You see them at night in big cities: men dressed up as women, complete with makeup, jewelry, and high heels. Despite their best efforts, it?s not a pretty sight. Nor is the sight of men who take a more drastic step: undergoing so-called sex-reassignment surgery.
When these surgeries were first performed at Johns Hopkins University in the early seventies, one psychiatrist?Paul McHugh?started asking questions about the wisdom of this. After all, the outcomes were not women, but grotesque caricatures of them.
When McHugh became psychiatrist-in-chief in 1975, he decided to test the claim that men who underwent sex-change surgery were psychologically better off. He also wanted to study the outcomes of sex-reassignment surgeries performed on baby boys with ambiguous genitals.
So McHugh encouraged the research of a colleague, psychiatrist Jon Meyer, who was following up men who received sex-change operations. Meyer found that most of the patients he located did not regret their surgery. But in every other respect, McHugh writes, ?they were little changed in their psychological condition. They had much the same problems with relationships, work, and emotions as before [the surgery].?
?I concluded,? he wrote, ?that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness.? Wouldn?t it be better, he thought, to concentrate of fixing their minds instead of taking the far more drastic step of re-arranging their genitals? Thanks to the research of Meyer and others, it became possible to do just that?to make sense of the mental disorders that were driving the request for the surgeries.
McHugh then turned to the practice of sex-reassignment surgery for baby boys with ambiguous genitals. For years doctors had told parents that that their child?s sexual identity would conform to environmental conditioning: They would happily grow up as girls.
But a study found exactly the opposite. These re-engineered boys endured ?prolonged distress and misery.? When they discovered their true genetic heritage, most of them began to live as males.
Given that there?s no evidence that sex reassignment surgery helps either adults or children, why did doctors recommend it in the first place? The answer is that psychiatrists were enamored of the feminist theory that sexual identity was determined, not by biology, but by cultural conditioning. Psychiatrists went along with this, despite the fact that animal research had long shown that male sexual behavior is directly derived from exposure to testosterone in utero. And so, today, the transgendered movement is firmly protected by rigid codes of political correctness. You?re a ?bigot? if you say that a person is made a certain way and can?t change his gender.
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