Case in point: Far Right commentator Andrew Bolt's latest:
The first such case was that of “Alex”, when the Family Court allowed gender reassignment procedures for a girl who’d clearly been deeply traumatised by her parents and seemed to me to need treatment of the mind rather than the body. I was appalled by what was done to her and by what was decided.Look at that. A commentator who has the courage to say that he doesn't have the competence to come to an informed decision on a controversial issue. One involving Red Meat to his right-leaning readership.
On the facts outlined in this second judgment, I cannot see similar reasons to be so alarmed. The judge is cautious, the parents loving, the experts united on most of the critical points.
I can’t be sure a mistake isn’t being made, but I know I can’t judge better than those who must.
Here's my reply. It's long, and for that reason may not make it through moderation. Other comments I've made in the past, just as controversial, have. Another difference between the USA and Australia, our Right Wing Death Beasts are not afraid of challenge. I know, I'm one of them, remember?
For those interested in the degree to which really competent people have spent much time, and much worry, over what the right thing to do in such cases is, please see: Ethical Concerns Related to Treating Gender Nonconformity in Childhood and Adolescence: Lessons from the family court of Australia.Will I convince him, or his readership, of the correctness of my views? I don't know. I do know though that Andrew Bolt is not closed-minded. He'll give my views a fair hearing, and any objections he makes will be ones based on rationality, possibly different but reasonable interpretations of the same facts.
It's no exaggeration to say that Milton Diamond is to the science of sex and gender what Albert Einstein is to physics. Here's what he had to say in his analysis of the Alex case:The judge’s approach to Alex was extraordinary, exemplary, compassionate, cautious, and well-informed. He was not bogged down with rhetoric of gender construction. Alex’s dignity, best interest, current needs and future potentiality were the court’s only concerns.I know this kind of thing is outside most people's experience. I can't blame some for thinking this is some Leftist idealistic nonsense, idiotic academics playing games with people's lives.
The role this judge assumed was equally extraordinary. In Judge Nicholson, Alex found a father with whom to share the burden of this monumental personal decision. It was as though the judge sat with Alex at the kitchen table and asked the questions a good parent might ask of the child and of the medical experts, in deciding what course to follow.
But if they study the science, look at the MRI scans, and above all, talk to transsexual and intersexed people (the latter having been born with bodies neither wholly male nor wholly female), they'd soon question their "everybody knows" ideas.
Here's what Professor of Urology Sidney Ecker wrote to me, after his presentation (along with others by Milton Diamond and Norman Spack) to the American Psychiatric Association at their annual meeting:Hi Zoe,One more thing - if these kids don't get appropriate hormonal and surgical treatment, over half will attempt suicide before age 20. By age 25, only half remain alive. It really does feel that bad.
Yes, we gave our presentation to 60 plus psychiatrists from the US, AU, FR, IT, EU, UK, Holland etc.
We spoke for 2 1/2 hours on why cross gender identity was a normal inherited variation of humans. We showed how Transgender Brains think, smell, and hear like the opposite sex. We presented internationally accepted guidelines for hormonal treatment of transsexuals to be published Summer 2009.
Here are my slides and with my participants' permission I shall send you theirs. We are now in print in the APA Syllabus and soon in the APA Journal this summer. I am checking if we were recorded.
My greatest personal compliment came from Frank Kruijver, from Holland, whose research of the human brain in TSs started it all. He thought we have taken his work very far in our understanding of the human brain. Hope you can do something with this.
Sid Ecker, M.D.
Hopefully, within a few decades, medical science will have advanced enough so these kids will be fully functional. Able to bear, or father children respectively. Meanwhile, we do what we can. Because we've tried everything else in increasingly desperate attempts to stop these kids dying miserable, horrible deaths, and we have been trying for 60 years as they continued to die.
This is the only thing that works. We now know why. MRI scans and autopsies have confirmed it. I'll just give the titles of a few of the hundreds of papers on the subject:
Male-to-female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids by Berglund et al Cerebral Cortex 2008 18(8):1900-1908;
Male–to–female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus. Kruiver et al J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2000) 85:2034–2041
Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation. Swaab Gynecol Endocrinol (2004) 19:301–312.
A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality. by Zhou et al Nature (1995) 378:68–70.
A sex difference in the hypothalamic uncinate nucleus: relationship to gender identity by Garcia-Falgueras et al Brain. 2008 Dec;131(Pt 12):3132-46.
A polymorphism of the CYP17 gene related to sex steroid metabolism is associated with female-to-male but not male-to-female transsexualism by Bentz et al Fertility and Sterility , Volume 90 , Issue 1 , Pages 56 - 59
Androgen Receptor Repeat Length Polymorphism Associated with Male-to-Female Transsexualism by Hare at al in Biol.Psych. Vol65, Issue 1, Pp 93-96
This isn't just one group of rogue pseudo-scientists in one lab, pushing a politically-acceptable line in a few selected journals.
These are multiple independent groups, in labs all over the world. Psychologists, Neurologists, Geneticists, Urologists, Paediatricians, many different fields of study, and all finding the same evidence, and coming to the same conclusion. A conclusion that is anything but politically popular.
We do things differently here in Australia.