Actually, be extremely careful

From The Australian:

Australia’s psychiatrists have been urged to be very cautious about giving official backing to gender clinic treatments for under-18s after an international scandal over false claims of mental health benefits for transgender surgery.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists should be “extremely careful” before endorsing so-called “gender affirming” hormonal treatment and surgery for minors, according to Philip Morris, president of the National Association of Practising Psychiatrists whose members look after patients in the private and public sector.

In other words don’t cut crucial bits off people or give them dangerous hormones, or both, unless you’re very sure it will be beneficial. (Shorter: first, do no harm.) You’d think that would be self-evident, but it hasn’t been.

The country’s biggest gender clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne has asked for more public money to start double mastectomies on girls under 17 who identify as male, with director Michelle Telfer claiming in July 2019 that “chest reconstructive surgery” improves mental health.

Chest reconstructive surgery probably does improve mental health where it’s needed, but the issue here is cutting healthy breasts off.

This month, the prestigious Journal of American Psychiatry had to publish an extraordinary correction to an October 2019 US-Swedish paper hailed as a global breakthrough in a field where even gender affirming clinicians admit the evidence is short-term and low-quality.

The peer-reviewed paper was the first to use official Swedish data, which is unusually comprehensive, to claim that surgery such as mastectomy or genital reconstruction reduced the need for mental health treatment by 8 per cent a year over the ensuing decade.

“No longer can we say that we lack high-quality evidence of the benefits of providing gender-affirming surgeries to transgender individuals who seek them,” said study co-author John Pachankis, who directs the LGBTQ Mental Health Initiative at Yale University.

Newsweek touted the finding and claimed that scientists said “such (surgical) interventions must be as easy as possible to access.” Yeah deffo, girls should be able to walk in off the street and get their breasts lopped off just by asking. What could go wrong?

On August 1, the American journal published a correction, an editorial and letters from a dozen psychiatrists, clinicians and researchers in four countries identifying multiple flaws in the 2019 paper, with the conclusion that the data showed no improvement in mental health after surgery or hormonal treatment.

Oops. Sorry, everyone who had bits cut off in the intervening ten months.

“It has great international significance,” said Paul McHugh, one of America’s most distinguished practitioners, former chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and co-author of one of the letters run by the journal.

He said the correction would make gender affirming advocates “a lot more cautious” when making scientific claims because “they’ll know people are watching”.

“Peer review is not going to God, it’s going to the common thought of the day, which in psychiatry is usually good, but every 10-15 years it gets lost in some misadventure,” Professor McHugh told The Australian.

He predicted the excesses of gender affirming treatment — like the 1990s “enthusiasm” over repressed memory and multiple personality — would be reined in by the courts, not by the psychiatric profession.

That 1990s enthusiasm is what this cult always reminds me of. It’s just as enthusiastic, in fact more so, and it’s even more wacko.

Media outlets which reported the 2019 study’s result have yet to cover the journal’s correction.

Too busy reporting on the evil doings of TERFs.

H/t Lady Mondegreen

2 Responses to “Actually, be extremely careful”