax-payers will be required to pay for a man or a woman to surgically mutilate their body in their quest to achieve a sex or “gender identity” that doesn’t align with the body parts they were born with. (Translation: A man wants to become a woman or vice-verse.) In a day and age where military veterans are dying as they await much needed medical care and surgeries, it is particularly galling that taxpayers are being required to pay for someone to dramatically disfigure their body.

Following Health and Human Services’ “gender” logic, tax payers should also pay for the person who is bulimic or anorexic (both genuine mental health challenges) to have liposuction and other fat reduction surgeries. My guess is that you’re already thinking of other similar examples.
But what of the transgender patients themselves? What about their well-being; are we really helping them?

With the exception of a very rare few, people are born either male or female with the chromosomes and body parts to match, with the rare deviations being diagnosed and treated when a child is very young.   But for those caught up in the “gender identity” revolution, modern medical technology might come close to approximating exterior genitalia, but it can never change the fact that every cell in that same body and brain knows that it came in to existence with either an XX or an XY chromosome designation. Good luck with changing that.

[Rebuttal: Ah, biological/genetic determinism. This is based on a sectarian crypto-religious premise, 'natural law' theory, which argues that its propositions are 'natural.' How do we know they're 'natural?' Why, observation of surface characteristics. However, is transsexual identity and gender dysphoria itself the product of 'natural' human physiology? Genetic determinists, like  UFI, McCoskrie and Paul McHugh ignore contrasting scientific evidence that gender dysphoria itself may be intrinsic for some people and thus require remedial surgery. They have ignored an increasing proportion of work from neurology and genetic research that indicates a possible biological basis for gender dysphoria and then lists that research. In 2009, an Androgen Receptor gene was found to function differently in the context of people with diagnosed gender dysphoria. From the same period, another study noted that there were already differences in cerebral grey matter structure for pre-transitional transwomen compared to cis men. In 2013, another study noted that another sexually dimorphic area of the brain, the intermediate nucleus, differed between transwomen, cis men and cis women. Verbal fluency tests also showed that pre-transitional transpeople scored akin to their desired gender rather than to their birth gender in a further research project during that period. Finally, Brighe notes that research into monozygotic and dizygotic twins indicates that gender dysphoria is more often shared amongst monozygotic twins, which may be attributable to genetic precursors for gender dysphoria.]

2.  San Diego parents reveal story of transgender son who became boy at Age Five
This particular story had, and still has, people buzzing. Parents allowed their daughter, Ryland, to “change her gender,” at age five no less, and then allowed the child to be a pawn in a media frenzy of LGBT advocacy.

As one commentator notes:
“Because the parents chose to publicly splash Ryland’s NAME and FACE all over the public sphere, there is little chance that she will be able to function in anonymity or normality. She will forever be known as the “transgender child”. She will attract all the praise and negativity that comes with it.This very public fact will make it even harder for Ryland to discover for herself who she really is without the public or her family pressuring her to be one way or the other.Again I find this whole thing very sad. And I really think the parents should be ashamed of themselves, not for indulging her to be a boy, per say, but for exploiting her ordeal and using her to get their 15 minutes of fame.”

[Rebuttal: Oh, like the transphobic Pacific Justice Institute did when it grandstanded against California's Bill AB1722, which safeguards transgender children in terms of dress and ablutionary facilities? That involved invading the privacy of a transgender child.]

3.     Ohio College Considering Mandatory Transgender Sensitivity Training For Athletics Department
Oberlin College’s Athletics Department is considering “mandatory transgender sensitivity training for all of its staff and coaches.” Makes you wonder how many transgender individuals they’re planning to recruit!
Seems the Transgender Participation Advisory Committee is recommending the college makes these changes as a “sort of 101” on gender. Here’s one of the committee’s recommendations:
“…replace ‘FTM’ (female-to-male and ‘MTF’ (male-to-female) with ‘a transgender student- hormone replacement therapy related to gender transition’.”

So what should have been a simple one word definition (male or female) now requires a 21-word definition.  It must be mentioned, too, that Facebook now offers, in their profile section, a menu thatincludes 57 gender choices.

4.  Transgendered Student to play on Women’s Softball Team
In California, a male [sic]  high school student who now presents as a female is being allowed to play on a high school woman’s sports team – a trend that is picking up momentum around the country. Yet, the biological fact is that men have vastly different muscle mass, structure and weight that in physical activities give them an unfair advantage when competing against women.  Most people would understand the innate unfairness of allowing men to play on women’s sports teams.  But that seems to not matter to those who trying to social engineer society.

When this obvious inequity is pointed out, the rationalization and justification is “No problem.   Many transgender individuals are placed on hormone blockers at or before puberty to prevent the physical manifestations of their biological sex.”  Yes, you read that correctly.  Their answer is to pump children full of hormones and hope for the best.  No mention or acknowledgement is made of any of the physical side effects of immense quantities of hormones over a lifetime.  As many experts have pointed out; this is child abuse.

