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Obama’s Transgender Therapy Ban: A Travesty of Compassion


Dale O’Leary - published on 04/21/15 - updated on 06/08/17

Denying help to those who are struggling and often suicidal is unconscionable

Suppose parents were informed that their child has a serious condition, one for which the recommended treatment included: a lifetime regime of powerful drugs which could cause serious, even life threatening, side effects; mutilating surgeries, which leave scars and compromise urinary track function; total loss of the ability to procreate; and partial or complete loss of genital function and feeling. Even with this radical treatment, their child would be at high risk for depression, other psychological disorders, suicide, HIV infection, and a shortened life span. In addition, their child would probably have to deceive others, including intimate partners, about the nature of the condition.

Should these parents be allowed to seek a second opinion?

President Obama and his advisor Valerie Jarret say, “No.” They support a ban on any therapy designed to alleviate Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in children. Only therapy designed to support the child’s desire to be the other sex would be allowed.

No one can change their sex, but by redefining "sex" to describe only the biological, and "gender" to describe how a person self-identifies—either as male, female, or something else—the trangender activists can claim that males can become women and females men. "Gender reassignment surgery" (GRS), can create the outward appearance of the other sex, but doesn’t change the DNA.

Obama would support allowing children with GID to dress as the other sex, use the restrooms of the other sex, play on teams of the other sex and be treated with drugs to alter their bodies and fast-track them to GRS. Currently only 2.2 to 30% of boys and 12 to 50% of girls with GID persist in their desire to change. A therapy ban would leave those who don’t want to follow through on their desire to change to the other sex with nowhere to go for support.

Obama said he was moved by the death of a 17-year-old male-to-female transgender, whose suicide note blamed his parents for forcing him into therapy. Suicide, particularly among the young is always tragic. Those threatening suicide need effective therapy, but there are no guarantees. Suicide among clients in therapy is not uncommon. A study of 26 clients who committed suicide while in therapy found that 18 experienced intense rage “sometimes explicitly expressed in the patients’ suicide note." Surely no one is suggesting that therapists whose clients commit suicide should be banned from practice.

Suicide among the transgendered is common. While only 1.6% of the general public attempt suicide, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey of 6,450 persons who self-identify as transgender, 41% report attempting suicide. According to the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5, those with GID “are at increased risk for suicide ideation, suicide attempts, and suicides.” While transgender activists argue that failure of society to support cross sex wishes is the problem, according to the DSM even after GR surgery the “suicide risk may persist.”

Children with GID are anxious and cross-dressing is a way to relieve anxiety— to self-comfort. These children are so disassociated from their own bodies that they think mutilating parts of their bodies will make them happy, safe, loved, or comfortable.

Is it in the best interests of children with GID to limit the types of therapy available to them?

What about the therapist whose client gives up transsexual desires in therapy, although that was not the intention of the client or therapist? Could the therapist be accused of violating the ban? This is not unheard of. Elaine Siegel, a committed feminist, was asked by a group lesbians to treat some of their members. Although it was not the goal of the therapist or clients, as a result of treatment half the women ceased to be lesbians. Members of the group felt they had been betrayed.MULTIPAGE_SEPARATCould a law banning therapy be used to punish such a therapist?

Although inherited traits influence who we are, there is no evidence that GID is biologically predetermined and unchangeable. Even if it were, given the risks associated with gender reassignment, parents should be able to seek alternative treatment.  

The "transgendered" not only want to pretend to be the sex, they want to force others to participate in their fantasy. Compassion does not require us to give others everything they demand. We do owe them the truth that they are and will always be the man or a woman they were created to be and envy and desire won’t change reality.

Twenty years from now the children mutilated by false compassion will sue those who should have known better, but it will be too late.

Dale O’Leary is a freelance writer, author ofThe Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality(which is available in Spanish and Italian) and One Man, One WomanShe writes for numerous publications and has spoken around the world. 

Mental HealthPolitics
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