Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Setting The Record Straight

We see the conservatives using flawed research to discredit trans people, in the Huffington Post Blog Brynn Tannehill wrote about it.
The End of the Desistance Myth

Over the past few years, an endless parade of "concerned" people (trolls) have trotted out the same statistic over and over again: 84 percent of transgender kids stop being transgender on their own. They have used this to justify everything from reparative therapy, to denying medical care to transgender teens, to suggesting that reparative therapy on adults will work.

The problem is that the desistance narrative is built upon bad statistics, bad science, homophobia and transphobia.

For starters, the most cited study (Steensma) which alleges a 84 percent desistance rate, did not actually differentiate between children with consistent, persistent and insistent gender dysphoria, kids who socially transitioned, and kids who just acted more masculine or feminine than their birth sex and culture allowed for. In other words, it treated gender non-conformance the same as gender dysphoria. Worse, the study could not locate 45.3 percent of the children for follow up, and made the assumption that all of them were desisters. Indeed, other studies used to support this also suffered from similar methodological flaws.
Much of this research  came from Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto which was recently shut down as a result of an audit.
That is, until December 2015, when an independent investigation led to Dr. Zucker's firing and his clinic being closed. The investigation results were highly damning, finding:
  • The methods being used were 30 years out of date
  • The clinic assumed that all gender variant children need to be clinically "fixed" (i.e. they used coercive behavior modification on queer kids to make them act straight)
  • Children were pressured into being photographed without clothing
  • Dr. Zucker verbally abused children, calling one a "hairy little vermin"
  • The clinic emphasized tests, treatment, methods with no scientific basis in evidence based medicine
  • CAMH staff asked pre-pubescent children questions that were highly sexual in nature
  • Former patients, parents, and therapists of former patients described the treatment as "disturbing" and "harmful"
  • CAMH hid affirming community and medical resources from patients
  • Dr. Zucker regarded being cisgender, heterosexual, and gender conforming as the "best" outcome
  • Dr. Zucker and his team could not conclusively demonstrate that what they were doing was not reparative therapy
These are some strong and troubling findings and bear in mind that Dr. Zucker lead the committee that the DSM V revisions on Gender Dysphoria.

But the facts do not deter conservatives from using the research against us, they don’t little things like facts get in their way.

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