May 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The homosexual-transgender pressure group Human Rights Campaign has declared political war on world-renowned psychiatrist Dr. Paul McHugh, the leading mental health expert speaking out against radical “gender ideology.”
McHugh, whose many honors include receiving the top award of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) Institutes of Medicine, is the target of a special HRC attack-website, “McHugh Exposed,” which accuses him of peddling “junk science.”
It is an odd accusation to make against one of the most celebrated mental health professionals and researchers alive today. McHugh is credited with major research discoveries, including being “the first to describe increased cortisol secretion associated with depression, an accomplishment that led to the development of a test to identify serious depression by physical means,” according to the NAS.
“His extensive work studying the control of food intake revealed how gastrointestinal and neurophysiologic mechanisms regulate caloric intake in primates and are disrupted in people with eating disorders,” states the NAS release.
Last year, the editors of The New Atlantis, in publishing a special edition on sexuality and gender in their journal co-written by Dr. McHugh, called him “arguably the most important psychiatrist of the last half-century.”
Many honors, stellar pedigree
Dr. McHugh’s professional biography reads like a Who’s Who of American psychiatry and medicine. A Harvard College and Harvard Medical School graduate, Dr. McHugh was Henry Phipps Professor and Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1975 to 2001.
He is the author many books, including The Perspectives of Psychiatry, described by the NAS as “a treatise on practice methods and principles, [which] has been lauded as one of the most influential psychiatry texts in the last century.”
In 1998, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, rated by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top medical schools in the world, named Dr. McHugh the University Distinguished Service Professor. In 2015, it named a new program after him, as he became the inaugural Director of the Paul R. McHugh Program for Human Flourishing, located within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,” according to the school’s website.
Dr. McHugh was elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in 1992, and in 2008 received its Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health for “outstanding achievement in improving mental health.”
In 2001, he was appointed by President Bush to the President’s Council on Bioethics and in 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People, investigating the homosexual sex-abuse scandal.
McHugh also served as Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell University School of Medicine, Clinical Director and Director of Residency Education at the New York Hospital Westchester Division, and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Oregon Health Sciences Center, according to his Johns Hopkins bio.
‘Amused’ at HRC slander
In a recent interview with LifeSiteNews, McHugh, 85, said he was “amused” by HRC’s online attack-site demonizing him, and said he will not be intimidated from speaking out against the current “craze” of transgender surgeries and hormone therapies pursued by gender-confused people seeking to “become” the opposite sex.
“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved,” he said, noting in particular his election to the prestigious National Academy of Science’s (NAS) Institute of Medicine, and the recognition and honors he has received from colleagues in the psychiatric and medical fields. “I’ve been a part of American psychiatry for more than 50 years.”
“These are things they [HRC] wouldn’t even understand,” he said. “They want to portray me as some kind of crank.”
According to the National Academy of Sciences website, “NAS Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.”
In addition to the NAS prize, McHugh “has received many professional honors, including the Paul Hoch Award of the American Psychopathological Association, Joseph Zubin Award of the American Psychopathological Association, and the William C. Menninger Award from the American College of Physicians,” NAS stated.
HRC and other pro-LGBTQ organizations are trying to discredit McHugh because he is the most respected medical and psychiatric authority debunking transsexual “gender change” ideology, which includes recommending “sex reassignment” surgical reconstructions — even minors —of healthy sexual organs to imitate body characteristics of the opposite sex.
“McHugh's effort to give a veneer of academic integrity to transphobic junk science is part of a broader disturbing trend: the use of misleading, badly designed or completely unscientific ‘research’ to attack LGBTQ people and their families,” says HRC on its anti-McHugh site.
HRC, the world’s largest and best-funded homosexual-transgender lobby organization, has a long history of demonizing socially conservative opponents of LGBTQ activism, as well as researchers like McHugh who do not line up with LGBT goals.
This is only the latest iteration of the LGBT movement’s successful, ongoing strategy — honed over nearly five decades — of assailing and demonizing dissenters from pro-homosexual ideology as “bigots,” irrational haters, “homophobes” and, now, “transphobes.”
For example, in 2014, HRC viciously slammed leading pro-family advocates who have spoken outside the United States in opposition to homosexual and “transgender” activism. Relying on factually inaccurate and distorted information to smear the social conservatives as “Exporters of Hate,” HRC even used darkened, photo-negative-type drawings of its targets’ faces to make them appear sinister.
Dr. McHugh a ‘Transphobe’?
As for Dr. McHugh, this is hardly the first time he has been disparaged by critics, or even labeled a “transphobe.” Two years ago, Zack Ford, the “LGBTQ editor” of the leftist Think Progress, wrote a hit-piece in which he applied the trendy “transgender” attack-term “transphobe” to McHugh. (Like the invented term “homophobe,” its cousin, “transphobe,” wrongly suggests that people who oppose accommodating extreme gender confusion “fear” those afflicted.)
