By Tony Perkins
Dr. Miroslav Djordjevic is not your normal physician. He came to fame more than two decades ago, making a name for himself as one of the world’s premiere genital reconstruction surgeons. After years of helping men and women transition into a body they weren’t born with, he’s started to realize something: the procedure called sex reassignment surgery isn’t making patients happy. Beyond the transgender flag-waving and pride-marching are real people in real pain. And according to doctors like Djordjevic, they’re struggling, but their struggle is with something the media or LGBT activists don’t want to admit.
Over the last five years, in particular, Dr. Djordjevic says he’s been overwhelmed by the number of people who’ve approached him about reversing their procedure. The surgery that they thought would bring them the satisfaction they were looking for only plunged them into deeper despair. A growing number of them, he tells Canada’s National Post, were miserable. Six people, he says, made appointments to undo a procedure that’s not only excruciatingly painful — but expensive. “They came from countries all over the Western world, Britain included, united by an acute sense of regret.”
The majority, he points out, were men who’d undergone surgery to transition into women. When he told them that “reattaching the male genitalia” is a complex and excruciating procedure that would take several operations and thousands of dollars, they didn’t blink. They told him about “crippling levels of depression” with intense suicidal thoughts. “It can be a real disaster to hear these stories,” he says. “And yet,” the doctor points out, “they are not being heard.”
When other doctors and advocates started demanding more research into the effects of sexual reassignment surgery, they were ignored. The medical community and universities that would normally study these things were too afraid of the transgender lobby. In England, Bath Spa University turned down an application for research on the remorse Djordjevic is encountering and school officials refused to touch it. It’s “potentially politically incorrect,” they insisted. “Definitely reversal surgery and regret in transgender persons is one of the very hot topics,” Djordjevic says. But as doctors — especially as doctors — “we have to support all research in this field.”
One of his biggest concerns — and others’ — is that there’s such a rush into surgery. These days, he explains, the men and women in his field either don’t want to seem intolerant or they just want the money, but there seems to be a real lack of psychiatric evaluation and counseling. Even worse, Djordjevic points out, they’re advocating this surgery for younger and younger children. It’s a mistake, he insists. And research bears that out. Our friends at the American College of Pediatricians, who’ve labeled this ideology “child abuse,” point out just how absurd that agenda would be. “According to the DSM-5, as many as 98 percent of gender confused boys and 88 percent of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.”
FRC’s Peter Sprigg thinks it’s even more significant that a doctor who performs these surgeries has concerns.
“The rush to transition on the part of many with gender dysphoria – especially minors – and their medical enablers can only have tragic consequences,” Sprigg says. “Even the American Psychiatric Association acknowledges that among children with gender dysphoria, the majority do not grow up to identify as ‘transgender’ if left to themselves. People who are wrestling with gender identity issues need to understand that ‘transition’ is not a panacea and could be disastrous, so they should not be rushed into such a radical response.”
What people need more than anything is the help that too many states want to deny them: the advice and comfort of a qualified therapist. So many of these issues are emotional and mental, argues Walt Heyer, who formerly identified as transgender. In a 2009 study by the Department of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University, researchers found that most of the people struggling in this lifestyle – 90 percent – “had at least one other significant form of psychopathology.” Even in a liberal country like Sweden, after receiving the surgery they seek, the suicide rate of people who identify as transgender is 19 times higher than the general population. LGBT activists want you to believe that the humane response is encouraging and affirming these feelings. But affirming dangerous and destructive ideas is not compassion. Real compassion is helping people find their way to freedom and fulfillment which comes by knowing the truth.
President Trump, meanwhile, has been maligned, criticized, and harassed for trying to move our country away from this radical ideology that keeps people who identify as transgender in bondage. When he is working to roll back Barack Obama’s radical definition of “sex” (which included “gender identity”), actor Bradley Whitford tweeted: “This is obscene. This must not stand. This is, and I use this word intentionally, what the Nazis did. Otherization, vilification, and exclusion of vulnerable minorities.” We’ve gone so far, conservative Brent Bozell fired back, that “Calling a man a man is now the Holocaust.”
In the end, the hysteria from many on the Left only proves one thing: they don’t care about people. Not really. They care about their agenda. And just like the women they nudge into abortions – without a thought to the pain or consequences – they’ll do anything to protect it. That’s not tolerance – it’s manipulation. And for the sake of human dignity, it’s time to rise up and say: “Enough!”
For more on what the Trump administration is actually doing on the issue (hint: it’s not erasing people!), check out Peter Sprigg’s op-ed in the Washington Examiner, “Trump Transgender Policy Is Simple and Scientific: ‘Sex’ Means Biological Sex.” Also, take the time to read through FRC’s publication, “Understanding and Responding to the Transgender Movement.”
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.