Psychiatrist: There’s no such thing as a ‘transgendered’ person
In what may come as a shock to many, there’s no such thing as a transgendered person.
And that’s not just my view. Canadian psychiatrist, Dr Joseph Berger, made the statement when testifying to the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights earlier this year.
His point was that the whole desire was a figment of the imagination. No doubt this will stir up a few angry emotions, but as the eminently qualified and truthful doctor pointed out, this whole debate is not about scientific facts but feelings. We are dealing with people who are unhappy and wish that they were something else.
There’s a word for that and Dr Berger used it as well: delusion
His testimony is outlined below and can be found here (thanks to reader Catherine).
These are the comments presented by Dr. Berger to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, regarding Bill C 279
DR JOSEPH BERGER
I was asked to make a statement with reference to a bill C 279 that is under consideration. It appears to me that this bill requests that some special allowances or attitudes or possibly even ‘rights’ be given to people who identify themselves as being ‘transgendered’.
From a scientific perspective, let me clarify what ‘transgendered’ actually means. I am speaking now about the scientific perspective and not any political lobbying position that may be proposed by any group, medical or non medical.
‘Transgendered’ are people who claim that they really are or wish to be people of the sex opposite to which they were born as, or to which their chromosomal configuration attests.
Some times, some of these people have claimed that they are ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’ or alternatively ‘a man trapped in a woman’s body’. Scientifically, there is no such a thing. Therefore anyone who actually truly believes that notion, is by definition deluded, psychotic.
The medical treatment of delusions or psychosis is not by surgery.
On the other hand, if these people are asked to clarify exactly what they believe, that is to say do they truly believe whichever of those above propositions applies to them and they say ‘no’, they know that such a proposition is not true, but that they ‘feel’ it, then what we are talking about scientifically, is just unhappiness, and that unhappiness is being accompanied by a wish that leads some people into taking hormones that predominate in the other sex, and even having cosmetic surgery designed to make them ‘appear’ as if they are a person of the opposite sex.
The proper treatment of emotional unhappiness is not surgery.
Cosmetic surgery will not change the chromosomes of a human being. Cosmetic surgery will not make a man become a woman, capable of menstruating, ovulating, and having children. Cosmetic surgery will not make a woman into a man, capable of generating sperm that can unite with an egg or ovum from a woman and fertilize that egg to produce a human child.
These are the scientific facts.
There seems to me to be no medical or scientific reason to grant any special rights or considerations to people who are unhappy with the sex they were born into, or to people who wish to dress in the clothes of the opposite sex – which I believe is not illegal.
I have read the brief put forward by those advocating special rights, and I find nothing of scientific value in it. Words and phrases are used that have no objective scientific basis such as “the inner space”.
The committee examining these proposals should be aware that there are indeed some quite rare examples where the sex of a baby at birth is uncertain.
Two particular conditions are well recognized.
One is where the child is a boy, but the testes have not descended into the testicular sac, but remain somewhere ‘stuck’ in the abdomen. The other well recognized condition is where the child is a girl, but because of some abnormal hormonal levels as the baby was growing in the mother’s uterus, the clitoris of the baby girl is unusually large, and might at first be mistaken for a penis.
Both these conditions are now diagnosed earlier, chromosome testing to confirm the genetic sex is widely available. They should not nowadays lead to any confusion about the real sex of the baby.
Other than these and possibly even rarer abnormalities, the so called ‘confusion’ about their sexuality that a teenager or adult has is purely psychological.
As a psychiatrist, I see no reason for people who identify themselves in these ways to have any rights or privileges different from everyone else in Canada.
Dr Joseph Berger. Consulting Psychiatrist.
- Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
- Examiner from 1977-2005 for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the Board Examinations to become a Board Certified Psychiatrist.
- Past Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto.
- Past President, Ontario District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association.
- Representative for Ontario 2002-2010 to the Assembly (parliament) of the American Psychiatric Association.
- Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association.
- Author and Presenter, numerous medical and academic Papers at Conferences, Seminars, and in Medical Journals.
- Book Author “The Independent Medical Examination in Psychiatry”