Ten years ago, gender dysphoria was a fairly short entry in abnormal psychology textbooks. It was a condition so obscure, that most people had never heard of it. That’s changed.
Now, if you’ve got children in school, you know how common that disorder has become. In some places, a third of the girls in a given class identify as a gender other than the one on their birth certificates. Most of them don’t mean it. Five years from now, they’ll have moved on. They’re going through what we used to call "a phase." But for an increasingly large number of children, that phase will not end. Therapists will steer those kids to doctors, who will almost immediately give them powerful sex hormones, whose long-term effects we can’t know. In some cases, those kids will then be referred to surgeons, who will mutilate or remove their sex organs permanently.
That is happening across the country. We rarely talk about the details of any of it. It’s all good, we’re told. It’s all part of a vital, long-overdue process of personal liberation, and if you stand in the way or ask too many questions, you’re evil. OK.
But before we accept that version of the story, it’s fair to ask: what are the details of the process, exactly? And what are the consequences of it? This weekend, to its great credit, the news show 60 Minutes asked those questions, in a surprisingly unflinching way. Anchor Leslie Stahl interviewed patients who’d suffered from gender dysphoria and asked them a simple question: what they went through next. A woman called Grace Lindinisky-Smith explained what happened when she went to the doctor for her disorder:
GRACE LIDINSKY-SMITH: She didn't really go into what my gender dysphoria might've been stemming from. We only did a few sessions…They asked me, "So, why do you wanna go on testosterone?" And I said, "Well, being a woman just isn't working for me anymore." And they said, "Okay."
LESLEY STAHL: So, that was that. You got your prescription for testosterone?
GRACE LIDINSKY-SMITH: Uh-huh. Yup.
"Being a woman just isn’t working for me anymore." OK. Here are some life-altering drugs. That’s all it took. And it kept going. Within just four months, Grace Lidinsky-Smith was in the operating room, having a double mastectomy:
LESLEY STAHL: Just four months after she started testosterone, she says she was approved for a mastectomy, what's called top surgery, that she told us was traumatic.
GRACE LIDINSKY-SMITH: I started to have a really disturbing sense that like a part of my body was missing, almost a ghost limb feeling about being like, there's something that should be there. And the feeling really surprised me but it was really hard to deny.
LESLEY STAHL: And so she detransitioned by going off testosterone and then went back to the clinic and, she says, complained to the doctor that the process didn't follow the WPATH guidelines.
GRACE LIDINSKY-SMITH: I can't believe that I transitioned and detransitioned, including hormones and surgery, in the course of, like, less than one year. It's completely crazy.
"It’s completely crazy." Yes, it is. It is completely crazy. It is also reckless and cruel and totally unethical. Yet, in the newly-politicized atmosphere of American medicine, is it routine.
Another person who spoke to "60 Minutes," a man identified as Garrett, told Stahl that doctors rushed him into a sex-change operation. After just three months of taking female hormones, they castrated him.
LESLEY STAHL: Garrett from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went from taking hormones to getting his testicles removed, he says in just three months, whereas the current guidelines call for continuous use for a year.
GARRETT: I had never really been suicidal before until I had my breast augmentation. And about a week afterward, I wanted to, like, actually kill myself. Like, I had a plan and I was gonna do it but I just kept thinking about, like, my family to stop myself. It kind of felt like how am I ever going to feel normal again, like other guys now?
Three months to castration. And then, a week after the surgery, he was suicidal. Now, that makes sense, and yet it is the precise opposite of what activists claim. The opposite of the justification for these procedures in the first place.
If you ask questions about the wisdom of gender reassignment surgery, you’ll be accused immediately of pushing the vulnerable toward self-harm. In fact, there’s quite a bit of evidence of the opposite. Gender reassignment surgery and chemical castration cause depression and exacerbate mental illness. This is known. Just five years ago, a study by the Obama administration found no positive health benefits from this kind of so-called treatment. In a 2016 document called the "Proposed Decision Memo for Gender Dysphoria and Gender Reassignment Surgery," Obama officials concluded that,
"Based on a thorough review of the clinical evidence available at this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria."
Why wasn’t there enough evidence? The Obama administration found that many sex change patients were quote, "lost to follow-up." Why is that? Many of those patients had likely killed themselves.
Researchers in Sweden found the same thing. After ten years of study, the Swedes concluded that people who underwent sex reassignment surgery were 19% more likely to commit suicide. Their risk of psychiatric hospitalization was nearly three times greater. In other words, it was an utter disaster.
Yet strikingly, most Americans are not aware of these numbers. They’ve never seen this research. They’re not allowed to see it. Instead, they see a daily barrage of propaganda, most of it online, made possible by Google and Facebook. That propaganda has a very specific effect, as intended.
LESLEY STAHL: How many of you feel that you were blindly affirmed? (all four raise their hands)
GARRETT: I didn't get enough pushback on transitioning. I went for two appointments and after the second one, I had, like, my letter to go get on cross-sex hormones.
LESLEY STAHL: Two visits? That's it?
GARRETT: Uh-huh. Lesley Stahl: All four tell us they learned about transitioning on the internet where there are transformation videos on YouTube, trans influencers and forums.
We don’t say a lot of complimentary things about Leslie Stahl, but Sunday night’s piece was a remarkably brave piece of journalism. Stahl certainly didn’t need to do it. She did it anyway. Good for her.
She’s being punished for it now. Within minutes of the "60 Minutes'" broadcast, the usual liars accused Stahl, and the people she interviewed, of committing an act of violence. Their crime: telling the truth. Those kinds of attacks have a chilling effect on the rest of the population, which of course is the point of them. One psychologist described how many in medicine are too afraid to care for patients:
LESLEY STAHL: Do you have conversations with your colleagues about this whole area of accepting what young people are saying too readily?
DR. LAURA EDWARDS-LEEPER: Yes. Everyone is very scared to speak up because we're afraid of not being seen as being affirming or being supportive of these young people or doing something to hurt the Trans community. But even some of the providers are Trans themselves and share these concerns.
We’re afraid to speak up because we don’t want to be seen as not affirming young people in their decision to have these surgeries and to take these life-altering drugs.
How "young" are we talking about? At what age do we have to respect their decision to undergo chemical castration?
Last year Joe Biden answered that question. He suggested that children as young as eight can change their sex.
JOE BIDEN: The idea that an eight-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides, "You know, I decided I want to be transgender. That's what I think I'd like to be. It would make my life a lot easier." There should be zero discrimination.
Things are moving fast, and most people have no idea what the details are.
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson's opening commentary on the May 25, 2021, edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."