Right Opinion

'I Had All of My Body Mutilated. How Do I Go Back?'

Tony Perkins · Dec. 4, 2019

“I remember breaking down. It was like, this was a mistake. It should never have happened. But what do you do about it? How do you go through another harrowing transition? What do you do? I’ve got no hair. I’ve got a beard. I’ve had all [of] my body mutilated. How do I go back to being the Debbie that I was?”

Her story was supposed to be uncommon. But Debbie’s regret, after 17 years of destroying her body, is anything but. More and more people are coming forward, admitting that they’re trapped in an identity they were pressured into — and desperately looking for a way out. “There are thousands of us,” Charlie Evans told the BBC. “A lot of [them] feel that they were not in a position to give informed consent because they were so unwell.”

National Review’s Madeleine Kearns talks about their nightmare in a new column that wonders, “When will transgender clinical activists acknowledge detransitioners?” These are hurting men and women who latched on to their new identity because clinics and doctors “immediately affirmed” them — without ever bothering to dig into the real issues before putting them on a permanent and life-altering path.

In one especially horrifying story, a 41-year-old man who was living as a woman was told by his doctor that he “should really get surgery” so that he wouldn’t have to take cross-sex hormones. “I went into shock,” he said, “because I wasn’t told that [orchiectomy] was castration.” Eventually, he developed a drug habit. “The gender clinic kept telling me, ‘Oh, it gets better.’” But, Kearns explains, it didn’t.

“You’re supposed to get an independent psychological evaluation to determine co-morbidities before you begin hormone-replacement therapy. And I had none. And you’re supposed to have two more before any surgery. And I had none. I confronted the doctor about this, and the doctor said that the lying was done to grant me access to greater care.”

Helena, a young 21-year-old survivor Kearns has talked to before, worries that victims like her are being silenced.

“A lot of the people who are transitioning are doing it because they have very serious psychological problems, and like very serious family problems, and very serious emotional difficulties in their lives. And so, when you transition, it kind of gives you a distraction, but the entire time all of those problems are still brewing beneath the surface.”

“So when you detransition, yeah, maybe you’re not taking the testosterone anymore and, yeah, maybe you understand that you’re not this fake identity anymore, but all those problems that you still started out with are still there. Those problems that were so painful that they led you to transition, they’re still there, so you have to deal with those.”

And where are the people advocating this “compassionate” treatment when it doesn’t work? Nowhere. What these hurting patients need most, Johns Hopkins’s Dr. Paul McHugh insists, is psychological help and guidance, “not a surgeon with drugs, scalpel, forceps, and sutures.” They need real care — not ideological support from Left-wing activists. Their lives and futures depend on it.

Originally published here.

Division Leads to Subtraction for Dems

Judging by the 2020 debates, the Democratic Party is all-in on abortion. And not just any abortion — but taxpayer-funded, expanded, and exported killing right past the moment of birth. On stage, they’re the picture of lock-step radicalism. But behind the curtain, the New York Times warns, there’s a lot more disagreement than anyone’s letting on.

There’s the extremist wing of the party — the national Democrats, full of bravado and cheerleading and “shout your abortion” from the rooftops. But they’re only part of the story. The other, the Times points out, is a deeply conflicted base who has serious misgivings about gambling another election on a hard-core abortion strategy. For the first time in years, liberals are on the defensive about abortion — and at odds with how to handle it.

“It’s really, really complicated,” Rutgers professor Joanna Schoen said, “and somewhat controversial where the pro-choice movement lost.” But the basic consensus is this, the Times argues: “The Democratic Party rejected the message that drove its politics since President Bill Clinton’s administration — that abortion should be ‘safe, legal and rare’ — and embraced abortion rights with few stipulations.” There’s just one problem. The majority of Americans – including their own grassroots — disagree. “Pro-choice” Democrats think abortion should be legal, sure. But only in certain cases. Like most Americans, they certainly don’t side with the field of 2020 abortion zealots, who — with one exception — thinks infanticide is a “reproductive right.” The eight percent who do must either be in Congress or running for president.

Meanwhile, inside the abortion movement, there’s at least some recognition of the overreach. Some supporters told the Times that they “worry that establishing abortion rights as a Democratic litmus test is too inflexible for Americans conflicted over abortion. They fear that it could hurt the party in rural areas and the more moderate, suburban districts that may hold the key to regaining the White House, and where many of the remaining vulnerable abortion clinics are.” Considering the Iowa district where Democrat J.D. Scholten is running, they’re right. About 60 percent of the voters there consider themselves “pro-life.” “Where I’m from, we have a pretty big tent,” he said. “We can’t be writing off people.”

