The bad science behind Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson's veto
The Arkansas General Assembly passed a bill protecting minors from gender transition surgery as well as hormones and puberty-blockers. Governor Asa Hutchinson, a solid conservative, vetoed the bill. On Tuesday, the Arkansas General Assembly overrode the veto, making it the first state in the Union to ban the procedures for children. Tuesday night, Hutchinson appeared on Tucker Carlson's show to defend his original veto. What interested me most was Hutchinson's erroneous belief that there's any science behind the existing "treatments" for transgenderism.
Tucker and Hutchinson both staked out their territory: Hutchinson insisted that it's conservative to stay out of family decisions. Tucker pointed out that conservatives' laissez-faire attitude always yields when it comes to children's well-being. Hutchinson countered that transgender treatment decisions are made with the family's consent, which is what's required for other laws protecting children (tattoos, piercings, youthful marriages, etc.). Tucker countered that chemical sterilization is more extreme than a tattoo.
Things got interesting when actual science came up. Tucker wanted Hutchinson to recite chapter and verse supporting his contention that these procedures are medically necessary for kids because they will make these children less likely to engage in self-harm, including suicide. Hutchinson, rather than referring to a specific study, cited a range of materials he'd read:
CARLSON: You said you're familiar with the studies. No one disputes that children who are asking for puberty blocking drugs ... may be depressed that seems very likely. I think the studies show it. Cite one specific study that shows puberty blocking drugs improves the condition. Does it make children less depressed? Does it make them less likely to harm themselves [or] to commit suicide? Just name one study that shows that, please.
HUTCHINSON: Well, I would refer you to the American Academy of Pediatrics. I would refer you to ... the physicians that came out in opposition to this bill because they understood the risk to these young people and if you prohibit the medical care that this bill prohibits then you're going to endanger these young people even further.
That mention of the American Academy of Pediatrics is the one that should rivet everyone's attention. Less than two years ago, I did something no one else seems to have done, which is to look at the literature in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the foremost medical pediatric association in America, and one that's totally on board with woke transgenderism.
I learned something interesting: there's no science behind the entire treatment philosophy for so-called "transgender" children. Instead, everything accepts the premise that there's a difference between sex and gender that requires hormonal and surgical intervention to "treat."
I started with the September 2018 policy statement, which is still the Academy's policy statement today. (At the time of its publication, the AAP announced that it was its policy statement.) The lead author, Jason Richard Rafferty, M.D., MPH, Ed.M., FAAP, makes his living encouraging young people to live their transgender dream.
The policy statement says nothing about whether so-called transgenderism is (1) a biological issue requiring surgery and drugs intended to harmonize body with mind or (2) a form of body dysmorphia, a mental illness the treatments for which would include psychiatric intervention and drugs intended to harmonize mind with body. It simply presents the former as a given, jumbling homosexuality and bisexuality, which are both sexual preferences, with transgenderism, which, like anorexia, is a form of body dysmorphia.
As you keep reading, you'll discover that at no point does the article ever address why or how gender identity overrides biological sex. It's just woke language in scientific clothes. Indeed, rather than referring to actual studies proving that transgenderism is a provable phenomenon, the policy statement offers this:
For more information, The Gender Book, found at www.thegenderbook.com, is a resource with illustrations that are used to highlight these core terms and concepts.
The Gender Book turns out to be a "fun education resource," written by three transgender people, none of whom is a scientist or physician.
Read on, and you'll discover that the AAP dedicates itself to reinforcing gender dysmorphia rather than showing any interest in its physical origin or in treatment alternatives — the exact opposite of how anorexia is treated. (You can read more about the AAP's circular reasoning here.)
I've long said the logical way to treat people who claim to be at odds with their bodies is to give them hormones compatible with their biological sex rather than giving them hormones that cause sterility, cancer, and heart disease, followed by mutilating surgery. That's what the body wants. It turns out that bodies subjected to these treatments try desperately to offset the prescribed hormones with the body's own hormones.
Poor Governor Hutchinson. He thought he was acting on the science when he vetoed that bill, but the reality is that he was given a bottle of snake oil.
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