Posted by Andrew Symes on 16th October 2018
Published by Anglican Mainstream
An audience in London heard on Monday how a small group of activists have succeeded in spreading a new cult across the Western world, corrupting principles of scientific research, and in particular have threatened the integrity of medical understanding and practice. Doctors are now living in fear, either hoping that the issue won’t come their way, or in some cases going against their conscience and known medical facts to carry out harmful procedures because of intimidation and threat to their livelihood.
What has happened? The ideology of ‘gender’ holds that how a person feels about their gender identity is much more important and real than their physical, biological sex. So the condition previously known as gender dysphoria, whereby someone is uncomfortable or distressed by conforming their identity to their biological sex, should, according to the new orthodoxy, always be diagnosed as an irrefutable sign that the person is ‘trans’, living in the wrong body, and so the body must be altered to conform to the person’s self-perceived gender.
Dr Quentin van Meter is an American endocrinologist who during his early training saw at first hand the work of the notorious and disgraced psychologist John Money. At the conference launching the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice, Van Meter explained how Money, like Kinsey before him, was fascinated by the sexuality of children, and carried out ethically dubious research into the statistically rare but distressing cases of intersex conditions. It was men such as this who saw the need to bring these ancient pagan ideas about gender and sexuality from the fringes of literature and philosophy into the mainstream of science and particularly, medical practice. 40 years later their disciples have revived and popularized their ideas today, with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health now dominating the discourse, using bullying tactics to promote the trans ideology in academia and suppress more sensible, rigorous science such as the research of McHugh and more recently, Littman.
Transgender clinics are now flourishing. In the US, childrens’ hospitals are now routinely rated in terms of quality of care as to the extent of their affirmation of the trans agenda. As increasing numbers of children show confusion about their gender (discovery of new deep truth about humanity, or internet-fuelled hysteria?), in many cases medical guidelines now do not recommend careful psychological evaluations but only pro-trans indoctrination to parents, and rapid moves to assist transition. In the UK, the government appears to have caved in to trans demands for self-declared gender to trump biological sex in law (see here for how to respond to the government consultation).
Before Dr van Meter’s presentation, the conference heard a moving account of a German woman who had undergone medical procedures to enable her to live as a man after years of distressing gender dysphoria. After initial relief, her depression and intense self-hatred was not resolved, and she sought help. Amazingly, she became a Christian. Following many years of careful therapy, she was able to face the childhood traumas which had led to her wanting to erase her female identity; as part of her journey to wholeness she was able to joyfully accept her creation as female, and live as a woman. One of the psychiatrists who had originally evaluated her, diagnosed her as transgender and recommended hormone and surgical sex change, admitted later in relation to his many cases that he had never seen the drastic and mutilating procedure actually make any of his patients happy.
Dr Christl Vonholdt, who related the story, concluded that professional help and informal counselling to help people live according to their birth sex (if they so wish) is under threat as Western governments are being pressurized by LGBT lobby groups to ban any kind of ‘conversion therapy’. Another speaker, Laura Haynes PhD, explained how the new ‘orthodoxy’ says that feelings of gender dysphoria are clear signs of a ‘trans’ identity, should be affirmed, and should face no barriers in society whether it is public toilets or medical transition procedures.
In the same way, according to LGBT ideology, same sex attraction indicates that a person is ‘gay’; this should be celebrated with encouragement to be ‘out and proud’ in identity and practice. If the person experiencing these feelings wants to follow a different path, and seeks help to find possible causes of same sex attraction and explore heterosexual potential, this is seen as ‘internalized homophobia’ or ‘transphobia’. Counselling or therapy which is not LGBT affirming is seen as trying to change ‘who you really are’; this must be harmful, according to this dogma, for which there is no scientific basis.
Dr Haynes referred briefly to her participation in campaigns in the US to prevent government bans on so-called conversion therapy, most recently in California. She warned that if such a ban is applied in the UK, it would not just affect therapists (of whom very few practice any form of reparative therapy openly), but bible-believing pastors, church-based counsellors and even parents may be in danger of being criminalized. More and more research shows sexuality is not binary but fluid. New peer reviewed studies show change in sexual orientation can occur with therapy; there is little or no evidence of harm, rather the opposite, as long as the client’s aims are respected. The proposed ban is totalitarian: it makes a mockery of the UK government’s claim to be a “diverse and tolerant society”.
Dr Haynes’ presentation built on the conference’s opening paper delivered by Carys Moseley, who works as researcher in public policy for Christian Concern. Dr Moseley has written several articles critiquing the government’s proposed legislation on so-called ‘gay cure therapies’. She outlined the dangerous conflation of ‘hate speech’ and ‘counter-extremism’ legislation which seeks to control how people think and speak, punishing politically incorrect opinion by treating it as equivalent to terrorist ideology.
Here to see the IFTCC's Response to the UK Government's Proposed Ban on Therapeutic Choice
A ban on the vague and undefined concept of ‘conversion therapy’ could violate several principles of the European Convention on Human Rights, for example freedom of speech, academic freedom (the right to pursue knowledge where research leads), freedom of association, the right to marriage and family life, and religious freedom. Enforcing such a ban would require giving authority to the police to intercept private conversations over telephone and electronic media.
The conference had opened with a welcome and introductory remarks by IFTCC’s Chairman Dr Mike Davidson, who has worked tirelessly to keep in the public domain the question of therapeutic choice for people concerned about sexuality and gender identity issues . Video clips from Core Issues Trust’s film “Voices of the Silenced”, released earlier in the year, were shown throughout the day. In one of the clips he described IFTCC as more than an organization providing an umbrella for professional therapists working in a restricted field. It can also become a movement of people holding on to Judaeo-Christian understandings of gender and sexuality, marriage and family, in a context of increasing “sexual anarchy” deriving from the normalization of secular ideologies.
Why is this of particular relevance to Anglicans? In 2017, General Synod voted for a motion calling on a ban of so-called ‘conversion therapies’, and another motion requesting that baptism liturgies be used to celebrate gender transition. ‘Valuing all God’s Children’, a document aimed at preventing bullying in schools, was written in partnership with Stonewall and opens the door to LGBT advocacy in Church of England schools. Confusingly, some of those Bishops who endorsed these moves are at the same time claiming to stand for the maintaining of traditional bible-based sexual ethics in the church.