Cover image: ABC news
Courageous? Brave? Heroic? By now you have likely heard the uproar as media commentators worldwide have been lauding former Olympic gold medal winner Bruce Jenner for posing provocatively on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine as a “transgender” woman.
Sadly, Jenner’s highly publicized claim to now be a woman has caused many to believe that it is possible for a person to change their biological gender.
Therefore, it is important to understand and spread the facts about gender confusion (click here to read 16 facts on gender confusion), especially since this information could actually save lives.
But before we get to the facts, consider these questions that illustrate the chaos that is created if we accept the falsehood that Jenner is now a woman and not a man:
Is Jenner now a second mother to his children rather than their father?
Should Jenner’s three marriages be considered lesbian relationships since he claims to have always really been a woman?
Since Jenner asserts he still plans to have sexual relations with women, should he be considered a lesbian?
Can Jenner now marry a man in states where same-sex marriage is prohibited, or would that still be considered a homosexual relationship?
Should Jenner forfeit his gold medal since he competed as a man but now says he was really a woman all along?
Confused? That’s the point. This is truly gender chaos, and it illustrates how destructive gender confusion issues can be to natural marriage, the traditional family, and especially to impressionable children.
Our hearts go out to Jenner and his family and others who are facing similar gender chaos. Clinical experience with these kinds of cases is pretty stark. Jenner will eventually find that all of his efforts to change the unchangeable, whether cosmetic, surgical, hormonal or otherwise, to try to become a woman, will never make him a woman. Sadly, the experience of many others in similar situations suggests that the happiness for which he is desperately searching will continue to elude him.
After the novelty passes and the media attention dies down, Jenner, like so many before him, will probably have to deal will with the aftermath of the destruction of his body in his no doubt sincere, but certainly misguided, quest to become something he can never be.
Consider the following facts regarding gender confusion:
- Jenner’s condition is recognized by mental health professionals as a mental disorder.It was formerly called “Gender Identity Disorder,” but in the most recent revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), it has been renamed “Gender Dysphoria” in an effort to reduce the stigma often experienced by those afflicted with it. The DSM is used as the recognized standard by mental health professions in the United States and some other countries for identifying and describing mental disorders.
- The APA and other mental health organizations do not consider all manifestations of “gender nonconformity” to be a mental disorder, but when it is severe enough to cause individuals “significant distress,” it crosses the threshold of “gender dysphoria” and is without question a mental disorder. Someone like Jenner, who is attempting to totally become the other gender, would seem to qualify by definition as experiencing “significant distress” with his male identity.
- Individuals who experience severe gender confusion may sincerely believe they are the opposite sex from their biological sex, so Jenner may actually believe he is a woman trapped inside a man’s body. We should feel compassion for him and all of those who deal with gender dysphoria. But the way to help these individuals is not to amputate their body parts or to inject hormones.
- One of the world’s leading authorities on gender confusion, Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins University Hospital warned, “…policymakers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”
- Autogynephilia is the condition in which a male experiences intense sexual arousal by cross-dressing as a female or by the thought or image of themselves as female. As evidenced by Jenner’s action in posing provocatively in a woman’s corset, some experts in the field of mental disorders suggest that Jenner may suffer from this condition. According to Michael Bailey, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University and a renowned sex researcher, it is likely that Jenner’s transition was “motivated by intense autogynephilia.” And Dr. McHugh stated, that while he had not examined Jenner, “the photograph of the posed, corseted, breast-boosted Bruce Jenner (a man in his mid-sixties, but flaunting himself as if a “pin-up” girl in her twenties or thirties) on the cover of Vanity Fair suggests that he may fit the behavioral mold. . . of autogynephilia.”
