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Thoughts on the Banned Book: When Harry Met Sally

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The American Conservative has an important article on the banned book, “Why ‘When Harry Became Sally’ Matters” and the politicization of the treatment for those who suffer from gender dysphoria:

…In short, a dearth of definitive data exists to support using surgery and hormones for all gender dysphoric patients. If this alone were the case, it would be enough to approach such aggressive interventions with hesitancy. But there are other elements to the clinical situation which should give one even more pause.

If gender depends on the subjective feeling of the patient, it is not static but fluid. Thus, even after hormones and surgery, patients change their minds only to confront the irreversibility of some of the treatments. In the most powerful chapter of his book, Ryan Anderson gives voice to those who “detransitioned” back to their biological gender. Anderson quotes Cari Stella, a detransitioned 22-year-old woman: “When I was transitioning, no one in the medical or psychological field ever tried to dissuade me, to offer other options, to do really anything to stop me besides tell me I should wait till I was 18.” In an extensive and thorough essay for The Atlantic, Jesse Singal documented some of the same thoughtless pressure from medical professionals: “Many of these so-called detransitioners argue that their dysphoria was caused…by mental health problems, trauma…They say they were nudged toward physical interventions of hormones or surgery by peer pressure or by clinicians who overlooked other potential explanations for their distress.”

This societal pressure primarily harms patients; but it also harms and all too often attempts to silence the frank and productive debate necessary to evaluate any medical intervention. As Anderson documents, in October 2017, “the governor of California signed a new law that could send health-care workers to jail for failing to use a person’s chosen pronouns.” In February, 2018, the New York Timespublished a column by Jennifer Finney Boylan, claiming Ryan Anderson’s book “suggests that transgender people are crazy, and that what we deserve at every turn is scorn, contempt and belittlement.” No passage in the book even remotely implies this. Only a few years ago, Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a world-renowned psychological expert on gender dysphoria and gender identity development, was fired from the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic in Toronto, likely for taking a somewhat conservative approach to pre-pubescent children expressing gender dysphoria. His concern, that young patients might change their minds, led him to recommend a watchful and cautious approach rather than an aggressive medical approach to transition patients immediately. He was unceremoniously dismissed.

The coup de grâce came only last month when Amazon, a site responsible for 83% of books sold in the US, removed Ryan Anderson’s book from its site without any explanation and without any forewarning, a clear and disturbing instance of censoriousness. And yet, on Amazon, one can still purchase Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Josef Stalin’s Selected Works, and In Defense of Looting.

Read the rest of the review.

You can order the delisted book at Encounter Books.

Also available at B&N.

 

The Book Club: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand with Professor Eric Daniels

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Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, named by readers in 1991 as the most influential book after the Bible, is a novelized warning about the allure and evils of socialism. What happens when the most productive members in society give up? How much can be asked of them before they do? Who is left to support the rest? Michael Knowles and Eric Daniels take you through Rand’s prophetic masterpiece.