April 4th 2020

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COVER STORY The world has changed: Now for the new order

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Move to curtail underage online porn epidemic

CANBERRA OBSERVED ScoMo's delicate balancing act in extraordinary times

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Time and timing are crucial to Cardinal Pell's appeal by Peter Westmore

NEW ZEALAND Political divisions polarise across the Ditch

NEW ZEALAND Victorian Road Map smooths way of NZ anti-life clique to abortion 'reform'

FREE SPEECH Intolerance brigade at UQ attacks professor of Law

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Victoria lifts moratorium of gas exploration

CHINESE HISTORY The Soong Dynasty: Three sisters who rules China

LAW AND SOCIETY Guilt by accusation: The kangaroos are roaming freely through Australia's legal system

GENDER POLITICS Dr Quentin Van Meter's Australian talk is opening eyes in the U.S.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Australia is not safe in the borderless globalised world

SHOPPING AND SOCIETY The Ubermensch in the aisles

MUSIC We seem to have lost the point of counterpoint

CINEMA The Current War: Industrial miracle workers

BOOK REVIEW A dark trade that continues unabated worldwide

EBOOK READ THIS Both sides to this old story



NATIONAL AFFAIRS Use detention centres to help deal with covid19 epidemic

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Justice at last: Cardinal Pell set free

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Dr Quentin Van Meter's Australian talk is opening eyes in the U.S.

by Dr Gordon Harvieux

News Weekly, April 4, 2020

Saint Raphael’s Guild of the Catholic Medical Association is a collection of varied health-care professionals based in Duluth, Minnesota, in the United States, and we recently met to discuss the transgender movement.

At that meeting, we viewed a talk on YouTube that Dr Quentin Van Meter had given to the Australian Family Association in 2018. Dr Van Meter’s presentation was entitled, “The Travesty of the Current State of Transgender Medicine”.

Dr Quentin Van Meter

Dr Van Meter’s talk traced the entire history of the transgender movement. Initially, he discussed terminology and stated that the term “gender” had traditionally referred to the fact that many languages have masculine and feminine nouns for animals and inanimate objects as well as for people. He said that it was John Money who began to apply the term “gender” to mean an individual’s internal, personal sexual identity.

Some of the characters involved in the early stages of the transgender movement are Harry Benjamin and John Money. Harry Benjamin was a family medicine physician who practised in San Francisco and promoted the agenda of the sexual revolution worldwide. He was famous for treating transsexual patients. The Harry Benjamin Society was founded in honour of him.

A lot of time was spent discussing John Money, who trained in psychology at Harvard before moving to Johns Hopkins in the 1950s. Dr Money was a psychologist who claimed to be an endocrinologist. Dr Van Meter, who is an endocrinologist, knew him personally, as Money was a professor at Johns Hopkins when Dr Van Meter was doing his endocrinology fellowship.

Money was interested in assigning gender to children with disorders of sexual differentiation. He was convinced that he could change the sexual identity of a patient through hormones and surgery.

Dr Van Meter reviewed the story of twin boys. During the circumcision of one of the boys, the penis was accidentally amputated. The baby was brought to Johns Hopkins. Money recommended reconstructive surgery to make him appear as a girl, that he be treated with female hormones, and that the boy be raised as a girl. Which is exactly what happened.

However, the boy went on to develop depression and anxiety. Eventually, his therapist recommended that the family tell him the truth. The boy saw this deception as the root of all of his problems. He asked to be surgically changed back to a male. He then grew up male and married, but he eventually committed suicide. This illustrated that Money’s practices were not backed by evidence and often had tragic outcomes.

Though he had no evidence in support of his theories, Money worked with adult transsexuals and invented protocols involving cross-dressing, opposite-sex hormones, and then surgery. The number of patients was small, and all were treated at Johns Hopkins. These invented protocols ended up looking a lot like the treatment protocols from today’s endocrine societies.

Dr Van Meter also discussed the reputable Dr Kenneth Zucker. Dr Zucker was a PhD in psychology who practised in Toronto. He treated people with gender confusion for 30 years.

Dr Zucker coined the term “gender identity disorder” to replace the term “transsexual”. He had great sympathy for the suffering involved in this disorder. He knew that, at the heart of the disorder, the affected children had psychological problems and had suffered adverse childhood experiences that resulted in their gender confusion. Dr Zucker recommended therapy to try to get to the heart of the problem, counselling children to maintain their biological sex, and support them through natural puberty.

In his studies worldwide, he found that, if supported, 98 per cent of boys and 88 per cent of girls returned to their natal biological sex. He also found that those who attempted to change their sex would struggle lifelong.

Between 1980 and 2006, centres in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Belgium were doing sex-change operations. In the U.S. at the same time, the Harry Benjamin Society would covertly arrange for people to have sex-change procedures, though this was rejected by the medical establishment of the time.

The Harry Benjamin Society evolved into the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH). Within WPATH, no professional certification was required, just an interest in transgender medicine. The WPATH transgender medicine guidelines were then basically adopted by the national endocrine societies.

Dr Van Meter questioned the validity of the scientific references that WPATH relied on and personally criticised the lack of validated science in the establishment of the endocrine treatment guidelines for transgender medicine.

In fact, nationally, the policies put forth by most major professional organisations, including those for psychiatry, endocrinology, and pediatrics, are typically determined by a mere handful of people. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), with its 66,000 members, developed transsexual guidelines that recommend no psychological evaluation, universal affirmation of the child’s chosen gender as soon as possible, counselling of parents not to be “trans-phobic”, and lobbying for the change of government and insurance regulations to allow approval of transgender medications.

Of the 66,000 members of the AAP, only 10 to 12 set the policy and the rest merely followed.

Near the end of his talk, Dr Van Meter discussed that over 70 per cent of transgender patients have associated serious mental-health problems. He mocked the American Academy of Pediatrics for endorsing transgenderism while condemning tattoos in adolescence because tattoos are permanent and can cause harm.

He discussed that the current treatment guidelines result in permanent sterilisation, as well as an increased risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, and decreased lifespan, not to mention the amputation of otherwise healthy organs. Finally, he discussed the 19-fold increase in the suicide rate that was noted in a Swedish study that included every transgender patient in the country.

The response from our group to the talk was emotional and, to an extent, one of disbelief. The older, retired members of our guild were befuddled, one asking: “Why don’t they just obtain genetic testing and find out what sex they really are?” The pharmacists in our audience expressed concern that they might be unknowingly complicit in the treatment of transgender patients because they often do not know the indications for the prescriptions that they are filling.

There was widespread concern regarding the need to be supportive to people who are suffering, but also the need to be truthful (not calling people by the wrong pronoun) and not to encourage people in their delusions.

I shared the story of a 14-year-old girl in my practice who believed she was a boy. I had known her for her entire life and at a recent visit had inadvertently referred to her with the pronoun “she”.

She immediately started screaming and crying because I “misgendered” her, and the visit was effectively over. She later fired me (left my practice).

We also discussed that the culture and medical establishment basically intimidates mental-health practitioners and others who would like to support children back to their biological sex. It is almost impossible to find a therapist or psychologist to help these patients, and many U.S. cities and states have outlawed “conversion therapy”; as is also happening in Australia.

With the lack of therapists, the legal restrictions, and the oppressive culture, it is hard to know what to do. However, as with all of our patients, we should witness to the truth, be supportive and not abandon them, and we should treat them with love. Love means to will the good of the other and, as in parenting, it may not be appreciated in the moment.

Dr Gordon Harvieux is vice-president of St Raphael’s Guild of the Catholic Medical Association in Duluth, Minnesota, in the United States.

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