A medical doctor claims that gender affirmation is child abuse.

Patrick Lappert, MD in deacon garb

via US News & World Report

On a Catholic radio show Dr. Patrick W. Lappert discussed “gender, homosexuality, human anthropology, human nature, morality, top surgery, bottom surgery, and sex hormones.”

Lappert, who has no experience with gender incongruent children, claims that gender affirmation is child abuse. While Lappert derives authority from his medical degree he speaks, not as a doctor, but as an apologist for Catholic dogma.

Dr. Lappert is a plastic surgeon in Madison, Alabama. Lappert is not board certified in any medical specialty. Complicating matters for Dr. Lappert and his patients is the fact that he is also a deacon of the Catholic Church (and a zealous convert). Lappert is also associated with the local chapter of the Courage (pray-your-gay-away) Ministry.

In the final analysis, Lappert’s critical thinking is subordinate to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Those teachings are not derived from doctors or even scientists. In effect, prelates of the Catholic Church have affected the the medical judgment of a physician. Dr. Lappert has seemingly violated the AMA Code of Medical Ethics, specifically: Ethical Physician Conduct in the Media.

Wednesday, watch for a post regarding new research on gender identity conversion therapy (when the study comes off embargo).

According to LifeSiteNews:

Lappert briefly touched on the negative physical effects of same-sex sexual activity, and he also explained in detail the disturbing reality of what happens when a person undergoes so-called sex-change surgery.

If gay sex has “negative physical effects” then you are probably not doing it right. The “reality” of gender confirmation surgery is that it helps people feel that they are in greater conformity with their gender. Candidates for the surgery must have a year or two of “real life experience” living as their gender.

To qualify for the procedure an individual requires the recommendations of two behavioral health specialists and must demonstrate that they have been in extensive counseling. They are fully aware of the specifics of surgery and must have reasonable expectations. Informed consent is an absolute necessity.

Perhaps this is why the procedure has such high rates of satisfaction measured by quality of life.

He called it “utterly unacceptable” on moral grounds for a plastic surgeon, because it disregards the surgeon’s call to balance respect for both form and function of the body in his or her work.

Lappert is hardly an arbiter of morality. Spreading anti-LGBTQ bigotry and misinformation as a physician on behalf of the Catholic Church is immoral.

Regarding misinformation:

Regarding children, Lappert said, sexualizing them at a young age with these ideas is grooming them for later abuse.

“It’s atrocious,” he said. “And no one even knows how that’s going to play out. There’s no body of scientific evidence to even support the safety of doing that to children. But it’s being done.”

“Children do not have the capacity to consent to those sorts of treatments,” Lappert said of sex-change procedures. “You cannot tell a pre-adolescent child anything about their adult life and expect that they’re going to understand what you’re telling them.”

Lappert is not a board certified psychiatrist. In fact he is not a board certified anything. The transition of a prepubescent child involves merely hairstyle and attire. The notion that parents are sexualizing their kids and “grooming” them for abuse is not just offensive; it is profoundly stupid.

No parent wants a trans or gender diverse child. Lappert doesn’t seem to know what the diagnostic criteria, according to DSM-5, is. Usually, after getting two opinions, a parent has to choose between having a miserable little boy or a happy little girl (or vice versa). To quote Dr. Kristina Olson, founder of the TransYouth project which has been studying trans youth for years:

We have two main findings so far. The first is that the gender development of socially transitioned trans kids seems to look a lot like that of cisgender kids [kids who are not transgender]. They show similar gender preferences and similar gender identities as their gender-matched peers and gender-typical siblings. These are kids that are saying, “I’m a girl,” and on all the traditional measures of gender development in the literature they look like the average cisgender girl (Child Development Perspectives, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2018).

Our second finding is that these kids, who are living as their gender identity in everyday life and supported by their families in that identity, seem to have pretty good mental health (Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Vol. 56, No. 2, 2017). They have slightly higher anxiety compared with cisgender kids but similar rates of depression—nowhere near the kind of clinical levels that we often see in prior studies of transgender teens and transgender adults.

The above are summations of peer-reviewed research published to respected academic journals. Has Dr. Lappert read any of the research? Does he even care given the Church’s position that trans people do not exist?

In order to achieve these beneficial results children may receive puberty blockers and subsequently hormones. By the time they are receiving medications they are fully aware of their gender. If Lappert is concerned for the adult lives of trans kids then he should desist from spreading unscientific bullshit which marginalizes transgender people.

Asked “What is a sex change?” Lappert responded, “Well, to begin with, the idea that you can change someone’s sex is a lie.”

