Media Release 1 Sep 2016
TRAPPED IN THE WRONG BODY’ NOT SUPPORTED BY SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
Family First NZ says that a major new report, just published in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that are being pushed in New Zealand schools and even some pre-schools regarding ‘gender identity’.
“The 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, documenting what scientific research shows, and concludes that some of the most frequently heard claims about gender identity are not supported by scientific evidence. For this reason, ‘gender identity’ ideology should not be freely promoted in our New Zealand schools,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“It also highlights that the current trend to allow students to choose their toilets, changing rooms, sports teams and bunkrooms on camps is problematic and does not consider the wellbeing of all students in the school.”
Key conclusions from the report are:
- The belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.
- Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behaviour will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.
The report is co-authored by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh. Mayer is a scholar-in-residence in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University. McHugh, whom the editor of The New Atlantis describes as “arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century,” is a professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was for 25 years the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The researchers say, “We are concerned by the increasing tendency toward encouraging children with gender identity issues to transition to their preferred gender through medical and then surgical procedures.” But as they note, “There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents.”
The report reviews rigorous research showing that “only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.” Policymakers should be concerned with how misguided school policies (such as the InsideOut programme in New Zealand) might encourage students to identify as girls when they are boys, and vice versa, and might result in prolonged difficulties. As the report notes, “There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behaviour should be encouraged to become transgender.”
Mayer and McHugh call for honest, rigorous, and dispassionate research to help better inform public discourse and, more importantly, sound medical practice.
“This is a timely and significant scientific report. ‘Transgender’ is an adult and ideological term. If a child is saying they are ‘transgender’, it is because someone has put that label on their gender dysphoria for them. Dr McHugh has previously said that gender dysphoria is not a problem of the body but the mind, and that “we psychiatrists would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia”,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“In the school setting, girls have a right to privacy, especially in situations where they feel particularly vulnerable, like a toilet, changing room or showers. But schools are being pressured in to accepting gender ideology by groups such as the Human Rights Commission and Rainbow Youth who try and tell schools and families that the so-called right of an individual to use the toilet and changing room and bunkroom that conforms to his or her ‘gender identity’ takes precedence over modesty and safety,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“It’s time that Ministry of Education placed priority on scientific evidence and sound medical practice, rather than bowing to ideology and special interest groups pushing an agenda.”