A Physician Loses His Job for Questioning the Wisdom of Sex Changes for Children

Two years ago, Allan Josephson, a psychiatrist at the University of Louisville, participated in a panel at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, where he criticized the emerging consensus that children who feel themselves to belong to the opposite sex should receive psychological and medical treatment based on “gender affirmation”: that is, they should be treated as members of the sex to which they wish to belong and receive hormonal and eventually surgical interventions. Josephson was thereafter demoted by the university and eventually removed from the position he had held for over fifteen years. In an interview with Madeleine Kearns, he explains:

I had built [the university’s child- and adolescent-psychiatry program] up from a few people to probably fifteen and we had a clinic of almost 30. [After word of the panel got out], I was banned from faculty meetings. I was banned from certain kinds of interactions with staff and told what I could and couldn’t say to people. . . .

I’ve spoken with colleagues on various campuses who have been in similar situations, and someone will come into their offices, close the door, and say something to the effect of, “You know, I really agree with you, but for various reasons I can’t speak out.” . . . But I can assure you since the Heritage Foundation [panel], I’ve had many supportive calls from parents of children experiencing gender dysphoria, etc.

As for the decision of the American Academy of Pediatrics to endorse “gender affirmation” for minors, Josephson sees this as a case of ideology trumping medical science:

It’s a political process. . . . [T]he way committees are formed [at such professional organizations], various people who have various interests get on them. They do intense work, and sometimes very good work, but it often doesn’t meet the scrutiny of a scientific statement. An organization affirming a position is not necessarily science, but it is a group of people agreeing to say something. . . .

I saw parents and children being hurt by [gender affirmation]. These kids are, for the most part, very vulnerable people. You can see that when you spend time with them. Certainly, the teenagers have multiple problems. Most of the time, 60 or 70 percent of the time, [they suffer from] depression, anxiety, and/or substance abuse. . . . And parents are confused because they’re basically getting one message from medical and mental-health professionals, and that is “affirm people.”

One of the ways to diagnose transgenderism, according to the [official] lingo, is that if a child is “persistent, consistent, and insistent” in the demand that he or she belongs to a sex other than his or her biological sex, then [his or her claim] must be true. When I saw that, my knee-jerk response was, “Do these people have children?” Because in the process of raising children, they insistently, persistently, consistently demand lots of things that are not good for them, whether it’s turning off the computer, eating healthy food, or not staying up too late, and it’s the parents’ job then to guide them to say, “This is what you need to do to be healthy.”

Read more at National Review

More about: American society, Children, Medicine, Transsexuals

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus