Salvo 02.29.2024 6 minutes

Integrity Blockers

Doctor stethoscope and rainbow flag icon symbol of LGBT pride

The trans problem is a collective action problem.

For doctors and healthcare workers, “gender-affirming care” has become an enormous and high-stakes purity test. The apparent “consensus” among medical establishmentarians is actually a fiction that relies on participants to outsource their own morality and submit to mid-level forced teaming. But recent events have shown that this façade may be starting to crack.

The famous Milgram experiment, in which participants were commanded by a supposed expert to administer what they thought were fatal electric shocks to a test subject, revealed the extent to which most people will hand over their ethical autonomy to self-appointed authorities. Something similar has been going on in hospitals and doctors’ offices, as all but a few silence their own reservations about the sterilization and surgical deformation of minors.

For Washington State therapist Tamara Pietzke, who worked for the MultiCare health system’s pediatric hospital, the affirm-or-else work environment became untenable. Amber Rolfe, a therapist who oversees MultiCare’s gender program, where Pietzke worked, served as her teacher in a real life reenactment of the Milgram experiment. Pietzke’s responded to her colleague’s requirement that she approve a client’s highly questionable request for gender medicine: “My professional judgment tells me that my patient’s problems did not arise because of gender and will not be resolved through hormone therapy.”

Decision makers like Amber Rolfe at the clinic management level have long been able to externalize the negative consequences of their policies by invoking the authority of 25 or so high-profile medical organizations. But many of these organizations in turn base their recommendations on the illegitimate so-called authority of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health, WPATH. WPATH, which has recently suffered a significant drop in membership (60 percent), is rapidly losing professional standing and credibility in light of its well-known bias and conflicts of interest. WPATH recently removed all age limits from its standards, and systematic reviews completed outside America showed by comparison it had also removed all caution. WPATH is thus increasingly seen as a false authority wielding unearned reputational cred.

Leaning on the shoddy WPATH edifice, Rolfe dismisses as politically motivated the many critical reviews done outside the States. Nonetheless, in countries where national healthcare requires a standard collection of health statistics, the resulting data is less politicized than in America. It is Rolfe’s own affirm-only stance that resembles a winner-takes all political push, moving gender questioning youth to the front of the line for all-cleared gender medicine: according to Leo Sapir at City Journal, “In a training session on ‘gender-affirming care’ she led a few weeks before receiving Pietzke’s e-mail, Rolfe had made it clear that therapists must always ‘affirm’ their client’s ‘gender identity.’” 

Pressure to Conform

This is not just happening in hospitals. A board certified doctor in emergency medicine with 30 years of experience was recently threatened with job loss for resisting the roll out of pronoun policies. This doctor also recognized telemedicine’s inadequacy for assessing critical hormone levels, writing: “Cross-sex hormone treatment is neither ‘simple’ nor ‘routine.’ It’s the province of a few ‘specialists’ and many grifters.” This is not just consumer-driven medicine, but fraud.

DEI is the human resource form of workplace coercion. For example, employees at the U.K.’s pre-eminent department store, John Lewis, were recently faced with what writer Gareth Roberts calls a “dominance display.” The department store published an in-house magazine, Identity, filled from cover to cover with overbearing LGBTQ+ advice and an obvious subtext: go along, or get out. The magazine, exposed by independent reporter James Esses, announced that “wearing a badge showing your pronouns can contribute to creating an inclusive and respectful environment.” Though doing so is not mandatory, it “serves as a powerful way to promote empathy, respect and understanding.” Esses elaborates: “Given that nobody would want to be labelled as disrespectful or unempathetic, it is easy to see how powerful this subtle peer pressure is.” Social pressure is harnessed as a blatant situational cue that compliance is mandatory.

Formerly, only those who were same-sex attracted got force teamed with LGBTQ+. Now it is the general workforce of large corporations and hospitals. For a company to capitalize on the relative vulnerability of employees, whose survival depends on participating in the labor force, screams of an ethics violation: “We’re in this together”—or else.

But the stakes go even higher than employment security. As midwife Lucy Leader observes, people need to believe in the legitimacy of some authority figure. But in our corrupt society, this programming is ever more damaging to everyone participating. A policy backed by vapid commercial interests and higher-ups conveys the veneer of authority, so that lower-level functionaries can ignore the consequences of affirming pronouns.

Yet, the workers—and the wider public generally—are increasingly tasked with carrying out the actual procedure of “affirmation,” and shouldering the actual costs. For instance, pronoun swapping involves a psychic reorientation that’s very hard to walk back. All who partake become responsible, even if they are only functionaries relative to the bigger gender medical program. As Leader writes, “Many adults (and even worse, children) are now placed in the position where we have to play pretend or chance losing our jobs, volunteer positions and our very communities and social networks.” Everyone is required to play-act.

Pulling Back the Curtain

Society as a whole has been stuck in a giant Milgram experiment. But we may yet be able to pry ourselves loose. More definitive evidence emerges daily that gender medicine is a sham. For instance, a British medical journal just published an “unusually comprehensive and rigorous study” showing that, as journalist Bernard Lane summarizes it, “‘gender-affirming’ hormonal and surgical interventions do not reduce the risk of suicide for transgender-identifying adolescents.”

Findings like these are why gender clinics rush to pull the bed curtain back around the patients receiving so-called affirming treatments. Otherwise, as Colin Wright asks, why would the hospital system where Pietzke worked repeat the pattern witnessed at other hospitals, scrambling to scrub information about their gender clinic?

Perhaps most tellingly, at the level of popular culture, Dr. Phil recently told Joe Rogan that schools are over-stepping their professional roles by practicing medical diagnosis and shepherding kids to clinics. Those with a wide reach are beginning to embody dissent and are willing to speak up alongside the common person against this zero-sum prisoner’s dilemma. Instead of acting from individualized self-interest, people are beginning to speak up together against illegitimate authority. This is the only way out of the cognitive dissonance everyone increasingly encounters: social solidarity is the key. Only by standing together can we break the spell.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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