A “diagnosis” a physician can no longer make?

If you were to follow the trends on gender identity discussion you would be unsurprised to see this article in The Slate:
“Don’t Let the Doctor Do This to Your Newborn”

The author begins by portraying a physician taking a newborn away from a worried mother for a “procedure,” which turns out to be gender “assignment.” This physician, described as stern, masked, dismissive, knuckle-cracking, paternalistic, and judgmental, is charged with executing a “brutal” act within some “power structure.” It is essentially a charge of malpractice.

I am, unfortunately, not surprised that it is necessary today for a physician to justify what is blindingly obvious: calling a boy a boy and a girl a girl. The first step in helping to clarify reality is to refute the author’s narrative. I am usually not the first, second, nor even third person to declare the child’s gender. In the majority of pregnancies the mother and the ultrasound technician have already made the “diagnosis” in the second trimester. In the delivery room, I am often attending to the many details of delivery while observers such as family members and nurses declare the gender before I even notice.
But perhaps what is most instructive in this article is how well it exemplifies six devices of deception commonly used in modernity to undermine confidence in those aspects of society so long taken for granted that we have forgotten their quite logical origin and purpose:

1. Assigning false (and evil) motive;
2. Claiming that human actions can only be the result of collusion within some fantasized power structure instead of the logical result of human nature (that is, reality);
3. Turning a blind eye to the benefits of traditional social arrangements for human flourishing (while relying on a general inability of others to articulate them);
4. Claiming no harm in deviation from traditional social arrangements, perhaps out of willful ignorance that the very existence of society depends upon them;
5. Relying on lack of scrutiny of misleading terms;
6. Relying on hidden presuppositions that actually depend on a reality that disproves the existence of that which they try to describe.

Each of these provides ample basis for future blog discussions. Perhaps one must first decide if there is a reality that exists independent of our own design. If not, then it is pointless for a physician to make any diagnosis before checking with the patient to find out if he or she has already done so.

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Maureen Coffey
6 years ago

It is astonishing that despite the claims of Dr. Money and of Margaret Mead regarding the “volatility” of gender having been thoroughly refuted (and having caused a few suicides in the process) these false claims and based on them the denigration of anatomical, neurological or medical professionals can still continue. There once was a time when journalism was held to a higher standard.