Jake Weinraub

FOX News' Medical A-Team Attacks Chaz Bono

Filed By Jake Weinraub | May 20, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Chaz Bono, Fox News, J.Crew, Keith Ablow, transgender

Building off of Austen Crowder's post earlier today about how right-wing media is taking up Chaz Bono'sdrkeith2.jpg increased visibility, we have yet another violently transphobic statement from Dr. Keith Ablow, member of FOX News' "Medical A-Team."

FOX News published the article on their site May 17, promptly removing it after some internet backlash. Dr. Ablow calls trans identity a "delusional disorder," condemning any medical intervention as "bending reality to conform to a person's psychosis." Even more twisted is the way he calls his post, "Inside the Mind of Chaz Bono."

Dr. Ablow is the same FOX News correspondent who wrote of the J. Crew pink nail polish controversy as "a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity."

FOX News refuses to issue an apology or hold themselves accountable for the hateful speech of Dr. Ablow - yet another reason they are the absolute worst.

Check out Dr. Ablow's full statement after the jump.

Inside the Mind of Chaz Bono By Dr. Keith Ablow Published May 17, 2011 | FoxNews.com

Chastity Bono, the daughter of Cher and Sonny Bono, has undergone gender reassignment surgery and now asserts she [that's right, she] is a man. She now wants to be called Chaz.

She has written a tell-all entitled Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man, and has appeared on "The David Letterman Show" and "Oprah." A documentary about her journey called Becoming Chaz premiered on Oprah's OWN network. I know my thoughts on this matter will be politically incorrect, but they are entirely biologically and psychiatrically accurate.

First, Chaz Bono is not a man. She is a woman who has undergone radical surgeries and is taking male hormones in order to look like a man. That isn't a political position, it's a biological reality. Chaz Bono wants to be thought of as male, but she is not male.

You may disagree with me on philosophical grounds, arguing that behaving like a man and feeling like a man is tantamount to being a man, but that argument does nothing to change the biological reality.

Second, while Chaz Bono may now feel that her journey toward self-acceptance has ended, I am not convinced. I say this because, absent the gender politics involved, I was taught to consider Chaz Bono's contention that she is male as a psychotic delusion--a fixed and false belief.

Psychosis is not a predictor of long-term emotional well-being or stability.

Mind you, I am not judging Ms. Bono. But there is nothing substantially different from a woman believing she is a man than there is about a woman believing she is a CIA agent being followed by the KGB (when in reality, she is, say, a salesperson at J. Crew).

Very few people, if any, would suggest that the proper treatment for such a woman would be to have the Central Intelligence Agency make her an honorary agent and hire a few former KGB agents to chase her around town. While that "treatment" might make her more comfortable for a while, bending reality to conform to a person's psychosis just wouldn't be a good idea. For one thing, it would make us all lose our sense of what is real and true. For another, it would simply perpetuate the woman's underlying psychiatric illness.

Very few people, if any, would suggest that the way to treat someone who is petrified of death and insisting he is turning 16, not 61, would be to throw him a Sweet Sixteen party. Good psychiatrists, in particular, would be burrowing to the roots of the man's discomfort with aging. If necessary, medications might be prescribed.

I once treated a woman who believed her children had been replaced by masquerading doubles and another who believed her parents could hear her thoughts through listening devices implanted in the walls. I did the hard work of getting to the bottom of those psychotic symptoms. I certainly didn't hang up "Missing" posters with the first woman or start smashing holes in the walls of my office with the second.

Delusional disorders are notoriously difficult to treat. Paranoia (as in, the CIA example) can require extensive psychotherapy and anti-psychotic medication. Sometimes, that isn't even enough. So you can imagine that believing you are a man when you are a woman could require even more vigorous and dedicated attempts to alleviate the psychotic person's symptoms.

Is surgery to remove a woman's breasts, close her vagina and create a makeshift penis for her really so very different (other than being far more permanent)? Is it really likely to yield a "cure" for a woman's delusion that she is a man, or vice-versa? Does it really reach the depths of dissatisfaction, which create gender identity disturbances, to begin with?

I don't think so.

I think Chaz Bono, who is, in fact, a woman, will not escape, through surgery or manipulation of hormones, suffering that is far more than skin deep.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. Dr. Ablow can be reached via email at [email protected] and his team of Life Coaches can be reached via email at [email protected] You can also visit www.keithablow.com for more information.

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I'd say "What an asshole," but that would be insulting to assholes.

All the replumbing and cutting in the world does not make a women a man. She is definitely very confused and sad but would you expect any less from a mother like cher

It's tall poppy syndrome. As soon as someone begins to rise above the crowd, it becomes cool to be the one to lop their heads off and level the field.


Kathy Padilla | May 20, 2011 3:22 PM

Ken asserts her is a man, not sure we adhere to the same definition either.

The psychosis trope is fairly unprofessional nonsense - and unsupported in any literature. A conscientious professional wouldn't make assertions unsupported by the science of the field she purports expertise in. Indeed - if memory serves - studies showed that when administered the standard psychological and psychiatric tests - transsexuals did not score any higher on measures for psychosis than psychiatrists - or the general public.

Reasonable professionals do not diagnose people with a serious mental illness who they haven't met. It's the hallmark of unprofessional behavior and described as such by professional associations. As such - and as she's using her credential to support the assertion of psychosis in Mr. Bono - Mr. Bono may very well have a case for libel he could pursue.

And - whatever credentialing bodies Ken is a member of should provide some correction.

I might suggest reaching out to the American Psychiatric Association and asking them to issue a statement condemning Dr. Ablow. (I'm acquainted with one of the APA's past Presidents, who was also chair of their committee on LGBT for a very long time... perhaps I can get him to weigh in.)

