Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgin, Illinois Family Institute (date unknown)

via Interframe Media

Tuesday, Laurie Higgins, of the hate group Illinois Family Institute, predicted that in the future we will regard gender-confirmation surgery like a lobotomy. Apparently Ms. Higgins is more erudite than the doctors comprising the behavioral health and surgical departments at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

If you think Higgins is genuinely concerned for the welfare of children, you would be wrong. Higgins is only genuinely concerned for the welfare of literalist Christianity. The existence of transgender people creates — for those literalists — a contradiction to a passage in Genesis. Ancient texts of questionable provenance must prevail over medical science. Of course.

Higgins exact quote to American Family Association (another hate group) was:

We are going to look back on this in 10 [or] 20 years the way we look back on lobotomies for mentally ill people, because this is ghastly what we’re doing to children.

What Higgins and hate group leader Quentin Van Meter (American College of Pediatricians) are complaining about in this blog post is a pending change to Vermont’s Medicaid rules that would allow teens under 18 to have gender confirmation surgery with parental consent. The procedure is not easy to qualify for.

In addition to parental consent and Medicaid agreeing to payment, a youth will have to convince a surgeon and hospital that the surgery is appropriate. Typically, this requires two psychiatric/psychological approvals. One from the youth’s regular behavioral health counselor and another from a qualified counselor who does not have a relationship with the individual. To get those approvals, the individual will have to have lived as their gender for at least a year. He or she will have to have been in rigorous counseling during their “real life” period and commit to post-surgical counseling. But that’s not all.

The surgeon must be convinced that the person and his or her parents fully understand the benefits and risks of the surgery and that they have reasonable expectations for the outcome. Someone from the hospital will have a similar conversation or conversations with the potential patient and their parents.

At each stage the youth must demonstrate the maturity to full appreciate the impact of the surgery. For the most part, it is irreversible. There are several studies demonstrating that gender confirmation surgery is beneficial. A recent study conducted in Germany of 156 male-to-female patients determined:

Scientists have developed a transgender-specific questionnaire, which confirms for the first time
that gender surgery significantly improves quality of life for the majority of patients. The study
shows that 80% of male-to-female patients perceived themselves as women post-surgery. However,
the quality of life of transgender individuals is still significantly lower than the general population.

The quality of life of transgender individuals would improve dramatically were it not for the the likes of Laurie Higgins.

In another study, researchers followed individuals for four to six years after first clinical contact. The conclusion of that study:

Postoperative satisfaction was 94% to 100%.

Those rates of satisfaction are among adults but should be applicable to youth if they are properly screened.

Quentin Van Meter:

In the same American Family Association article, Van Meter is quoted:

In a related story, pediatrician Quentin Van Meter of Atlanta told Breitbart News that since gender ideology has been forced on the American people, “every single transgender patient who has come to me has come from a totally dysfunctional family.”

According to Van Meter, putting children through sex-reassignment surgery is merely “painting over the [emotional] trauma” they have experienced at home.

I call bullshit! How many transgender patients has Van Meter ever seen? One? None? Transgender adolescents are not stupid. They will know that Van Meter’s ersatz professional organization (American College of Pediatricians) is phony and a hate group that pushes junk science. (The real professional association is the American Academy of Pediatrics.) Van Meter’s concerns are oriented around scripture rather than the best interests of patients.

The “underlying trauma” BS is conservative Christian mythology. Gender dysphoria typically occurs very early, around the ages of two through four. The severity of the condition will determine whether or not it will persist and whether or not the child will socially transition. Gender dysphoria causes psychological stress. It has been proven that the psychological wellbeing of gender diverse people is largely mediated by family acceptance and support.

Behavioral counseling of trans youth — and their parents — will address the numerous psychological and social adversities that trans youth face. That same counseling is not going to cure gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria creates distress. The good news is that gender affirmation allows GD youth to function comparably to their non-GD peers. That has been confirmed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

My advice to parents is this: If you see an American College of Pediatricians plaque on your kid’s doctor’s wall, grab your child and make haste to the nearest exit. That is evidence that the pediatrician prioritizes religious dogma over medical science. The dogma is based on faith while the science is based on evidence.

Faith-based treatment of gender incongruity will only increase the child’s suffering. The greater the distress, the greater the potential for self-harm. The last thing that a gender diverse child needs is a religious crackpot.

People like Van Meter and Higgins will say that most children grow out of gender dysphoria. That is true and those children never transition in the first place. Whether or not they do is based on the severity of the condition. A child in significant distress who has an inexorable desire to affirm their gender is unlikely to grow out of the condition.

He or she requires the professional care that only a clinician with the applicable training and experience can provide. Were it my kid? I like second opinions from a fully qualified doctor.

Some people have suggested to me that I refrain from calling people bigots. Not doing so is to condone their behavior because it is based on religion. When religious belief governs personal choices I am more restrained (although I have no tolerance for parents who mistreat LGBTQ kids based on faith). Religious beliefs do not require people like Ms. Higgins and Dr. Van Meter to promote misinformation. They are both bigots for doing so.

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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.