The Left often likes to use science — or rather, a modified version of science — in arguments related to atheism, evolution, abortion, climate change, etc. But just how it will deal with a new scientific study on transgenderism remains to be seen. According to a new report published in The New Atlantis journal, transgenderism — the latest hot button social justice “ism” — is not supported by science.
The report was co-authored by former Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University Dr. Paul McHugh and Arizona State University Professor of Statistics and Biostatistics Lawrence Mayer. They concluded that “gender identity” is not separate from biological sex.
“Examining research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, this report shows that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence,” the report prefaced.
“The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be ‘a man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’ — is not supported by scientific evidence,” stated the researchers.
This is not exactly groundbreaking news to those who exercise common sense, of course. Simply because an individual purports to identify as something doesn’t make it true, particularly if it is biologically impossible. It does not take a scientific study to confirm that a person who identifies as a horse, for example, is not a horse, or one who identifies as a chair is not in fact a chair. But the study should provide some weight to the common sense approach to transgenderism, while simultaneously exploding the beliefs of some social justice warriors who may have difficulty reconciling this scientific study with their own sense of reality.
The New Atlantis report is sure to provoke some controversy, as it challenges a number of theories that have been readily accepted by the general public in recent years, including what the authors dub the “born that way” hypothesis: “The notion that homosexuality or heterosexuality is in any given person unchangeable and determined entirely apart from choices, behaviors, life experiences, and social contexts.” According to the authors, that view is not “well-supported by research.”
The authors also take issue with the criteria found in the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) for diagnosis of gender dysphoria in children, and the interventions used in the treatment of gender dysphoria despite the lack of scientific evidence behind them.
At particular issue for the researchers is how transgenderism is being foisted on America’s youth, as the scientists note that most children outgrow gender confusion, and efforts to advocate transgender acceptance are sure to create further confusion. “Children are a special case when addressing transgender issues. Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood,” the report stated.
“There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents, although some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification,” wrote the researchers. “There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.”
The report argued that enabling acceptance of transgenderism through medical intervention is particularly harmful. “An area of particular concern involves medical interventions for gender-nonconforming youth. They are increasingly receiving therapies that affirm their felt genders, and even hormone treatments or surgical modifications at young ages,” the authors observed.
These sentiments are similar to those found in a position statement released by the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) on March 21 entitled “Gender Ideology Harms Children,” in which the writers observed that any policies that foster the belief that gender dysphoria is anything beyond a psychological problem are in fact harmful.
The authors of that position statement made several scientific observations, including that human sexuality “is an objective biological binary trait.” Children who use hormones to attempt to mimic a sex that is not their own have a number of dangerous physical and mental risks, the position statement advised, adding that “conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful” can be classified as child abuse.
According to The New Atlantis study, in fact, conditioning anyone to accept impersonation of the opposite sex via surgery or chemical influences is harmful. The authors observe that adults who choose to have sex-reassignment surgeries have “a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes.” They cite a study that found that sex-“reassigned individuals were about 5 times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.”
Interestingly, PJ Media did a piece earlier this week on some of the real-life victims of what it dubbed the transgender “cult.” These” victims” were encouraged to embrace their gender confusion in their youth and are now living with the repercussions of those decisions. “I am a real, live 22-year-old woman, with a scarred chest and a broken voice, and five o’clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman. That’s my reality,” Cari Stella confessed in a YouTube video. “Gender was done to me, gender was traumatizing to me, I don’t want anything to do with it anymore,” she declared. She admitted, “When I was transitioning, I felt a strong desire — what I would have called a ‘need’ at the time — to transition.”
Stella now contends that her transition only made things worse. “It can be damn hard to figure out that the treatment you’re being told is to help you is actually making your mental health worse. Testosterone made me even more dissociated than I already was,” she said.
Stella is a prime example of an observation made by the authors in The New Atlantis study. They wrote, “The potential that patients undergoing medical and surgical sex reassignment may want to return to a gender identity consistent with their biological sex suggests that reassignment carries considerable psychological and physical risk.” The report ultimately concluded that politics and culture have been far too influential in the understanding of transgenderism and LGBT-related mental health problems, and encouraged individuals to take a more scientific approach to these issues.
The researchers wrote, “While there is much controversy surrounding how our society treats its LGBT members, no political or cultural views should discourage us from understanding the related clinical and public health issues and helping people suffering from mental health problems that may be connected to their sexuality.”
They readily admitted that better research is required to determine the best ways to help lower the rates of poor mental health outcomes in the LGBT community, but noted that despite the scientific uncertainty behind sexual orientation and gender identity, “drastic interventions” continue to be prescribed and delivered to patients.
In June, McHugh noted that despite the lack of biological or physical basis for sexual identity, scientists struggled to persuade others that transgenderism is a psychological disorder because “there is a deep prejudice in favor of the idea that nature is totally malleable.”
The authors of the article welcomed “spirited responses” to their report, and it is likely they will be barraged with exactly that.