Transgender activists and their hard-left political supporters have erected a wall of propaganda to block any objections founded in science, reality, or genuine compassion for sufferers of gender dysphoria. In a testament to their political skill, these activists have managed to shut down biologically based responses to their remarkable argument that gender is unrelated to biology and can be changed at will. But cracks in the wall are starting to show.
First came online discussion groups for parents whose teenagers (primarily girls) suddenly announced they were “trans” and asked for medical intervention to attain a masculine appearance. Websites such as 4thWaveNow and Transgender Trend (in the United Kingdom) allowed parents to compare notes about their remarkably similar experiences with this “rapid onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD)—when an average teen gets involved with “trans”-identifying individuals, usually peers, then discovers via Internet videos that whatever adolescent stresses she’s experiencing are certainly due to gender dysphoria and can be resolved with cross-sex hormones and mutilating surgery.
Then came a study from Dr. Lisa Littman at Brown University, demonstrating that such psychological and environmental factors can indeed contribute to ROGD. Although the transgender activists swung into action and, to no one’s surprise, bullied Brown into removing the press release about the study and otherwise groveling, the truth the study illumined lingers. Troubled parents now have scientific validation that they’re not crazy for believing their daughters are girls and their sons are boys—and for resisting the imposition of harmful, perhaps irreversible medical treatments.
Hard on the heels of the Brown controversy came news from the U.K, where the government “equalities minister” ordered an investigation into the reasons for the enormous increase (4,500 percent over a decade) in girls seeking so-called gender reassignment. The government wants to determine causes and “long-term impacts” of the phenomenon.
Back in the United States, focus has been trained on the political agenda behind federally funded research into transgender treatment (see here, here, and here). Of particular concern is the lead researcher in one National Institutes of Health (NIH) study, Dr. Johanna Olson of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Olson has made clear that she believes in “affirming” treatment, including double mastectomies for young teenagers, with little or no use of therapy to explore potential psychological pathologies underlying the dysphoria. Her statements show that Olson can hardly be trusted to produce an objective scientific analysis of the costs as well as the benefits of medical transition treatments. When a physician suggests that mastectomy regret isn’t a concern because the mutilated girl can just “go and get” breasts later, well, Houston, we have a problem.
But Olson may have even deeper reasons for an agenda. She is married to Aydin Olson-Kennedy, a woman who identifies as a man and has very publicly undergone a double mastectomy—the very procedure Olson pushes through her federally funded research. Moreover, Olson-Kennedy (the spouse) is a counselor who advises gender-dysphoric youth and adults on transitioning issues. The Olson-Kennedy couple collaborates professionally in “affirming” gender-dysphoria treatment, and they are stars on the transgender speaking circuit.
High-profile cases involving Olson-Kennedy the counselor suggest a distinct preference for resorting to medical interventions rather than using psychological therapy to ease or eliminate the dysphoria (or even just waiting for the child to outgrow the condition, which the vast majority of them do).
One of these cases involved a girl who, with Olson-Kennedy’s counsel, underwent a double mastectomy at the age of 14. If mutilating a child of that age weren’t disturbing enough, the girl had suffered from psychological problems most of her life, perhaps related to the fetal alcohol syndrome afflicting her at birth. But she was recommended for surgery anyway, and though she has initially reported satisfaction with her new body, no one can predict her feelings as she grows up. The preference is to wield the scalpel now and hope for the best later.
A second case, even more shocking, involved a Down syndrome girl whose mother was trying to raise money to pay for the child’s double mastectomy. The child suffered from complex medical issues and was apparently unable to tell her own story, which her mother completely scripted.
Yet Olson-Kennedy urged the “transgender community” to donate so the uncomprehending patient could be mutilated. Apparently Olson-Kennedy, a trained therapist, saw no warning signs in a mother’s claim that she, and she alone, could understand her developmentally disabled daughter’s alleged longing for a masculine appearance. Full speed ahead.
Political agendas often eclipse morality and even common sense. But rarely does that phenomenon come into such stark relief.
Moving from ideology to good old-fashioned self-interest, it’s worth noting that the Olson-Kennedy team apparently benefits financially from their “affirming” treatment beyond just insurance reimbursement for services rendered. Both are on the consultant payroll for Endo Pharmaceuticals, which formulates and markets the hormones administered to dysphoric patients (administered frequently off-label, which means the hormones haven’t been approved for this purpose). If this team were in any other line of medicine, activists would be screaming about the conflict of interest.
So this is the world in which Johanna Olson lives, and which shapes her attitudes about treatments for gender-dysphoric children. Given these troubling indicators of bias, how could NIH have awarded her millions of federal taxpayer dollars to research the effects of what she is so demonstrably committed to? Should one pay the wolf to advise pigs on home construction?
The more this information comes out, the more the public can understand what’s really going on with the debate over treatment for gender dysphoria. In our system of dual sovereign governments, with seemingly layer upon layer of protocols and agencies to protect innocent children, will no one at all step forward to do his job? Will no prosecutor, government child advocate, or elected or appointed official even offer a word of concern?
True compassion for these children demands a halt to the radical agenda of the activists. A good start would be to shut down politicized “research” and divert funding to scientists genuinely seeking the truth. Public funds should never be misused in this manner—especially when the victims are children and families who have suffered enough.