In response, Ryan Anderson, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, tweeted, “Dr. McHugh is an accomplished medical professional completely devoted to the health of his patients. Liberal attacks on him are disgusting.”
Anderson followed up on that tweet with another, “Attacks on Dr. McHugh are amazing: It's not the man who thinks he's a woman who has mental issues, it's the doctor who dares speak truth.”
After McHugh and co-editor Lawrence Mayer published their widely-circulated Fall 2016 New Atlantis Special Report on “Sexuality and Gender,” nearly 600 “experts on LGBT health” published a letter opposing the document, stating that it “does not represent prevailing expert consensus opinion about sexual orientation or gender identity related research or clinical care,” the Daily Beast reported.
However, whereas the 143-page New Atlantis report was documented by 25 pages of endnotes, the opposing letter from the outraged pro-homosexual and pro-transgender “experts” was short and failed to point out where his New Atlantis report was wrong, McHugh said.
Even the liberal Daily Beast seemed embarrassed by the lightweight, pro-LGBTQ counter-response, noting the opposition “letter is indeed short, clocking in at under 300 words.”
Devastating Wall Street Journal op-ed
McHugh’s popularity on the national stage among conservatives grew after The Wall Street Journal published his op-ed, “Transgender Surgery Is Not the Solution,” in 2014. The Journal piece is cited regularly by opponents of “transgender” activism the world over. McHugh writes:
“[P]olicy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention. This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken — it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”
Pro-“transgender” ideologues bristled at McHugh’s comparison of, say, a gender-confused man who looks at the mirror and says to himself, “I’m a woman,” to a gaunt, anorexic woman who looks in the mirror and says, “I’m so fat.” Writes Dr. McHugh:
“The transgendered suffer a disorder of ‘assumption’ like those in other disorders familiar to psychiatrists. With the transgendered, the disordered assumption is that the individual differs from what seems given in nature — namely one's maleness or femaleness. Other kinds of disordered assumptions are held by those who suffer from anorexia and bulimia nervosa, where the assumption that departs from physical reality is the belief by the dangerously thin that they are overweight. …
McHugh writes that changing your sex is “biologically impossible:”
“People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is a civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”
In his WSJ essay, Dr. McHugh notes that a follow-up study in LGBT-tolerant Sweden found that people who had “sex reassignment surgery” had a suicide death rate “almost 20-fold above the comparable non-transgender population.”
He compares pro-transgender school “diversity counselors” who encourage “transgender” students to embrace gender-confused identities to “cult leaders,” noting that 80 percent of “very young, often prepubescent children” who believe they are in the wrong-sexed body “would abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated.”
Regarding these very young, supposedly “transgender” children, McHugh writes, “Misguided doctors at medical centers including Boston's Children's Hospital have begun trying to treat this behavior by administering puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous — even though the drugs stunt the children's growth and risk causing sterility.”
He said transsexual “medical interventions” on children “come close to child abuse. A better way to help these children: with devoted parenting.”
Pro-family leaders defend McHugh
A pro-family leader and doctor who, like McHugh, is under attack from the pro-LGBT Left has similarly called performing “sex reassignment surgeries” and puberty-blocking “transgender” hormone therapy on gender-confused children “child abuse.”
Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the conservative pediatricians group American College of Pediatricians (AcPeds), has high praise for the Johns Hopkins psychiatrist.
“Dr. Paul McHugh is a highly accomplished academic researcher and clinical psychiatrist. I am an ordinary licensed general pediatrician who practiced for 15 years before dedicating myself full time to motherhood and evidence-based child advocacy in the American College of Pediatricians. We became good friends in part because we have the same enemies,” Dr. Cretella told LifeSiteNews.
Among those shared enemies is the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which labeled Florida-based AcPeds a “hate group,” along with dozens of other conservative, pro-natural-family organizations — lopping them in with truly hateful groups like the racist Aryan Nation and KKK as a way to destroy their credibility. The media often report the false SPLC description as fact.
In its attack-site against Dr. McHugh, HRC, echoes SPLC’s tendentious labeling, referring to Dr. Cretella’s group as “a recognized hate group that attempts to impersonate the legitimate American Academy of Pediatrics.”
Dr. Cretella said the HRC’s attacks “are most often ad hominem, or else they are misrepresentations of science and of what we have actually written or said.”
“They are factually baseless. A quote attributed to George Orwell sums it up best: ‘In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.’ Such is the current state of medicine — indeed of our entire culture — on all matters sexual,” she said.
“Truth is the enemy of the sexual revolution,” Cretella said. “Reality itself must be suppressed for the full sexual agenda to be realized. Therefore, those who proclaim it will be relentlessly attacked until they are silenced.”
