I advise parents to not allow their children to read Dr. Keith Ablow’s Fox News piece titled, “Don’t Let Your Kids Watch Chaz Bono On ‘Dancing With the Stars’.”
Here’s why: Many of the children who might be reading will be establishing a sense of self which includes, of course, a sexual/gender identity. Some will be girls becoming comfortable with dramatic changes in their minds. Some will be boys coming to terms with integrating the dawn of manhood with exquisite feelings of vulnerability. Young readers will include tomboyish girls and sensitive, less stereotypically “masculine” boys. They will also include children who have sustained the losses of loved ones and are wrestling with depression, perhaps wondering who they are absent their deceased mothers or fathers.
Why subject them to anything as homophobic, transphobic, hateful, unscientific, or just plain poorly crafted as a Dr. Keith Ablow piece on yet another topic he clearly mishandles and appears ill-equipped to author? Reading the un-scientific, unsubstantiated pop-psychology opinions of a man who repeatedly attacks members of the LGBT community, (and also, women in general,) is likely to confuse your children as to who they really are: caring, sensitive, young minds who shouldn’t be subjected to hate- and fear-mongering from the likes of Fox News or Keith Ablow.
The last thing vulnerable children and adolescents need, as they wrestle with the normal process of establishing their identities, is to read nonsense masquerading as scientific insight fed to a captive crowd by someone whose search for an identity culminated with a gig on Fox News writing about “the removal of…breasts, the injection of steroids and, perhaps one day soon, the fashioning of a make-shift phallus to replace [a] vagina.”
Where am I going with this? Why, the above paragraphs are merely taken, almost verbatim, from Dr. Ablow’s recent piece at Fox News that, once again, mischaracterizes and delivers false “information” from the anti-gay anti-trans misogynist who should not be taken seriously by any child, much less by any adult charged with the awesome responsibility of raising a young person.
Ablow also ludicrously writes,
It is a toxic and unnecessary byproduct of the tragic celebration of transgender surgery that millions of young people who do watch “Dancing with the Stars” will have to ponder this question: Maybe my problems really stem from the fact that I’m a girl inside a boy’s body (or a boy inside a girls body). Maybe I’m not a tomboy; I’m just a boy! Maybe I’m not just being bullied because I’m a sensitive, reflective young man interested in flowers, not football. Maybe I’m not just uncertain about my sexuality. Maybe I’m a girl! Maybe all this angst and suffering I’m feeling as I emerge into puberty and pass through it isn’t just because I’m changing, but because I should change completely—and have my breasts removed or my penis amputated!
It would be wrong to think that gender dysphoria cannot be kindled by celebrating those who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery. Human beings do model one another—in terms of emotion, thought and behavior. By broadcasting, applauding and mainstreaming the journey of a very disordered person who endured, and likely will continue to endure, real suffering based on extraordinarily deep psychological problems, we suggest that that journey is a smart—even heroic—one to take.
And, disgustingly, Ablow adds,
Make no mistake: I would have gone to the ends of the earth to help Chaz Bono if she had come to me for help.
I would have treated her with dignity and summoned every ounce of my intellect and empathy to explore her psyche with her. I would have pried loose every family secret hidden by the Bonos.
I would have been relentless.
I would have used everything I know about medication to help her.
I would have enlisted the help of every expert I know—some of the world’s best—at everything from endocrinology to hypnosis.
I would have teamed up with a spiritual counselor, if that seemed indicated.
And if all that failed, and if Chaz Bono wanted either to kill herself or to undergo gender reassignment surgery, I would have taken that journey with her, too. I would have talked her parents through the hell of it. We would make the best of it.
Zack Ford at Think Progress says, “[t]his has to be one of the most transphobic articles ever published by a major media outlet.” Agreed.
Remember, Ablow is the Fox News doctor who just three weeks ago suggested that pedophilia is a sexual orientation, like homosexuality. (It’s not. Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder.) In April, Ablow wrote a highly-controversial column suggesting that J. Crew CEO Jenna Lyons’ painting her son’s toenails pink amounted to “psychological sterilization.” (Lyons’ son’s favorite color happens to be pink.)
This is not Ablow’s first ignorant, pop-psychology attack on Chaz Bono. In May, Ablow penned a column attacking Chaz Bono so viciously, calling Bono “psychotic” and classifying him as “delusion[al]” that Fox actually removed it.
I decided to reach out to Michael Silverman, who has offered advice and opinion to The New Civil Rights Movement before. Silverman is the Executive Director of the Transgender Legal Defense And Education Fund, based in New York City. I share his comments to me with you in their entirety:
Ablow’s opinions on transgender Americans are toxic and extreme. Under the guise of providing medical information, Ablow works overtime to fuel hatred and misunderstanding. Despite being called a doctor, his opinions aren’t medical opinions at all. They are plain old bias. He cites no medical support for his views because none exists. No credible medical professional shares his extreme opinions, which should have no place in mainstream media.
The real facts are these: Every credible medical expert recognizes that access to proper medical care, including hormone therapy and surgery, is essential for transgender people. The American Medical Association calls Gender Identity Disorder a “serious medical condition” and has concluded that “mental health care, hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery… are recognized within the medical community to be the standard of care for treating people with GID.”
Ablow has gone off the deep end. His warning to parents that their boys will want to become girls (and their girls boys) if they watch Chaz Bono dance suggests that it is Ablow who needs psychiatric intervention. As any real medical expert will tell you, Gender Identity Disorder is a medical condition. You’ve got it or you don’t. And if you don’t, you’re not going to get it, no matter how hard Chaz works to perfect his dance moves.
Tuning in to watch Chaz get his groove on? It’s not a threat to the collective gender of our nation’s youth. It’s a teachable moment for parents to help their children understand one of our country’s most misunderstood and marginalized groups. If we’ll see anything as a result of that, perhaps it will be fewer little Keith Ablows running around, sucking the oxygen out of what should be a moment for real conversation about transgender Americans’ place at our collective national table.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Pity we can’t say that for any of Ablow’s work.
Editorial Note: To be clear, a portion of the above is taken almost verbatim from Ablow’s offensive piece at Fox. I advise caution in reading it as your head may explode.
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