[Rebuttal: This is an outright lie. No-one is "pumping children full of hormones." This is a misrepresentation put about by transphobic conservative Catholic psychiatrist Paul McHugh (see below). In reality, UFI and McHugh  wilfully misrepresent transgender childhood, noting that hormone treatment usually only begins in adolescence. This therapeutic regime began in the Netherlands before it was then adopted in the United States.  The American Psychiatric Association and World Professional Association for Transgender Health do not view transgender identity as "intrinsically pathological."]

5.  Non-Discrimination Ordinances on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression
One of the seminal features of these highly controversial ordinances is the component that is often referred to as a “bathroom bill.”  If a non-discrimination ordinance with a “public accommodation” clause is passed in your community, any male who claims to feel that they are a female can enter your wife or daughter’s dressing or shower area – and there is nothing that you can do to stop it.  This is not conjecture; this is fact.  You can read about these incidents here and here.

The fact is that this ordinances throw wide the door to not only transgender individuals, but also to any sexually predatory male who wishes to gain access to women’s dressing areas and bathrooms  – prompting many to call rightly call these ordinances “Sexual Predator Protection Acts.”

[Rebuttal: Prove it. Only transphobes cannot do this- the original US Christian Right Family Research Council piece that seems to be the source of these lies does not come with a section of citations. Why is that? Did someone get their 'authoritative citations' from cheap supermarket tabloids like Weekly World News? And why was it that Canadian Senate investigation disclosed no actual criminal justice statistical verification of the existence of these lurid imaginary 'sexual predators' when it referred to jurisdictions that had already passed transgender rights anti-discrimination laws.]

“Collaborating with madness”
Dr. Paul McHugh, former Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital, speaks clearly on the issue of transgenderism and sex-reassignment surgery in a recent article that he wrote for the Wall Street Journal.

“Policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”

Dr. McHugh is a very courageous man to take such a public stance exposing the ethical, moral and medical fallacies of forcing this type of “gender identity” fiction upon society.  Dr. McHugh continues:

“Then there is the subgroup of very young, often prepubescent children who notice distinct sex roles in the culture and, exploring how they fit in, begin imitating the opposite sex. Misguided doctors at medical centers including Boston’s Children’s Hospital have begun trying to treat this behavior by administering puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous—even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility. Given that close to 80% of such children would abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated, these medical interventions come close to child abuse. A better way to help these children: with devoted parenting.

At the heart of the problem is confusion over the nature of the transgendered. “Sex change” is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”

[Rebuttal: Ah, Paul McHugh. As Mari Brighe notes in her incisive deconstruction of McHugh's work, the man in question is a conservative Catholic activist. In addition to opposing reassignment surgery and transgender rights, he is also a fervent anti-abortionist, opponent of pre-embryonic stem cell research and advocate of widely discredited "exgay""reparative therapy." Given that mainstream mental health medical practitioners groups have rejected 'reparative therapy' as a legitimate therapeutic modality, it should come as no surprise that the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Public Health Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all reject McHugh's sectarian bias against reassignment surgery, gender dysphoria as a diagnostic category and transgender rights.

McHugh's outburst also attracted the attention of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. When they learnt of the article, they responded by designating it as a "hoax." WPATH board member Dr Dan Karasic's response was published in the Wall Street Journal, but excluding one key section where WPATH notes that McHugh misrepresented the research that he cited in his earlier article. Cristan Williams, Transadvocate's chief editor (04.04.2014) noted the controversy, rebuttal of McHugh and the recent US Department of Health and Human Services decision to fully fund the cost of hormone treatment and surgical transitioning.  Williams notes that Dr Karasic refers to the misrepresentation of the research into efficacy of reassignment surgery undertaken by Dr Cecilia Dhejne and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Karasic notes that McHugh misreads mortality statistics and that after 1989, mortality statistics from the Swedish transgender community are now no longer statistically different from fellow cisgender Swedish citizens.  Transgender surgery regrets now occur in only 0.3% of the cohort sampled in 2010-11. " Dr Karasic is a member of the American Psychiatric Association Workgroup on Gender Dysphoria and Health Sciences Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. ]

Those who struggle with gender identity confusion, a diagnosable disorder, deserve compassion, support, and treatment.  But history will not judge kindly those who are attempting to fundamentally change society in their quest to give credence to a destructive ideology that insists that we must create a genderless society while ignoring biology and reality.

[Reality? More like deliberate transphobic distortion and omission of actual trans-inclusive evidence-based scientific research and practice. Why does the Christian Right hate real, evidence-based scientific evidence, research and practise so much?]

Not Recommended: 

Detailed Rebuttals:

Mari Brighe: “Clinging to a Dangerous Past: Dr Paul McHugh’s Selective Reading of Transgender Medical Literature” TransAdvocate: 15.06.2014:

Cristan Williams: “World’s experts condemn the McHugh hoax” TransAdvocate: 04.04.2014:

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