It cycles like the seasons. Every year we get bombarded by skewed news stories aimed at confusing the masses over gender identity, transgender regret and sexual orientation. Like it or not transgender rights have become a political football, the ultimate wedge issue in today’s political climate. Scientific facts are manipulated to fit the views of anti-transgender groups. Rogue scientists with religious agendas are lauded as definitive experts. Unethical news stories are created and passed down through the ranks of so called “news” organizations as they regurgitate the information without a care for ethics or facts. It is designed to confuse the public and serve their political purpose. Their minions like drones, or robots, just fall in line without question.
Often making the rounds we hear the story about Walt Heyer, a man who suffered from dissociative identity disorder and managed to circumvent the WPATH standards of care to get gender reassignment surgery. He would later transition back to being male and become the poster boy for transgender regret. Every so often his story gets churned out, citing his personal views that being transgender is a mental disorder. The anti-transgender movement runs with it on a yearly basis to the point where we can set our clocks to it. In the case of Heyer, the facts are he did have a mental disorder. The only problem is that he was never actually transgender. Dissociative identity disorder is not gender dysphoria and you are not transgender just because you had surgery. In spite of these facts, the anti-transgender movement goes to this “well” over and over again. Heyer has managed to make himself a decent living out of his story.
“In the paper, the duo conducts no scientific research of their own; instead they choose to put their own slant on conclusive studies that already disprove their claims.”
Most recently we have well-established anti-transgender psychiatrist Dr. Paul McHugh, the former Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Chair, who along with epidemiologist Dr. Lawrence Mayer, published a lengthy paper in The New Atlantis Journal, which makes the claim that “sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.” The Atlantis describes McHugh as “arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century,” when it comes to LGBT issues. The paper claims that gender identity and sexuality is an individual choice. In the paper, the duo conducts no scientific research of their own; instead they choose to put their own slant on conclusive studies that already disprove their claims.
A glaring example is the story of David Reimer, who was a Canadian man born biologically male but raised female following medical advice and intervention after his penis was accidentally destroyed during a botched circumcision in infancy. Though he was treated with estrogen and raised female, he later began to identify as male and ultimately transitioned back to his true gender identity at the age of 15. The experience of being forced to live in the wrong gender as a child had seriously affected him to the point where he later committed suicide. Reimer went public with his story to prevent anyone else from having to go through what he did. It ultimately proved that the physical body did not define gender and though gender roles were socially constructed, gender identity was not. McHugh and Mayer chose to present this story as a reason why children should not be allowed to transition. The only problem is that they left out the fact that the female identity was forced on Reimer, which is not the case with transgender kids. In the end Reimer’s identity could not be determined by anyone other than Reimer himself. The Reimer case actually proves that transgender kids should not be forced to live in the wrong gender identity in spite of the physical body. McHugh and Mayer skewed this information to fit their agenda.
“The problem is that McHugh and Mayer are looking to distort and confuse the facts to fit their political and religious views.”
The problem is that McHugh and Mayer are looking to distort and confuse the facts to fit their political and religious views. They cite that many transgender individuals continue to experience psychological effects even after transitioning, however they pay no attention to the fact that many issues faced by transgender individuals are caused by a lack of acceptance in society. Dr. McHugh has a history of anti-transgender propaganda. His claims go against the science that is agreed upon by the 200,000 members of the American Medical Association, 117,000 members of the American Psychological Association (APA) and World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH). He is hardly the “prominent” authority on LGBT issues the news rags claim him to be. He is the prominent antagonist.
“When you mix fiction and news, you diminish the distinction between truth and fiction, and you wear down the audience’s own discriminating power to judge.”
So who is behind all this rhetoric? Political and religious organizations that aim to profit by pressing the fear button over and over again. You have slanted organizations, which under the guise of news push this misinformation. They make huge profits by scaring their readers into coming back time and time again. You have politicians who hope to scare people into running to the polls in order to win elections. They are the same people who put out the stories claiming that transgender people are going to “rape” their daughters in restrooms. The problem is that the news is no longer interested in integrity. They are interested in viewers and site visitors. That supersedes integrity. They sensationalize each story in order to keep people tuned in. You have corporate entities that control multiple news outlets, which allows them to slant a story any way they choose.
“The more integrated into society we become, the more people will realize that these stories are just propaganda.”
In the end our acceptance won’t come in the form of the news media. It will come from people actually knowing us. The more integrated into society we become, the more people will realize that these stories are just propaganda. It is already happening with the gay movement and the transgender movement is now on the path to acceptance. For those who are interested in the actual science it already exists, and no amount of slanted stories can change that. The truth is that you don’t need science or religion to tell you who you are anyway. Only you know that answer. If being transgender is a choice, then that choice has been made for centuries by millions of people across different continents and cultures. People in over 170 different countries have visited Transgender Universe alone. Many are in countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Libya, Kuwait and Syria. These are some of the most dangerous places for a transgender person to live. Many of them risk their lives just to be who they are. It hardly seems like a choice to me.
So let the “hate machine” say what it wants. In the end they will not stop progress. We have always existed and we always will. We will not go away and every day more and more of us are coming out. A recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found 72 percent of Americans now favor passing laws to protect lesbian, gay and transgender people from discrimination, including three-quarters of Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans. That is a far cry from where we were just a decade ago. So as we continue our fight for acceptance, keep in mind that we all need each other. We are the generation that will win this fight for all those who come after us and we will not be silenced.
Stay safe and keep fighting for all of us,
Love and peace,