Jennifer Lahl - A religious crackpot pretending to be an expert in pediatric gender dysphoria

Jennifer Lahl, Defender of the Faith™ and Christian extremist, presumes to be an expert regarding trans youth.

Tuesday, Jennifer Lahl of the The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network has been interviewed by the Christian Post. Lahl’s notion of “bioethics” is conformity with the catechism of the Catholic Church.

Jennifer Lahl is a crackpot. In order to defend the teachings of the Catholic Church and scripture, she has come up with an anti-transgender video. It seems to be all the rage in conservative Christian circles.

According to Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post “reporter:” ‘Trans Mission’ docu exposes ‘unconscionable’ rush to transition gender dysphoric kids.

We cannot get past the title without noting the bullshit — the Christian meme du jour — about forces (presumably doctors) that “transition” kids. It doesn’t work that way.

Kids transition themselves, often prior to puberty. They do so because transitioning relieves the symptoms of gender dysphoria which can be acute anxiety and depression. Prior to puberty they conform to their gender through things like attire and hairstyle.

Shortly after entering puberty, kids might request — with parental consent — puberty blockers (GnRHa) to prevent developing secondary sex characteristics which might otherwise cause great distress. Trans boys do not want to develop breast tissue. Trans girls do not want to develop a male Adam’s apple.

The point is that parents and doctors do not transition kids. They help kids conform to their gender identity.

Furthermore, transitioning works. It is the only intervention known to medical science to mitigate the symptoms of gender dysphoria. There are no volunteers. None of these kids have signed up for this condition.

“The ‘motive’ is to make children healthier and happier through conformity with the overwhelming consensus of medical science.”

If, in fact, transitioning was improper for an individual child then that would create gender dysphoria. The condition would be relieved by detransitioning.

Use some common fucking sense! Does anyone really believe that an adolescent boy would go to school dressed as a girl on a whim? The kid knows that she will be a target for ridicule.

Now that we got past the title:

[Lahl]: “I thought, we really need to make a film focused on whether we should allow children to do this very experimental ‘treatment’ that has significant short and long term consequences to their heath.”

The above expresses the second part of the meme. Pretend that the religious objection is secular — for the welfare of children — when, in fact, the objection is based on religious doctrine. In other words, the sanctimonious Ms. Lahl is full of crap.

Lahl’s new documentary, “Trans Mission: What’s the Rush To Reassign Gender?” examines the motives behind the push to transition children through life-altering medical and surgical procedures, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and elective cosmetic surgeries, such as double mastectomies and the removal of testicles.

The “motive” is to make children healthier and happier through conformity with the overwhelming consensus of medical science. That consensus is reflected in the clinical practice standards of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Moreover, children are not candidates for surgery. Exceptions are extremely rare.

Furthermore, research published to highly respected academic journals employing robust peer review demonstrates the effectiveness of the approach. With support, children with gender dysphoria are much healthier and happier through transitioning.

Children who are healthy and happy have far less potential for self-harm.

Lahl’s motive is to convince people that children are being exploited by a sinister conspiracy. Again this is all based on a religious objection.

“She is inevitably going to kill kids. They will be sacrificed to ancient texts.”

If Lahl can, she would like to convince parents not to seek expert help from clinicians who actually treat the condition. Lahl wants to instill the fear that if children are seen by a qualified clinician then they will always transition which will inevitably lead to puberty blockers, then hormones then surgery.

Towards the bottom of this article I propose some parental guidelines. These are based solely on the best interests of children.

The proposed solution by Lahl is for parents not to allow children to transition in the first place. She is inevitably going to kill kids. They will be sacrificed to ancient texts.

The bottom line to all of this is that it is not up to me — and it sure as hell isn’t up to Ms. Lahl — to determine how children should be treated medically. It begins with a diagnosis by a qualified doctor.

“They advance this bullshit in an effort to convince people that all; they have to do is unconfuse the kid.”

Clinicians do not have an agenda to misdiagnose kids. Primary care physicians and endocrinologists do not have an agenda to treat children for gender dysphoria who do not have gender dysphoria. Ms. Lahl is a cynic.

Medical malpractice is a negligence tort: Where is all the litigation?

