Dr. Michael K. Laidlaw

Dr. Michael K. Laidlaw, an endocrinologist, is a disgrace to his profession. He is replacing medical science with unsound religious beliefs. We cannot know to what extent, or in what circumstances, Laidlaw compromises patient interests on behalf of the Church but he is clearly, first and foremost, a defender of the faith — a Knight Templar rather than a physician. I wrote about Laidlaw just yesterday but if he wants additional attention I will provide it.

LifeSiteNews is an ultra-orthodox Catholic outlet. They have provided Laidlaw with a re-release of a post at Witherspoon Institute’s blog. Witherspoon is also an ultra-Orthodox Catholic organization whose president is an Opus Dei numerary. The LifeSiteNews piece is titled: An endocrinologist studies the transgender movement’s most popular kid’s book. They are referring, of course to I am Jazz.

For the record, I have no problem with his religious beliefs. I do have a problem with the application of those beliefs when they marginalize a vulnerable minority or when adherents attempt to impose those beliefs on public policy.

The purpose of I am Jazz is to explain, in age-appropriate terms, the existence of children who might be transgender. Dr. Laidlaw takes exception to this because the Church takes exception to this. Overall, I think that he understands that gender dysphoria is organic in nature. However, he is wed to the notion that being transgender is a choice and he is out to deter people from making that choice.

Laidlaw is really not qualified to pontificate about transgender people. He does not treat transgender people and he is not a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists sometimes refer patients to endocrinologists for gender-affirming hormones or puberty blockers. Dr. Laidlaw’s own professional organization, the Endocrine Society, fully supports those therapies. Laidlaw is an outlier.

At times, Laidlaw is perfectly rational. He writes:

To some degree, children who share a class with a gender-dysphoric child will need to be educated about what that means and how to address that situation. This should be done by parents and guardians primarily, but ideally in cooperation with teachers and staff.

Gender dysphoria is invisible, Laidlaw probably means a child who has made a social gender transition.

On the other hand:

The book is written in a way to make you believe that Jazz was diagnosed as transgender. But this is not a diagnosis. The medical diagnosis is gender dysphoria.

The book is for young kids. Gender dysphoria and then transgender to mitigate the symptoms is too complex for their consumption. But Laidlaw is looking to compile a list of deficiencies.

These folks insist on recycling the same nonsense that they claim about gay people:

The “born this way” narrative contradicts known medical facts involving twin studies. Gender identity has been defined as the innate sense that one feels one is male or female (or some combination of the two).

If gender identity is determined only by genes, then we would expect that identical twins would profess having the same gender identity nearly 100 percent of the time.

Laidlaw goes on to cite research that only 28% of the identical twins in a study were both gender dysphoric when one had gender dysphoria. That’s nearly 5,000 times higher than in the general population. If one identical twin is gay then the other has a 50% chance of being gay. About half that with fraternal twins. The sub-genome might explain the difference. Laidlaw is determined to prove that gender identity is a choice in order to justify a therapeutic approach that he cannot support with research.

This actually works against Laidlaw because he cannot now claim that parenting has anything to do with gender identity. Using his cite, that idea fails 72% of the time. I do not see how this is at all relevant. Gender identity is certainly not a choice. No person chooses to have incongruent sex and gender. Gender forms around four to six years of age. His own link demonstrates that Laidlaw is at odds with his own professional organization.

As to Jazz having a “girl brain,” consider, what does the brain comprise? There are billions of neurons that make up this magnificent structure. Neurons are very specialized cells that transmit and store information.

Laidlaw goes on at some length and he’s right. Jazz doesn’t really have a girl brain. Jazz has a girl gender. Again, they keep the concept relatively simple for a relatively young audience.  No harm done.

The authors fail to mention that Jazz suffers from depression.

At least 70 percent of people with gender dysphoria suffer from mental illness currently or in their lifetime. The most common comorbid mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and dissociative disorder. Jazz has depression, as he has discussed on the TLC program I Am Jazz.

