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The ‘pathogenic meme’ of transgenderism

Perhaps one of the best articles ever written on transgenderism was by Dr. Paul McHugh. With decades of experience serving at John Hopkins, one of the best hospitals in the country, his experience has him bucking the trend of much of the medical experts class. His article “Transgenderism: A Pathogenic Meme” can be summarized as a call to treat gender dysphoria with psychotherapy, not surgery.

A rare issue of a few men—both homosexual and heterosexual men, including some who sought sex-change surgery because they were erotically aroused by the thought or image of themselves as women—has spread to include women as well as men. Even young boys and girls have begun to present themselves as of the opposite sex. Over the last ten or fifteen years, this phenomenon has increased in prevalence, seemingly exponentially. Now, almost everyone has heard of or met such a person.

When it comes to men, this explanation is quite observable. Bruce Jenner, being in a highly sexualized environment, would easily fall into this category, which is a dot that McHugh connects, borrowing the term “autogynephilia” in the process.

First, though, let us address the basic assumption of the contemporary parade: the idea that exchange of one’s sex is possible. It, like the storied Emperor, is starkly, nakedly false. Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they “identify.” In that lies their problematic future.

When “the tumult and shouting dies,” it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers.

After drawing a parallel between The Emperor’s New Clothes, McHugh articulates that transgenderism is no different. He further adds that their is no data to suggest a transgender affirming culture will lower the suicide rate of this high risk population. McHugh then draws a contrast between young and old who have gender dysphoria.

Most young boys and girls who come seeking sex-reassignment are utterly different from Jenner. They have no erotic interest driving their quest. Rather, they come with psychosocial issues—conflicts over the prospects, expectations, and roles that they sense are attached to their given sex—and presume that sex-reassignment will ease or resolve them.

The grim fact is that most of these youngsters do not find therapists willing to assess and guide them in ways that permit them to work out their conflicts and correct their assumptions. Rather, they and their families find only “gender counselors” who encourage them in their sexual misassumptions.

The cause in young people, presumably prepubescent, stems from psychological issues. This is important to keep in mind. While adults are more likely to fetishize themselves as women, children are deeply confused. And affirming this confusion only permits more of it. Thus this is why he advocates psychotherapy as opposed to surgery.

The larger issue is the meme itself. The idea that one’s sex is fluid and a matter open to choice runs unquestioned through our culture and is reflected everywhere in the media, the theater, the classroom, and in many medical clinics. It has taken on cult-like features: its own special lingo, internet chat rooms providing slick answers to new recruits, and clubs for easy access to dresses and styles supporting the sex change. It is doing much damage to families, adolescents, and children and should be confronted as an opinion without biological foundation wherever it emerges.

McHugh suggests that widespread affirmation of transgenderism is proliferating the issue, as he noted the issue’s exponential growth in the beginning.

But gird your loins if you would confront this matter. Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle.

The use of biblical references here, in his closing remarks, indicates that Dr. Paul McHugh is a Christian.


The main takeaway we should have from this article written in June 2015 is that this problem grows with society’s embrace of it. Children especially are the victims of this movement as their confusions are being affirmed rather than resolved.

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3 Responses

  1. I agree, this is “one of the best articles ever written on transgenderism”, and much needed. Thank you for posting and highlighting this. Our prevailing culture and warped media has censored the devastating personal damage caused by this phenomenon. It cannot be overstated.
    Press on brother!

    1. I’ve wanted to write on this article for a long time. There’s another one that’s really good that I’ll write on later after I find it.

  2. I saw a show about an exhaustive ~30 year study on kids whose gender roles as children weren’t enforced by their parents, I believe it was in UK. Well before surgery or hormones were an option. The results, of course, were highly detrimental to the kids whose traditional gener roles weren’t reinforced when young, almost all of them greatly regretted it. I’m sure PBS won’t be showing it again anytime soon! It also touched on the girls with an extra chromosome (XXY) who were given male hormones to compete in the Olympics for East Germany, I think it was primarily their swim team. The results for those girls 20 years later was disastrous, to say the least.

    When I was in high school, the fad for girls was to be a lesbian. Popular culture made it cool so they followed, a lot. Luckily it faded fast and I’m sure there was minimal damage. Now the fad will be hormones and surgery! Maximum will the damage be. Sad

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