- “Sex change” is biologically impossible.Dr. McHugh stated: “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. . . encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”
- Public promotion of the “sex change” attempts of celebrities can confuse and damage impressionable children.“Dr. Keith Ablow, a prominent U.S. psychiatrist, outlined the danger to children from this kind of misplaced praise for what is a mental disorder. Speaking about another celebrity, who was a participant on a popular dancing talent show, Ablow stated, “It would be wrong to think that gender dysphoria cannot be kindled by celebrating those who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery. Human beings do model one another—in terms of emotion, thought and behavior. By broadcasting, applauding and mainstreaming the journey of a very disordered person who endured, and likely will continue to endure, real suffering based on extraordinarily deep psychological problems, we suggest that that journey is a smart—even heroic—one to take. . . That’s very nearly insane. It’s a psychologically destructive myth and can erode our children’s evolving senses of self.”
- For children who experience gender confusion, family therapy can help.Dr. Kenneth Zucker, head of the Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic in Toronto, Canada and one of the leading authorities in the world on gender disorders, has treated over 500 children with gender confusion. He has documented that in the vast majority of cases, therapy focused on reducing the psychopathology within the family and child and has resulted in the child’s acceptance of their birth sex. (Zucker, K. and Bradley, S. Gender Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children and Adolescents, The Guilford Press, New York, NY, 1995)
- Studies of children who exhibit gender confusion find that about 80 percent of such children spontaneously lost these feelings as they grew older and were comfortable with their biological gender.
- A review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transgenders conducted in the United Kingdom in 2004 found “no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.”In fact, Christopher Hyde, director of the University of Birmingham’s Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility (ARIF), who conducted the review, warned that “there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatized—often to the point of committing suicide.”
- Sex-change surgery does not solve underlying mental health problems. Under Dr. McHugh, Johns Hopkins University, the first American medical center to venture into “sex-reassignment surgery,” launched a study in the 1970s comparing the outcomes of transgendered people who had the surgery with the outcomes of those who did not. McHugh stated, “Most of the surgically treated patients described themselves as ‘satisfied’ by the results, but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery. And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs.” Doctor Ablow further stated, “It would be wrong to think that gender dysphoria—discomfort with one’s gender—must always end either in misery or sexual reassignment surgery. It can end with coming to terms with deep psychological conflicts that are fueling the gender dysphoria.”
- “Sex change” surgery increases health risks, including suicide rates. A long-term Swedish study following more than 300 sex change surgery patients for up to 30 years published in 2011 concluded: “Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population.” The study found suicide rates 10 years after surgery were 20 times that of the general population.
- Many people who have sought to change their gender through hormone therapy and surgery have deeply regretted the decision,and in some cases, have tried to reverse the surgery. (See www.sexchangeregret.com) In fact, shortly after one feminizing surgical procedure, Bruce Jenner reported panicking and thinking, “What have I done to myself?”
- Surgically removing or altering children’s genitals could be considered child abuse.Dr. McHugh stated, “Given that close to 80 percent of such children would abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated, these medical interventions come close to child abuse.”
- There is a dark and sordid history behind the transgender movement that promotes the idea that surgery and hormone therapy can change a person’s gender. This is outlined in a recent article by a former transgender.
- Gender dysphoria is in the same family of mental disorders as other dysphorias. Dr. McHugh stated, “. . . gender dysphoria—the official psychiatric term for feeling oneself to be of the opposite sex—belongs in the family of similarly disordered assumptions about the body, such as anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder. Its treatment should not be directed at the body as with surgery and hormones any more than one treats obesity-fearing anorexic patients with liposuction. The treatment should strive to correct the false, problematic nature of the assumption and to resolve the psychosocial conflicts provoking it. With youngsters, this is best done in family therapy.”
The ignorance of these facts and the media’s exploitation of Bruce Jenner’s alleged “transition” to Caitlyn Jenner has caused great harm.
As our children and families are increasingly being bombarded with false messages regarding gender, it is even more important to help them understand the truth—that our gender is a gift that cannot be changed.
We would encourage anyone with a friend, family member or anyone else experiencing gender confusion to seek counseling from a competent mental health professional who will work to help them accept their biological gender. Beware of those who promote dangerous treatments and surgeries that can maim for life and increase the risk for many other problems, including suicide.
Finally, you can help counteract false information, confusion and harmful deceptions by spreading these facts about gender to as many people as possible.