Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher takes Paul McHugh’s latest lengthy blog post (and that is all it is) quite seriously. It’s not peer reviewed. In fact it is not even research — it is just a literature review. In that regard it is most certainly a product of selective observation. Sister Margaret gives it a go with a pretentious “Press Release” from the American Principles Project (which was founded by Princeton professor Robert P. George).

Maggie Gallagher, a senior fellow at American Principles Project, highlighted one of the report’s most important findings:

“The most striking and little reported truth exposed in this report is the ‘Science Gap’ between what we pretend to know and what we are willing to do to kids – the psychological benefits of hormone treatments or surgery are not well documented and, astonishingly, the physical health risks have seldom even been studied. We don’t know the benefits. We don’t know the risks.

Calm down Maggie. Children are not candidates for sex reassignment surgery. As for drug therapies, the approach is very caution. Children receive puberty blockers and, possibly, hormones in consultation with clinicians, parents and the child. McHugh’s article is not a DIY manual for parents of a gender non-conforming kid. Moreover, contrary to Gallagher’s assertions, professionals know quite a bit about risks and benefits.

“Every parent should be concerned, especially when we learn that public schools in Charlotte, North Carolina and elsewhere are advising teachers to help hide gender changes of their students from parents, and as President Obama has lawlessly – according to a federal judge – decided to threaten schools with a loss of federal funding for failing to open every public girls locker room to biological males.”

How would teachers “hide gender changes of their students from parents?” Seriously, how does that work?

1.) “Gender Identity” Is Not Innate

“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.”

Some recent research that is peer reviewed disagrees, finding that “the gender identity of these children is deeply held and is not the result of confusion about gender identity or pretense.” Maggie’s problem is that she is an orthodox Catholic and the pope has been railing against “gender theology” from day one of his papacy.

2.) The Majority of Children Who Experience Gender Dysphoria Grow Out Of It

“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.

“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. There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.”

There is probably some truth to the notion that many children outgrow gender non-conformity. Whether it is most or some I do not know, we do not know. However, I have some trust in experienced clinicians to recognize the difference between a phase and gender dysphoria. I have no trust whatsoever in parents, or some priest, making that determination. While on the subject of “interventions” one does not exist for people with gender dysphoria other than support. No one is arguing that “all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.” Perhaps Maggie can find a cite to that. I cannot.

3.) Sex Change Surgeries Are Linked to Worse Mental Health Outcomes

“Members of the transgender population are also at higher risk of a variety of mental health problems compared to members of the non-transgender population… Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes. One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about 5 times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.”

Note that Maggie is not comparing pre-op to post-op transgender people which makes her headline false. Yes, we all know that it is very difficult to be transgender in our society. Employment and housing can be extremely challenging. Employment also determines economic state. But Maggie’s premise (and McHugh’s) is ridiculous on its face. Consider this: Jews of European origin have a higher risk of certain diseases like Tay-Sachs. Maggie makes as much sense as someone telling me to convert to Christianity to avoid certain illnesses. She is basically telling transgender people not to be transgender. That is the very basis for the discrimination that causes transgender people to be depressed and even suicidal.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.