Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, which provides him a platform to assert whatever he believes, even when he admits he has no data to back up his positions. This is what happened Tuesday when he published a rant against California’s new law protecting transgender students, in which he claims trans people don’t even exist and that accommodating young people who claim to be trans promotes nothing but “toxicity.”
His first assertion is that when other children learn that one of their classmates is trans, it will make them want to be trans too, even though he has no data to support this conclusion:
The mere fact that teachers and administrators will have to explain to kindergarten and first-grade students that they might see girls in the boys’ restroom, or boys in the girls’ locker room, but that those really aren’t kids of the gender they appear to be, could (and, here, data is sorely lacking) do harm to their own developing sense of self by suggesting to them that their gender is fluid, that it well might change for them, too, and that they should be on the lookout for signs that they want to switch.
Ablow conflates “sex” and “gender” here, betraying his own lack of understanding as to what it means to be transgender. Transgender kids very much are the gender they appear to be, even if their biological sex doesn’t seem to correspond. His real concern is that other kids will see genitals different from their own, which will “traumatize them by shaming them and kindle waves of completely unnecessary anxiety” about whether they might be trans too. In previous columns and Fox News appearances, Ablow has compared being transgender to anorexia and heroin addiction, and suggested that wanting gender reassignment surgery is like wanting to cut off one’s legs.
But he goes a significant step further and outright proclaims that there really is no such thing as transgender people whatsoever:
What’s more, I don’t believe we have definitive data (although many psychiatrists with very impressive credentials, who seem to mean well, assert that we do) that any male or female soul has ever in the history of the world been born into the wrong anatomic gender.
Let me put that more clearly: I am not convinced by any science I can find that people with definitively male DNA and definitively male anatomy can actually be locked in a cruel joke of nature because they are actually female.
The Williams Institute estimates that about 700,000 people in the country (0.3 percent of the population), openly identify as transgender, and there may be many more who do not identify openly or have avoided transitioning. According to Ablow, none of these people can be trusted, nor can any of the mental health professionals who have helped them — using decades of research — integrate their gender identities so that they can live happy and productive lives.
Of course, though, Ablow is the victim here:
That’s correct, and I expect to continue getting death threats and calls for me to be fired from my academic teaching position for saying so (because I have endured both): I believe that children have enough to deal with as they struggle to feel comfortable with their bodies, with the notion of privacy and with later changes involving puberty without urging them to grapple with the notion that their souls may have been born into the wrong bodies.
This raises the question of whether Ablow has ever even spoken with an individual who is transgender. It is transgender people who come to understand their gender identities before anybody else. Trans kids tell their parents that they are in the wrong bodies, not the other way around. This lack of knowledge has not stopped him, however, from previously claiming that parents who support their transgender kids need “psychological evaluations.” Ablow, despite claiming to be a medical professional, shows no concern or interest in what trans kids actually experience, let alone the ostracization they face when basic school facilities and activities are not open to them.