Fox News continued its efforts to demonize transgender people yesterday with a segment about 11-year-old Tammy Lobel, whose parents are allowing her to use hormone blockers to delay the onset of puberty under the care of a doctor. This will give her time to mature and reach a decision about her gender identity before male puberty makes irreversible changes to her body. The segment featured Fox News Medical A-Team “expert” Dr. Keith Ablow, who refuses to affirm transgender identities, calling them “psychotic delusions,” “toxic” and “disordered,” and comparable to anorexia and heroin addiction. Everyone in the segment referred to Tammy as a boy and host Martha MacCallum described the parents (who happen to be a lesbian couple) as “irresponsible.” Ablow tried to couch his comments as not being stigmatizing, but then proceeded to call for a psych evaluation for both parents and child:
ABLOW: Here’s what I think. First of all, I think we should remind ourselves from the outset: we’re not looking to bully anyone. I’m reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln, “With malice toward none.” But now is the time, Martha, when we have to understand this issue, what’s happening here. We have two women raising a child — he’s adopted — and he’s come to believe that he, too, is female. That argues for a complete psychological evaluation, not just of the boy, but of his parents as well, to see whether psychological forces are at play here to make him say such things.
Watch it (via Raw Story):
The complete disregard for Tammy’s identity is offensive enough, but the constant implications that her same-sex parents are somehow to blame for her gender identity is dangerous misinformation. Children understand gender by the age of 2, including their own, and Tammy was indicating she was a girl by age 3 and threatening to mutilate her own genitals at age 7. When parents Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel let Tammy be Tammy, there was an instant transformation, and the once depressed boy became a giggly and gregarious girl. For Ablow to imply that the whole family is disordered demonstrates just how little he knows about gender, sexuality, and parenting.
The segment’s other guest, physician Dr. Marty Makary, played up the possible side effects of what he described as “safe medication,” but offered no insights to the possible psychological implications of not honoring Tammy’s gender identity, including depression, suicide, and additional complications if she transitions after undergoing male puberty. By allowing her time to continue growing as a girl, Tammy, her parents, and her doctors can make an informed decision about her future gender identity that ensures she is happy and healthy for a complete lifetime. If Fox News cared about minimizing the stigma against people who are transgender, they would highlight how Moreno and Lobel are allowing Tammy to live an authentic life, as CNN recently did. Instead, the network is spreading lies and stoking fears that being transgender is harmful and unnatural.