That sounds like a good idea. There isn't much medical info on trans people that gets into the mainstream media and getting a statement against Ablow early can head some of the ramifications off.

Not only that, but ppl who transition, including those who have surgeries, are generally much less anxious and depressed and are much happier with their lives. It makes them better. I kinda doubt making the woman a member of the CIA and such would have the same effect. The thing is, data are out there, and he is ignoring it and spouting nonsense based on what he personally believes. That is bad practice, pure and simple.

This is the same d-bag who advised Maria Shriver to get back with Arnold. I would classify him as a complete joke except for the fact that he's also practiced 'adolescent psychiatry' which, in his case, means child abuser.

Kathy Padilla | May 20, 2011 3:41 PM

Ablow's most recent book, The 7,[6] co-authored by Glenn Beck, was released in January 2011.

You can't argue with successes like the work he did on Beck. No emotional labileness there at all. Solid as a rock. Heck of a job.

sarahallison48 | May 20, 2011 8:18 PM

After Googling him, but never meeting him, and I am not bound by APA Standards of Ethics yet, This guy is off his rocker, his license should be revoked. Sometimes the doctor does become the patient, and clearly he is not thinking in any psychiatric position here. He is merely pandering to Fox's BS.
I would also like to hadd that I generally do noy judge people, lest i be judged first. I feel as though he spoke to the whole Trans community as a whole, and dismissed us.
Well. Mr. Albow (I wont even give you the distinction of DR. here), If you read this, Go F yourself, you self-serving pile. Oh and dont forget to be ready at noon tomorrow!!Bye Bye Asshole!!!

"Doctor" Keith Ablow may have professional credentials, having graduated from medical school at Johns Hopkins in 1987, but he apparently knows absolutely nothing about trans people. Perhaps during his medical school years he may have been exposed to the delusional thinking of another "Doctor," Paul McHugh, who was the head of the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, and whose ideas about trans people are rooted in the 1960's. (McHugh, a member of the shadowy Roman Catholic cult Opus Dei, has his expertise in eating disorders, but was apparently tapped to advise the Vatican for its sub secretum document on trans people dating to 2000, which despite being under the seal of secrecy, was leaked in 2002).

Ablow is apparently unaware of any of the advances in medical research since 1995 in the area of the physiology of trans brains, or of the genetic factors that contribute to the differential in the ontological sexual development of trans bodies in utero.

He should consider making it clear that his opinions about Chaz Bono and trans people are not based on anything related to his professional expertise (or his obvious lack thereof) in this area of medicial knowledge, but are based on his well-known habit of making false, inaccurate and sensationalistic statements in order to heighten publicity. If he thinks his opinions were made in a professional capacity, then his statements are a clear example of his professional incompetence, and any patients he may have should be protected by those governmental licensing authorities who regulate the practice of psychiatry. With suggestions like his, he is a clear danger to anyone who might come to him for treatment. (Though I understand he has turned to "life coaching" - something that needs neither expertise nor credentials - and for which he is apparently equally and amply unqualified. Anyone who would trust their life to this blowhard is a fool from whom money will soon be parted.)

Ablow is just another ignorant evil fool with an apparently worthless (Since he obviously never seemed to have gotten a proper education while he was in school) professional credential whose own personal and political delusions of grandeur have caused him to use his credentials in an inappropriate way.

His inability to grasp reality makes it clear that he himself suffers from a mental disorder identified by Russian researchers (and unfortunately was then misused by the Soviet KGB to put dissenters into psychiatric hospitals), which is called "Sluggish schizophrenia." This is a disorder which appears to be pervasive among people who spend significant time watching the FOX "News" channel. The version of alternate reality posited by Ablow is a fairly standard construction that one finds in Republican party circles. Those with a more serious version of the sluggish schizophrenia disorder include the birthers, deathers, climate change deniers, and nearly every individual who has announced a possible Republican candidacy for President of the US in 2012.

Ablow should consider seeking professional help from someone competent.

And "Doctor" Ablow, if you read this, know that trans individuals are not mentally ill members of our original sex; if anyone is mentally ill, it's you, with your sluggish schizophrenia.

Ablow did his psychiatric residency at New England School of Medicine 15 years ago. New England School of Medicine merged with Tufts School of Medicine. According to Paul Summergrad Psychiatry Department chair, Ablow has a "voluntary" position on their psychiatric teaching staff. What is he teaching the next generation?

This Ablow guy is the worst. The J. Crew "transgender propaganda" idiocy and now this? I agree, Jake, that Fox News needs to be held accountable for giving bigots like this a national platform to spew lies and hatred. But I think, more realistically, we as a public need to be held accountable for the kind of media we consume. If our friends and family stop watching Fox News and Ablow, the lies from that network suddenly stop being effective. An uphill battle, to be sure, but an important one to fight.

Yep doctor Keith Ablow is a jerk but so is glaad and many other LGBT and Transgender orgs that claim to represent transsexuals. Where is your reporting on them or is it okay because they're LGBT or Transgender identified groups?

Hey, great thinking. Go on an LGBT board and tell everyone that LGBT groups are the same as a vile FOX news bigot. I'm sure that'll win tons of people over.

You know SAS that it one of the bad parts about the T on the end of the LGB. It doesn't allow for LGB prejudism against T people to be addressed. Care to deny that LGB prejudism towards T people doesn't exist? That doesn't mean that all gay people are ptejudist towards T people but the fact is many are.

Tired strawman. Transphobia on the part of LGB people can and is addressed without comparing them to a FOX News bigot in obvious hyperbole.

The real delusion lies in those who deny the existence of human diversity. Apparently, Dr. Ablow believes that the human race was created in his image. Fortunately for the rest of us, he is mistaken.

Aww, don't go postal on Dr. A Blow. She is just post menopausal and easily irritated.