Dr. Crackpot

via MADNESS: Project Nexus

Four warriors for the faith (one Jew and three Christians) were required for Witherspoon Institute’s latest anti-LGBTQ diatribe. Monday they have scribbled together — Correction: Transgender Surgery Provides No Mental Health Benefit.

The roster of zealots (in the order presented):

  1. Andre Van Mol: A family physician and founding member of American College of Pediatrians which, according to Southern Poverty Law Center, is an anti-LGBTQ hate group. Van Mol is an elder of the cultish Bethel Church in Redding, CA.
  2. Michael K. Laidlaw: A California endocrinologist who is not board certified. Laidlaw has been relatively quiet lately but he is obsessed with LGBTQ people.
  3. Miriam Grossman: A Los Angeles psychiatrist. Grossman is affiliated with an orthodox Jewish group, The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, which is not a federally nonprofit organization.
  4. Paul R. McHugh: Catholic zealot nearing 90 years of age. McHugh is the religious right’s favorite crank physician.

I have written about this “correction” at least twice. There were some statistical errors in the study. The bottom line, however, is this:

…the conclusion that “the longitudinal association between gender-affirming surgery and lower use of mental health treatment lends support to the decision to provide gender-affirming surgeries to transgender individuals who seek them” is too strong.

You wouldn’t know that from Witherspoon Institute’s subtitle:

The American Journal of Psychiatry has issued a major correction to a recent study. The Bränström study reanalysis demonstrated that neither “gender-affirming hormone treatment” nor “gender-affirming surgery” reduced the need of transgender-identifying people for mental health services. Fad medicine is bad medicine, and gender-anxious people deserve better.

“Fad?” Gender dysphoria, formerly known as gender identity disorder, has been in the medical literature for decades. In fact, more than 100 years ago Dr. Alan L. Hart (no relation), an Oregon physician, researcher writer and transgender man received gender-affirming “bottom” surgery.

More importantly the scientific consensus is quite different from what these four lunatics are attempting to assert. A very small sample of the research includes:

You would think that the four horsemen of the apocalypse had discovered a cure for lung cancer:

When we first analyzed the study last October, it was obvious that it had major shortcomings. Dr. Van Mol led our team—which includes endocrinologist Michael Laidlaw, child and adolescent psychiatrist Miriam Grossman, and Johns Hopkins professor of psychiatry Paul McHugh—to summarize our findings into a compact, 500-word letter to the editor. We were not the only clinicians to question the study’s legitimacy. A total of seven letters, all critical of the study, were published on August 1, including our own. The editors included a response from the original authors, and they explained why it took ten months to publish the letters.

In fact this treatise is at odds with McHugh’s own statements.

In 1979, he shut down the gender identity clinic at Johns Hopkins, saying that another researcher found that most of the people he tracked down who had undergone this type of surgery “were contented with what they had done and that only a few regretted it. But in every other respect, they were little changed in their psychological condition. They had much the same problems with relationships, work, and emotions as before. The hope that they would emerge now from their emotional difficulties to flourish psychologically had not been fulfilled.”

The above (2004) link is to an extremely orthodox Catholic site. Many things have changed in medicine over the past 41 years. People with gender incongruity are transitioning earlier in life. More importantly they receive a considerable volume of pre and post-surgical counseling.

McHugh claimed that transgender people fell into one of two categories. Either they were gay men seeking to resolve conflicts with their sexual orientation or older men who were sexually aroused by cross-dressing. It didn’t make much sense to me either. McHugh is a fierce Defender of the Faith™.

It would not surprise me if, over 40 years ago, some people received surgery who would not qualify by today’s standards. What is the point other than an attempt to conform medical science to scripture.

To quote Dr. Jack Drescher, a member of APA’s DSM-5 Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders:

Does [McHugh’s] report actually offer alternatives? Because I don’t know of anybody who’s discovered a way to actually talk a transgender person out of their gender dysphoria.

The bottom line to this craziness is that none of these four people treat patients with gender dysphoria. None of the four has published peer-reviewed research (into gender dysphoria) to a reputable academic journal. All four of these people have a religious objecting to the existence of transgender people.

The outlet for his exercise in lunacy is Witherspoon Institute’s pretentious, pseudo-intellectual blog. Witherspoon Institute was founded by Robert P. George and Luis Tellez. Tellez, an Opus Dei numerary, remains as president of the organization.

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