Wednesday, August 03, 2022

10 researchers say Florida is deliberately distorting their work to undermine healthcare for trans kids and adults

Florida under DeSantis is weaponizing distorted information on trans healthcare.

According to Vice News, the state of Florida deliberately distorted credible research from several different sources in order to create a rationale behind undermining healthcare for trans kids and adults:

VICE News spoke to 10 researchers who said they weren’t aware of the memo and that Florida’s Department of Health misstated their research; in fact, VICE News found that all 12 citations Florida presents against the use of gender-affirming care are either distorted or from a source with clear anti-trans bias. In crafting the document, Florida’s health department reverse-engineered rationale for a policy completely counter to research-based medical best practices.


People such as Dr. Ken Pang:

When Dr. Ken Pang published one of the first large-scale analyses of gender-affirming care on transgender children, in 2018, the paper was celebrated as a vital contribution and even made its way to the home page of the r/Science subreddit. Though the evidence was limited, the review suggested that hormone blockers and hormone replacement therapy could help alleviate gender dysphoria and make transgender youth feel more at home in their own bodies. 
Four years later, Pang was shocked to learn that his research was being used by Florida’s Department of Health to justify denying gender-affirming care to all minors in the state. The department cited Pang’s work in a memo issued in April, after the passage of Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. The memo even recommends against social transition, which can include changes as simple as using new pronouns or wearing different clothing. 

 The article said that instead of relying on research put out by credible organizations which talks about accurate ways of giving healthcare to trans people, Florida, under Governor Ron DeSantis, created its own body of research:

 . . . in June, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration also issued a new policy that no one, not even adults, would be able to access gender-affirming care through Medicaid. Rather than referring to the overwhelming body of research that shows positive outcomes of gender-affirming care, Florida instead commissioned hundreds of pages of new material—which did not go through a standard peer-review process—to justify the change.


And as the article points out, this body of research was tainted with cherry-picking and a serious misusage of data: 

 Another distorted citation—one that not only appears in the Florida memo but is also heralded by anti-trans propagandists—comes from a 2015 study called “Gender Dysphoria in Childhood.” According to the Florida memo, this paper “states that 80% of those seeking clinical care will lose their desire to identify with the non-birth sex.” But in an interview with VICE News, one of the paper’s co-authors, Dr. Thomas Steensma at the Amsterdam University Medical Center, said that number was taken wildly out of context. 

. .  . Citing Steensma’s work in an effort to ban trans-affirming care should also raise alarm bells because he’s the principal investigator at his university’s Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria and one of the world’s leading experts on medical care of transgender children. He helped create what’s known as the “Dutch protocol,” internationally accepted medical guidelines on how to administer puberty blockers to prepubescent children with gender dysphoria. Steensma is also a co-author of World Professional Association of Transgender Health’s (WPATH) forthcoming Standards of Care for the treatment of transgender children, which will be published this year.


Believe it or not, it gets worse.

When the Florida Department of Health's memo was not cherry-picking credible research, it was blatantly amplifying the work of anti-trans activists:

 One of them is Dr. William J. Malone, an Idaho-based physician and co-founder of the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine (SEGM), which describes itself as a group “concerned about the lack of quality evidence for the use of hormonal and surgical interventions as first-line treatment for young people with gender dysphoria.” But the organization uses several of the same tactics—and the same citations—as Florida’s memo.  

. . . Another anti-trans source in the Florida memo is Dr. Paul Hruz, who teaches pediatric medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. But Hruz’s own faculty page does not describe any experience or expertise in treating gender dysphoria or transgender populations. He’s also been affiliated with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which has advocated for the forced sterilization of transgender people and is designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group

The DeSantis game plan used to undermine trans healthcare has been played against the gay community before. Only then it was the "gay lifestyle took years off of our lives because of all of the so-called sex, disease and violence in our relationships." And while these entities were cherry-picking credible information to make this lie, they were also amplifying work from quacks such as discredited researcher Paul Cameron who claimed that gays were stuffing gerbils up our rectums while ingesting feces and sexually molesting children and animals (yes, animals).

It sounds humorous, but the real world effects of this propaganda onslaught isn't. It can lead to gay bashing or in this case, the undermining of much needed healthcare for transgender Americans; folks who are merely attempting to be their authentic selves.

 This attack on trans healthcare is not about protecting kids or giving out accurate medical care. It's about lies, hate, and fear. It's always the same modus operandi with these so-called moral crusaders and the same outcome  - awkward silence when they get called out by folks whose work they distort.

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