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Thursday, December 9, 2021

OPINION:

Dr. Rachel Levine was appointed by President Joe Biden in October as a four-star admiral, the highest-ranking official in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Dr. Levine also serves as the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health. Levine’s background is as a pediatrician. In a rich bit of irony, not only is Levine the first transgender person to serve in the uniformed health service as a four-star senior officer but is also the first “woman” to serve in that capacity.

Until age 53, Rachel Levine lived life as a man. Richard Levine was born with all-male parts and with male chromosomes. In 2011 however, he decided he was a she. A divorce followed, but so did Levine’s public fortunes. Levine served in public health positions in Pennsylvania for several years to mixed reviews. 


One gay advocacy publication describes Dr. Levine this way, “Dr. Rachel Levine is very much regarded in the fields of pediatrics, psychiatry and social well being…” They neglect to mention that Dr. Levine has advocated for allowing persons who are below the age of sexual consent to get hormone blockers and genital mutilation, causing irreversible damage.

In other words, the new four-star admiral and HHS Assistant Secretary for Health believes your thirteen-year-old is too young to consent to sexual intercourse but is old enough and mature enough to make life-altering decisions on taking hormone inhibitors to prevent normal puberty and to get surgery removing or altering his or her genitalia, without parental consent. 

Perhaps Levine’s own mental health has impacted that opinion on children. During the Admiral’s Senate hearings the LGBTQ media described legitimate questions from Senator Rand Paul, himself an MD, about gender identity as “rude, invasive questioning.” 

Let me offer a better example of rude and invasive. 

Richard Simonetti is a German blogger and social media personality who has claimed he was appointed as a special envoy for LBGTQ issues for the European Union Parliament. The self-billed LBGTQ Ambassador has a funny way of carrying out his alleged diplomatic duties. 

If he wishes to serve as an Ambassador to Europe and to the world on behalf of the LBGTQ community, he should first study the definition of the term Ambassador. It reads, “a person who uses diplomacy to act as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.”

Simonetti however, has exercised a more aggressive approach. In the December 2021 issue of the German LBGTQ magazine Siegessaule Magazin, Simonetti appears in a variety of Nativity photos dressed as the Virgin Mary. In one picture, a bearded Simonetti, posing as the Virgin Mary and holding a baby we can only assume is intended to represent the Christ child, is being embraced by another man. His romantic interest is dressed as Joseph.  The Nativity scene offers a homosexual version of the Holy Family. As an added bonus, Joseph’s robe is pink, Simonetti’s head covering is blue and his robe is white. Pink, blue and white are the colors of the transgender flag. 

Simonetti and the gay magazine are clearly mocking Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Family and Christians everywhere during the Christmas season. Where are the cries of “rude and insensitive” from the LGBTQ community? Crickets. 

Instead, those cries will be saved for columns like the one you are reading now. Raising the issue of the mental health of transgender individuals is inevitably met with screams of insensitivity and transphobia. It is neither. Let’s look at some facts. 

A recent study from Denmark looked at 359 transgender patients. In 75% of them, cross-gender identification was interpreted as a byproduct of other psychiatric illnesses, notably personality, mood, dissociative, and psychotic disorders. Major mood disorders, dissociative disorders and psychotic disorders were reported in 79% of transgenders.

Likewise in Sweden, a separate study found that “Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior” 

In fact, 30% of transgenders commit suicide. Suicide.org says that 90% of all suicides are the direct result of untreated mental illness. A 2013 U.S.-based study showed 90% of transgenders have mental disorders consisting of depression and anxiety–known causes of suicide. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that transgender people often experience disproportionately high levels of mental health conditions. 

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS) is the largest survey specifically looking at the experiences of transgender people in America. 27,715 people responded from all fifty states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. military bases overseas. 39% reported serious psychological distress.  Only 5% of the general United States population reports the same. Alarmingly, 40% of the transgender survey respondents indicated they had attempted suicide at some point in their lifetime. 

The 2019 Trevor Project National Survey was the largest survey of LGBTQ youth mental health ever conducted.  It had more than 34,000 respondents. The results indicate more than half of transgender youth have seriously considered suicide and that nearly 70% of transgender youth show symptoms of a major depressive disorder.

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, says that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment. He also says that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder, rather than treating it.  Dr. McHugh is no casual observer. He is the author of at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles and six books. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines transgenderism as a mental disorder.  

The American College of Pediatricians joins other experts in condemning gender reclassification in children. They mince no words, making the bold statement that transgenderism in children amounts to child abuse.

As a result, ThinkProgress, a left-wing activist group, labeled The American College of Pediatricians as a hate group. They aren’t a hate group. They are medical doctors who treat and speak with children every day. Their opinion, like this column, is not transphobic; they don’t fear transgender individuals. 

I certainly don’t advocate bullying transgender individuals or anyone for that matter, and I’m sure the American College of Pediatricians doesn’t either, but as a society, we can’t look at a group of folks clearly exhibiting mental illness and ignore it. We can’t pretend it’s normal. It’s not. Any condition with sky-high incidents of suicide must be given care and concern, must be treated and must be corrected. Not bullied, not dismissed but most certainly not ignored under the pretense they are just fine.

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.” This would be further evidence that not only is the urge to swap genders not normal but it is a condition that can be, and indeed often is, recovered from. Imagine the harm if those initial feelings had been indulged and those children had their biology, their very being, irrevocably changed.

What we cannot do is pretend transgender people are perfectly normal. It doesn’t serve their well being nor does it serve society well. As children, many of us read the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Emperor’s New Clothes. In the story the Emperor had commissioned some rather shady individuals to make him a new outfit. They weren’t particularly gifted at spinning textiles but they were amazing at spinning yarns to the Emperor and his public, telling one and all that the cloth they were using was so special that only clever individuals could see it.

Conversely, stupid people couldn’t see the cloth at all. No one wanted to admit to being stupid so virtually everyone pretended to see an amazing garment, though none existed. The Emperor himself paraded down the street wearing nothing, yet everyone commented on how fine the new outfit was. No one wanted to be criticized for stating the obvious. 

Likewise, we are told by a woke, emboldened media in 2021 that if you point out the obvious regarding transgender and mental health, you must be stupid or mean-spirited or both. Only they, the intellectual elite, are clever enough to fully understand. They are praising the invisible cloth.

In The Emperor’s New Clothes an innocent young boy finally speaks up and points out that the Emperor is naked. One by one the adults began to whisper to one another what the boy had said until finally all of them agreed. The Emperor had no clothes at all. Let’s collectively play the role of that young innocent boy and speak out. Transgender is not normal. It’s a mental health issue and requires proper medical attention. 

• Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times and hosts “The Capitol Hill Show” podcast every week from Washington, D.C.


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