To understand the concept of being transgender, one must first appreciate the differences between sex (XY/XX), body (penis/vagina), gender (man/woman), and gender identity and expression (masculine/feminine). Dr. Keith Ablow clearly does not, but FOX News has again welcomed him to follow-up on his transphobic pink nail polish rant with a vile attack against Chaz Bono, who has recently been sharing his story about transitioning.
Bono is clearly the best person to explain his identity (see his interview with David Letterman below — even Letterman understood). But Ablow disregards everything Bono might say about himself by insultingly referring to him with feminine pronouns and outright declaring that “Chaz Bono is not a man.” This is false. Chaz Bono might always have XX chromosomes, but he now looks, acts, and identifies as a man, and that should be respected. Ablow shrugs this off as a “biological reality,” as if his distortion of what is biological and what is not somehow forgives how insulting this untrue assertion is.
Ablow is just getting started. He goes on to make this absurd claim:
Second, while Chaz Bono may now feel that her [sic] journey toward self-acceptance has ended, I am not convinced. I say this because, absent the gender politics involved, I was taught to consider Chaz Bono’s contention that she [sic] is male as a psychotic delusion—a fixed and false belief.
Psychosis is not a predictor of long-term emotional well-being or stability.
He is referring to the fact that being transgender is still categorized by psychologists as “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID). While diagnosing transgenderism as a “disorder” has stigmatizing effects (and may soon be revised), its main purpose is to identify the severe mental health consequences of those living with the identity. This diagnosis is helpful for transgender people, because it allows access to medical treatment (further therapy, hormone replacement, and potentially surgery) that helps transgender people achieve “long-term emotional well-being and stability.” Ablow’s claim that transitioning is a “delusion” and “psychosis” comparable to paranoia is the complete opposite of why psychologists, surgeons, and other medical professionals assist individuals in transitioning from the gender assigned at birth to the gender they identify with.
People who are transgender are not mentally ill; they are struggling against gender norms. It is the stigma and discrimination afforded by society (and people like Ablow) that lead transgender people to have higher rates of health disparities, as a groundbreaking study recently found. The only thing Ablow demonstrates in his post is how unfit he is to treat individuals who identify as transgender.
Chaz Bono’s never been happier, because he’s finally able to find coherence between his identity and his body. Leave it to FOX News to try to claim that’s not a mental health success. Listen to Bono share some of his story: