Monday, March 05, 2018

From Good, To Bad, To Worst

They went through the golden age of discovery, through an age of hate, and now they are trying to claim the golden age, can they do it?
Hopkins Hospital: a history of sex reassignment
By Rachel Witkin
May 1, 2014

In 1965, the Hopkins Hospital became the first academic institution in the United States to perform sex reassignment surgeries. Now also known by names like genital reconstruction surgery and sex realignment surgery, the procedures were perceived as radical and attracted attention from The New York Times and tabloids alike. But they were conducted for experimental, not political, reasons. Regardless, as the first place in the country where doctors and researchers could go to learn about sex reassignment surgery, Hopkins became the model for other institutions. But in 1979, Hopkins stopped performing the surgeries and never resumed.

In the 1960s, the idea to attempt the procedures came primarily from psychologist John Money and surgeon Claude Migeon, who were already treating intersex children, who, often due to chromosome variations, possess genitalia that is neither typically male nor typically female. Money and Migeon were searching for a way to assign a gender to these children, and concluded that it would be easiest if they could do reconstructive surgery on the patients to make them appear female from the outside. At the time, the children usually didn’t undergo genetic testing, and the doctors wanted to see if they could be brought up female.

“[Money] raised the legitimate question: ‘Can gender identity be created essentially socially?’ ... Nurture trumping nature,” said Chester Schmidt, who performed psychiatric exams on the surgery candidates in the 60s and 70s.

This theory ended up backfiring on Money, most famously in the case of David Reimer, who was raised as a girl under the supervision of Money after a botched circumcision and later committed suicide after years of depression.
It is interesting that they wrote about Dr. Money, the doctor caused the suicide of David Reimer and his twin brother and the divorce of their parents.

Back then the Harry Benjamin standard of care focused on your sexual orientation and not gender identity.
When Beyer arrived at Hopkins, the entrance forms she had to fill out were focused on sexuality instead of sexual identity. She says she felt as if they only wanted to consider hyper-feminine candidates for the surgery, so she decided not to stay. She had her surgery decades later in 2003 in Trinidad, Colo.

“It was so highly sexualized, which was not at all my experience, certainly not the reason I was going to Hopkins to consider transition, that I just got up and left, I didn’t want anything to do with it,” she said. “No one said this explicitly, but they certainly implied it, that the whole purpose of this was to get a vagina so you could be penetrated by a penis.”
And then came along Paul McHugh…
In 1979, SBCU Chair Jon Meyer conducted a study comparing 29 patients who had the surgery and 21 who didn’t, and concluded that those who had the surgery were not more adjusted to society than those who did not have the surgery. Meyer told The New York Times in 1979: “My personal feeling is that surgery is not proper treatment for a psychiatric disorder, and it’s clear to me that these patients have severe psychological problems that don’t go away following surgery.”

After Meyer’s study was published, Paul McHugh, the Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Hopkins Hospital who never supported the University offering the surgeries according to Schmidt, shut the program down.

Meyer’s study came after a study conducted by Money, which concluded that all but one out of 24 patients were sure that they had made the right decision, 12 had improved their occupational status and 10 had married for the first time. Beyer believes that officials at Hopkins just wanted an excuse to end the program, so they cited Meyer’s study.
With the shutting down of John Hopkins trans clinic they was a rush of other surgery centers around the country shutting down,
However, she thinks that shutting down the surgeries at Hopkins actually helped more people gain access to them, because now the surgeries are privatized.

“Paul McHugh did the trans community a very big favor … Privatization [helps] far more people than the alternative of keeping it locked down in an academic institution which forced trans women to jump through many hoops.”

Twenty major medical institutions offered sex reassignment surgery at the time that Hopkins shut its program down, according to a 1979 AP article.
I do not think he did any favors for us, it brought about the dark ages for us and he is still fighting against us.
However, McHugh says that it shouldn’t be surprising that Hopkins discontinued the surgeries, and that he still supports this decision today. He points to Meyer’s study as well as a 2011 Swedish study that states that the risk of suicide was higher for people who had the surgery versus the general population.
However, there are serious flaws in the study. For one thing those the study labeled as “transsexual” did not qualify medically as “transsexual” the researchers used a broader definition of transsexual than the DSM and another flaw was that those who dropped out of the study were listed as detransitioning.
Though she finds the way that Hopkins treated its sex reassignment patients in the 60s and 70s questionable, she thinks that the SBCU [Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit] has been a great resource for the transgender community.

“Today those folks are wonderful people,” Beyer said. “They’re very helpful. They’re the go-to place up in Baltimore. They’ve done a lot of good for a lot of people. They’ve contributed politically as well to passage of gender identity legislation in Maryland and elsewhere.”
But the community doesn’t think so…
The Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality’s Donna Cartwright said that the transgender community does not have enough resources available to them. She said offering surgery at a nearby academic institution could provide more support to the community.

“Generally, the medical community needs to be better educated on trans health care and there should be greater availability [of sex reassignment surgery],” she said. “I think it would be good if there was an institution in the area that did provide health care, including surgery.”
I think this article was written to push how great the Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit is, it sounds like the article was written by someone in public relations. Looking up the other works of the author of the article, this is her first medical article, some of the other titles are “Delve into the lives of television characters,” “Five minutes of fame aren’t worth the underage shame,” and other non-medical articles.

Nowhere is there anything about Harry Benjamin who had his world famous gender clinic there.

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