I may be a cockeyed optimist (ha!), but I (and others) see a powerful and growing response to woke doctrines and influence. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. When ideologies are as frankly loony and ideologues as loud, pushback is inevitable. So, when we’re told that all white people are racists and that’s all we are, we correct the record. When we’re told that words are violence but murder isn’t, we disagree. When we’re told that sex isn’t a matter of biology but of social conditioning, we point out the obvious truth. Parents more and more remove their children from public schools; voters reject race-based preferences; people storm city council meetings; we stand up against trans activism and on behalf of female athletes, major donors stop donating, etc.
One of the areas in which woke-ism has held sway for the past decade+ is that of sex transitioning. What began as a serious attempt by Dutch physicians to deal with gender dysphoria in a miniscule cohort of almost exclusively male patients has morphed into an industry and movement willing to, at the drop of a hat, conduct major medical interventions with lifelong effects on mostly girls with multiple mental health disorders. The response to that medical malpractice has become pronounced enough to alter the medical protocols of nations like Finland, Sweden and the UK.
Here’s a good short summary of that history by Dr. Riittakerttu Kaltiala who headed up Finland’s gender transition program starting in 2011 and has become a powerful critic of the aforementioned industry and movement, including in the United States. Put simply, U.S. practice is far behind that of much of the rest of the world. It’s behind because the American Academy of Pediatrics doggedly refuses to shape its protocols to science, preferring to embrace the ideology of the trans movement.
To be clear, it may well be true that, under narrowly-tailored conditions, sex transitioning by adults via hormone therapy and even surgery may be both appropriate and even beneficial. Those conditions include the consistent expression from earliest childhood that a person believes that his/her “true” sex is not their biological one and that, but for that cognitive dissonance, the person is free of serious mental health problems, is highly functioning and understands the nature and consequences of sex transitioning.
But that is not what’s going on.
In a nutshell, here’s what Dr. Kaltiala and many others say is the state of play: Under the thinnest of pretexts, medical experts are providing puberty blockers to children without sufficient knowledge of exactly what happens during puberty and what the consequences of blocking may entail. Those experts are then providing hormone treatments that can have serious lifelong effects on children who do not and cannot appreciate the potential consequences. The industry/movement that’s grown up around sex transitioning is using extremely dodgy “science” to back up its extremely dodgy claims. It’s providing transitioning to children who have a range of mental health deficits other than gender dysphoria and sometimes who aren’t gender dysphoric at all. It makes a range of false and misleading claims about the efficacy of transitioning, including that doing so will clear up mental health disorders that it cannot, that, if transitioning is denied, a high possibility of suicide will ensue and that children have some mystical knowledge, denied to others, about their own sex. The industry/movement doggedly ignores good science as well as the fact that large percentages of those seeking transition do so due to social contagion, i.e., the spread of behaviors within social networks often due to peer pressure. Nor does it admit the core truth – that,
for the overwhelming majority of gender dysphoric children—around 80 percent—their dysphoria resolves itself if they are left to go through natural puberty.
In 2018, Finland’s national medical body commissioned a systematic review of the literature on transitioning and concluded, among other things, that,
the studies touting the success of the “gender-affirming” model were biased and unreliable—systematically so in some cases
The report also called medical transitioning for young people “experimental practice” and concluded that, because teens aren’t yet mature enough to appreciate medical decisions with lifelong consequences, all sex transitioning should wait until the individual reaches adulthood.
Unfortunately, in the U.S., the industry/movement remains steeped in an anti-science ideology that, while lucrative, is often both dishonest and harmful to patients.
Hear, for example, what one influential member of the trans industry/movement said publicly at a conference:
[W]hat we’ve started to do in our clinics is have someone like Diane [Ehrensaft, a leading proponent of the gender-affirmative model] . . . go in and do brief assessment, and give their rub—I know you [addressing Ehrensaft] said you don’t rubber-stamp, but basically in my mind that’s what it feels like, and so then we can move on and say ‘OK, now we can talk about what you’re actually here for”—that is, hormones.
It’s the classic industry/movement hustle – mental health protocols are just for show; the real goal is to get kids on the road to “affirming” whatever gender they weren’t born with. From Tavistock in England to Washington University in St. Louis to the early days in Finland, the purpose is the same and ignoring sensible medical practice to achieve it is just part of the game.
Fortunately, the tide in the U.S. has started to turn; I strongly believe it will continue. This article refers to two lawsuits that have been filed against doctors, clinics and, best of all, the American Academy of Pediatrics that’s promulgated very dicey guidelines for practitioners based on the shoddiest of “research.”
I’ve said before and I repeat – here in the U.S., the plaintiffs’ tort bar will pick this up and run with it. The practices have been too obviously at odds with medical ethics, too imbued with ideology at the expense of science to withstand legal scrutiny. That bad practice has the imprimatur of the AAP just makes the AAP an easy target. Because tens of thousands of pediatricians across the country rely on the AAP for guidance in their treatment decisions, that guidance should conform to science and ethics, but in this case doesn’t. At some point, the lawyers will realize these to be the dream cases they are.
As public knowledge of this scandal grows, lawyers will try to go further and further upstream in the referral pipeline to hold providers accountable… It is only a matter of time before judges become skeptical of pediatricians who referred vulnerable teenagers to facilities that they knew or should have known were unsafe.
In a reasonably open society, it’s hard to peddle outrageous falsehoods without creating pushback. Woke-ism is nothing if not outrageous and often doesn’t hesitate to lie. The pushback has begun and woke activists have little but slogans (gender-affirming care! white supremacy! existential threat to humanity!) with which to defend themselves. It’s not enough. The healthy inevitable has begun.
This article originally appeared at The Word of Damocles.