Walt Heyer is at it again. This time at Witherspoon Institute’s pseudo-intellectual blog. Ryan T. Anderson edits the blog. He is permitting an obviously unbalanced crank to publish posts. Furthermore, Heyer gets away with his bullshit because Anderson subscribes to expositions that conform to his religious beliefs — medical science be damned.
Heyer’s piece is titled: “Diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria—Too General and Too Much Harm.” It includes a verbose subtitle:
The diagnosis of gender dysphoria prematurely puts people on a path to transition while trivializing and dismissing contributing factors such as alcohol and drug abuse, sexual fetishes and co-existing psychological disorders. The trans “treatment” being idolized today should meet the same fate as lobotomies, tooth pulling and colon removal—tossed on the historical rubbish heap of debunked horrific experiments perpetrated on innocent, hurting people.
The above is a remarkable display of arrogance and ignorance from a neurotic ex-trans person who doesn’t seem to have “M.D.” following his name. Having been transgender does not make Heyer an expert on gender dysphoria. Heyer has recently self-diagnosed his condition as dissociative identity disorder, previously known as multiple personality disorder.
I am willing to concede that Heyer was misdiagnosed (probably with his complicity) some four decades ago. The question that remains is whether or not current diagnoses are accurate. The other problem with Heyer is that he was diagnosed in his late 40s which is atypical.
Today, to obtain gender affirming surgery a candidate is expected to have been in continuous therapy for an extended period of time. Two psychological approvals are required. One from the individual’s therapist and another from a therapist who has not treated the surgical candidate. In addition, he or she must have socially transitioned for at least one year. I do not know what the requirements were 40 years ago
Furthermore, Heyer is claiming that gender-affirmation is a treatment; something designed and implemented by clinicians. In point of fact, gender affirmation is patient driven. People with acute gender dysphoria feel compelled to affirm their gender in some fashion; with or without a behavioral health counselor.
I won’t quote a great deal from Heyer. In fact just two paragraphs:
Psychological conditions present in almost 70 percent of people with gender dysphoria include anxiety disorders (panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder), mood disorders (major depression, bipolar disorder, etc.), eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, etc.), psychotic disorders, dissociative disorders, and substance abuse disorders. Dissociative disorder was found in 29.6 percent of those with gender dysphoria and 45.8 percent had a high prevalence of lifetime major depressive episodes.
There is a link in there to 2013 research which, by the way, cites DSM-IV (we are currently on V) Heyer got carried away identifying every possible disorder on Axis 1 of the DSM. In simple terms, according to the abstract: “People with gender identity disorder show more psychiatric problems than the general population; mostly affective and anxiety problems are found.” Affective problems are generally depression.
The simple fact is that gender dysphoria produces anxiety and depression which is the most logical explanation. Heyer is suggesting that anxiety and depression make people gender dysphoric. The reason that Heyer makes no sense is that, for example, about 7.1% of US adults have depressive disorder. About .5% of adults are transgender. The prevalence of major depressive disorder is more than 14 times the prevalence of gender dysphoria.
As for the dissociative disorder, Heyer should read his own cite which states: “Hormonal treatment reduces dissociative symptoms in Gender Dysphoria individuals.” In other words, gender affirmation mitigates the symptom which means that the symptom was created by gender dysphoria, not the reverse.
The second paragraph I will quote from:
Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), is a relatively recent phenomenon observed in previously normal teens, primarily girls, who suddenly announce their desire to transition to the opposite sex. Initial research suggests that it may be a social contagion, brought on by angst about puberty and the influence of social media and sympathetic depictions of transgenderism.
Heyer knows damned well that the ROGD study was subjected to a major correction and an apology from the journal publisher. There is no real evidence that ROGD exists. DSM-5 requires six of eight criteria for a minor to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria which must have caused significant impairment for at least six months. Sudden onset of gender dysphoria defies objective diagnosis.
Just my opinion but Heyer seems to have a religious objection to the concept of gender affirmation. Indeed, this post is published to an ultra-conservative Catholic organization’s blog. Heyer’s religious beliefs must have complicated his own life when he was living as a woman.
In addition, I think that Heyer is trying to make selective sense of his own experience without sincere reflection. He takes no responsibility for any of his decisions. Someone else is always to blame. Heyer’s experience is not representative of anything that we are dealing with today.