Dr. Jennifer Bauwens has joined the staff of Family Research Council, a notorious hate group
Jennifer Bauwens | via LinkedIn – Why is this prostitute smiling?

Jennifer Bauwens is the newly anointed director of family studies at Family Research Council. Bauwens wasted no time in displaying both ignorance and bigotry.

Jennifer Bauwens has a doctorate in social work from NYU.

In no way, whatsoever, does that qualify Bauwens to opine about transgender medicine.

Nevertheless, with no training, expertise or experience, Bauwens has authored: Protecting the Vulnerable: A Call to Uphold Ethical Standards in Treating Gender Confusion.

The use of the term “gender confusion” immediately identifies Bauwens as a religious crank. Moreover, “ethical standards” for religious crackpots means preventing children from transitioning to avoid a conflict with scripture:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:27

Furthermore, ethical standards are established by professional organizations. For pediatricians, not following the clinical practice standards of the American Academy of Pediatrics is unethical.

But let us not allow science to get in the way of a defense of the faith!

In her nonsensical diatribe, Bauwens refers to:

The Proliferation of Gender Confusion and the Targeting of Minors.

“Targeting” deliberately suggests that there is a nefarious conspiracy to mistreat children. Moreover, “proliferation” is consistent with the Christian Right’s meme that trans kids are part of a fad.

Wednesday’s essay by Marlo Mack (a pseudonym to protect the privacy of her trans daughter) in the New York Times debunks this theory better than I can. Mack bolsters her argument with an April, 2021 piece in the New York Times titled: Transgender Childhood Is Not a ‘Trend’ written by Jules Gill-Peterson.

Bauwens claims that there is an economic conspiracy and a growing market for transgender medicine:

As demands are placed on this market, we can expect minors to be increasingly targeted for these lucrative interventions. We should be greatly alarmed by the fact that minors can access medical interventions to radically alter their physiology in an effort to “fix” gender dysphoria. This disturbing fact should garner our full attention and prompt us to act.

Parental consent is required for treating gender-diverse minors. Let’s give those parents some credit for exploring both the science and alternatives.

The argument is sophomoric for several reasons:

  • Transgender people are transitioning earlier but the number of transgender people as a percentage of the population remains at about 0.5%.
  • Minors account for less than 23% of the population. Assuming comparable distribution transgender minors only represent about 0.1% of the population. That’s not much of a market.
  • Bauwens is claiming that pediatric transgender medicine is “radical.”
    • She lacks the expertise, training and experience to make that argument and;
    • the broad consensus of medical science is contrary to the claim.
  • “Radical” would be not providing treatment in accord with the science.
  • Due to her lack of expertise, Bauwens is claiming that gender-affirming care is intended to “fix” gender dysphoria. That is not the case. Gender-affirming care makes gender dysphoria less stressful.
  • Parental consent is required for treating gender-diverse minors. Let’s give those parents some credit for exploring both the science and alternatives.
  • “This disturbing fact” doesn’t exist.

In simpler terms, one paragraph is a bullshit repository. It requires more commentary to debunk than the preposterous assertions.

Bauwens gets DSM-5 wrong due to a lack of expertise:

… In many cases, the focal point of treatment will be the gender dysphoria diagnosis. Part of the subsequent treatment recommendations will be for the clinician to affirm the minor’s desired gender identity. According to the DSM-5, the clinician is supposed to wait six months before diagnosing gender dysphoria.

Wrong. The clinician is not “supposed to wait six months.” Children are typically diagnosed with gender dysphoria if they have experienced significant distress for at least six months. That is entirely different from the clinician waiting six months.

“There does not exist a nefarious cabal of physicians yearning to fuck up kids.”

Furthermore, the diagnosis requires meeting six of eight criteria. Perhaps Ms. Bauwens should actually read DSM-5. In addition to meeting the criteria, there is this:

Associated Features Supporting Diagnosis
Scan via DSM-5

Moreover, I regularly communicate with these clinicians. There does not exist a nefarious cabal of physicians yearning to fuck up kids. They do what they do because they care about kids. There are far more lucrative psychiatric specialties.

“… minority stress syndrome is a fact, not an “argument.” And just who contributes to minority stress?”

She keeps getting it wrong:

There are several problems with this diagnosis. For now, there is no clear and sound understanding into the etiology of gender dysphoria. In fact, one large-scale study found elevated reports of depression and anxiety that were two and three times higher in gender minorities or transgendered persons. … the authors called for more studies to investigate the cause of depression and anxiety among those identifying as transgender.

