In June the media is approaching peak cognitive dissonance over the ‘T’ in LGBT

June is LGBTQI+ Pride month. US President Biden has proclaimed it as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Pride Month. “We must support LGBTQI+ activists around the globe,” he declared.

Around the world, the rainbow flag has been draped over buildings and streets. New York is hosting not one but eight Pride marches. To the consternation of the Vatican, even the US Embassy to the Holy See is displaying a flag.

The most controversial of all the letters, the transgender T in the rainbow acronym, is being highlighted in the media.

Women’s magazines are featuring trans models on their covers. Glamour UK used a startling image: a pregnant man, Logan Brown. She is an author who has built a reputation on the back of a blog about trans pregnancy, “Up the Duff Man”. Brown is in a relationship with a non-binary drag performer and became pregnant naturally but unexpectedly.

“Everything, all my manlihood that I’ve worked hard for, for so long, just completely felt like it was erased,” Brown told Glamour UK. “It was really hard because how do you tell your partner, ‘Oh, I’m pregnant, but oh, I’m also your boyfriend as well’. It’s just something that you just don’t say as a man.”

An editor explained why the magazine had chosen her. “When we first met Logan and heard his incredible story, we were blown away by his strength and courage. We knew he would be the perfect cover star for our June Pride issue, as a shining example of empowerment, inclusivity and equality.”

At the risk of raining on the June parades, it’s timely to recall that transgender medicine is controversial for a reason – it is risky, experimental and unproven. Not that the major media outlets acknowledge it, but concerns about transgender medicine for children and adolescents are mounting in medical circles. Ignoring this suggests that June is the month not only of LGBTQI+ Pride but of Peak Cognitive Dissonance.


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Here are some items gleaned from Gender Clinic News, a thoroughly-researched Substack blog by Australian journalist Bernard Lane.

Australia’s Family Court has been urged to review its laissez-faire approach to adolescent gender transition. In a powerful and informative 132-page report, family law barrister Belle Lane argues that “There is a lack of clinical consensus about what is being treated, the diagnostic process, whether a diagnosis is required, the asserted benefits, risks and outcomes of the medical pathway and what alternative pathways exist … Unfortunately for children and young people, and families who are trying to work through complex issues around identity during a time of distress, this is a highly politicised area. Polarisation and the inability to fully discuss these issues comes at a cost, to young people and their families.”

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health is examining the possibility of a systematic review of puberty blockers, in the wake of similar studies in Finland, Sweden, the UK, and Florida.

An Australian medical insurer, MDA National, has told its members that it will not cover them for claims made by patients under 18 who were advised to undergo gender transition.

A Swedish systematic review published in Acta Paediatrica concluded that “hormonal treatment of gender dysphoria in this age group should be regarded as experimental treatment rather than standard procedure”. After doing a systematic review, the researchers were surprised at how weak the evidence base was for puberty blockers. “I am surprised by the shortage of studies in this field. We found no randomized trials, and only 24 relevant observational studies,” said the lead author.

And transgender medicine is also risky for adults. In a stomach-churning article in the Daily Mail, journalist Caitlin Tilley summarises reports on surgical complications in a wide variety of transgender operations – like mastectomies, phalloplasties and vaginoplasties. For instance, she cites a study of 80 transwomen patients in Canada in a journal called Neurourology and Urodynamics which found that the most common post-operative complaint after their vaginoplasty was pain.

Reports of pain were common and included pain with dilation, pain at a specific site such as the clitoris, incision, scar, introitus, or an anatomic irregularity. There were reports of pain with certain activities such as sex, biking or walking. Many patients reported multiple sources of postsurgical pain. Seven patients reported severe pain (8.8%). Severe pain was identified based on a patient-reported impairment and a score over 7/10 on the numeric pain rating scale.

Admittedly a Daily Mail literature survey is neither peer reviewed nor venerable, unlike competing sources of medical news like the New England Journal of Medicine or The Lancet. But Tilley’s reporting is based on studies in medical journals, not the Daily Mail’s stock in trade of tittle-tattle. Her message is worth repeating: “The truth about transgender surgery… in numbers: Just 16% of gender dysphoria patients go through with the operation, but up to half suffer life-threatening complications”.

If President Biden & Co really cared about LGBTQI+ health, they should investigate the misery that many trans people will be suffering because of gender-affirmative surgery, rather than wave rainbow flags to show how much they care.

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  • Al Brennan