Bad Psychiatry Still Haunts Us

In 1988, when I had just turned 14, I made the life changing mistake of trying to figure out what I was using the materials I had on hand.  In this case, it was a copy of the book written by Dr. David Reuben in 1968, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid to Ask).”  The book came from my mother’s top shelf on adult topics, and for a kids just hitting puberty and dying slowly with the changes, I needed answers.  Namely, why did puberty feel so wrong, why did I feel a need to be female, and why did I pray every night to wake up right.

I locked myself in my room one afternoon and began to read.  I shouldn’t have.  The book was written in a question and answer style, and with each line in it felt like a death sentence for an innocent person.

Are there any other parts of the body that appeal to the homosexual?

One or more and probably the most intriguing of all the – the male vagina. To possess this organ, the essence of femininity, is the consuming wish of some homosexual. To overcome the obstacles of genetics, anatomy, physiology, to finally become a woman, is worthy of anything. Precious few succeed.

How can a man have a vagina? Is it possible?

With the miracles of modern science, virtually anything is possible. Skillfull albeit bizarre surgery, audacious hormone therapy, and above all a willingness on the part of the patient to sacrifice anything to make the impossible a reality.

It goes something like this. First the patient has to find a doctor willing to do the job. Certain European surgeons are known to be willing. Not surprisingly at least one of them is a well known homosexual himself. The operation is fairly simple:

Under general anesthetic, the penis is amputated at the base. The testicles are removed, completely.  Then it gets interesting. By skillful plastic surgery an artificial vagina is constructed below the root of the penis. This part of the operation is well known, since artificial vaginas are routinely constructed in young women born with absent or abnormal vaginal canals.

Simultaneously, plastic surgery is being performed on the breasts. The usual method is injections of silicone foam, a process also used on under developed females. Goodbye penis and testicles, hello vagina and breasts and a man becomes a woman. Almost but not quite. Actually he is simply a man who has lost his external genitalia.  He has gained a pound of chemical foam plastered onto his chest and an open wound where most of his reproductive system used to be. He still has plenty of problems.

First he must dilate his new vagina daily. Otherwise it closes up. Nature resents meddling and tries to correct man’s mistakes. For the first couple of months, the new “woman” does dilating himself. After that he looks for someone else to do it.

There is the matter of hormones. The adrenal gland stubbornly continues to produce testosterone.  It hasn’t gotten the news. To counteract this, the “lady” must take femal sex hormones to keep down her beard and keep up appearances. She must also rub hormone cream into her breasts to keep them looking feminine.

Are these the men who are changed into women?

These are the men who claim to have been changed into women. They are actually castrated and mutilated female impersonators.

Isn’t this business expensive?

More expensive than most people imagine. The homosexuals pay exorbitant amounts of money, pay with tremendous pain and disability, and some ultimately pay with their lives

Pay with their lives?

Recently, in England, two homosexuals who had undergone these operations five years previously died of cancer. Ironically they succumbed to cancer of the breast – their new female breasts. Ironically these men who wanted to be women died of a woman’s disease. That’s as close as they came.

Imagine the barely 14 year old me reading this. I was a bright kid, but I didn’t know to doubt what a doctor and psychiatrist wrote.  I didn’t even know enough to know that he was deeply Christian and it affected his views.  I didn’t know enough to see that his views were horribly biased: it said right there on the dust jacket, “Avoiding moral judgment, Dr. Reuben answers all questions with wit, style, and authoritative candor.” I had no idea that gender identity and sexual orientation were different, and couldn’t understand: I wanted to be a girl, I was attracted to girls, but boys who wanted to be girls were homosexuals?  What was I?

All I knew was that being trans meant a life of freakish misery, pain, perversion, and potentially death.  I wasn’t attracted to men, and that was my out.  So there.  I wasn’t trans.  Or I would try really, really hard not to be.  Especially since earlier in the book it said you could choose not to be a homosexual too.

Fast forward another ten years, and I have the internet available.  I discover that progress has marched on, and that gender identity and sexual orientation are separate.  Ok, so I guess that cleared up how I could be attracted to women, and want to be one at the same time. That’s why Dr. Ray Blanchard has divided transsexuals into homosexuals like the ones described in the book passage above, and ones like me who aren’t homosexuals, we’re filthy, depraved, fetishistic self-mutilators who care about nothing in our lives except getting a vagina.  Oh. That makes it so much better.  Or not.

It took me another ten years of denial, a wife who loved me no matter what, and two years with a terrific therapist to be able to stand up on my own and say, “It’s all a load of crap.”  Reclaiming my own dignity when I was forced to finally admit I was trans was wrenching.  What was even more wrenching was the realization that the denial caused by these charlatans was the reason behind a career flaming out, a marriage on the brink of divorce, and three children on the verge of losing a parent. Bad psychiatry didn’t just affect me, it was taking down everyone I loved.

When dealing with the transgender community, I believe that the central premise of medicine becomes lost in the shuffle to assert moral or academic superiority.  “First, do no harm,” seems like a simple edict, but after 40 plus years of being wrong why haven’t some people gotten it right? If they think they’re just taking it out on “those people,” they need to look again.  They’re creating a lot of other innocent victims.

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