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Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;’ Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’

Caitlyn Jenner,  ridgewood

By Michael W. Chapman | June 2, 2015 | 1:34 PM EDT

( —  Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

Dr. McHugh, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles, made his remarks in a recentcommentary in the Wall Street Journal, where he explained that transgender surgery is not the solution for people who suffer a “disorder of ‘assumption’” – the notion that their maleness or femaleness is different than what nature assigned to them biologically.

He also reported on a new study showing that the suicide rate among transgendered people who had reassignment surgery is 20 times higher than the suicide rate among non-transgender people. Dr. McHugh further noted studies from Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic of children who had expressed transgender feelings but for whom, over time, 70%-80% “spontaneously lost those feelings.”

15 thoughts on “Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;’ Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’

  1. Somebody better tell Obama and the Federal Government

  2. There was a documentsry on tv recently about a child who felt that he would be better off as a girl. At the age of SEVEN the parents were preparing their son for reassignment. “He always felt like a girl”.

    What does any SEVEN year old know about this.

  3. Just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
    Who are you to judge? Have a little empathy.

  4. This doctor’s bold, across-the-grain early research on this topic, his unwavering commitment to applying the reliable rules of the scientific method, his achievement in methodically building a strong (i.e., eminently rational and defensible) foundation for his scientific conclusions as a thought leader over time, and his careful employment of reputation, institutional gravitas, and carefully cultivated professional relationships as an executive and manager to cut a clear non-PC policy path through the intellectual thicket that threatened to choke off all constructive discussion of the controversial topics of gender dysphoria and sex-reassignment surgery, mark him as a singularly brilliant and honest man, a relentlessly independent and incisive thinker, and true patriot who refused to be cowed or co-opted by politically-driven colleagues who were legion in his day. Nobody–NOBODY–can refute his work in this field from a scientific perspective. His policy prescriptions are similarly so well-founded that he has no interlocutor of any importance on the other side, i.e., the side of those whose naked bias causes them to agitate in favor of increased or expanded use of surgical intervention in the case of gender dysphoric minors.

  5. LGBT youth are four times as likely to have depressive disorder.

    Which came first, mental health problems or gender identity issues?

  6. Unless you have had a trans child in your extended family, you probably have zero idea about what it really means. I didn’t, and I was making statements just like the many who think its all a passing phase or an avenue for perverts and cross-dressers to play around with. Trans kids have always been around us, all the way back in history. The reason we never heard of it until recently is because they developed the art of hiding it. Even plain lesbians and gays are still mostly hiding it. Lesbians particularly have the ability to hide it the best as they really don’t require sexual interest/stimulation to live among us as moms and have kids. Although there are closet gay dads among us, it tends to be more challenging for them to conceive heterosexually, although we know it does happen.

    The trans bashing we see today is almost exactly like the outpouring of disgust we saw against gays in the 50s/60s, where they were openly classed as dangerous predators.

    1. what “trans bashing” sounds like media hyperbole ?

  7. I agree with you on 99% of your comments, James. I am as Republican as they come. Unfortunately, we don’t see eye-to-eye of this issue. It’s only human nature to view the human race through one’s own lens, based upon own’s own life experiences.

  8. “Trans” is a prefix, right? Meaning “cross”, as in to cross from one phase to another, or from one side to another, et cetera. But people are people, they aren’t shifting around from one phase or side to another unless somebody gets the foreign idea to make that happen and then acts on that idea. And people don’t seek to change into something that is new to themselves, but rather to have the world around them correct their perspective in order to see them for who they really are. So the word fragment “trans” is really unfortunate, implying that a person has to change to be who they already are. The doctor and scientist Paul McHugh early on saw the futility of encouraging people, particularly young people and children to undergo surgical physical transformation to align with the life their mind was living at the time. God makes us who we are, including biologically speaking which we try in vain to change but the essence remains and never really changes. Such mental anguish involved in physically fighting nature, people should seek rest and stability instead. Humans, particularly Christans, are naturally inclined toward society and understanding of their fellow man except when they are roughly asked or blatantly forced to accept notions or theories foreign to what they know and clearly see through the eyes of their faith. Then society breaks down and the friction and conflict seemingly never ends. Why do we put up with this endless provocation?

  9. No one said that LGBT should be discriminated.

    I do not care about anyone’s sexual identity.

    There was research about Transgendered people and they are more prone to alcohol/drug abuse, depression and suicide. It is not far-fetched to find that these individuals have mental illness coexisting with sexual issues. The correlation is strong – possibly causation.

