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Culture Friday: Statements of fact under fire


WORLD Radio - Culture Friday: Statements of fact under fire

Plus, how to evaluate laws that protect children from transgender medical procedures

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NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s the 5th day of May 2023.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. It’s Culture Friday.

Joining us now is Katie McCoy. She has a PhD in theology and is author of the new book “To Be A Woman.” Good morning, Katie!

KATIE McCOY, GUEST: Great to see you all again.

BROWN: Katie, in about two weeks we’ll start seeing posts on social media, posters around town, depending on where you live, maybe even a few TV and radio ads, all promoting the so-called, “Pride Month”. Here’s why I bring that up:

On March 21st, in Middleborough, Massachusetts, a seventh grader was taken out of gym class, questioned by school staff and asked to remove his tee shirt. Here’s audio from 12-year-old Liam Morrison, standing before a group of adults at a school committee meeting, explaining why he was told he was singled out.

LIAM MORRISON: What did my shirt say? Five simple words: There. Are. Only. Two. Genders. Nothing harmful, nothing threatening, just a statement I believe to be a fact. I have been told that my shirt was targeting a protected class. Who is this protected class? Are their feelings more important than my rights? I don't complain when I see pride flags and diversity posters hung throughout the school? Do you know why? Because others have a right to their beliefs just as I do. 

It’s not clear if young Liam’s beliefs stem from the Bible. I sure hope it does. What is clear to me is his courage. Two questions Katie: What would you say to this kid? How do we equip more kids and adults to be this bold and articulate?

McCOY: I would say, 'Well done, and you must have some really great parents,' because this is going to become more and more incumbent upon all of us to take a stand on what we believe Scripture says about who we are, not just as male and female, but as human beings. What does it mean to be a human being created in the image of God? And today, the simplest statements are going to seem very bigoted to a world that in sexual orientation and gender identity laws, we are essentially as a nation, selling our soul on the altar of SOGI. And we see every year with every Pride Month that more and more businesses and organizations sign on to this. You mentioned the Pride Month coming up something that people don't always realize, this was pretty new to me recently, is that businesses are being graded according to something called the Corporate Equality Index. And that Corporate Equality Index is essentially dictating for businesses, a new ethical system, and they are being scored, so to speak, on the degree to which they include LGBTQIA+ members in their marketing and in their business. So much of what this young man went up against was not just the new ethos socially, but it's also the new ethos that we're seeing our corporate America buy into as well.

EICHER: Well, Katie, I want to talk to you about a story we reported in WORLD and on our program yesterday, so called trans refuge states, specifically the states of Minnesota, and Washington state. And I want to match that against what's happening here in the state where I live the state of Missouri, where our state attorney general is considering trying to regulate transgender medical procedures under consumer protection law.

Now taken together on this and other issues, I think we're seeing a sort of culture war between the states where you have some states protecting unborn children, some states not, some states protecting children from puberty blockers and opposite sex hormone injections or pills or surgeries. And some states again, such as Minnesota, going so far as to promote such things.

Minnesota is a very different place today than when I was growing up there decades ago. How do you begin to analyze this?

McCOY: Yeah, now one thing I noticed with both of the laws in Missouri and then also Minnesota, how different they are. So when I take a look at both of these laws, there's two factors that stand out to me. The first is, is there any precedent for restricting access to certain products, prerogatives, and procedures? Do we have that in our society? Well, we've got products like tobacco and alcohol, there's age restriction there. We've got prerogatives like voting, driving a car, by a certain age, so there's age restriction there.

And then procedures. So for instance, joining the military, there's an age restriction there, as well. By the way, in Minnesota, the now trans refuge state, minors can't get their ears pierced without a parent or guardian's consent and physical presence, and no one under the age of 18 can get a tattoo. So just in this one state, in Minnesota, there's loads of precedent for age restrictions on procedures that alter one's body in even very less consequential ways. So we've got that question of precedent.

But then there's also the question of, does the policy institute verifiably helpful and necessary treatments, and now we get into the debate over whether so called gender affirming care is really beneficial. Our own FDA said that puberty blockers are linked to brain swelling and greater risk of stroke in adolescence. There are studies where the data is misrepresented to say that transgender affirming care is beneficial for children on puberty blockers. And those studies are found very flawed when peer review starts picking away at them. In fact, there was one out of the University of Washington, we wouldn't have known that the data was misrepresented and there were all these flaws in the study, were it not for a leaked internal email showing they were trying to cover up the real findings of that study. And then, of course, there's a study in Sweden, and that study found that among post-operative transsexuals, there was a considerably higher risk of suicidal behavior.Now, what we're hearing also from the detransitioner community is that there are often underlying psychiatric issues that go unaddressed by health care providers and counselors.

So this question of precedent, we've settled that, and then the question of can we actually say that so-called gender affirming care is beneficial? And we can't say that. So we have a generation of children being ushered into therapies and procedures, that we don't even know what the effect of them is going to be. And not only that, but we're starting to see a lot more research to verify that it is not only unhelpful, but it is adding to their personal and psychological harm.

EICHER: At WORLD we’ve done some reporting, and I know we’re planning to report more on what Missouri’s trying to do here. But given the research you’ve done, talk a little bit about the hurdles and safeguards the AG is wanting to set up and whether that compassionately gets at some of the problems you’re familiar with, especially as young girls are concerned.

McCOY: Yeah, the Missouri law is fascinating, because what they have essentially done is instituted the approach called watchful waiting in in Missouri for all gender dysphoric, teens and children. And when I read about the law, I'm no lawyer, but it reminded me of how they got Al Capone on the basis of his tax evasion. It was a little bit like that, like they took a really roundabout approach, and made this about consumer protection, which typically protects Missouri citizens from scams, and said, we're going to categorize some of this so-called gender affirming care as a scam, and impose these restrictions or limitations. But here are a few things that that Missouri law does.

First, it requires the child to be screened for autism or other mental health issues. Well, right there, if you had adolescents screened for those things, and treated and helped for those things, we're hearing from even the detransitioner community that that's what they needed to begin with. They didn't have a gender dysphoria issue. They had anxiety and depression, they had, they had social complications related to autism, and they needed long term solutions for that, not to be put on cross sex hormones, or amputating healthy organs.

The other thing that that law does as well, is it provides this stipulation where children need 15 therapy sessions over the course of 18 months. And one thing that I hear from medical doctor named Andrè Van Mol, who's done considerable work on this and represented this issue even in federal courts. He's described how not only do children need counseling, but families typically need therapy as well. There are behaviors and attitudes that go back years that are often being expressed, especially in the case of sudden gender dysphoria. All of this harmonizes with what we're learning about especially teen girls who, seemingly overnight, develop gender dysphoria and adopt a trans identity. There are any number of factors that are influencing them, and they are fixating or centering the causes of their distress on this issue of gender identity, in part because they're looking for a way to express what is wrong in their lives or to cope with it. And so the Missouri law is really fascinating. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, and how teens and children in Missouri respond as they start getting some

psychological and more comprehensive care.

BROWN: Katie McCoy has a PhD in theology and is author of the new book “To Be A Woman.” Thank you, Katie.

McCOY: Great to be with you, as always.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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