Published under the Opinion section last week, the article was written by Dr Paul McHugh. Until 2001 McHugh was the director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, as well as the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
His current title is University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
McHugh states that being transgender is a “disorder”:
“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.”
He then compares those who identify as transgender with sufferers of anorexia and bulimia, claiming that all three groups suffer from “disorders” stemming from the same psychological processes.
McHugh claims that: “You won’t hear it from those championing transgender equality, but controlled and follow-up studies reveal fundamental problems with this movement.”
He goes on to say that of children who had reported transgender feelings were tracked at Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic, without medical or surgical treatment, “ 70%-80% of them spontaneously lost those feelings.” McHugh does not state the name of these studies, when they were carried out or how many children were tracked.
He adds: “Some 25% did have persisting feelings; what differentiates those individuals remains to be discerned.”
McHugh defends the decision made by the Johns Hopkins Hospital to discontinue gender reassignment surgeries by referencing a 2011 study conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden:
“The long-term study—up to 30 years—followed 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery. The study revealed that beginning about 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties.
“Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable nontransgender population.
“This disturbing result has as yet no explanation but probably reflects the growing sense of isolation reported by the aging transgendered after surgery. The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription.”
There is no reference to any investigation of whether feelings of depression or isolation were the result of discrimination, ostracising or bullying directed at the participants as a result of being transgender.
Throughout his opinion piece McHugh consistently mislabels transgender people as “transgendered”, which many involved in the trans rights campaign find offensive.
McHugh concludes by saying: “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women.
“Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”