Let’s practice a medical specialty without a license. Jesus would approve:

Contrary to the ideas presented by proponents of gender identity affirmation on children, Lahl stressed that gender dysphoria — which she defined as the “state of confusion where, ‘I don’t feel comfortable in my body, I don’t like what’s happening to my body and the change as I enter puberty'” — is not a new phenomenon, nor does mean a child is born in the wrong body.

Where — pray tell — is the published research defining gender dysphoria as a “state of confusion?” They advance this bullshit in an effort to convince people that all; they have to do is unconfuse the kid.

“The relationship of autism to gender dysphoria is a close cousin to abortions cause breast cancer.”

The DSM-5 defines gender dysphoria in children as a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, lasting at least 6 months. Furthermore, “… the condition must also be associated with clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”

Moreover, a diagnosis of gender dysphoria requires meeting six of eight criteria. These include: “A strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy. A strong desire for the physical sex characteristics that match one’s experienced gender.”

Does the above describe a state of “confusion” or a serious medical condition?

Moreover, who the hell is Ms. Lahl to even attempt to challenge the science?

“Of course there are Christian victims. There are always Christian victims.”

“We need to provide children that are experiencing gender dysphoria with a whole host of therapies to try to get an understanding of, what’s going on in the home, what’s going on in the community and what’s going on at school? Is this a child being bullied? Is this child on the spectrum?” she said.

In other words, the traditional search for the holy grail. The mythical “underlying reason” why a child is gender incongruent. “The spectrum” refers to autism. The relationship of autism to gender dysphoria is a close cousin to abortions cause breast cancer.

Furthermore, with no applicable training or experience Jennifer Lahl proposes to talk kids out of their gender dysphoria. What she is really promoting is the idea that doctors who specialize in treating GD will not understand their patient. Thus they should be avoided.

Lahl’s “problem” is that the very existence of transgender persons presents a contradiction with religious dogma. None of this has anything to do with the welfare of kids.

Ms. Lahl has a solution for all of the children she has not met and will never meet:

“To offer medical and surgical transition is not appropriate therapy for these kinds of feelings,” Lahl stressed.

How the fuck would she know? She includes a reference to surgery in order to scare people. Lahl is lying and out of her depth. Who is Jennifer Lahl to challenge the American Academy of Pediatrics’ determination that the “gender-affirming care model” is the most effective intervention.

Of course there are Christian victims. There are always Christian victims:

The transitioning of children is an issue that crosses political lines, with even members of the LGBT community speaking out against the phenomenon. But those who publicly disagree with the push to affirm gender identity in children are often silenced by the mainstream media or banned from social platforms.

It is not a “phenomenon.” The first gender confirmation surgery was over 100 years ago. (I am not related to Alan L. Hart.)

“What neither Shrier nor Lahl mention is that this was over an eight year span and the numbers themselves are small.”

The “people are being silenced” theme is an attempt to explain why scores of scientists are not noisily agreeing with Jennifer Lahl.

The common talking points:

A recent study from the United Kingdom found a 5,000% increase among teenage girls going to gender clinics seeking help with the incongruence they experience between their internal sense of self and their biological sex.

The above is more bullshit. Abigail Shrier claimed a 4,000% increase. What neither Shrier nor Lahl mention is that this was over an eight year span and the numbers themselves are small meaning that the increase is probably fewer than 1,000 teens. Moreover, the increase is in consults; not transitions.

Next:

Shitting BullWhile many factors are contributing to this surge, one clear reason behind it, Lahl said, is social contagion fueled by celebrities and social media. This idea is corroborated by a 2019 study from Brown University that found parents of children experiencing gender dysphoria saw their children experience pressure to fit in with their friend group.

That study has been completely discredited. It was originally published in August, 2018 (not 2019) and no researcher over the past three years has found similar results. Moreover, the study was subjected to a significant correction by the publishing journal.

I was informed by an insider that the initial reaction was to retract the article. The editors determined that a substantial correction (it is over 3,100 words) would prevent the appearance that Littman was victimized for political correctness.

The following gets a — “Huh?”

“It seems to be more and more young girls that are hopping on this new fad. They think, ‘This will solve boys whistling at me if I don’t look like a girl and I don’t look pretty or have a nice shape,” she added.

Suffice it to say that gender transitions are not a fad. People are transitioning at a younger age in accordance with the findings of medical science. The total transgender population remains about the same as a percentage of the total population.

Consider how Lahl finds participants:

“Bring on the hate group leader.”

