FREE POST: Weekly Reality Report
July 9, 2023
What is the Weekly Reality Report?
The Weekly Reality Report is published every Sunday morning for paying subscribers (except for this week) and includes a roundup of the previous week’s articles on Reality’s Last Stand, a reading list of summarized interesting opinion pieces from around the web, relevant news headlines to keep you informed, and a special Moment of Zen.
This week’s Reality Report is free for everyone. If you’d like access to future Reports, please upgrade to a paid subscription below!
I recently appeared on Crossroads with Joshua Philipp to talk about gender ideology, whether the word “cis” is a slur, Twitter and free speech, and more. This was a fun interview, and you might enjoy it.
The Hidden Side of ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ Driving Transgender Mental Health Problems and Suicide | Dustin Luchmee
In his essay for The Epoch Times, Philadelphia-based health reporter Dustin Luchmee examines the experiences and concerns of Matt Rey, a "detransitioner" facing health complications resulting from testosterone overprescription and a mastectomy. Born female and undergoing transgender treatments at 24, Rey regrets his transition, expressing concern about the rise of "gender-affirming care" and its potential for harm among the youth. Rey claims that a misdiagnosis of intersexuality was pivotal in his decision to transition, reflecting a growing problem of misleading diagnoses and hastily-prescribed treatments within the gender identity clinics. The essay further discusses Rey's activism against child transitioning and the perceived incentivization of "gender-affirming care" by medical professionals.
Luchmee explores the socio-cultural elements at play, noting Dr. Miriam Grossman's assertion of the notion of gender dysphoria being a social contagion among the youth. He also notes Rey's contention that the social and media obsession over gender is harmful and can pressure individuals into transitioning without considering their well-being. The essay also highlights the detrimental physical and psychological impacts of transitioning, including post-surgical depression and abandonment by the healthcare community post-transition. Rey's personal regret and the traumatic effect on his family are touched upon, underscoring the need for a more holistic understanding of the implications of transitioning.
Luchmee concludes by underscoring Rey's advocacy for parents to engage in honest conversations with their children about the realities of "gender-affirming care" and transitioning.
What Is Gender Ideology? | Jay Richards
In an article for The American Conservative, Jay Richards, a Director at The Heritage Foundation, explores the origins and implications of the term “gender ideology.” Richards criticizes what he sees as attempts by the media and other entities to delegitimize the term, indicating a broader campaign to downplay or misrepresent the real influence of the ideology in question. He contests the assertion that the term “gender ideology” is an empty signifier without a coherent definition, arguing that it undeniably refers to a specific set of beliefs and practices that have had palpable effects on contemporary culture, politics, and society, such as the increasing recognition and acceptance of non-binary and transgender identities.
Richards attempts to clarify the concept of gender ideology by defining it as the view that the sex binary fails to capture human complexity, with individuals more accurately described in terms of a distinct "gender identity" potentially incongruent with their "sex assigned at birth." He argues that this postmodern view challenges traditional understandings of biological sex, positing it as a social construct rather than an objective reality. By creating and employing a new lexicon, including terms like “gender identity” and “sex assigned at birth,” he claims proponents of gender ideology are deliberately playing a "verbal shell game," intending their views to be seen as products of science and reason rather than as a controversial ideology.
In the final analysis, Richards claims that gender ideology rejects the reality of biological sex, recasting humans as essentially psychological beings with internal gender identities, independent of their physical bodies.
A State of Parental Dysphoria | Anonymous
For Quillette, an anonymous parent from British Columbia illuminates the profound emotional distress experienced due to a phenomenon termed "parental dysphoria." The writer, who is also a parent to an autistic child, delves into the disorienting effect of a child's sudden announcement of identifying as transgender and the ensuing societal expectations of unconditional support for the child's transition. The concept of parental dysphoria, as defined in the essay, encompasses an overwhelming fear and discomfort emerging from the parent's silence and denial of their instinctual belief that the child's transition might lead to an impending catastrophe. The angst of potentially losing their child, family, and even personal sanity underpins this dysphoria. The parent portrays an internal struggle between expressing their genuine concern and maintaining the supportive facade their child yearns for, underpinned by a hope that their child will ultimately find peace within their original biological identity.
