Kirsten Andersen

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Psychiatrist Keith Ablow: I’ll keep speaking out against transgenderism despite death threats

Kirsten Andersen

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Dr. Keith Ablow, M.D., has been the target of death threats for his view that so-called ‘transgenderism’ is unproven science that puts vulnerable children at risk of unnecessary surgical procedures and lifelong confusion.

But the Massachusetts-based psychiatrist told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview that he’ll keep speaking out on the issue despite the dangers. 

“I have had to make a decision about whether to say what I think and try to be empathetic to everyone, despite those threats and despite the calls from many people for me to be stripped of my academic credentials,” Ablow told LifeSiteNews.  “It’s important to keep speaking out on this issue because, apparently, in America, there are thousands of children who are being prepared for extensive, life-changing plastic surgery who may or may not need it.”

Ablow said that what causes a person to feel ‘trapped in the wrong body’ is a question that needs to be “reopened” by the psychiatric community.  “We don’t know as psychiatrists precisely where any fixed and false belief comes from,” Ablow said.  “And if it turns out that people who think they are locked in the wrong gender body could have been approached with something other than a scalpel, then we’ll be responsible as a field for not having been more diligent in seeking those answers as to where this comes from.”

Earlier this month, in the wake of a controversial new California law allowing public school students to choose their own gender – regardless of biology – when joining sports teams, activities and even using restroom and changing facilities, Ablow attracted national attention with an editorial for Fox News, calling the bill “profoundly damaging” to all children.

“As of January 1, students in California public schools have been able to choose whether to use the boys’ rest room or girls’ rest room, as well as the girls’ locker room or boys’ locker room, based on whether they feel female or male, not whether they are anatomically female or male,” Ablow wrote.  “I know that other psychiatrists may well disagree, and I know that LGBT activists will criticize me, but I believe that allowing this ‘choice’ is profoundly destructive, psychologically, to all students, including the ones who identify themselves as transgender.”

“I expect to continue getting death threats and calls for me to be fired from my academic teaching position for saying so, because I have endured both,” wrote Ablow.  “I believe that children have enough to deal with as they struggle to feel comfortable with their bodies, with the notion of privacy and with later changes involving puberty without urging them to grapple with the notion that their souls may have been born into the wrong bodies.”  

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“I don’t believe we have definitive data that any male or female soul has ever in the history of the world been born into the wrong anatomic gender,” he added.

LifeSiteNews contacted Dr. Ablow to ask him about the response to his statements, as well as to find out more about why he felt it was necessary to speak out, regardless of the consequences.

“The response [to the article] has been tremendously positive from many quarters,” Ablow told LifeSiteNews, adding that numerous people have e-mailed him “expressing their dismay about the implications of the bill.”  

Still, Ablow said, “a vocal minority have been extremely negative and even threatening, which I’ve come to expect whenever I’m trying to address questions about transgender behavior in what I consider to be an objective way.”  Many of those threats, Ablow said, are graphically violent, “telling me what should be done to me and how it should be done.”

He told LifeSiteNews that as a psychiatrist, he thinks such violently angry reactions to any questioning of transgender identity politics come from a place of fear.  “I think we’re deep enough into this issue that people are very loathe to re-examine the implications of doing things like injecting 12-year-olds with massive doses of hormones to stop puberty,” said Ablow.

“If it turns out that this path was not defensible from a scientific standpoint, then it’s going to have major implications for medicine, for parents who shepherd their children down this path – and for psychiatry, for not being more vigorous in demanding scientific evidence that people can be born into the wrong bodies.” 

The implications are also disturbing, Ablow argues, “for the [transgender] people themselves.”

“Once a doctor – and in this case, I think, a misguided doctor – tells you that all of your suffering psychologically can be explained because you are in a body that is the wrong gender, giving that perspective up feels like life and death,” Ablow explained.  “So the shelter of this simplistic explanation – that these thoughts about being locked in the wrong body actually mean you are locked in the wrong body – becomes a defense against deeper questions that require much more exploration, and people don’t want to go through that level of self-examination.”

Asked whether he feels he is putting his safety at risk by speaking out on this deeply controversial issue, Ablow told LifeSiteNews, “I take threats on my life seriously, and take some precautions.”  But he added, “I take some comfort in thinking that people who bluster over the internet are unlikely, statistically, to take action.” 

Ablow also worries for the “millions and millions of American children who are being told that they should wonder whether their gender will forever be fixed, when in my opinion, it is.”

“There are many well-meaning, well-credentialed psychiatrists who disagree, and I understand that,” Ablow added.  “But I don’t understand why they don’t understand me.  In other words, this should be open to further exploration.”

“The idea that if you suggest that, some people say you should die, and other people say you should not belong in the university, and that you should feel as though you have to choose between being ostracized and speaking your mind,” Ablow said, “is a tragedy.” 

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