16 Facts on Gender Confusion

1. Mental health professionals consider gender-confusion that causes serious mental distress to be a mental disorder. It was formerly called “Gender Identity Disorder,” but in the most recent revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), it has been renamed “Gender Dysphoria” in an effort to reduce the stigma often experienced by those afflicted with it. The DSM is used as the recognized standard by mental health professions in the U.S. and some other countries for identifying and describing mental disorders.


2. The APA and other mental health organizations do not consider all manifestations of “gender nonconformity” to be a mental disorder. But when it is severe enough to cause individuals “significant distress,” it crosses the threshold of “gender dysphoria” and is without question a mental disorder.


3. Individuals who experience severe gender confusion may sincerely believe they are the opposite sex from their biological sex and believe they are “trapped” inside the wrong body. We should feel compassion for those who deal with gender dysphoria. But the way to help these individuals is not to amputate their body parts or to inject hormones.


4. One of the world’s leading authorities on gender confusion, Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins University Hospital warned, “…policymakers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”


5. Autogynephilia is the condition in which a male experiences intense sexual arousal by cross-dressing as a female or by the thought or image of themselves as female.


6. “Sex change” is biologically impossible. Dr. McHugh stated: “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. . . encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”


7. Public promotion of the “sex change” attempts of celebrities can confuse and damage impressionable children. “Dr. Keith Ablow, a prominent U.S. psychiatrist, outlined the danger to children from this kind of misplaced praise for what is a mental disorder. Speaking about another celebrity, who was a participant on a popular dancing talent show, Ablow stated, “It would be wrong to think that gender dysphoria cannot be kindled by celebrating those who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery. Human beings do model one another—in terms of emotion, thought and behavior. By broadcasting, applauding and mainstreaming the journey of a very disordered person who endured, and likely will continue to endure, real suffering based on extraordinarily deep psychological problems, we suggest that that journey is a smart—even heroic—one to take. . . That’s very nearly insane. It’s a psychologically destructive myth and can erode our children’s evolving senses of self.”


8. For children who experience gender confusion, family therapy can help. Dr. Kenneth Zucker, head of the Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic in Toronto, Canada and one of the leading authorities in the world on gender disorders, has treated over 500 children with gender confusion. He has documented that in the vast majority of cases, therapy focused on reducing the psychopathology within the family and child and has resulted in the child’s acceptance of their birth sex. (Zucker, K. and Bradley, S. Gender Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children and Adolescents, The Guilford Press, New York, NY, 1995)


9. Studies of children who exhibit gender confusion find that about 80 percent of such children spontaneously lost these feelings as they grew older and were comfortable with their biological gender.


10. A review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transgenders conducted in the United Kingdom in 2004 found “no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.” In fact, Christopher Hyde, director of the University of Birmingham’s Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility (ARIF), who conducted the review, warned that “there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatized—often to the point of committing suicide.”


11. Sex-change surgery does not solve underlying mental health problems. Under Dr. McHugh, Johns Hopkins University, the first American medical center to venture into “sex-reassignment surgery,” launched a study in the 1970s comparing the outcomes of transgendered people who had the surgery with the outcomes of those who did not. McHugh stated, “Most of the surgically treated patients described themselves as ‘satisfied’ by the results, but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery. And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs.” Doctor Ablow further stated, “It would be wrong to think that gender dysphoria—discomfort with one’s gender—must always end either in misery or sexual reassignment surgery. It can end with coming to terms with deep psychological conflicts that are fueling the gender dysphoria.”


12. “Sex change” surgery increases health risks, including suicide rates. A long-term Swedish study following more than 300 sex change surgery patients for up to 30 years published in 2011 concluded: “Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population.” The study found suicide rates 10 years after surgery were 20 times that of the general population.


13. Many people who have sought to change their gender through hormone therapy and surgery have deeply regretted the decision, and in some cases, have tried to reverse the surgery. (See www.sexchangeregret.com.) In fact, shortly after one feminizing surgical procedure, transgender celebrity Bruce Jenner reported panicking and thinking, “What have I done to myself?”


14. Surgically removing or altering children’s genitals could be considered child abuse. Dr. McHugh stated, “Given that close to 80 percent of such children would abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated, these medical interventions come close to child abuse.” Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, said transgender ideology has infiltrated her field and “is intruding into the lives of the most innocent among us—children—and with the apparent growing support of the professional medical community.”


15. There is a dark and sordid history behind the transgender movement that promotes the idea that surgery and hormone therapy can change a person’s gender. This is outlined in a recent article by a former transgender.


16. Gender dysphoria is in the same family of mental disorders as other dysphorias. Dr. McHugh stated, “. . . gender dysphoria—the official psychiatric term for feeling oneself to be of the opposite sex—belongs in the family of similarly disordered assumptions about the body, such as anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder. Its treatment should not be directed at the body as with surgery and hormones any more than one treats obesity-fearing anorexic patients with liposuction. The treatment should strive to correct the false, problematic nature of the assumption and to resolve the psychosocial conflicts provoking it. With youngsters, this is best done in family therapy.”