What is the point? She would probably be more depressed if she did not transition. Perhaps to the point of self-harm. By the way, it is awfully petty not to use gender-correct pronouns. No one has ever claimed that being transgender is easy. It is not. People like Dr. Laidlaw prove that it is not easy but it is also not a choice as it is the most effect means of mitigating the intense depression and anxiety that can accompany gender dysphoria. No one has come up with a better approach. Certainly not Dr. Laidlaw.

The suicide rate of transgender individuals is alarmingly high.

Yes it is but what is Laidlaw’s point? Logic dictates that the suicide rate would be higher if people with gender dysphoria did not transition. There are many components to the suicide rate but a major contributor is the minority stress model. Perhaps if the pope did not run around as an amateur psychiatrists with musings about “gender ideology” and, perhaps, if people like Laidlaw did not write these idiotic essays, there would be less stress on transgender people.

Jazz is currently being given hormone blockers to stop him from going through normal pubertal development. These powerful hormones arrest the normal development of boys into fully developed men and of girls into fully developed women. In other words, Jazz is now a teenager who has not been allowed to go through puberty.

Correct and so what? She is more feminine than she might otherwise be. The guy is an endocrinologist but, to the best of my knowledge, puberty blockers are not hormones.

Jazz will need to have his child-sized penis surgically destroyed to create a false vagina.

Laidlaw is stating these things as omissions to suggest bad intentions. Does he really think that young kids need to understand the surgical procedure if she chooses to have surgery. Gender-affirming surgery has been around for a very long time. It makes some transgender people feel more comfortable. I have never asked a transgender person if they have had surgery. It is none of my damned business. It is none of Dr. Laidlaw’s business.

Jazz currently suffers from sexual dysfunction and will likely have permanent damage.

I have no idea and neither does Laidlaw. Again, what is the point of this? Laidlaw is trying to make a case for people with gender dysphoria not to become transgender because the Church does not approve. He doesn’t suggest any alternatives for dealing with gender dysphoria. As I wrote earlier today, Dr. Jack Turban (Yale) asserts, based on research, that suicides are much higher when children are prevented from transitioning. In a recent study Cornell University research supports the benefits of gender transitioning. Dr. Laidlaw is out of his depth. This is not his field.

Jazz will very likely be rendered permanently infertile.

What the hell is the point of this diatribe? He might be right and that is a trade-off for gender affirmation. The scales are clearly tilting towards the affirmation side!

There is a high level of substance abuse among people who identify as transgender.

People who are routinely marginalized and discriminated against might turn to drugs and alcohol. Laidlaw is part of the negative environment. Rather than telling transgender people that they should not have transitioned, this should tell Laidlaw to knock off this bullshit.

There are a number of serious health risks associated with taking cross-sex hormones.

Perhaps and I don’t know if or how practitioners might be mitigating the risks. The choice is to be utterly miserable and in severe distress or to affirm one’s gender and to consume hormones knowing the health risks.

Because I have PTSD I take a number of drugs that carry risks and side effects. I take meds to offset the side effects of other meds. I do this because my state without these drugs would be suicidal (I tried once and I am glad I wasn’t very competent at murdering myself).

Later on:

I Am Jazz contains false information and very troubling omissions. For these reasons, I believe that the book is not appropriate for children of any age to read. Children who are experiencing gender dysphoria will likely be harmed by this book, as will children who do not have the condition.

Laidlaw wanted a list, he came up with a list of errors and omissions. None of them are relevant to the objective of the book. Jazz wants to explain to young children, in the simplest terms, what being transgender means. The intent is to create an environment where kids will accept a trans classmate should they have one. That cannot harm anyone.

Laidlaw sees harm because he feels that the book will encourage children to become transgender. The reality is that a young child with gender dysphoria is going to persistently insist on being treated in accordance with their gender. He or she will do so because it will provide some relief to the distress. There would be considerably less distress with fewer Dr. Laidlaws. He has the balls to assert:

Primum non nocere is the Latin phrase for “first, do no harm” and is an admonition to physicians to seriously consider the risks of any treatment before applying it.

Laidlaw is doing considerable harm by substituting religious dogma for medical science. The treatment of a medical condition should not be influenced by the Vatican or the Church of England or some grand rabbi somewhere or some mullah. Dr. Michael K, Laidlaw doesn’t seem capable of accepting that simple concept.

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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.