  10. This is a link to a 2015 article by Dr. McHugh that raises the example of Bruce Jenner:

  11. Another article discusses the situation in 2015 in which two states, California and New Jersey, had already taken the draconian step of passing a ban on reparative talk therapy for individuals with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria.

    The Witherspoon Institute

    When Government Keeps Teens from Seeing the Therapist

    by Robert Carle
    within Constitutional Law

    November 14th, 2013

  12. “This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”

    The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder similar to a “dangerously thin” person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are “overweight,” said McHugh.

    This assumption, that one’s gender is only in the mind regardless of anatomical reality, has led some transgendered people to push for social acceptance and affirmation of their own subjective “personal truth,” said Dr. McHugh. As a result, some states – California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor,” he said.

    The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know, said McHugh, that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation “but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.”

  13. Dr. McHugh’s perspective

    How to Treat Gender Dysphoria
    So how should we make sense of this matter today? As with any mental phenomenon, what’s crucial is noting its fundamental characteristic and then identifying the many ways in which that characteristic can manifest itself.
    The central issue with all transgender subjects is one of assumption—the assumption that one’s sexual nature is misaligned with one’s biological sex. This problematic assumption comes about in several different ways, and these distinctions in its generation determine how to manage and treat it.
    Based on the photographic evidence one might guess Bruce Jenner falls into the group of men who come to their disordered assumption through being sexually aroused by the image of themselves as women. He could have been treated for this misaligned arousal with psychotherapy and medication. Instead, he found his way to surgeons who worked him over as he wished. Others have already commented on his stereotypic caricature of women as decorative “babes” (“I look forward to wearing nail polish until it chips off,” he said to Diane Sawyer)—a view that understandably infuriates feminists—and his odd sense that only feelings, not facts, matter here.
    For his sake, however, I do hope that he receives regular, attentive follow-up care, as his psychological serenity in the future is doubtful. Future men with similar feelings and intentions should be treated for those feelings rather than being encouraged to undergo bodily changes. Group therapies are now available for them.
    Most young boys and girls who come seeking sex-reassignment are utterly different from Jenner. They have no erotic interest driving their quest. Rather, they come with psychosocial issues—conflicts over the prospects, expectations, and roles that they sense are attached to their given sex—and presume that sex-reassignment will ease or resolve them.
    The grim fact is that most of these youngsters do not find therapists willing to assess and guide them in ways that permit them to work out their conflicts and correct their assumptions. Rather, they and their families find only “gender counselors” who encourage them in their sexual misassumptions.
    Those with Gender Dysphoria Need Evidence-Based Care
    There are several reasons for this absence of coherence in our mental health system. Important among them is the fact that both the state and federal governments are actively seeking to block any treatments that can be construed as challenging the assumptions and choices of transgendered youngsters. “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama.
    In two states, a doctor who would look into the psychological history of a transgendered boy or girl in search of a resolvable conflict could lose his or her license to practice medicine. By contrast, such a physician would not be penalized if he or she started such a patient on hormones that would block puberty and might stunt growth.
    What is needed now is public clamor for coherent science—biological and therapeutic science—examining the real effects of these efforts to “support” transgendering. Although much is made of a rare “intersex” individual, no evidence supports the claim that people such as Bruce Jenner have a biological source for their transgender assumptions. Plenty of evidence demonstrates that with him and most others, transgendering is a psychological rather than a biological matter.
    In fact, gender dysphoria—the official psychiatric term for feeling oneself to be of the opposite sex—belongs in the family of similarly disordered assumptions about the body, such as anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder. Its treatment should not be directed at the body as with surgery and hormones any more than one treats obesity-fearing anorexic patients with liposuction. The treatment should strive to correct the false, problematic nature of the assumption and to resolve the psychosocial conflicts provoking it. With youngsters, this is best done in family therapy.
    The larger issue is the meme itself. The idea that one’s sex is fluid and a matter open to choice runs unquestioned through our culture and is reflected everywhere in the media, the theater, the classroom, and in many medical clinics. It has taken on cult-like features: its own special lingo, internet chat rooms providing slick answers to new recruits, and clubs for easy access to dresses and styles supporting the sex change. It is doing much damage to families, adolescents, and children and should be confronted as an opinion without biological foundation wherever it emerges.
    But gird your loins if you would confront this matter. Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle.
    Paul McHugh, MD, is University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is the author of The Mind Has Mountains: Reflections on Society and Psychiatry.

  14. Bruce Jenner is indulging himself now but does not entirely lack wisdom or judgment. He remains sexually attracted to women. It’s unlikely he will go all the way and elect to undergo a full surgical sex reassignment.

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