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    When "Harry Became Sally" is Biased Psuedo-Science

    When "Harry Became Sally" is Biased Psuedo-Science Read More: http://thedailyripple.org/index.php/test-blog/265566-book-review-when-harry-became-sally Brynn Tannehill Note: Page numbers in this review refer to the advancer reader copy of the book that I acquired. I have written elsewhere (https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/10/20/how-detect-and-debunk-anti-trans-propaganda-media) on how to detect and debunk anti-transgender propaganda in science and the media previously. I described fifteen tests, and Anderson’s book fails at every level. I cannot address all of the issues in this book, but fundamentally it is deliberately misleading and designed to push transgender people into the closet. This book was not science. It is apologetics to support a religious viewpoint and a set of policies that would cause great harm to a vulnerable minority community already suffering from significant stigma and economic disparities. So, how does this book look when you ask the 15 questions I wrote about in the link above? 1. Who wrote it? Ryan Anderson works for the Heritage Foundation, and is a conservative Catholic. Anywhere that science conflicts with his Catholic faith, he defaults to the position of the Catholic Church, and interprets the science in such a way that it conforms with his religious beliefs. At other times, he ignores scientific evidence that is contrary to his (and the Church’s) religious beliefs. Fundamentally, this is not science. This is religious apologetics. 2. Who does the author hang out with? Ryan Anderson works for the Heritage Foundation, and has strong ties with the Family Research Council, which is designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for making “claim(s) that LGBT people are threats to home and society. Others in these hate groups disseminate disparaging "facts" about LGBT people that are simply untrue — an approach no different to how white supremacists and nativist extremists propagate lies about black people and immigrants to make these communities seem like a danger to society.” 3. Where is it published? The book is published by Encounter Books, which is a publisher of conservative religious tracts. This affects the quality and objectivity of the book with a rather slipshod editing process. For example, on page 21 Anderson asserts that no one on the left has been able to specify any errors or flaws in an article written by Mayer and McHugh. This is patently untrue, as can be found in the following links: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/debunking-the-new-atlantis-article_us_58d5242ee4b0f633072b36a4 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/beware-bogus-theories-of-sexual-orientation/ On page 19, Anderson claims that the decision to reopen the Johns Hopkins gender clinic “was not a consequence of any new scientific evidence” since the study commissioned by McHugh in 1977. Again, this is patently untrue: there have literally been hundreds of studies on transgender health care since 1977, and over the past 20 years the wide majority of them have shown improvements in quality of life for transgender people. http://transascity.org/quality-of-life-in-treated-transsexuals/ A competent, unbiased editor would have challenged these rather sweeping assertions, but did not. 4. Does it blatantly misuse (or cherry pick) real research? One of the quickest ways to spot biased and unreliable articles about transgender people is when they misuse actual research. Most commonly this occurs when they cite a 2011 study by Dr. Cecillia Dhejne to argue that medical care for transgender people is ineffective, or that it makes them suicidal. The problem is, the research actually says no such thing, and Dhejne has gone on the record saying that attempts to use it to make these points are both wrong and unethical. As such, articles which deliberately misrepresent (lie) about the findings of actual academic work to support anti-transgender positions aren’t just wrong, they are unethical from the get go. I’ve met Dr. Dhejne, and she finds the use of her work to these ends disgusting. Anderson’s book does just this, repeatedly. Anderson misuses her research by saying that it shows that health care may not improve outcomes, when the study explicitly says you cannot use it this way because there was no transgender control group which received no treatment, so one cannot make any inferences as to the efficacy of treatment. He also omits the crucial part of Dhejne’s research that found that after 1989, the suicide rate for transgender people was mathematically similar to the general population. Dhejne looked at this data, and posited that as society became more accepting, mental health outcomes for transgender people improved. 5. Does it blatantly misrepresent the actual positions of people? I have already discussed how Anderson misrepresents Dr. Dhejne’s positions and research above. But let’s discuss Dr. Kenneth Zucker

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