Jazz Jennings, Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono, Josie Totah, Chelsea Manning; Do you recognize those names and what they all have in common? They are all well-publicized individuals who identify as transgender and have undergone extensive treatments in order to transition to become the opposite gender. Now a highly controversial topic and political playing piece that is permeating popular culture and society, transgenderism is often used by politicians and activists to further their collective group or political agendas.
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary,1 the word “transgender” is defined as “of, relating to, or being a person, whose gender identity differs from the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth.” So how do individuals get to the point where they believe their gender differs from that which they were assigned at birth? As noted in Paper Genders2, “gender found in the DNA is established in the womb” and “…how a child acts out their gender role can vary and depends on the parents, siblings and anyone else who spends time with the child.” Basically, gender is biological and gender identity is formed and influenced after birth by the situations and people surrounding the child. Genesis 1:27 (ESV), “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Children are negatively affected by not having positive gender role models and events such as the loss of a parent or abuse; both of which will distort their perception of gender and gender roles.
It is very easy to plant seeds of doubts into the head of an innocent child. When a person has gone through traumatic or difficult situations, it affects them mentally and often has long term effects. Leaving those issues unresolved leads to suppressed emotions which ultimately causes further psychological trauma. A majority of the time, people with gender dysphoria have underlying psychological issues that are not addressed during consultations when they go to receive approval for gender reassignment surgery. For example, take Walt Heyer’s story: Unbeknownst to his parents, his grandma cross dressed him for 2-2 ½ years and she positively affirmed him when he was dressed in feminine clothing thus planting the first seed of doubt into his young mind. Upon finding out what was happening, Walt’s father started disciplining him with a floorboard to toughen him up. Then, Walt’s uncle, Fred, started to molest him and when he tried to tell his mother, she would not believe him. All these majorly traumatic events happened before he turned 10. To try and cope with all that had happened at the hand of his family, Mr. Heyer suppressed his feelings and began to fantasize about being female. When he was a little older, after reading about the case of a transgender woman, Christine Jorgensen, he believed that he too could change genders and began secretly calling himself “Cristal.” Years later, he turned to alcohol and then drugs to try and cope with his unresolved trauma. He seemingly had it all – he was married with a family and had a successful career working at NASA and large corporations but despite all of the success in his personal and professional life, he felt deeply unhappy. His alcohol and drug addictions eventually caught up to him and not only did his career crumble but his marriage failed as well. Then, he made the fateful decision to have a surgical gender change. This decision estranged his family. In the years following the surgery, he had success as a woman – beating his drug and alcohol addictions, getting good jobs and being able to pass as female. It wasn’t until he began studying to be a counselor that he realized his transgender persona was a form of disassociation – a way to escape the pain and suffering he had gone through. After coming to that conclusion, he decided that he needed to recover on multiple fronts – getting counselling to help process the trauma and being restored to his birth gender.
Walt Heyer’s story is a prime example of flaws in the medical care system for individuals who suffer from gender dysphoria. Often times, these people are also suffering from other mental health issues which are unaddressed as they go about seeking hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgery. In order to be approved for surgery, most doctors require patients to get a note from a psychologist. This is where the trouble begins. Unfortunately, most psychologists don’t perform a thorough evaluation in that they don’t examine all aspects of a patient’s life. Instead, they merely ask questions relating to a person’s transgender identity and often times approve them after only one or a few short sessions. Many might point to the Standards of Care and say that there are adequate regulations and protections in place but if you examine the document itself, you will see that they are numerous loopholes. For one thing, they are suggestions and not actual requirements – there is no enforcement of the standards. There is also no requirement to follow up with patients post-surgery to see how they are doing. The Standards of Care do list various mental health concerns to screen for but they do not say to not perform surgery on people who are suffering from any of those conditions, they merely state “incorporate the concerns into the overall treatment plan” and “No surgery should be performed while a patient is actively psychotic.” In his book, Gender, Lies and Suicide3, Walt Heyer describes how his group therapy sessions with a gender therapist who approved people for surgery did not involve addressing the mental health issues of the various individuals. Instead, the therapist spent the time explaining how best to present one’s self as a female through elements such as makeup, dress, walking, and voice. Does that sound like adequate safety measures for someone who is about to undergo life changing surgery? The Standards of Care, originally created by Dr. John Money, is nothing more than smoke and mirrors to disguise the fact that patients are not receiving the objective and all-encompassing care that they need.