The essay further investigates the distressing experiences of parents with autistic children within this context, arguing that the inherent challenges of autism can make such children particularly susceptible to the idea that they were "born in the wrong body." The author harshly criticizes the existing "village" - the wider societal systems, including educational and medical establishments - for endorsing gender transitions without substantial investigation into the root causes of a child's discomfort with their body. These societal structures are depicted as betraying parents' trust, undermining parental instincts to protect their children, and prematurely encouraging medical interventions without fully informing the families about their risks and alternatives.
The essay culminates with the author's relief as her daughter's gender dysphoria resolved naturally over time, emphasizing the need to grant children the time and space to explore their identities and calling for a reform in societal attitudes towards children expressing gender dysphoria.
There’s Nothing Racist About Ending Affirmative Action | Wilfred Reilly
In an article for Spiked, Wilfred Reilly, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Kentucky State University, discusses the Supreme Court's recent ruling to end race-based affirmative action in US college admissions. The decision has affected universities like Harvard and the University of North Carolina (UNC), and will likely impact over 40% of US universities that consider race in their admission processes. While the verdict has been met with backlash by some, data indicates that a significant majority of Americans agree with it. Interestingly, the case against these universities was brought by Students for Fair Admissions, a group composed entirely of East and South Asian plaintiffs, challenging the notion that the verdict is supportive of 'racism' or 'white supremacy'.
Reilly delves further into the issues surrounding affirmative action, noting that it has been disadvantageous to Asian students who typically outperform all other racial groups on standardized tests like the SAT. Moreover, affirmative action has not been supporting disadvantaged Black students as intended, but rather it has been largely benefitting wealthy and highly educated Black immigrants. The article also addresses potential ways universities might evade the ruling, such as dropping standardized tests as an admissions metric or using personal essays discussing the impact of race or racism on a student's life as a proxy for racial-minority status.
The article concludes by emphasizing that while ending affirmative action is a positive step towards creating a genuinely meritocratic admissions process, other factors like legacy admissions and donations should also be scrutinized.
A Hungarian Lesson on Student Loans | Gladden Pappin
In Compact, Gladden Pappin, the president of the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs, contemplates the socio-political implications of student loan policies in the United States following the Supreme Court's decision to discard President Biden's $430 billion student loan forgiveness initiative. He emphasizes the importance for the Republicans to formulate a strategy beyond their prevailing approach, which often translates as callous to voters. Drawing from the Hungarian experience, he highlights a unique solution: a program in Hungary which suspends, reduces, and forgives student debt for new mothers, tying student loan relief directly to family formation. The program allows mothers to delay loan repayments while receiving subsidies to prevent debt growth, with subsequent children leading to further debt reductions and ultimately forgiveness.
Pappin points out that student debt in the U.S. is a significant factor in delaying family formation, citing research supporting this claim. He argues that tying student loan forgiveness to family formation could be politically wise, addressing the issues of burgeoning student debt and delayed childbirth, while resonating with conservative values. Despite previous Republican arguments that declines in fertility preceded the student debt crisis and thus student debt relief may not directly boost family formation, Pappin argues that this view misses the broader point. The intention is not to demonstrate that student debt is the sole cause for delayed family formation, but rather to connect relief with a socially desirable behavior.
He concludes with a call for Republicans to rethink their position on this matter, proposing an American adaptation of the Hungarian program that might tie student debt relief more firmly to family structure. A key component of this proposal is that universities contribute to a national fund, partially financing the reduction and cancellation of debt for married mothers of three or more children.
We Need a Non-Medicalized Approach to Gender Dysphoria | Joseph Burgo
For the Dallas Morning News, Joseph Burgo, vice director of Genspect, wrote about his critiques and concerns regarding the recently released eighth edition of the Standards of Care (SOC8) by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. He argues that despite the claim of comprehensive inclusivity, the new standards fail as an evidence-based guide to gender dysphoria treatment. Among the specific criticisms Burgo highlights include: removal of lower age limits for medical interventions, the exclusion of a previously included chapter on ethics, and the dubious inclusion of "Eunuch" as a gender identity without empirical backing. In response to these perceived failures, Burgo launched an open declaration via beyondWPATH.org, discrediting the association’s authority on the treatment of gender-distressed youth.
