A left-wing academic is breaking from her fellow progressives after she could not save her own autistic daughter — who has a functional age of nine — from getting swept up by the transgender ideology and then having her breasts amputated to “become a boy.”
“I am a lone voice in the academic and social work world speaking out against the [trensgender] transitioning of autistic people, what I feel to be both a crime against the disabled as well as their sterilization,” Dr. Kathleen Levinstein says. Her 19-year-old daughter is accepting massive testosterone injections to “grow a penis.”
Her authoritative and emotional opposition to the transgender movement’s willingness to recruit disabled kids has generated a backlash that threatens her accomplished career, her health and her savings for her impending retirement. It’s also earned her hate-mail and death threats, said Levinstein.
“My [autistic] daughter was wholly unprepared to make these decisions,” Levinstein told Breitbart News. Levinstein, a clinical social worker now teaching at the University of Michigan, said cutting off the breasts of someone who is incapable of making that decision is “medical torture.”
Dr. Paul McHugh, who headed the psychiatric department at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for many years, calls transgenderism a mental disorder that requires treatment, but not surgery. He compares transgenderism to the same mental condition in anorexics who may look into a mirror and see a fat person even though they are skeletal.
“I know … the tough spot of that fine woman and mother,” McHugh told Breitbart News about Levinstein. But, he added, “I’m not sure I’ve much to offer other than to encourage her … what’s really needed now is some organization of interested and concerned parents who want to look closely at all of the science concerning gender and identity.”
“Only a counter-force that is science-friendly — but not passionately advocating from poor science — will help turn this [transgender] craze around,” McHugh said.
The American College of Pediatrics has issued a report that calls “sex-change” in children a kind of child abuse. The group warns that forcing “a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex” on kids is dangerous for them, the ACP also insisted gender is a matter of concrete biological fact, not created feelings. “Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: ‘XY’ and ‘XX’ are genetic markers of health–not genetic markers of a disorder,” the group said in a March statement.
Many people are already speaking out against the federal government’s promotion of the transgender ideology. They protest in Washington State, in Vermont, North Carolina, Alaska and Florida. They include former transgenders, Target customers, school kids, constitutional experts, mothers, gays, feminists, diversity advocates, science journals, civil rights lawyers, and scientists — despite the media industry’s emotional support for the tiny percentage of transgender people, who comprise roughly one-in-2,400 of the nation’s adult population.
Levinstein is focused on protecting autistic kids from the transgender trend.
Her autistic daughter, whose mental age is now 11, is delighted to have facial hair, a beard and mustache — although she still gets her period, said Levinstein. If her daughter was interviewed about the surgery, she’d say she is “thrilled” with what has happened to her, Levinstein said.
Levinstein’s daughter’s double mastectomy took place a year ago and she is now on an aggressive regimen of additional testosterone. When the endocrinologist gave her daughter the first batch of testosterone, it came with 30 pages of warnings and said that the medical profession does not know of the long-term health risks associated with such a regimen. Her daughter also has Crohn’s disease and has been hospitalized several times for what she describes as “absorption issues” related to the testosterone.
The daughter was named Ruth — and is now called Ryan — declared herself to be lesbian some years ago. Levinstein said she was fine with that, “after all, that does not entail the mutilation of her body.” But the daughter then decided she could become a boy — and declared herself to be transgender.
Her daughter saw a “transgender boy” on a TV program called Degrassi and decided then and there she was no longer a lesbian, Levinstein said.
Shortly afterwards, at a meeting of the group called PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), she met other transgender teens, along with a “gender therapist.”
The “gender therapist” gave the go-ahead for her daughter’s “transition” after only two meetings, the mother said.
The American Psychological Association guidelines recommend a year-long evaluation before “sex-change” surgery. But in this case, the process was fast-tracked because, Levinstein insists, the therapist and doctor knew the $30,000 process would be funded by her family’s medical insurance, provided by the mother’s employer, the University of Michigan.
“I never believed she would be okayed for surgery given her history” of autism, said Levinstein, who knows about proper psychological evaluations as she has performed them professionally for 40 years.
My child was diagnosed [as autistic] at age two and has been in special education her entire life. She has Sotos syndrome, one of the 250 syndromes that cause autism. I have a great deal of documentation, hundreds of pages of [Individualized Education Program reports], child study team evaluations, psychiatric and psychological evaluations as well as a decade of therapeutic notes from the New Jersey therapist, none of which were reviewed by the gender therapist.
But her daughter’s “gender therapist” did not even look at her medical history, Levinstein said.
“This gender specialist never reviewed any of the Special Ed records or spoke to my daughter’s previous therapist, who had known her for a decade. And, crucially, she never asked my daughter, ‘Might you be a lesbian?’” Levinstein wrote at 4thWaveNow, which is a blog critical of the transgender ideology.
Levinstein refuses to reveal the names of either the “gender specialist” or the doctor who amputated her daughter’s breasts, because she is desperately afraid of a lawsuit that would destroy her family and her own delicate health.
She and her husband legally emancipated their autistic daughter before she was a legal adult because they’re afraid she will be institutionalized after their death. For example, the Social Security Administration has advised the parents that their daughter is not able to handle her own Social Security check.
So she’s doing what she can to raise a public alarm about “sex change” surgery and about how autistic kids are easily influenced to believe they are another sex.
Levinstein describes herself as politically left-of-center. But she has come to the conclusion that the eagerness to diagnose autistic children as transgenders is dubious and dangerous.
Transgenderism may exist but “we really don’t know enough about it,” she said. Most of the people with transgender issues have “sensory problems” and that parents and professionals are too eager to label tomboys and effeminate boys as transgender, she said, adding;
I do believe that there is an overlap with the autistic and transgender populations. Some studies show a higher level of testosterone in autistic human beings. For males a high enough level of testosterone converts to estrogen. This may explain the large number of Autistic people of both sexes claiming that they are transgender.
“Someone should be investigating the whole profession of ‘gender therapy’” she told Breitbart News.
Levinstein says she has come under sustained and threatening criticism after coming out as a critic of transgender ideology.
In general, the transgender ideology says government should push every American to validate every person’s choice of created “gender identity,” even though a surgically modified woman who wants to be a man is still a woman by every known scientific measure of evolutionary life.
The ideology’s claim that the government must enforce a new right to “gender identity” means that the governments must ignore and often dismantle many civic rules that evolved to help the two distinct sexes — men and boys, women and girls — meet their legally equal, but different and complementary, needs. For example, the transgender ideological demand means that single-sex bathrooms and locker rooms must opened up to people of the opposite sex, regardless of age, and without any verification of created “gender identity.”
But the ideology has intense support from the tiny percentage of Americans who wish to live as members of the other sex. It also has strong support from progressives who believe each person should be allowed to shuck off social expectations. That political support for transgenderism adds to Levinstein’s worries about her daughter.
“Women who publicly question [transgenderism] receive death threats, threats to rape us and our children, burn us to death with gasoline, decapitate us, and so on,” she said. “This all coming from people who claim they are our ‘sisters.'”