Jonathan Hoffman: Pima County should butt out of medical decisions | Local opinion


Much of the civil society has become political. Even the sciences are not immune. Climatology is an example of a hard science that has been overwhelmed by politics, and of course anything that has to do with sexuality — even pediatrics — is consumed by politics.

With that in mind, let us take a look at one aspect of the recent county ordinance passed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors, which restricts the treatment of children with gender dysphoria. The ordinance was passed 3-2, with Supervisors Ally Miller and Steve Christy voting against.

The new political narrative that has subsumed the science of pediatric medicine states that the psyche of the child is immutable, so if it is “non-conforming” with regard to the physical sex, then the physical sex must be modified to conform to the psyche — and of course all that is necessary to determine the nature of the psyche is to ask the child. Children as young as 4 have been asked questions regarding gender preferences.

Alas, the notion that a child’s gender identity is immutable has no basis in science. When we think immutable, we think genetics, when we think genetics, we look at identical twin surveys. As it turns out, surveys of transgender identical twins show that both of the twins are transgender only 28 percent of the time, while only one is transgender 72 percent of the time. If gender identity was in fact immutable (as in genetics), then both of the identical twins should be transgender very close to 100 percent of the time.

Another important thing that the political narrative overlooks is the fact that there is more to the difference between children and adults than size. Children are generally immature. Their bodies are developing, as are their psyches. They are incapable of adult judgement.

That is why it is inappropriate to ask a child, “Would you like to try a shot and a beer?” or “Would you like to sign this contract?” or “In your heart of hearts, do you feel like a male or a female?” Here’s a crazy idea, maybe it would be better to altogether avoid discussions relating to sexuality with pre-pubescent children, and discuss matters with the older ones with the understanding that they are not yet adults. After all, before the political narrative caught hold, these issues would many times resolve themselves after puberty. That is when the cake is baked.

A peer-reviewed article by Michelle A. Cretella, M.D. titled “Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate” provides detailed information on the current state of pediatrics in this regard.

Pima County declares that, “The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety, and well being of minors in Pima County.” If that is true, then why does the county not concern itself with pre-pubescent hormone therapy, puberty blockers and post-pubescent radical surgeries including double mastectomies instead of condemning the helping of children to align themselves with their respective physical realities?

I sought comments from each of the supervisors regarding their votes. Supervisor Steve Christy said, “I think the ordinance heads down a slippery and sloped pathway of interfering with parental rights and choice.” I read the ordinance again and found it very telling that no form of the word “parent” appeared anywhere in the text. Christy also expressed concern with the board “grandstanding on the national stage.”

Now, I understand that it’s helpful for elected officials to pander to their base every now and then, and who wants to be the last Democratic county in the country to pass such an ordinance, but is the sacrificing children on the altar of political correctness really representative of the people of Pima County?

Jonathan Hoffman has lived and worked in Tucson for 40 years. He has served on the Tucson Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee and on the board of the Pima Trails Association. Email him at tucsonsammy@gmail.com

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