Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Past Still Haunt Us

There was once was a doctor who tried to force a back into the closet by denying our existence and turning a hospital against us. And to this day his words still hurt us.
Long shadow cast by psychiatrist on transgender issues finally recedes at Johns Hopkins
Washington Post
By Amy Ellis Nutt
April 5, 2017

Nearly four decades after he derailed a pioneering transgender program at Johns Hopkins Hospital with his views on “guilt-ridden homosexual men,” psychiatrist Paul McHugh is seeing his institution come full circle with the resumption of gender-reassignment surgeries.

McHugh, the hospital’s chief of psychiatry from 1975 to 2001, still believes that being transgender is largely a psychological problem, not a biological phenomenon. And with the title of university distinguished service professor at Johns Hopkins Medicine, he continues to wield enormous influence in certain circles and is quoted frequently on gender issues in conservative media.

“I’m not against transgender people,” he said recently, stressing that he is “anxious they get the help they need.” But such help should be psychiatric rather than surgical, he maintains.
It was through Dr. McHugh efforts that the Johns Hopkins transgender clinic was closed, the place that Dr. Harry Benjamin started in 1966 was ended by Dr. McHugh in 1979.
The main trigger was a study by Jon Meyer, who ran the hospital’s Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit. In the study, Meyer concluded that although “sex-change” surgery was “subjectively satisfying” for the small sample surveyed, the operations they underwent conferred “no objective advantage in terms of social rehabilitation.”

“With these facts in hand,” McHugh later wrote, “I concluded that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness.”

Two months later, its gender-identity clinic was shut down.
However, Dr. McHugh words are still being used against us…
But as the plans for the transgender health service were coming together last fall, a 143-page report, titled “Sexuality and Gender,” appeared in the New Atlantis, a science and technology magazine published by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative Christian think tank. It was authored by McHugh and Lawrence S. Mayer, a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University and, at the time of the publication, a scholar in residence at Hopkins.

The pair contended that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity is biologically determined. Although the New Atlantis is a small publication, the report dismayed many in the Hopkins medical community and beyond. Those included Dean Hamer, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health for several decades and one of the first researchers to identify a genetic link to homosexuality. Hamer termed some of the authors’ statements “pure balderdash.”
They use their conservative religious views to deny our existence and their views are widely used by others who want to prevent us from our human right to exist.

And even though the medical community does not support “corrective” surgery for intersex babies Dr. McHugh does.
While McHugh successfully lobbied for more than 30 years to keep gender-reassignment surgery from becoming a Medicare benefit, he supports the operation for those born with an intersex condition, which means having a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fall into the typical definition of male or female.
Our worst enemies are those who have initials by their names because they lend an air of legitimacy to their religious doctrines.

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