Ryan T. Anderson

Ryan T. Anderson is, no doubt, a smart fellow. However, he looks thoroughly stupid trying to conform medical science to the teachings of the Catholic Church. I am not even certain that he realizes, after so many contortions, that he is attempting to irrationally support the teachings of the Church but that is most assuredly what he does. The Heritage Foundation, Anderson’s employer, provides the perfect environment to nurture Anderson’s personality disorder.

The music major turned philosopher is now an expert in the area of gender dysphoria. Hell, he even wrote a book on the subject. Thus it comes as no surprise that Anderson would proffer glimpses of his unique insight on Heritage Foundation’s blog to support the sale of his book that he lacked the knowledge to write in the first place. The guy has the intellectual curiosity of vacuum cleaner.

…now we are being forced to confront a more fundamental debate: whether men can really become women.

Actually there is little or no debate in the scientific community that sex and gender are separate constructs. In simplest terms, sex is what’s between your legs — Gender is what’s between your ears. Furthermore, when gender and sex are incongruent, gender is controlling. It is really not terribly complicated … unless one wants it to be arcane.

America is in the midst of what has been called a “transgender moment.” In the space of a year, transgender issues went from something that most Americans had never heard of to a cause claiming the mantle of civil rights.

There is, indeed, increased attention to transgender people. This is due, not to them, but to the conservative Christian freak-out. Transgender people have been a protected class in many locales. In Minnesota, for example, that has been true for about 40 years. It is nothing new. The only thing that has changed is that people are transitioning at younger ages. It is the consensus of medical science that allowing younger people to affirm their gender earlier is what is best for their health overall.

That might not constitute what is best for Ryan T. Anderson or the Catholic Church. However, they are not supposed to have a say in how medical science treats people. They don’t get to approve or disapprove and that seems to be driving them off the cliff.

…Dr. Paul McHugh thought he had convinced the vast majority of medical professionals not to go along with bold claims about sex and gender being proffered by some of his colleagues. And as chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, McHugh put a stop to sex-reassignment surgery at Hopkins.

McHugh is 87 years old and has not been active at Johns Hopkins for some time. He is also a staunch conservative Catholic who has put faith above science. McHugh has never published peer-reviewed research relative to gender dysphoria or gender identity. Paul R. McHugh is also at odds with the overwhelming consensus of medical science when it come to the treatment of individuals with gender dysphoria.

But in recent years we have seen a resurgence of these drastic procedures—not in light of new scientific evidence, mind you, but as a result of a growing ideological movement. Such is our transgender moment.

Nonsense. The treatment of a medical condition is based on science and science is based on evidence. Anderson’s ultra-conservative Catholicism is an ideology based on faith which explains why he is easily confused. Neither I nor Anderson have comparative historical data on gender-affirming surgery. Even if we did, what is the point?

Anderson repeats a common talking point:

In the past 10 years, dozens of pediatric gender clinics have sprung up throughout the United States. In 2007, Boston Children’s Hospital “became the first major program in the United States to focus on transgender children and adolescents,” as its own website brags.

I do not know, and neither does Anderson, how many new clinics there are but he just became hoisted on his own petard. Ten years ago, the consensus was to prevent children from becoming transgender in the hope that they would grow out of it. Today doctors know that by the time a kid insists on affirming their gender they are not going to change and transitioning is best for their health. With the caveat that absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence, there does not seem to be a corresponding increase in de-transitioning teens, at least not in the literature.

Never mind that according to the best studies—the ones that even transgender activists themselves cite—80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria will come to identify with and embrace their bodily sex.

Note that Anderson does not cite a specific study. Anderson’s numbers can be attributed to three studies:

  1. Green’s Sissy Boy Syndrome, 1987
  2. Zucker’s 1995 GID study
  3. Wallien’s 2008 study of pediatric gender dysphoria

In Green’s study, 1 of 44 were trans, Zucker had 9 of 45 and Wallien in Amsterdam had 21 of 54. Wallien’s — the most recent and inclusive — confirms my understanding which is that desistence is somewhat limited to children who have not transitioned. Clinicians are not transitioning kids. Those children who do transition have a powerful determination to do so because it offers relief from suffering. Once they are at that stage, they do not desist. Anderson is mindlessly repeating a McHugh originated talking point that simply isn’t true.

Never mind that 41 percent of people who identify as transgender will attempt suicide at some point in their lives, compared to 4.6 percent of the general population. Never mind that people who have had transition surgery are 19 times more likely than average to die by suicide.

By transitioning earlier, kids experience close to normal feelings of depression and anxiety. Self-harm becomes far less likely. The post-surgical rate is via McHugh and supposedly from a 2011 study titled, Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden. I have been in contact with Dr. Dhejne, the principle investigator. Two things: There is a direct correlation to post-surgical counseling and it is a logical fallacy to claim that the surgery was responsible for the increase in suicide. Things could have been much worse without the surgery. Moreover, according to Dr. Dhejne:

The aim of trans medical interventions is to bring a trans person’s body more inline with their gender identity, resulting in the measurable diminishment of their gender dysphoria. However trans people as a group also experience significant social oppression in the form of bullying, abuse, rape and hate crimes. Medical transition alone won’t resolve the effects of crushing social oppression: social anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.

Mr. Anderson is a purveyor of the stresses that cause misery for transgender people.

Later on:

The most helpful therapies focus not on achieving the impossible—changing bodies to conform to thoughts and feelings—but on helping people accept and even embrace the truth about their bodies and reality.

I hate to be vulgar but how the fuck does Anderson know anything about the efficacy of therapies? What he has written is absolute rubbish. It is without support in the medical community and Anderson doesn’t even attempt to cite a reference for his nonsense. This is what happens when the Vatican attempts to intervene in medical decisions in order to sustain dogma.

Then Anderson just makes things up:

Operating in the background is a sound understanding of physical and mental health—proper function of one’s body and mind—and a sound understanding of medicine as a practice aimed at restoring health, not simply satisfying the desires of patients.

What does that even mean? What knowledge does Anderson have about medicine? Most of this is just a regurgitation of a McHugh piece in the Wall Street Journal. It was garbage then and it does not improve when repeated by Anderson.

More gibberish in arriving at a close. I left out several paragraphs directly related to selling his idiotic, uninformed book:

Despite activists’ best efforts to put up a unified front, Harry cannot become Sally. Activists’ desperate insistence to the contrary suggests that the transgender moment is fleeting.

None of this has anything to do with so-called activists. This is about what is best for people according to medical science. With the reference to activists, Anderson attempts to create the trans equivalent of blaming things on the Homosexual Agenda™. The important take-away is that Anderson doesn’t care about what is best for anyone. He is simply an enabler of the Catholic Church’s stupidity regarding gender dysphoria. The amateur psychiatrist known as Pope Francis is running around irresponsibly spouting nonsense about gender ideology. Anderson simply, and mindlessly, follows suit.

Related content:

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.