by Tyler O’Neil
Dr. Rachel Levine, a man who identifies as a woman, urged doctors at state medical boards to pressure Big Tech to stifle “medical misinformation” right after he declared that there is no “scientific or medical dispute” about the benefits of using experimental drugs and surgeries to force male bodies to resemble female bodies or vice versa.
Levine, the assistant secretary of health at the federal Department of Health and Human Services, presented an extremely dubious worldview as the established position of science, and acted as though no rational person would dare dissent.
His worldview posits that many biological males are actually female and vice versa, and that these people are likely to commit suicide unless doctors pump them with drugs to delay puberty, introduce a hormone disease into their bodies, and perhaps even remove healthy body parts and reshape them into facsimiles of the opposite sex’s organs.
Levine, who graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine, said that any dispute about the value of such “treatments” constitutes dangerous “misinformation” that must be purged from social media.
His support for such digital censorship arguably amounts to a modern inquisition into suppressing heresy against the transgender worldview, dressed up in scientific language to appear professional.
Levine supported online censorship in a virtual address to the Federation of State Medical Boards in May in a speech about the COVID-19 pandemic. (The speech has attracted renewed attention online in the past few days.) After addressing medical misinformation related to the pandemic, Levine turned to “another area of substantial misinformation that is directly impacting health equity in our nation, and that is the health equity of sexual and gender minorities.”
“There is substantial misinformation about gender-affirming care for transgender and gender-diverse individuals,” he said. “We are in this nation facing an onslaught of anti-LGBTQI+ actions at the state levels across the United States, and they are dangerous to the public health. They target and politicize evidence-based treatments that should be considered the standard of care and actually aim to criminalize, criminalize medical providers, including physicians providing care to their patients.”
“The positive value of gender-affirming care for youth and adults is not in scientific or medical dispute,” Levine claimed. “So, we all need to work together to get our voices out in the front line, we need to get our voices in the public eye, and we know how effective our medical community can be talking to communities, whether it’s at town halls, schools, conversations with others, and we need to use our clinicians’ voice to collectively advocate for our tech companies to create a healthier, cleaner information environment.”
The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to The Daily Signal‘s request for comment on how Levine responds to criticism and whether he stands by his call for censorship.
Rather than explaining the kind of medical interventions Levine supports, he used the euphemism “gender-affirming care.” This term refers to various attempts to make a biologically male body resemble the body of a female or vice versa, in the pursuit of a nebulous “gender identity” that often—although not always—corresponds to the gender opposite that of a person’s biological sex.
For young children, it encompasses so-called puberty blockers such as Leuprorelin, which suppresses precocious puberty, but which is also used to perform “chemical castration” on violent sex offenders. For those entering puberty, it encompasses cross-sex hormones—estrogen for males and testosterone for females—in an attempt to change secondary sex characteristics. For some later teens and adults, it encompasses the removal or alteration of body parts—gonads, breast tissue, facial structure, and the Adam’s apple—in order to make males appear female or vice versa.
In an attempt to back up his claim, Levine cited a Feb. 25 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finding 60% lower odds of moderate or severe depression and 73% lower odds of suicidality among 104 youths between 13 and 20 who had received so-called puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones over a 12-month period.
Yet this study does not come close to proving Levine’s claim that experimental medical interventions are “not in scientific or medical dispute.” Although many national health organizations support “gender-affirming care,” the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine last month approved a new rule banning puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and transgender surgeries for minors.
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo had warned that the state “must do more to protect children from politics-based medicine. Otherwise, children and adolescents in our state will continue to face a substantial risk of long-term harm.”
“While some professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Endocrine Society, recommend these treatments for ‘gender-affirming’ care, the scientific evidence supporting these complex medical interventions is extraordinarily weak,” Ladapo wrote to the Florida Board of Medicine.
The Florida Department of Public Health determined in April that “systematic reviews on hormonal treatment for young people show a trend of low-quality evidence, small sample sizes, and medium to high risk of bias.” It cited an International Review of Psychiatry study stating that 80% of those seeking clinical care will lose their desire to identify with the opposite sex.
This trend extends far beyond Florida. Karolinska Hospital in Sweden announced in May 2021 that it would not prescribe hormonal treatments to minors under 16.
In June 2021, Finland released medical guidelines opposing such drugs for minors, noting: “Cross-sex identification in childhood, even in extreme cases, generally disappears during puberty.” The Finnish guidelines add, “The first-line treatment for gender dysphoria is psychosocial support and, as necessary, psychotherapy and treatment of possible comorbid psychiatric disorders.”
In April 2021, Britain’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence concluded that the evidence for using puberty-blocking drugs to treat young people is “very low” and that existing studies of the drugs were small and “subject to bias and confounding.”
Many people who mutilated their bodies in the pursuit of a transgender identity have spoken out against the “cult” that ensnared them.
“I’m a real, live 22-year-old woman, with a scarred chest and a broken voice, and five o’clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman. That’s my reality,” Cari Stella said in a disturbing YouTube video.
Other detransitioners have supported the states that have banned drugs that would stunt and potentially sterilize minors. “I believe every state needs to pass a law that protects our youth in this way,” Chloe Cole, a woman who desisted from a male gender identity, said about the Arkansas law.
Is it indeed “compassionate” to encourage an identity that is false to a person’s physical body? Would it be compassionate to tell an anorexic girl who wrongly thinks she is fat that she is right to starve herself? Would such a “treatment” for anorexia be right if major medical institutions endorsed it?
Surely, medical associations cannot be wrong, correct? History suggests they can be very wrong. “Progressive” scientists once endorsed eugenics and lobotomies as the height of medicine. The inventor of the lobotomy received a Nobel Prize, and many Nobel laureates supported eugenics.
It is not “misinformation” to question the value of “treatments” that will leave children stunted, scarred, and infertile, especially when such “care” aims to reverse the biological sex written in the DNA of every cell in a person’s body.
Yet Levine’s transgender worldview will not brook heresy, and he aims to enlist doctors to pressure Big Tech to silence anyone who would dare criticize his experimental “treatments.” Perhaps he’s terrified to hear that he himself might be misinformed.
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Tyler O’Neil is managing editor of The Daily Signal and the author of “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
Photo “Rachel Levine” by Governor Tom Wolf. CC BY 2.0.