Cornered By Facts, Rabid Transgender Ideologues Lash Out With More Lies

Published December 5, 2023

The Federalist

We should expect more junk science and lies as transgender activists scramble to support their enthusiasm for maiming children.

The purveyors of child sexual mutilation are worried. Those fighting against medically “transitioning” children have won a lot in the last year, and the transgender lobby is responding by lying even more. For example, a recent piece by Meredithe McNamara of the Yale School of Medicine purports to debunk “an inescapable swirl of disinformation that targets trans youth.” McNamara offers “five things you need to know to combat the vast majority of anti-trans talking points.”

But it is her claims that are false, often obviously so.

This dishonesty begins with her first claim, which is that “So-called ‘social contagion’ is not real and it does not make people trans.” She focuses her critique on Lisa Littman’s study describing the phenomenon of rapid-onset gender dysphoria. The research McNamara cites in response is terrible, but this is beside the point because transgender identities are obviously socially contagious — no one needs social science reports to see this. After all, if transgenderism is a “natural state of being” resulting from “genetics and the brain’s structural development” then why can’t we diagnose transgender identities via genetic markers or MRI rather than subjective self-evaluation, and why has transgender identification suddenly increased exponentially?

The usual excuse is that this enormous increase in transgender identities is the result of a more affirmative and accepting society — trans people were always here in these numbers but are only just now coming out. However, this claim destroys the suicide narrative that powers the transgender movement, which is that trans-identified people will kill themselves if they are not affirmed and medically transitioned on demand. After all, if current levels of youth trans identification are natural, where were all the suicides in the past, when there would have been far more unaffirmed and un-transitioned “trans kids”?

Transgender ideology does not have a good answer for this, nor for other difficulties, such as why adolescent girls are suddenly claiming to be transgender in disproportionate numbers. Despite the protests of McNamara and others, social contagion is by far the best explanation for the transgender phenomenon. 

McNamara’s next assertion is that “Trans youth are not rushed through gender-affirming treatment.” She claims to rebut “wild misrepresentations of standard care, like the idea that ‘double mastectomies on 12-year-old girls’ is a common occurrence, or that gender-affirming care means kids being castrated. This all sounds too absurd to believe. And that’s because it’s not true.” 

Yet she admits that double mastectomies for 12-year-olds are being done in the name of “gender-affirming care” — she just claims they are not “common.” With regard to castration, she is obviously lying, for that is literally what was done to reality TV star Jazz Jennings, the most famous “trans kid” in America. Jennings was subjected to the intervention plan known as the Dutch Protocol — puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital surgery — and that meant castration, first chemical, then surgical.

This illuminates McNamara’s two-step: It’s not happening, but when it does, it is carefully done and medically necessary. Both parts of this are false. Some children are being rushed into so-called medical transition, and it is never medically necessary to “transition” a child. Thus, she retreats into appeals to authority, such as citing WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health). But this is not a respectable authority. Rather, it is an activist group that has declared “eunuch” to be a valid identity to be affirmed, a decision it reached by relying on online forums filled with child sexual abuse fantasies. 

McNamara’s third point is that “Puberty blockers, hormones, and medical treatments for gender dysphoria are not ‘experimental.’” She asserts “that study after study establishes the benefits of gender-affirming care, which include increased body satisfaction, improved social functioning, hope for the future, and lower rates of depression, eating disorders, self-injury, and suicide.” But the very studies she cites disprove her claims.

She links to two studies, one of which is an infamous report from earlier this year that was a disaster for the transgender movement. As I observed in The Federalist, two of the 315 subjects in the study died by suicide — not a positive result for a regimen that is justified as self-harm prevention. Moreover, males involved in the study didn’t show any improvement in “depression and anxiety scores” or “scores for life satisfaction.” Simply put, if pumping trans-identified males full of female hormones fails to improve their mental health, there’s no reason to continue giving them those hormones.

However, these devastating results were ignored to focus on some minor, self-reported mental health improvements among females given testosterone, even though these may have been due to cherry-picking data on the part of the research team. As this example shows, the research cited in support of wrongly named “gender-affirming care” is often low-quality as well as conducted by the same people whose livelihoods and reputations depend upon vindicating “gender-affirming care.” Nonetheless, the transgender lobby and its allies boost it anyway in the hopes that no one will bother to check it.

When the research is rigorously examined, the flaws are quickly apparent, which is why multiple European nations have recently restricted so-called transition for children. Contrary to McNamara’s claim, they have declared it to be experimental.

McNamara’s fourth point is that “Using medications ‘off-label’ is neither uncommon nor unsafe.” This is a half-truth, that in this context is a full lie. Yes, some off-label uses of medication are safe, but as she admits, using puberty blockers in response to gender dysphoria is not among them. She acknowledges that there are side effects (specifically, loss of bone density, though there are others) and so she shifts from arguing that they are safe to arguing that they are worth the risks. 

But the risks are all on one side. There is no physical danger from allowing normal, natural puberty. This is why trans activists always have to play the suicide card — the only harm that will befall them is self-harm.

McNamara’s final assertion is that “It is exceedingly rare that people regret getting gender-affirming care.” To support this claim, she suggests that the significant rates of desistance (up to 30.8 percent) found in a recent study using data from the military health care system is “likely a reflection of the challenging health systems that young adults depend on.” Her argument is that people discontinue supposedly life-saving care because they just can’t figure out how to renew a prescription or make a doctor’s appointment. It is easier for her to blame the health care system than to admit that maybe, just maybe, people regret being rushed into “affirmations” and radical, life-altering procedures.

McNamara also relies on a flawed 2021 study that, among other problems, pooled data from a set of studies in which less than 20 percent of the studies used ranked as good or having a low risk of bias. This illustrates the common tactic used by transgender activists and their allies, which is to pile weak research together to make it appear more substantial. But more bad data is just more bad data.

Nonetheless, we should expect more of this junk science and lies as transgender activists scramble to support their enthusiasm for maiming children. They have no choice but to lie and distort data because their fundamental position — that children are somehow being born into the wrong bodies, which therefore require radical alteration to resemble the other sex — is a ridiculous superstition. 

Nathanael Blake, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. His primary research interests are American political theory, Christian political thought, and the intersection of natural law and philosophical hermeneutics. His published scholarship has included work on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Alasdair MacIntyre, Russell Kirk and J.R.R. Tolkien. He is currently working on a study of Kierkegaard and labor. As a cultural observer and commentator, he is also fascinated at how our secularizing culture develops substitutes for the loss of religious symbols, meaning and order.

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