“Trans Mission” also exposes the fear-mongering tactics used by some doctors: One mother shares how a medical professional scared her into thinking her teenage daughter would die by suicide unless she let them put her child on puberty blockers.

Mom is a conservative Catholic who is desperate to conform. If, in fact, the daughter had a diagnosis of gender dysphoria (see above) then it would be appropriate for her doctor to make mom aware of the fact that the development of secondary sex characteristics increases the potential for self-harm. That is a scientific fact.

Ultimately we don’t know enough about the daughter for this “testimony” to be meaningful. Moreover, it is one out of thousands of consults.

Bring on the hate group leader:

As Dr. Andre Van Mol, one of the physicians who scrutinizes transgender medical practices in the film, explains, it is often manipulatively posed to parents of trans-identifying children: “Would you rather have a live son or a dead daughter?” It is said in such bracing terms because if they do not allow their children to undergo the experimental practices they will likely die by suicide, despite no evidence for such a claim.

“You want to roll the self-harm dice because some religious zealot doesn’t believe that transgender people should exist?”

Van Mol is a cofounder of the American College of Pediatricians, a tiny anti-LGBTQ hate group. How in hell would he know what doctors are telling parents. Van Mol is also an elder at Bethel Church which is more cult than house of worship. Moreover, he is a proponent of conversion therapy. Van Mol says lots of very stupid things.

Furthermore, puberty blockers are not “experimental.” They have been used for decades to treat other conditions. Van Mol does not treat adolescents with gender dysphoria. Moreover, there is considerable evidence that the potential for self-harm markedly decreases with gender-affirming care. Van Mol is a liar.

As patients and their families contemplate treatment options, they must engage in a risk/benefit analysis that often includes weighing the risk of unknown long-term outcomes with the more immediate benefit of avoiding detrimental mental health outcomes associated with nontreatment, including an increased risk of suicide

Told ya so:

Through the documentary, Lahl says she hopes to provide parents with the tools necessary to combat the rush to transition children through life-altering experimental drugs and surgeries that remove their breasts and mutilate their genitals.

“Right now the science favors gender-affirming care. That is the best available information.”

“Tools?” Religious propaganda is a better description. Moreover, this “rush” theme is concocted. If a child is in significant distress for at least six months (as required by DSM-V for a diagnosis) there is an immediate problem which has existed for some time.

Adding to the kid’s distress is the potential for developing secondary sex characteristics. You want to roll the self-harm dice because some religious zealot doesn’t believe that transgender people should exist? Not to mention that puberty blockers are fully reversible.

More “rush” rubbish:

“When a doctor is rushing you to put your child on a path to medically and surgically transition or block puberty, parents need to be courageous and say, ‘No. We’re not going to do that. Let’s look at what other things we can do to help our child. We’re going to find some other way to help our son or daughter. We’re going to look at a really good assessment of what’s going on in the family, how much time is spent on the internet, what’s going on in school, what’s going on in the community, what’s going on with church or whatever it is.’”

What this whack job is essentially saying is that a doctor’s advice should be ignored unless it is in agreement with Jennifer Lahl who is not a doctor. How crazy is that?

The correct process:
  1. Get a diagnosis from a fully qualified doctor; possibly a board-certified psychiatrist with a pediatric subspecialty.
  2. Get a second opinion.
  3. Discuss treatment options with a respected pediatrician.
  4. Know that gender identity conversion efforts are very harmful.
  5. If puberty blockers are to be administered, seek a board-certified endocrinologist with experience treating adolescents for gender dysphoria.
  6. Do not believe the religious zealots. They are not qualified and their agenda has nothing to do with the welfare of children.

Ignorant people promoting propaganda based on ignorance:

“There’s a lot of really vulnerable people out there that don’t even know that this is happening to children or they don’t know the level and frequency at which it’s happening,” she said. “But I believe this battle is totally winnable because most people are incredibly reasonable. When they watch this film and hear these stories, they will hopefully say, ‘This is not good, this is not proper, and we’re not going to do this.’”

All I care about is the wellbeing of gender-diverse children. If the science changes tomorrow then I will change. Right now the science favors gender-affirming care. That is the best available information.

Neither Lahl nor the Christian Post cite any evidence (peer-reviewed research) to support their religious crusade. There is a reason for that.

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.