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Sinking the New Atlantis

Fri 2 Sep 2016 In: Comment View at Wayback View at NDHA

Family First is trumpeting yet another anti-transgender 'research paper' from conservative Catholic Paul McHugh and an offsider, Lawrence Meyer, in an obscure religious social conservative journal called the New Atlantis. Predictably, the New Atlantis isn't a neutral scholarly publication, let alone a peer-reviewed one. This journal, which published McHugh’s and Mayer’s report, is a publication of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a US Christian Right pressure group based in Washington, D.C. EPPC claims to be “dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy.”Paul McHugh is a practicing conservative Catholic. “According to a 2002New York Times article, he is a Democrat ‘who describes himself as religiously orthodox, politically liberal and culturally conservative—a believer in marriage and the Marines, a supporter of institutions and family values.’” As for other EPPC staffers, conservative Catholic theologian George Weigel is former president and Distinguished Senior fellow at the EPPC. Current president Ed Whelan has testified on behalf of the EPPC in hearings that supported the anti-gay federal US Defense of Marriage Act. His collaborator, Lawrence Mayer, is actually a statistics professor at John Hopkins University and has no medical qualifications as such. Bob McCoskrie really shouldn't believe everything that he reads in US tabloid newspapers or watches on Fox News. McHugh is an octogenerian conservative Catholic whose consultation with John Paul II's Vatican meant that institution decided to invent its current anti-transgender 'natural law' stance as recently as 2003. It is at odds with mainstream US health organisations such as the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Public Health Association, all of which support the legitimacy of gender dysphoria as a diagnostic category, reassignment surgery and hormone treatment as methods of treatment, and come up with very different outcomes for transitioning as an index of transgender health. Rhuaridh Marr (22.08.2016) documents a number of McHugh's previous statements on gender identity. Insofar as sexual orientation is concerned, he believes that gay desire is 'erroneous' and 'not innate,' as well as determined by 'enviromental factors,' while transgender identity is compared to liposuction and cosmetic surgery, anorexia and so on. Selective citation and inferential jumps are rampant within the document, leading to suspicions about 'cherry picked' research conclusions that fit the biased a priori ideology of the authors. But, what else would one expect from someone who supports discredited 'exgay' reparative counselling, would deny eleven year old girls abortion access if pregnant, and attributes the current Catholic clergy pedophilia scandal to gay influences within modern Catholicism? He's also not beyond misrepresentation and distortion of trans-inclusive medical research that he disagrees with, as Kristian Williams noted in the case of Swedish psychologist Dr Celia Djehne, who complained that McHugh had completely distorted her research on transgender surgery and positive psychological outcomes. One particularly damning document is a Department of Health and Human Services report dealing with reassignment surgery from 2014. In it, the adjudicating authority concludes that the evidence underlying the efficacy of gender dysphoria as a diagnostic category and the psychological and physiological consequences of access to reassignment surgery are valid enough to require Medicaid to fund reassignment surgery in a specific cited case (Department of Health and Human Services, 30.05.2014). Clearly, the corpus of clinical information about gender dysphoria, reassignment surgery and psychological and physiological consequences of remedial surgery have moved on considerably since the late seventies, when McHugh closed down the John Hopkins University reassignment surgery programme. In fact, as Brynn Tannenhill noted last year (15.12.2015), the John Hopkins University medical school may have had its approach to gender reassignment distorted by McHugh's long term input and its output on this issue suffers from a priori anti-transgender bias factors. Gay geneticist Dean Hamer (29.08.2016) has also focused critical scrutiny on the McHugh effort. In the Advocate,he confirms that New Atlantisis not peer reviewed, which means that its claims are not independently verified or examined within its approval process. Hamer refers to the content as 'selective and outdated' in its provenance, and he specifically criticises the genetic component of the 'research report', which visibly and selectively 'cherry picks' only one out of six probability studies of genetic influence which just happens to have the lowest estimate of genetic influence when it comes to sexual orientation. They ignore articles in reputable journals that don't fit their a priori biases, such as a recent large twin study meta-analysis. They ignore prejudice, discrimination and stigma as factors behind LGBT mental health problems, without citing any substantiating research to verify that claim. McHugh's collaborator, Lawrence Mayer, has never written a research paper on LGBT concerns, while McHugh has had a background of trying to obstruct research that doesn't meet his conservative Catholic "natural law" anti-transgender religious and political agenda. It's amusing that the anti-transgender ideologues could only come up with one damp squib, stating that there would be nothing more than 'ad hominem" attacks against McHugh. Wrong. If a critical discourse cites evidence-based proofs against a specific original account, then it is not ad hominem and does qualigy as a rebuttal. New Zealanders should ignore the latest nonsense on display from the US Christian Right and its cravenly dependent satellite, Family First. Recommended: Dean Hamer: "New "Scientific" Study on Sexuality, Gender is Neither New or Scientific"Advocate:29.08.2016:http://www. 8/29/new-scientific-study- sexuality-gender-neither-new- nor-scientific Mari Brighe: "Clinging to a dangerous past: Dr Paul McHugh's selective reading of transgender medical literature"TransAdvocate(2014): clinging-to-a-dangerous-past- dr-paul-mchughs-selective- reading-of-transgender- medical-literature_n_13842.htm Rhuaridh Marr "Report: No scientific evidence that people are born gay or transgender" Metro Weekly: 22.08.2016:https://www. report-no-scientific-evidence- people-born-gay-transgender/ Samantha Allen: "The Right's favourite anti-LGBT doctor strikes again"Daily Beast:24.08.2016:http://www. 2016/08/23/the-right-s- favorite-anti-lgbt-doctor- strikes-again.html Crystal Gaze: "Debunking Doctor Paul McHugh"The Cracked Crystal Ball II:10.02.2009:https:// 2009/02/debunking-dr-paul- mchugh.html Luke Brinker: "Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: Being Transgender is Just a Confusion" Media Matters: 13.06.2014:http:// 13/wall-street-journal-op-ed- being-transgender-is/199720 Department of Health and Human Services: NCD 140.3 (Transsexual Surgery): Decision 2576: 30.05.2014:http://www.hhs. gov/dab/decisions/ dabdecisions/dab2576.pdf Brynn Tannenhill: "Fighting Back Against Anti-Transgender Talking Points"Huffington Post:04.08.2014:http://www. tannehill/fighting-back- against-ant_b_5633450.html Brynn Tannenhill: "The Scary Science at John Hopkins University"Advocate:15.12.2016:http://www. 12/15/scary-science-johns- hopkins-university Lambda Legal: "Professional Organisation Statements Supporting Trans People in Health Care:http://www.lambdalegal. org/publications/fs_ professional-org-statements- supporting-trans-health Nathaniel Frank: "The Wall Street Journal displays shocking ignorance over LGBT issues"Slate:16.06.2016:http://www.slate. com/blogs/outward/2014/06/16/ the_wall_street_journal_ displays_shocking_ignorance_ about_lgbtq_issues.html Kristian Williams: "Fact Check: Study Shows Transition Makes Transpeople Suicidal" TransAdvocate: February 2016:http://transadvocate. com/fact-check-study-shows- transition-makes-trans-people- suicidal_n_15483.htm Not Recommended: Michael Brown: "How gay activists will respond to a major scientific report that refutes their talking points" Charisma News: 23.08.2016:http://www. the-line-of-fire/59445-how- gay-activists-will-respond-to- a-major-scientific-report- that-refutes-their-talking- points Craig Young - 2nd September 2016    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Friday, 2nd September 2016 - 11:18am

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