Fox News calls “Dr.” Keith Ablow part of its “Medical A-Team,” but he doesn’t know the first thing about transgender identities (or marriage, or sexual orientation). He made a bit of a media splash when he got upset about pink toenails in a J. Crew ad, but the first time he wrote something about Chaz Bono’s transition, Fox News pulled the post. With the announcement that Bono will be on this season of Dancing With The Stars, Ablow has him back in his crosshairs and pulls no punches.
This has to be one of the most transphobic articles ever published by a major media outlet. With the title of “Don’t Let Your Kids Watch Chaz Bono On ‘Dancing With the Stars,” Ablow manages to say just about every anti-trans thing an anti-trans person could say — none of which corresponds with professional medical standards for affirming gender identity. To be sure, this commentary on transgender identities makes the critiques of ABC’s Primetime Nightline special on trans children seem like small potatoes. Here’s a list that probably does not encompass everything that’s wrong with Ablow’s offensive drivel:
- Ablow refers to Bono as a “transsexual” woman. (He’s a transsexual man.)
- Ablow refers to Bono throughout the article with female pronouns, with one apparent typo. (Bono identifies with male pronouns.)
- Ablow suggests that children not watch the show because Bono is on it. (This suggests that people who are trans are somehow obscene or inappropriate, reinforcing stigma against them.)
- Ablow suggests that young people’s gender dysphoria is a “toxic and unnecessary byproduct of the tragic celebration of transgender surgery.” (The American Psychological Association points out that transgender people have existed throughout history, and many do not experience their gender identity as distressing or disabling.)
- Ablow calls Bono a “very disordered person” with “extraordinarily deep psychological problems.” (Bono has found peace after completing his transition, describing himself as “a happy guy.”)
- Ablow compares people who are transgender to people who wish they were amputees or other species, adding, “there are such people, by the way.” (Does this absurd point even need to be explained?)
- Ablow creates a false dichotomy for trans people between sexual reassignment surgery and denying their trans identity. (This ignores the infinitely vast diversity of trans and genderqueer people who may or may not have made surgical alterations to their body but have found identities that fit their lives.)
- Ablow suggests pursuing a transgender identity can “erode our children’s evolving senses of self.” (If the Primetime Nightline special demonstrated anything, it was how clearly young people can understand their gender identities and draw confidence from pursuing them. In fact, children have a clear understanding of gender by around the age three. )
- Ablow suggests he would have “gone to the ends of the earth to help Chaz Bono,” but would have pitied “her” if he had to take “her” to the “very dark place” of sexual reassignment surgery.
“Dr.” Keith Ablow is not a medical expert. By writing tripe like this, he is directly violating the Hippocratic Oath — assuming he ever took it — by propagating harm against transgender people. Fox News should apologize for hosting such dangerous rhetoric and quickly disassociate Ablow from its “Medical A-Team.” Anything short of these steps would be an endorsement of violence and discrimination against the entire transgender community.