Michael K. Laidlaw
via YouTube

RT is a Russian government-owned propaganda outlet (formerly Russia Today). RT is registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent. RT is perhaps best known for its dissemination of misinformation. It is no secret that the Kremlin is insanely anti-LGBTQ in service to the Russian Orthodox Church.

On Saturday RT published Doctors & drugs FOR LIFE: Big Pharma’s profit on the transgender craze. The intent is for people to believe that the pharmaceutical industry is creating transgender people for profit. That sounds crazy because it is crazy.

Like other anti-LGBTQ outlets RT claims that there is a transgender fad, in this case “craze.” Common sense dictates that no one is anxious to become part of a oppressed sexual minority. The author of this astonishingly idiotic post is someone named Robert Bridge. In 2013 Bridge wrote a book. I am certain that it is a page-turner.

According to Mr. Bridge:

Western society is currently witnessing something of a medical revolution, which many have denounced as a dangerous experiment, whereby individuals, acting as their own medical experts, self-diagnose themselves as ‘transgender.’ What often follows is a regimen of powerful drugs and radical surgical techniques in order to ‘fix the gender’ they were mistakenly ‘assigned’ at birth.

The above is preposterous. For starters, the diagnosis is gender dysphoria or gender incongruence. That is the medical condition. Being transgender is not a medical condition. It is a means of mitigating the symptoms of gender dysphoria. DSM-5 is quite specific about criteria for being diagnosed with the condition. Competent diagnoses are required for anyone to gain access to hormones.

On top of that, a candidate for surgery requires two psychological referrals (one from their regular therapist and one from a behavioral health specialist previously unknown to the individual). The individual must document at least a year of “real life experience” living as their gender.

Obviously Robert Bridge has not read the WPATH Standards of Care before writing about this subject.

For the uninitiated, the medical techniques now available to transgender men, women and increasingly children will probably sound absolutely shocking, and more so when it is realized how little research is available on the subject.

More nonsense. Doctors have been performing gender confirmation surgery for 115 years. Every drug that transgender people take comes with a well-established body of evidence detailing risks and benefits. Puberty blockers, for example, have been around for about 20 years. It is true that they were used for other purposes but the risks are the same regardless of why the drug is used.

RT reached out to the Kelsey Coalition, a non-partisan group that works to “protect young people from medical and psychological harms,” to better understand the many unseen chutes and ladders a transgender person must pass before acquiring their dream body. The following is a brief primer into this brave new world of gender makeovers, which pushes the boundaries of science to the extremities.

The Kelsey Coalition is nothing but an anonymous website. I have speculated that the Kelsey Coalition is actually Dr. Michael K. Laidlaw of Rocklin, CA. Bridge goes on to quote material from the website.

And look who pops up

Michael Laidlaw, MD, a physician board certified in Endocrinology, wrote that the medical industry stands to gain a “windfall” from patients seeking out treatment for ‘gender dysphoria,’ the medical term for the condition.

Big pharma, big hospital systems, surgical centers and doctors seek to gain huge profits. Lupron [a puberty blocker prescribed to children] monthly is $775 alone. That’s a $27,000 ‘pause button’ at 5 years [of age]. Multiply this together with the huge rise in cases documented or observed in Western nations and a major windfall is to be had.

First of all, Michael K. Laidlaw is not board certified. Laidlaw’s board certification was revoked, presumably for not meeting Maintenance of Certification (continuing education) obligations. I sent a correction with a link to RT on Saturday. They have left it as is.

Incidentally, Laidlaw and his colleagues discovered that in 2017 the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles had lowered the minimum age for cross-sex hormones from 13 to eight years.

“Imagine giving eight-year-old girls testosterone,” Laidlaw remarked during a panel discussion organized by The Heritage Foundation. “They are in third or fourth grade. This is unbelievable. But this is going on.”

Laidlaw’s exact quote was: “Imagine giving nine-year-old girls testosterone.” Bridge subtracted a year for effect. In any event we do not have to imagine it because it would be extremely unlikely. As Laidlaw knows, meds are prescribed based on Tanner staging (stage of puberty) in contrast to actual age. The data that Laidlaw received was based on government funding of research. It is scientifically possible that a very young child with acute gender dysphoria could be beyond the stage where puberty blockers would be effective.

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Bridge hits most of the religious talking points including:

When ‘transgender’ children are just eight and nine years-old, they are being placed on puberty suppressors. In the state of Oregon, meanwhile, girls as young as 15 years old can have a mastectomy or a hysterectomy without parental approval. Even earlier, with parental consent. After the age of 18, these patients may wish to have so-called “bottom surgeries,” which involve the removal of the penis in born men, and the creation of an artificial penis in born females.

In general, children will not receive puberty blockers until around 12 (again, it is based on Tanner staging). It is true that youth are medically independent in Oregon at the age of 15. However, the medical criteria for procedures is not based on age of consent. It is based on behavioral health referrals and many other factors. If nothing else, doctors and the hospitals in which they operate do not want to be sued.

What would an anti-transgender diatribe be without:

Paul McHugh, a psychiatrist from Johns Hopkins University, believes that the increase in gender confusion is mostly caused by the “psychological and psychosocial problems these people have,” he said, in an interview with The College Fix.

McHugh has not actually practiced medicine in decades and he admits to being driven first by his Catholic faith. He has never published research on trans youth to a peer-reviewed academic journal. The increase in trans youth is primarily the result of changes in treatment. Only six or seven years ago, parents and clinicians did everything possible to prevent kids from transitioning. They did transition later in life but were damaged by years of misery. Gender-affirmed children are far less likely to harm themselves.

One reason why so many people who opt for gender surgery remain unhappy following the procedure, McHugh hypothesizes, is that they discover too late that “they did not address the primary problem,” which was some unaddressed mental health issue.

Except, people are overwhelmingly satisfied with gender confirmation surgery.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, doctors performed 8,304 sex change operations in 2017; in 2018, that number had surged to 9,576. That upward trend is expected to translate into $968 million by 2024, according to Market Watch, citing the Global Sex Reassignment Surgery Market Forecast. That translates into a compound annual growth rate of 24.5 percent during the projection time period.

It is very difficult to qualify for gender confirmation surgery. It requires two behavioral health referrals and “real life experience” (living as one’s gender) of at least one year. Hospitals enforce the WPATH criteria. The change from 2017 to 2018 is roughly 12%. So what? With a reduction of oppression more people are likely to qualify.

About six people per month in each state are receiving the surgery. Were it not for religious disapproval, no one would pay much attention. There are probably more rotationplasty surgeries. The foot is attached to the knee backward. Once a prosthesis is fitted, the ankle of the foot functions as a knee.

Just to bring this to a conclusion (Mr. Bridge is excessively verbose):

As the opponents of transgender reassignment unanimously argue, gender dysphoria remains poorly understood and has never been adequately studied. In other words, there is a very good chance that with the appropriate amount of psychological counseling, gender dysphoria would likely resolve over time with the right amount of psychological support. Yet, for reasons that continue to baffle much of the medical community and the public at large, supporters of gender reassignment have no desire for that approach to become the norm.

Bullshit. Opponents of gender-affirmation are uniformly religious conservatives because the existence of transgender people conflicts with scripture. Gender dysphoria has been studied for over 100 years. It does not respond to talk therapy and there is no evidence to support Bridge’s contention that gender dysphoria “would likely resolve over time with the right amount of psychological support.”

Ultimately, the outlet is RT. As a Russian Federation propaganda outlet, they are more concerned with ideology than intellectual honesty. People who write for what is legally a foreign agent are not exactly icons of journalism. The subject piece does nothing to alter that perception.

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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.