Former “transsexual” Walt Heyer of SexChangeRegret.com, who went through the body-destroying, “male-to-female” “bottom” surgery before realizing that adopting a female identity was not the solution to his problems, agrees with Dr. Cretella and said it will be very difficult for the LGBT Left to “take down” the esteemed McHugh.
“The problem for HRC is that Paul McHugh is the brightest, most well-informed psychiatrist on the issue of transgenderism in the world. He knows the science,” Heyer told LifeSiteNews.
“This is disordered thinking,” said Heyer, who has become a friend of Dr. McHugh. “It’s people trying to escape the pain” of past traumas, usually in their childhood.
Heyer himself was sexually and physically abused as a boy, and when he was very young, whenever his grandmother babysat him, she dressed him up in a purple dress like a girl. That undermined his masculinity and helped create a false, alternate female personality, “Laura,” in his mind.
Johns Hopkins resumes body-disfiguring “transgender” operations
Under pressure from HRC and transgender activists, Johns Hopkins announced last year, “We have committed to and will soon begin providing gender-affirming surgery as another important element of our overall care program,” as LifeSiteNews reported. It did so as part of its “unequivocal and profound commitment to the LGBTQ community.”
That was a big setback to Dr. McHugh, who in 1979 famously put an end to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine performing “sex reassignment surgeries” (now called “gender reassignment surgeries” by “trans” advocates) after he took over as the hospital’s chief of psychiatry.
Dr. McHugh argues that body-disfiguring operations do not solve the “problem” of “transgender” individuals.
“A doctor who prescribes a treatment should understand the nature of the problem he is treating,” he told LifeSiteNews. “It’s not a biological problem. It’s a psychological problem needing psychological treatment.”
McHugh said he was “not shocked, but disappointed” that Johns Hopkins chose to resume doing the “sex reassignment” operations. He said there are a different set of outside pressures on an institution like Johns Hopkins compared to a mere individual like himself.
Nevertheless, he told LifeSiteNews, “Johns Hopkins doesn’t have to kowtow to these activists. … I keep telling them that they will come to regret it someday.”
In an age of “don’t judge me” liberal “snowflakes,” McHugh is refreshingly old school, one who fights for his convictions but welcomes debate and opposing arguments as part of a free, yet civil, exchange of ideas.
As the Baltimore Sun reported, McHugh used his prestige and influence at Johns Hopkins to secure a rare, formal, institutional affirmation of the right of researchers and professors to disagree with prevailing ideologies — a rarity in today’s academia.
In a letter titled "Johns Hopkins Medicine's Commitment to the LGBT Community," Johns Hopkins published a letter stressing "’strong and unambiguous’" support of the LGBT community and made clear that when ‘individuals associated with Johns Hopkins exercise the right of expression, they do not speak on behalf of the institution,’" the Sun reported.
But the letter also affirmed what was once a universal value of American higher education, the Sun reported: “the freedom to express contrarian views. ‘Academic freedom is among our fundamental principles,’ it said, ‘essential to the self-correcting nature of scientific inquiry, and a privilege that we safeguard.’"
McHugh told The New York Times in 2002, “What I am looking for is a conversation,” “a broad-ranging conversation in which all the doors are expected to be open. And if they’re closed, we’re going to open them.”
But civility with moral opponents historically has not been a hallmark of the LGBTQ movement, nor the Left in general. Rather than engaging their opponents freely and fairly in the public square, HRC, GLAAD and other homosexual and transgender activist groups often have resorted to name-calling against their foes, or lobbying the media not to publish “anti-gay” (or now “anti-trans”) viewpoints.
Usually, LGBT activists employ a tactic called “bracketing” in which they equate people with sincerely-held moral beliefs opposed to homosexuality and gender rebellion to anti-social “haters,” “bigots” and “phobes.” They also compare moral-minded opponents to racists. But the late Ken “Hutch” Hutcherson, who was black, responded, “Don’t compare you sin to my skin.”
In 2007, an HRC staffer threatened to pull out of a corporate “diversity” discussion if the lone Christian conservative on the panel was not disinvited. The panel organizer buckled and apologetically disinvited the pro-family advocate.
With such intolerance in mind, Dr. McHugh told LifeSiteNews that the Human Rights Campaign is “Orwellian” because, in the name of “rights,” it seeks to shut down and demonize opponents, all the while extolling “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “equality.”
“They call themselves the Human ‘Rights’ Campaign as they take our rights away!” Dr. McHugh said.
Noting that HRC is on the “warpath” against him, and “trying to send me down the memory hole,” he said, “I don’t think they can do too much to me.” He said he believes his position is safe at Johns Hopkins.
And he remained confident that the media-hyped “fad” of transgenderism will fade as more and more Americans realize that performing radical operations on the bodies of self-described “transgender” men, women — and especially children — to match their confused “feelings” is “mistreatment.”
“This craze is going to come apart, as crazes always do,” he said.