The Wall Street Journal recently ran Abigail Shrier’s synopsis of her interview with Paul McHugh who, at 87, is still a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. McHugh is referenced frequently by those arguing for medical common sense in the transgender wars. According to Ms. Shrier, he’s “a tenacious skeptic of the crazes that periodically overtake his specialty.”
Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s Johns Hopkins Hospital was famous for its pioneer work doing sex reassignment surgery. In 1979, Dr. McHugh, as psychiatrist in chief there, shut down the Gender Identity Clinic, saying there was no way to predict who would be hurt by the surgery. He cited follow-up research that showed patients who had undergone sex change operations experienced no improvement in the psychological issues that had been the reason they’d had the surgery in the first place. Some patients, he says, became “suicidal and depressed and regretful.” He says the hospital had “wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it.”
Not surprisingly, this decision has now been reversed. The clinic reopened a couple of years ago as the Center for Transgender Health, calling its surgeries “gender affirming.”
Dr. McHugh told the Journal that he came into psychiatry believing that the field “had not matured into a clinical science in which rational practices are directed by information on the cases and mechanisms of the disorders.” He said, “Every other medical discipline has that.” He thinks psychiatry still lacks “organizing principles.”
Psychiatry has offered some grotesque treatments — think frontal lobotomies, shock therapy, and induced seizures. But, Dr. McHugh says of his field, “It really has helped demonstrate that mental illnesses are real things…that need to be studied, and can be treated.”
That’s not happening under the medical community’s current “gender affirmation” regime. Instead, we have the mutilation of humans, thousands of whom are children.