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Try to raise the curtain of euphemism that obscures “gender-affirming surgery.” Then see who says: “No, stop!”
Too little has been made of the walk-out in Congress this summer when it came time to show the video of a surgeon expounding the methods he practices on the gender-dysphoric, including young people whose distress puts them on a path to an operating room.
Up from their high-backed chairs rose many of the lawmakers, Democrats all, and out they marched. They insisted on a recess to provide a private showing for themselves and then a vote on whether the video would be allowed in the follow-up public session. Later back in their chairs and losing the vote, they made for the exits again as the video played.
See here, starting at 11:32:57 for the video, at 11:13:05 for where things get interesting, and at 9:47:37 for the whole show.
It was telling. Defenders of the bodily disfigurement that purports to be therapy for minors need to conceal the grim clinical details, perhaps even from themselves, lest talk of “gender-affirming therapy” of any type loses its feel-good persuasion. Adopting Newspeak to stay on message with the party line on transgender ideology is one thing. Quite another would be raising hands in favor of harvesting forearm tissue to construct a faux phallus or robotically transferring internal abdominal tissue to fabricate a “neovagina.”
In the video, Blair Peters, a plastic surgeon at the Oregon Health and Science University, responds to a friendly interviewer. A couple excerpts:
— “So yeah, a lot of adolescents” are “presenting for surgical intervention” though “the adolescents for sure present some unique challenges.”
(Elsewhere in the interview, Dr. Peters says he and his colleagues are “having very open conversations and with patients and families, too.” None of his remarks suggest he operates on minors without parental consent. Of interest, nevertheless: For kids as young as 15, Oregon law requires no parental consent to transgendering surgery; the threshold for getting a tattoo, even with parental consent, is 18, the state-defined age of majority.
— “We’re kind of learning and figuring out what works.”
(Here, the reference is specific to lining the “vaginal canal” for males still on puberty-suppressing drugs, that is, males likely without their first sexual experience. Only “a couple, a handful” of such cases have been done—publication of the results to come.)
It was Kat Cammack, Republican of Florida, who pressed to show the video, to be found on the internet. She took from Dr. Peters what she needed to make her case: Transgendering surgery is a radical experiment on kids in no way mature enough to comprehend its life-long consequence.
Yet what Rep. Cammack presented are only snippets. In the full interview, Dr. Peters speaks of expanding his repertoire to satisfy demand that goes beyond swapping one of the binary genders for the other. (About which techniques he might reserve for adults his interviewer does not inquire.)
“There’s a lot more of like a spectrum of procedures now that are available … So I think it’s becoming a field where it’s less about reinforcing this binary view of gentalia and anatomy and more so embracing the person’s own unique concept of themselves.”
Examples: a “shaft” with or without a faux scrotum; a mastectomy leaving an appearance “somewhere between having a breast mound and not having a breast mound” so that a female, bound and flat, may present one day as a male but the next day as her unbound, feminine self.
“That’s really fascinating,” remarks his interlocutor, who goes on to report learning elsewhere of a body-parts option that “honestly just blew my mind when I realized that was a thing.”
Doubtless it was a thing that would blow the minds of many others if only they knew.
The walkout occurred in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce as it considered a spending re-authorization to support medical education at children’s hospitals. The Republican majority amended the bill to deny monies to hospitals where the treatment of minors includes transgendering surgery, cross-sex hormones, or puberty blockers. The fate of the bill now that it’s out of committee remains uncertain.
In the committee, there was some fair back-and-forth. Democrats: Why should Washington insert itself between doctors and patients and patients’ families? Republicans: Why should Washington coerce taxpayers to subsidize practices that many find abhorrent? (Count among the most trenchant critics certain gay men and lesbian women.)
Surely, however, Larry Bucshon, Republican of Indiana and a cardiothoracic surgeon, was speaking not only to the other side of the aisle but to the conscience of American society: “As a physician, I just, I just can’t wrap my head around this (transgendering surgery for minors). Everybody really needs to do some soul-searching here.”
Perhaps something like the following weighs on Dr. Bucshon’s mind:
Paradoxically, it is not surgery or drug-induced metabolic change that is scorned by the Biden administration as “conversion therapy” but rather psychotherapy; in contrast, a growing number of European authorities recommend psychotherapy as first-line treatment for gender dysphoria and the emotional and behavioral disorders with which it may be associated or confused. Upon reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association that 3,678 persons aged 12 to 18 underwent “gender-affirming surgery” from 2016 to 2019, a period when transgender mania was not so inflamed as it is today, the authors reserve their concerns to restrictive legislation and “the greater need” for “the requisite expertise to perform GAS procedures.” The consulting company Grand View Research forecasts that the “U.S. sex reassignment surgery market” across all ages will grow from $2.1 billion last year to $5 billion in 2030. The plaintiff in a California medical-negligence case tells of undergoing a double mastectomy at age 13.
If Rep. Cammack had wanted merely to shock, she could have gone further. After all, she never showed images of transgendering surgery in progress. Neither shall I. And yet, though politics are called crude, might they sometimes be more instructive if cruder still?Published in