Zack is an articulate thinker who is intelligent and well-spoken on issues regarding sexuality and culture. I don’t agree with him on much, but he is smart, witty, and deserves a title that doesn’t reduce his talents to musings about identity politics. But that’s what Think Progress calls him regardless.
Several years ago when I was doing a radio program, I hosted Zack for almost an hour as we covered the quickly-evolving cultural mores relating to marriage and conscience rights for those who morally disapprove of various romantic and sexual relationships. Again, he was thoughtful, respectful, and kind, even in the midst of our obvious disagreement.
Clearly American society has moved past that old news of gay marriage and, as the snowball towards sexual anarchy gathers steam, now entertains conversations about forced transgenderism of children by parents and medical professionals. For any conservative or Christian thinker wanting to engage this debate, it’s important to understand the most persuasive and convincing arguments waged by the other side. That’s why I was thrilled to see Zack Ford get the last question in a medical panel on transgenderism hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
“I’m wondering why if you all have beliefs that stand in stark contradiction of almost all the major medical organizations, and that reflect a clear prejudice against trans people, why this audience or anyone else who hears you speak or reads your briefs should trust that you actually have the best interest of kids in mind?”
No question this was pointed and somewhat accusatory. But let’s be honest – if you believed that someone’s opinions and ideas were leading young people to self-harm or suicide, as Zack does of these doctors, it would be difficult for any person of conscience to not be pointed and somewhat accusatory.
And that’s why hearing voices like Zack’s, and knowing how to respond lovingly and effectively is so important. And for their part, Drs. Paul Hruz and Michelle Cretella did a remarkably admirable job in doing just that:
Cretella: Chemical castration, which is what you are doing when you put any biologically normal child on puberty blockers is treating puberty like a disease, arresting a normal process which is critical to normal development – bad for kids. Sterilization, not good for kids. Prepping them for what will likely result in a double mastectomy at 16 – not how you treat depression or anxiety, and I have plenty of experience treating teenagers with depression, anxiety, and suicidal depression. Indoctrinating preschool kids with the lie that you can be trapped in the wrong body; again, that’s disrupting their normal reality testing and cognitive development. Those things are abusive.
As to the studies, there are two that I’m aware of that claim that affirming your child’s gender confusion is good for them. Number one, it assumes that coaching a child into a fixed, false belief is mentally healthy. Science doesn’t allow you to assume your conclusion. Number two, those studies are extremely small. Number three, those studies are very short term. And number four, the control group of mentally healthy children are the siblings – most of them were siblings – of the trans-identified child. Oh, and there’s a number five, the parents were the ones evaluating the mental health of the children. This is not science…that’s ideology masquerading as science.
Hruz: I think in terms of the affirmation business, if you hate calculus, you can’t do calculus, you struggle with it, you think it’s the bane of your existence, then someone tells you, “You know what, calculus is removed from the course load this year. You don’t have to do it.” You have immediate relief, you feel terrific. Because something that is difficult has been removed from you. And so for the transgender person to not have to deal with the realities of their genetic sex, of course there’s an immediate response.
What I found particularly intriguing about this exchange was what appears to be a complete reversal of the long-held view among LGBT activists that sexuality and preference is innate, ingrained biologically, and immutable (can’t be changed). I remember it was Zack Ford who vehemently objected to any spiritual, emotional, or psychiatric counseling – even for those same-sex attracted adults who desired it – to overcome or cope with unwanted sexual impulses and attractions. LGBT activists told us repeatedly that such “treatment” was abusive and hateful, comparable to pseudoscience electroshock therapy of decades past.
Yet now, Ford and his movement suggest that biological reality can be overcome through chemical castration, counseling to condition a false belief as truth, and societal pressures. That seems to indicate that what we are seeing is not a movement dedicated to the truth of science, but one in rebellion to it.
Any of us that care about the well-being of children and our culture cannot and should not ignore or accept that.