How to ferment a toxic brew of transphobia through intellectual dishonesty, confirmation bias, selective observation and a thorough disrespect of science.
Donald DeMarco
Donald DeMarco is an educated man who is highly susceptible to confirmation bias and selective observation.

via Celebrate Life Magazine

According to Donald DeMarco, he is an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He is a professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Ontario.

The websites of those institutions do not confirm those claims. However, we can safely assume that Mr. DeMarco is an ultra-conservative Catholic.

I have no problem with Mr. DeMarco’s religious beliefs. He is free to believe in the sanctity of cottage cheese for all I care. He is also free to pretend, in defiance of medical science, that transgender people do not exist. Trans people probably couldn’t care less. They are not seeking anyone’s approval.

DeMarco’s use of intellectually dishonest arguments and twisted facts to smear and attempt to marginalize LGBTQ people in order to support Church teachings is exceedingly objectionable.

Mr. Demarco does this while falsely projecting an air of respectability, intelligence and studiousness. His dishonesty is not respectable.

I have been at this a long time. The same people have been making the same, or similar, arguments about gay people. We are relegated to the status of straight people who are “objectively disordered.” Medical science be damned.

There exists a catalog of dishonest anti-LGBTQ arguments floating around the Internet. They get repeated and with each iteration they become less truthful. Mr. DeMarco is a participant in the deception.

A Swedish study back in 2011 followed 324 sex-reassigned persons (191 male-to-female, 133 female-to-male). It reported that the long-term outcome of such treatments resulted in life-long psychological trauma and increased suicide. The suicide rate in these patients was 19 times higher than that among the general population. Nonetheless, what is known in the scientific silo may not feed what is going on in the gender re-assignment silo. Each silo has its isolated autonomy and, therefore, does not fertilize any other silo.

Presumably Mr. DeMarco has not bothered to read the study. His argument is from the inventory of the Internet Catalog of Anti-LGBTQ Talking Points.

DeMarco is claiming that it is the treatment of gender incongruent people that caused them to be suicidal and that is what was “reported” by the study’s authors. What they really reported is this:

Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group.

In other words, the gender confirmation surgery was beneficial but not sufficient. I have exchanged some email with the prime investigator of this research, Dr.Cecilia Dhejne. She attributes the higher risks to the Meyer Minority Stress Model,

DeMarco also chooses to ignore the fact that the subjects of this study had surgery between 1973 and 2003. Imagine the plight of a post-op transgender person nearly a half-century ago.

Even those who had surgery as recently as 17 years ago likely transitioned later in life, did not have the kind of support that trans people have today and were probably unemployable.

Jazz Jennings is off to Harvard next fall. Was that even possible 17 years ago?

The point is that Mr. DeMarco is attempting to use the results of a study in a dishonest fashion. DeMarco has mischaracterized the findings of research in order to fulfill an anti-LGBTQ agenda.

Earlier in his prose, Mr. DeMarco wrote this:

On January 10, 2020, the British Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that a 13-year-old girl is old enough to consent to testosterone injections and the use of puberty blockers against her father’s objections.

He has the facts wrong. The trans boy, known as “AB,” was 15 years-of-age; not 13. He socially transitioned at the age of 12. With his mother’s full support he was assessed by a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a pediatric endocrinologist.

The clinicians confirmed that the boy suffers from gender dysphoria and that he showed a comprehensive understanding of the risks and benefits of hormone therapy.

These are important details that Mr. DeMarco chose to ignore. Mr, DeMarco has not given a second of thought to the risks of not treating this youth according to established medical protocols.

DeMarco also failed to note that Justice Gregory Bowden ruled that delaying the treatment was a risk, as AB’s “ongoing and unnecessary suffering” had already led him to once attempt suicide. Bowden ruled that the father’s acts of misgendering AB and other abuses amounted to family violence.

DeMarco is using selective observation to assert that an incident in Canada gives cause to challenge the very existence of trans youth when, in point of fact, a mother, three doctors, probably additional experts and a judge have said just the opposite.

He is not done:

The girl, referred to as AB, wanted to transition to a boy. She was troubled over her parents’ separation in 2013 and suffered from depression. On at least four different occasions she attempted suicide. She also went through a “lesbian stage.” The father, known as CD, argued that health care providers—notably, long-time “queer” activist Barbara Findlay—were promoting his daughter’s transition,. CD has, it would seem, reasonable grounds for stating that AB is “very vulnerable” and that AB lacked the “mental capacity and emotional maturity” to make a decision that could have lasting and irreversible effects.

He already transitioned, three years prior. DeMarco is suggesting that AB is transgender because of his parents’ divorce which is baloney without evidence. He is also trying to suggest that this is just another phase, like when AB was a lesbian. Mom, the doctors and the judge all disagree.

Furthermore, Barbara Findlay is not a “health care provider” as DeMarco claims. She is a lawyer. That Internet catalog is not well edited and Mr. DeMarco is clearly susceptible to confirmation bias. The judge disagreed with all of this BS.

The objective of this rhetoric is to suggest that there is an underlying cause for gender dysphoria which can be treated with some kind of therapy. The fact that there is no evidence to support that theory does not deter Christian conservatives from making the claim over, and over and over again.

The fact that this is essentially conversion therapy to change a youth’s gender identity doesn’t deter them either. Nor does the fact that such therapy is very harmful.

There is more to DeMarco’s polemic including a contrived assertion that he knows what LGBTQ people think or want or don’t want. What I think — what I want — is for religious conservatives to stop twisting facts to conform events to religious dogma.

He is right about one thing in that transgender youth are very vulnerable. Mr. DeMarco should be more careful and give some consideration to how his rhetoric might affect trans youth and their parents. That doesn’t seem to matter as long as he can argue (no matter how dishonestly) in defense of the faith.

I get and even respect people with strong religious convictions. I really do. When those convictions adversely affect other people then a line has been crossed.

Meanwhile, Mr. DeMarco has added to the Internet catalog of dishonest anti-LGBTQ talking points. His dishonest discourse will be the source of another person’s BS. That person might further erode the reality of events.

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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.