I recently sent a letter to a medical committee in Oregon's government. I expressed my objection to their approval of and advocacy for gender reassignment for 15-year-olds without parental consent paid for by Medicaid. My objection to their decision was based in recent research which strongly indicates that the adolescent brain is incapable of making decisions on the same level of cognitive function as a matured adult brain. This research has been cited in defense of juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system all over the U.S..
The transgender-rights movement in the U.S. is gaining momentum. It is highly politicized and fueled in part by media celebrities like Caitlin Jenner and Alexis Arquette. A focus of the movement has been the easy insurance-funded access to medical-surgical procedures for people with issues of gender dysphoria (discomfort). The Oregon decision included Medicaid funding for gender reassignment. While I have reservations about the overall scrutiny and application of strict ethical guidelines applied to transgender "treatment" in general, I am most concerned about the welfare of adolescents who may confuse their own self-victimizing homophobia with a gender identity disorder.
Full gender reassignment entails some form of castration and/or mutilation. One medical definition: Excision of the gonads (bilateral orchiectomy in a male or bilateral oophorectomy in a female), or destruction of the gonads, as by radiation or parasites. In the U.S., these procedures are being carried out by licensed medical personnel.
The crux of my letter to the Oregon committee was a questioning of the medical ethics of carrying out castrations on adolescents, who may in fact be reacting to sexual preference rather than gender confusion. Allowing these disturbed adolescents to make permanent life-shaping decisions about the state of their otherwise healthy bodies is, in my opinion, a violation of the prime medical directive: First do no harm. I did not receive a response or even a recognition of receipt of my letter. This did not surprise me.
Transgender-rights activists have powerful allies, not only in the entertainment industry. Gender reassignment is itself an industry. It yields significant income to plastic surgeons, endocrinologists, urologists and psychotherapists. Pro-transgender medical professionals have operated largely under the radar of insurance companies, ethics boards and government. They have worked within private clinical settings without much public scientific scrutiny. The greater body of the medical profession, which is still conservative in most of the U.S., has seemed satisfied to allow transgender treatment to remain a private fief of those medical personnel who are prone to support the political agenda of the transgender-rights movement. But this is neither scientific nor professional.
I support the right of anyone to identify as any gender. I think anyone should have the right to walk down any street in America or elsewhere in any form of gender expression without being abused. That is simply the right to personal safety for any human being who is not being intrusive or violating the human rights of others. However, self-castration in an adolescent would be a symptom of severe mental illness. How is it that allowing a medical professional to castrate an adolescent on demand without parental consultation is not considered unethical, if not criminal? And why is this extreme form of addressing a mental condition becoming politicized at the expense of general governmental/medical oversight and more research?
It is notable that male-to-female transgender behavior and gender reassignment is acceptable in some of the least permissive Third World societies on the planet. Is this really surprising? In societies where it can be suicidal to be an open male homosexual, it is much less of a risk to disguise oneself as a woman. By doing so, in those societies, the male homosexual can enlist the support of sympathetic women who are equally oppressed by male patriarchy.
Here is my question: Is sufficient care being taken by the medical profession in the U.S to ensure that a male homosexual or female homosexual child is not mutilated under the assumption that his/her internalized homophobia is actually gender identity disorder? I believe that the Oregon policy does not ensure the safety of the homosexual child who is severely homophobic and poorly educated in sex and the existence of functional homosexual lives. Such a child would most likely see his/her homosexuality as his/her gender-related problem rather than a problem of a homophobic family and community.
The suicide rate of post-op transgender adults is twenty times higher than that of the general population. Sex change reversals are quite common, but do not restore a normal human body to the patient by any means. Sexual satisfaction and orgasmic sensations are permanently altered by reassignment surgeries. There are great risks in gender reassignment surgery, as with most other plastic surgeries entailing nerve/glandular involvement.
In an age when global feminist activists are trying to stamp out Female Genital Mutilation, which irreversibly damages millions of pre-adolescent and adolescent women all over the planet, the castration and mutilation of adolescents by medical professionals in the U.S. is being given a pass. Brain science research does not support this as ethical or rational. The risk that these procedures can simply be another tool for homophobic professionals and parents to victimize victims of homophobia is real.