That study (according to the footnotes) is Social Epidemiology of Depression and Anxiety by Gender Identity, 2016. (Bauwens does not provide a link.) The primary investigator is Sari Reisner at Harvard. Dr. Reisner is a transgender man.

The use of the word “transgendered” is another tell. The adjective “transgender” does not get a past participle. Furthermore, the conclusions are different from what Bauwens asserts:

Gender identity is an understudied social determinant of mental health. Surveillance efforts to monitor mental health disparities should include survey questions to assess gender identity in epidemiologic research. Research and interventions to understand and ameliorate mental health disparities by gender identity are needed.

Bauwens dishonestly omitted the context provided by the first two sentences.

Can you say “nonsense?”

At this time, there is still no clear reason given by researchers that fully explains the elevated rates of psychological distress in the transgender community. Rather, the argument is often made that discrimination is one of the primary sources of psychological distress in the community.

There is a mountain of research confirming that gender dysphoria creates anxiety and depression. Furthermore, minority stress syndrome is a fact, not an “argument.” And just who contributes to minority stress?

How about some more selective observation?

… studies like the 2020 report from the Trevor Project continue to find that 52 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth surveyed considered suicide in the last year?

Bauwens left out a few things from that report:

75% of LGBTQ youth reported that they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity at least once in their lifetime.
Transgender and nonbinary youth who reported having pronouns respected by all of the people they lived with attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected by anyone with whom they lived.

Family Research Council consistently opposes the use of gender-affirming pronouns.

Transgender and nonbinary youth who were able to change their name and/or gender marker on legal documents, such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates, reported lower rates of attempting suicide.

Bauwens is claiming that puberty blockers are a “risky intervention” with no evidence whatsoever.

The woman is batshit crazy:
Aside from a lack of solid evidence to support the medical approach to gender dysphoria, we cannot forget that gender-affirming practices are in grave opposition to the ethical standard of causing no harm. When a minor is offered a risky intervention like puberty blockers or gender reassignment surgery, which lacks solid empirical evidence, this should be deemed an ethical violation. Again, these treatments are given without a clear understanding into the etiology of gender dysphoria or the long-term effects these procedures have on minors.

Let us tiptoe through the turds:

  1. The argument that there is a “lack of solid evidence” is a lie. There is a mountain of evidence which includes the fact that children who are supported in their gender identity thrive.
  2. She is arguing that gender-affirming care is harmful with no evidence whatsoever.
  3. Bauwens is claiming that puberty blockers are a “risky intervention” with no evidence whatsoever. Risk can only be assessed in contrast to benefits.
  4. Bauwens is claiming that minors are candidates for gender confirmation surgery (which she incorrectly describes as “gender reassignment surgery). That is a flat out lie.
  5. Bauwens is claiming that there is no “solid empirical evidence” supporting gender-affirming care. That is a lie.
  6. Bauwens is claiming that there is no “understanding” of the long-term effects of (I think) puberty blockers. That is a lie. Puberty blockers have been used to reat other conditions for decades.
  7. Furthermore, puberty blockers are directly linked to reduced potential for self-harm.

“Whatever integrity she might have had she has squandered as a prostitute for a notorious hate group.”

Not only crazy but stupid
At the very least, decisions to undergo radical treatments—including puberty blockers, initiating a lifelong supply of hormone treatments, and surgical procedures aimed at removing healthy organs and body parts—should not be done in haste and not until development has ceased.

Uh, puberty blockers are pointless when “development has ceased.” Moreover, puberty blockers should not be linked to hormonal treatments and surgery. Puberty blockers are fully reversible and allow an adolescent to explore their gender identity without developing secondary sex characteristics.

Jennifer Bauwens might understand some of this if she had any training and experience in pediatric transgender medicine. And, finally:

Will we see beyond the current invogue theories and interventions of a constructed idea like gender dysphoria? Will we protect vulnerable children from being physiologically and psychologically marred by these harmful and unethical practices? Importantly, can we commit to searching for real answers to address the true source of our children’s pain?

Again, she is claiming that gender-affirming care harms children without offering a scintilla of evidence. Moreover, with absolutely no applicable training and experience she is claiming that science has not arrived at “real answers.”

I am beginning to understand why, after nearly eight years as a lecturer, Jennifer Bauwens
was never offered a professorship at Rutgers. Whatever integrity she might have had she has squandered as a prostitute for a notorious hate group.

Family Research Council could seek to improve its credibility through its staffing. Instead, each new higher is a more pernicious religious nut. Jennifer Bauwens is well placed.

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.