Children mimic what they see, wanting to find similarities between themselves and people, particularly adults, around them. For example, a boy might put a towel on his head and say “Look, Mom! I have long hair like you!” or a child might show interest in toys or games not necessarily associated with their gender. Now, even these innocent actions can be misconstrued by parents as signs of transgenderism. Instead of helping a child by providing examples of gender or helping them work through their uncertainty, parents are affirming them in their confusion and further reinforcing those thoughts into their impressionable minds. Take Shiloh Jolie-Pitt for example: her parents state that she has been exploring her gender identity since the tender age of three, wanting to be a boy and believing herself to be one of the brothers.4 From an early age, Shiloh demanded to be addressed by the male name John and has been seen dressing in progressively masculine clothing.5 She has cut her hair very short and reportedly has no female clothing. Her parents have affirmed her thoughts since she began to conceive and express them as a toddler by not only allowing her to believe those ideas but also make decisions for herself regarding her gender identity. Deuteronomy 22:5 (ESV) says, “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”
In an interview, Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry said that the belief that one’s gender is a matter of the mind and not anatomy has led some transgender individuals to push for social affirmation and acceptance of their subjective “personal truth.” He also stated that because of this, states such as California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have passed laws preventing psychiatrists “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor. Dr. McHugh remarked that “The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings ‘spontaneously lose those feelings’ over time.”6
At this time in our culture, when a child expresses interest or curiosity about the other gender or activities normally undertaken by the opposite gender, both parents and doctors not only encourage it but are willing to assist a child to do irreconcilable damage to their bodies at drastically younger and younger ages. In a majority of cases, transitioning results in permanent sterilization. According to multiple reports including that of the University of Rochester Medical Center, a young person’s brain is not fully developed until the age of 25.7 Why are children and young people being allowed to make life altering decisions about their bodies if they are not mentally mature? It’s partly the fault of society, egging on individuals who are struggling and desperately seeking affirmation and acceptance and also the megalomaniac doctors wanting recognition and wealth. The doctors who advocated for and pioneered transgender surgeries were not as noble as they were made out to be. Dr. Alfred Kinsey, Dr. Harry Benjamin, Dr. John Money, Dr. Paul Walker all were highly lauded individuals who were at the forefront of the movement. However, if one further examines their lives, you will find that they were twisted individuals – some were sex addicts and they all supported forms of pedophilia. Sickeningly, this is only the tip of the iceberg. We are allowing the successors of these doctors to perform experimental treatments on kids, not knowing what the long-term outcome will be and how it will affect them over the course of their lives.
This all leads back to the larger overarching problem – the system is broken. Despite the glamorized happy endings that are portrayed in the media and the success stories from activists, transgender individuals generally are not happier post surgery. “The attempted suicide rate among transgenders is 41% and the actual rate of death by suicide is estimated by one source to be between 31% and 50%.”8 In contrast to the national average of 13.4% suicide deaths per 100,000 people9, this percentage is staggering. If that wasn’t enough of a red flag, following gender reassignment surgery, up to 90% of patients are lost to follow up.10 This means that in the follow up findings, the results being presented only come from about 10% of the total number of patients. The reports that purportedly claim that the surgeries are successful are based on the results compiled from a very small percentage of individuals who could be found and agreed to be interviewed post-surgery.
In conclusion, something drastic needs to happen. The system needs to be fixed. There needs to be transparency as well as further checks and balances in place to ensure that each individual is getting the mental and physical healthcare they need. The objective facts need to be shared with the general public. Everyone deserves the right to know the truth. No more hiding behind facades built on self-serving agendas, political playing pieces, half-truths, misleading statistics, and false narratives. By pushing aside and silencing individuals who discover that they remained unhappy post-surgery or do not fit the idealized narrative, we are doing a disservice not only to them but to the population as a whole as they do not get to hear the whole story. If we buy into what the culture says is right, we are failing to protect our most valuable assets, children and young people. They have been and will continue to be needlessly sacrificed to the machine that is society and the collective cultural mindset. Our children and young people deserve better. We need people to stand up and say that gender reassignment surgery and hormone treatment will not fix everything. It is not always an effective means to help people who are struggling. We need psychiatrists and doctors who have the integrity to work to the best of their ability regardless of whether or not it earns them fame or fortune to provide the patient with the comprehensive care involving mental health treatments to help them lead a full and healthy life.
- Heyer, Walt. “Transgender Children.” Paper Genders: Pulling the Mask Off the Transgender Phenomenon, edited by Kaycee Heyer, Make Waves Publishing, 2011, pg. 36.
- Heyer, Walt. “No Protection for the Client.” Gender, Lies and Suicide: A Whistleblower Speaks Out, Make Waves Publishing, 2013, pg. 33-39.
- Heyer, Walt. “Decades of Suicide” Gender, Lies and Suicide: A Whistleblower Speaks Out, Make Waves Publishing, 2013, pg. 84
- Heyer, Walt. “Decades of Suicide” Gender, Lies and Suicide: A Whistleblower Speaks Out, Make Waves Publishing, 2013, pg. 85