The author also presents Genspect, an international organization he serves as vice director, which seeks to offer a more balanced approach to gender care and counters the medicalization of pediatric gender care as suggested by SOC8. In a direct challenge to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, Genspect hosted an international conference that gathered experts and individuals who detransitioned, to discuss alternatives to the medicalized model. Riding the success of this conference, Genspect formed The Killarney Group, a think tank aimed at developing an alternative to SOC8. This new gender care framework is set to promote psychosocial support over medicalized treatments, firmly rejecting the model presented in SOC8.
With the rise of gender-distressed children in the U.S., Burgo conveys the urgency and importance of having an evidence-based, ethical alternative to SOC8 for those charged with their care, which he believes Genspect’s gender care framework will provide.
Oregon’s Castration Machine | Christopher F. Rufo
For City Journal, Christopher F. Rufo, a Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, delves into the surge of transgender medicine and surgeries, with particular focus on the gender surgery program at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland. He draws parallels with Edmund Burke's cautionary note on unchecked progress after the French Revolution, likening the rise of transgender medicine to a contemporary revolution that may also yield unintended consequences. Rufo uses OHSU's surgery program, led by Blair Peters, a self-identified queer surgeon specializing in vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, and "non-binary" surgeries, as an illustrative case study. He discusses the program's high patient volume and rapid growth, attributing this surge to the shifting societal perceptions and acceptance of transgender surgeries.
Rufo critiques the ideological framework behind OHSU's program, rooted in academic queer theory, which posits that human nature and sexuality can be dynamically molded and manipulated. He presents a graphic description of the robotic-assisted vaginoplasty procedure, highlighting its complexity and potential complications, such as wound separation, tissue necrosis, graft failure, and lifelong need for hormonal treatments. Rufo raises concerns about the application of these procedures on adolescents, based on Peters' admission of performing such surgeries on puberty-suppressed teens. The author contrasts today's medical narrative, couched in therapeutic language, with earlier, more self-aware transgender theorists who acknowledged the disturbing and anti-normative nature of their transformations.
Rufo concludes by invoking Burke's theory of the sublime, arguing that the awe-inspiring technical mastery involved in transgender surgeries masks their potential for human tragedy, comparing these medical advances to the unchecked scientific hubris embodied in Mary Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein.
Psych! You Don’t Have the Job. | John Sailer
In an article for Minding the Campus, John Sailer, a senior fellow at the National Association of Scholars, discusses the controversial rejection of Dr. Yoel Inbar for a role at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Following a seemingly successful interview, Inbar was denied the position after more than fifty students signed a letter objecting to his hiring due to his opinions on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Despite Inbar’s vocal support of DEI, the letter deemed his views on DEI statements, institutional neutrality, and issues of identity as inappropriate and potentially threatening to ideological diversity. This event served to highlight wider concerns about the potential adverse effects of broad DEI policies in universities.
Sailer continues to illustrate the circumstances of Inbar’s rejection by examining the arguments made by the students’ letter. The author argues that these objections to Inbar’s views, which include skepticism about the effectiveness of DEI statements and the belief in institutional neutrality on political issues, demonstrate a critical failure in academic culture. Sailer suggests that the incident represents an attempt to suppress the academic freedom and points out that many established scholars showed support for the students' stance. The author argues that DEI evaluations can disqualify otherwise qualified candidates for expressing opinions that merit academic discussion.
The article ends by emphasizing the need for institutional neutrality in universities, stating that DEI policies have come to connote a set of political and social views, rather than representing basic human decency, and thus should not be used to exclude or silence diverse opinions.
The Dissenting Doctor | Yasmin Zenith
I Teach at an Elite College. Here’s a Look Inside the Racial Gaming of Admissions. | Tyler Austin Harper