Tony Perkins
Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins of Family Research Council

via Rewire

Late Friday, Tony Perkins belched out: ‘What Am I Doing?’ Gender Hysteria Takes Its Toll. Repeat after me: “Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the welfare of LGBTQ people.” Mr. Perkins is a narcissistic and greedy egomaniac who was willing to create direct ties to the Klan for the welfare of … Tony Perkins.

In this case, Perkins would like people to believe that he is concerned for the well being of other people. I hate to call Mr. Perkins a liar but he has been known to stretch the truth from time to time. If there is any such thing as “gender hysteria,” it is the reaction of conservative Christians to the scientific fact that some people — not very many, but some — have incongruent gender and natal sex (gender dysphoria). In this case a medical condition creates a contradiction — according to the literalists — with Genesis 1:27.

I am at a loss to explain why the Copernican model has prevailed.

Perkins quotes a woman in the UK by the name of Moya Sarner who he claims is in her late 20s:

“I was 17… I finally started on testosterone gel, later switching to injections. It was a huge thing when my voice broke, and my figure started changing — my hips narrowed, my shoulders broadened. It felt right. Passing as a man, I felt safer in public places, I was taken more seriously when I spoke, and I felt more confident. Then I had chest surgery. It was botched, and I was left with terrible scarring. I was traumatized. For the first time, I asked myself, ‘What am I doing?'”

And that proves what exactly? I feel for Ms. Sarner (Perkins doesn’t really give a crap). I also know what I don’t know. I and we do not know the qualifications of Sarner’s psychiatrist or if she even had one. I and we do not know how she was diagnosed at 17 (which would be about ten years ago). I and we also do not know if she would have desisted had she not received bungled surgery. In fact, we do not even know at what age Ms. Sarner was diagnosed which is extremely important.

Mr. Perkins, on the other hand, is omniscient:

Moya Sarner is in her late 20s now. She fights the waves of regret over what she did to her body almost every day, especially when she thinks about having children. If only someone had counseled her, she says wistfully. “I might not have transitioned. I was so focused on trying to change my gender, I never stopped to think about what gender meant.” The people treating her should have. And now there are Moyas all around the world suffering because no one told them the truth — that there’s freedom from their pain without destroying how they were made.

They are everywhere but Perkins had to go to the UK to find one. I can reasonably assert that — in this country — young people are subjected to extensive counseling before and after they receive cross-sex hormones. Moreover, any parent with a brain in their head is going to get second opinions on both the diagnosis and the treatment plan. Late-onset (post-pubertal) gender dysphoria (if that is what this was) is subjected to even more scrutiny.

Perkins is trying to scare people — particularly parents — away from gender transitioning because of his religious objection. That is spectacularly stupid because doing so ignores the life-threatening distress that acute gender dysphoria can cause. The obvious response to Ms. Sarner should be a desire for youth to receive the very best counseling prior to, and during, transition. Perkins is not calling for improved evaluation and advisement because Mr. Perkins has a different agenda.

Perkins being Perkins he undermines his own argument:

The medical staff at Tavistock, England’s only gender clinic, was horrified enough to go public, many of them resigning over the horrifying things they witnessed behind closed doors. Some doctors, they said, would openly lie to patients and parents…

If I take Perkins at his word (which is always risky), a substandard clinic only identifies a need for better care with better oversight. It is absolutely inexcusable for clinicians to lie to patients and parents. A faulty clinic has nothing to do with the medical science regarding gender.

Perkins goes on at considerable length about former staffers of the clinic going public with concerns. For the sake of expediency I will assume that the clinic does an awful job.

Eventually Perkins concludes with this:

For the time being, the Tavistock headline seems to be generating a surprising amount of outrage. Conservative activists who’ve been waiting for the public to catch on to the nightmare that is gender ideology are relieved that these clinicians are brave enough to stand up and say, “Enough.” “I’ve always thought if the public really knew what ‘transition’ entailed,” one conservative activist said, holding gruesome photos of patients’ surgery scars, “they would object, and it would stop. I think the U.K. is collectively reaching a point of critical mass where too many of us know what is happening.”

Perkins’ narrative says that youth in England are receiving substandard medical care. Perkins then lies by suggesting that this is proof that gender is an “ideology” and that youth should not transition. It is comparable to saying that several patients of the Smith Family Clinic in Nowhere, VT have received diagnoses of the flu when they had pneumonia. Therefore, no one should get a cold.

On top of the logical fallacies is Perkins’ bizarre assertion that religious conservatives have some unique insight into, and knowledge about, gender. The activist Perkins refers to is Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull who also goes by Posie Parker. Ms. Keen-Minshull is apparently a nutty feminist wed to the belief that transgender women threaten the rights of cisgender women in spite of the fact that they comprise about ¼ of one percent of the population. Suffice it to say that Ms. Keen-Minshull does not seem to have a medical degree.

Tony Perkins does not have a medical degree either. His only interest in this matter is religious conformity.

My advice to parents of a gender atypical child is this: Each kid’s circumstances are unique. Start with a board-certified psychiatrist who routinely treats children with gender issues. Preferably he or she has an academic appointment. For a child to be diagnosed they must meet six of eight very specific criteria which have caused significant distress for at least six months. Solicit a treatment plan. Get a second opinion.

Oh, and do not believe the religious BS. The holier-than-thou set have attempted to convince people that seeing a gender specialist automatically means that a child will become transgender. There is no evidence to support that contention. Another ploy is to claim that 90% of children outgrow gender dysphoria. There is some truth to that. It is probably closer to 75%. However, those children are never going to transition in the first place because the severity of the condition does not compel them to do so. The objective of the religious right is to keep children away from the care of qualified clinicians.

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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.