“Many people have been led to believe by a lot of very clever programs and advertising from plastic surgeons and whatnot that you can actually change a man into a woman or a girl into a boy or anything like that,” he said. “You cannot. Essentially all you can do is you can modify people’s bodies both with medicines as well as with surgery to make them appear to be the other sex, but they will never be the other sex.”

No transgender person has those expectations. That is just more anti-trans bigotry. Lappert is essentially saying that transgender people are stupid. Moreover, referencing children (“girl into boy”) in the context of surgery is a lie. Gender confirmation surgery is just that. Satisfaction is very high. If the Church and its representatives would stop promoting anti-LGBTQ bigotry, post-operative trans people would be even more satisfied.

The author of this drivel is a woman named Lisa Bourne. Aside from claiming that Lappert is board certified, she subscribes to self-validation:

Experts have said for years that surgery or hormone treatment for gender-confused individuals, and certainly encouraging transgender ideas in children, is not the solution, and can result in exacerbating their condition.

Nonetheless, sex change surgeries have been on the rise, transgender ideology continues to be pushed in schools, civil government, and healthcare associations and institutions, while gender confused-individuals are also appearing more and more in pop culture, sports, media, and advertising.

There are many links in those two paragraphs to other posts on the same orthodox Catholic outlet. Missing are any cites to peer-reviewed research. Gender dysphoria does not mean that people are “gender-confused.” That phrase does not appear in any medical literature because it is untrue. Similarly, being a fundamentalist Catholic is an “ideology.” Being transgender is not.

Dr. Lappert is a fount of misinformation:

Lappert said gender confused individuals will typically begin by adopting a lifestyle and persona, change their name, hair and other aspects of their looks, and then move onto other identity components such as changing their driver’s license and so on. Then hormonal medications are often introduced, and while sometimes these may initially make someone feel better about their gender confusion, this gives the false impression that surgical intervention will result in success, and taking hormones of the opposite sex over time can have a negative physical impact.

From there, Lappert goes into a dissertation on surgical specifics describing a “counterfeit vagina” and a “counterfeit penis.” Suffice it to say that gender confirmation surgery is not an area in which he has expertise. I am certain that he has never performed the procedure. In fact, it would appear that Lappert has never met a transgender person — at least not knowingly.

The malpractice of medicine

Lappert also warned that a whole generation of children is being raised whose psychosexual, physical, and neurological development are being stunted in hopes of supporting this cross-sex idea of themselves – pushed by the transgender industry.

He pointed out that if you took 100 children with cross-sex idea of themselves, 91 percent of them will desist.

Then he is promoting ignorance on behalf of the Church. About 75% of children who have gender dysphoria will desist. None of those kids ever transition. The persistence of gender dysphoria directly correlates to its severity.

Lappert is just promoting a popular talking point among conservative Christians. Furthermore, the existence of a sinister “transgender industry” is just a false conspiracy theory.

Malpractice could be defined as treating patients in accordance with Church dogma rather than medical science.

“If you didn’t offer them any care at all, you’d have the same suicide rate that people have now after all of the surgical interventions,” said Lappert. “And after the excitement dies down, and eight, 10 years later, they’re right back to a 40 to 42 percent suicide rate. So that’s a huge misrepresentation of benefit that is just not true.”

Where is the research to support that preposterous statement? There is no cite and I know of nothing that could substantiate such speculation. Is he suggesting some form of conversion therapy? (Watch for a post Wednesday when new research comes off embargo.) In the alternative an exorcism might work. Right?

The work of Satan

Lappert works himself into a frothing fury. Any sense of medical professionalism is completely lost:

“… it utterly perverts our sense of human sexuality,” he said. “It internally divides the human person from their very own bodies. And now it’s separating the human community from their reproductive faculties, in the era of assisted reproductive technology. So this is diabolical in every sense of the word. Diabolical.”


“To view the body as a thing, but somebody that a person owns, to view themselves, their personhood is something separate from their own bodies, is a very grave mistake,” he said. “And then to set about modifying the body in ways that you hope will bring about a lasting happiness can’t possibly succeed, because it begins with a lie, it begins with an error about the objective truth of who the human person is.”

The above is derived from the catechism. This is support of the dogma. It is totally divorced from the science. And therein lies the problem. If so much as one parent were to be confused by this bullshit then there is the potential to make a child suffer in extreme distress. Lappert actually has the potential to kill kids and that is not hyperbole.

Dr. Patrick Walter Lappert should decide whether he wants to be a priest or a physician and then act accordingly. Until then he is just one more anti-LGBTQ crackpot and crank.

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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.