John M. Becker

Fox's Ablow: Trans People Aren't Real

Filed By John M. Becker | January 16, 2014 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: anti-trans bigotry, California, Fox News, Keith Ablow, misinformation, scientific distortions, trans rights law

keith-ablow-fox.jpgDr. Keith Ablow, Fox News's resident anti-trans psychiatrist and a member of their "Medical A-Team," took to his Fox News blog this week to slam California's groundbreaking new law that requires California schools to respect the gender identity of all students and allows them equal access to all school activities and facilities.

The legislation also allows students to choose their sports teams based on whether they sense they are boys or girls, not whether they were born male or born female.

I know that other psychiatrists may well disagree, and I know that LGBT activists will criticize me, but I believe that allowing this "choice" is profoundly destructive, psychologically, to all students, including the ones who identify themselves as transgender.

The mere fact that teachers and administrators will have to explain to kindergarten and first-grade students that they might see girls in the boys' restroom, or boys in the girls' locker room, but that those really aren't kids of the gender they appear to be, could (and, here, data is sorely lacking) do harm to their own developing sense of self by suggesting to them that their gender is fluid, that it well might change for them, too, and that they should be on the lookout for signs that they want to switch.

And it gets worse (as if that wasn't already bad enough): Ablow then claimed that he hasn't seen any "definitive data" that shows trans people exist at all.

Details, after the jump.

He writes:

What's more, I don't believe we have definitive data (although many psychiatrists with very impressive credentials, who seem to mean well, assert that we do) that any male or female soul has ever in the history of the world been born into the wrong anatomic gender.

Let me put that more clearly: I am not convinced by any science I can find that people with definitively male DNA and definitively male anatomy can actually be locked in a cruel joke of nature because they are actually female.

And I believe that telling third-grade or seventh-grade or tenth-grade children, adolescents or teenagers that this issue is settled to such an extent that they should feel comfortable with females walking in and seeing them urinating or pulling their pants down to change into football gear is a lie that can steal their ability to trust adults, shake their faith in any form of reality, traumatize them by shaming them and kindle waves of completely unnecessary anxiety related to whether they should be doing some sort of emotional inventory to determine whether they're really going to turn into men, once and for all, or find out they've been suppressing the truth that they're actually women.

For a "medical professional," Dr. Ablow is surprisingly ignorant of the distinction between sex (the biological label a person is assigned at birth based on their reproductive organs, etc.) and gender (the collection of expected behaviors, mannerisms, and attitudes that cultures associate with a person's sex). And concepts like gender identity and expression? Forget it!

He also conveniently overlooks the fact that both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association recognize the reality of trans people and affirm the truth and validity of the trans experience.

But such trifles get in the way of Fox News's anti-LGBT agenda, which seems to have become increasingly focused on singling out, attacking, and spreading misinformation about trans people.

The fact that America's most-watched "news" channel provides a platform for transphobic hate speech like Ablow's -- speech that legitimizes and provides cover for discrimination and violence against the most marginalized members of the LGBT community -- is nothing short of contemptible.

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