None of those messages seem to be getting through to national headquarters, where Democrats are doubling down on radical abortion “to shore up a progressive base, boxing in moderate candidates in red states, and leaving little room for [the views of average Americans].” But then, misreading the political landscape is nothing new for the Left. When the abortion rate dropped to its lowest level since Roe v. Wade, researchers at the liberal Guttmacher Institute insisted it had nothing to do with the recent wave of pro-life legislation.

That’s an interesting conclusion, since 40 percent of the country’s pro-life laws were passed in the last 10 years. In every state but New York, CNSNews’s Terry Jeffrey found, abortions dropped an average 24 percent over the same decade. The reality is simple: “Pro-lifers are winning the argument in the culture,” he insisted on “Washington Watch.” “The democratic candidates are not.”

“Another tell-tale sign,” Terry argues, “is what happened in the 2016 presidential elections.” Why did Trump win Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin? Because a lot of voters in those areas, regardless of party, are socially conservative. “They like where Donald Trump was on immigration. They like his foreign policy. They like his views on trade. But they were pro-life… Now, a smart Democratic strategist looking at that would know that if the Democrats nominate a knee-jerk, ideological, 100-percent pro-abortion candidate to run against Trump in 2020, they’re going to have a hard time winning those swing states… Politically, the pro-abortion position is a disaster for Democrats.” And morally? Well, it’s a disaster for everyone. Forty-five years and 60 million lives should have taught us all that.

Originally published here.

Ad Ventures in Social Media

The liberal leaders of Google, YouTube, and Twitter can’t stop Donald Trump from winning a second term, but they can stop the American people from hearing the best case for why he deserves one. It’s all part of the platforms’ new approach to 2020: limiting — or in Twitter’s case, outright banning — political ads. But is the extreme policy really about staying neutral or just another Big Tech solution to the “Trump situation?”

Most of us aren’t huge fans of the around-the-clock election commercials. What we are fans of is the freedom to air them. A freedom, “60 Minutes” points out, that’s increasingly under attack. In just a handful of months, the show’s researchers discovered that even on Google and YouTube — the two companies without a blanket restriction — more than 300 Trump ads had been taken down for “violating company policy.” But, CBS explains, the platforms don’t explain what policy the ads actually violated. “Was it copyright violation? A lie or extreme inaccuracy? Faulty grammar? Bad punctuation? It’s unclear. The ads determined to be offending are not available to be screened.”

When “60 Minutes” Leslie Stahl sat down with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, she point-blank asked her if any Trump ads had been taken down. “There are ads,” she said evasively. When Stahl asked for an example, Wojcicki insisted the information was “available in our transparency report.” But, as CBS fired back, “We found very little transparency in the transparency report.

"As you know,” Stahl told her, “conservatives think that you discriminate against them.” Wojcicki did very little to allay those concerns, reiterating the company line that YouTube’s “systems, our algorithms, they don’t have any concept of understanding what’s a Democrat, what’s a Republican… [W]e are trying to enforce our policies in a consistent way for everybody.”

Meanwhile, over at Twitter, CEO Jack Dorsey was cheered for insisting the company would stay out of the fray. But are they? The reality is, some point out, it’s still in a position “of arbitrating political speech” just by deciding what is — and isn’t — political. Steven Law, over at the Wall Street Journal, thinks users should be wary.

Any call, he argues, “to limit the ability of candidates and groups to communicate with voters are, in effect, a plea to restrict Americans’ First Amendment freedom. To be sure, the Founders couldn’t have imagined a world of search engines and social media, but they chose to guarantee freedom of speech in the broadest terms possible. One can imagine Thomas Jefferson — once the patron saint of the Democratic Party — being appalled by efforts to restrict a speaker’s power to reach his intended audience.”

“One of the most consequential effects of the internet is the democratization of speech and information. That can be messy and sometimes counterproductive, but America’s constitutional tradition has always bet on freedom as the best antidote to whatever ills our democratic system faces. It’s still the best policy.”

Over at Facebook, which stands to lose the most money if it regulated election speech, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is airing on the side of capitalism. “It’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments," he told CBS. "This is a clearly a very complex issue, and a lot of people a lot of different opinions.” But, he went on, “at the end of the day, I just think that in a democracy, people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying.” What about politicians or PACs spreading lies or making untrue statements, Gayle King asked? Again, Zuckerberg said, “…people should be able to judge for themselves.”

When the platform refused to bow to the Biden campaign and take down an ad that implicated him in a Ukrainian scandal, Facebook took a lot of heat. At least for now, it can remain, the company replied because of Facebook’s “fundamental belief in free expression [and] respect for the democratic process.” (And the cash flow doesn’t hurt either.) But from a market standpoint, Zuckerberg is right. It’s a better business model to let everyone play — unless, like Google and YouTube, perhaps — your business model is to push an ideological agenda.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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