Letters to the Editor

Transgender science

A recent Herald-Leader editorial, “No data, only politics behind bathroom bills,” is critical of North Carolina’s bill that resists the federal government’s decree forcing public schools to provide equal access to transgender students based on their personally preferred gender identity. To date, some 21 states have filed legal challenges to the directive.

The editorial quotes a high school principal who said that “as leaders, we must do our research” to understand the issue. A good point. Dr. Paul R. McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at the distinguished Johns Hopkins Hospital, said in a Wall Street Journal commentary that transgenderism is a mental disorder, that it merits treatment, that sex change is biologically impossible, and that those who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

He cited a new study showing that the suicide rate among transgender people who had reassignment surgery is 20 times higher than the suicide rate among non-transgender people.

He noted, sadly, that at least three states have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor.” Such action is impossible to understand. It is politics over medical understanding. We do, indeed, need to do our research to understand the issue.

James V. Heidinger II