In the latest case of liberal-on-liberal friendly fire, CBS News and 60 Minutes found itself under the gun Sunday and Monday for the crime of engaging in actual, balanced journalism with longtime correspondent Lesley Stahl reporting on transgender people and how some who’ve changed their gender have had second thoughts.
GLAAD led the way in popping off with a seven-tweet thread expressing horror at Stahl’s “dangerous,” “ridiculous,” and “shameful segment fearmongering about trans youth.” The thread began this way:
To read the rest of this comical thread showing the intolerant left’s aversion to balance and journalism that is insufficiently partisan, click the screencap above. Chase Strangio – who was shown in Stahl’s piece as a “transgender influencer” — lashed out at CBS for having “run a story that is part of the anti-trans playbook” and caused “harm” to trans people that would be “dangerous” and “unaccountable.”
Stahl took a balanced approach by speaking with transgender advocates as Republican states are seek to ban youth from going through with the life-altering change before moving to those who’ve not only regretted their decision to go from male to female and vice versa, but some who realized they weren’t any happier or content in their lives.
Stahl started off with the pro-trans line lamenting this “new culture war” with states like Arkansas “pass[ing] a law prohibiting doctors from treating transgender youth with puberty blockers, testosterone, or estrogen, and surgery to assist their transitions.”
She then played interview clips with transgender Dr. Eric Anderson and American Academy of Pediatrics president Dr. Lee Savio Beers (click “expand”):
DR. ERIC ANDERSON: It’s a very ominous development. It’s a bad sign.
LESLEY STAHL [TO ANDERSON]: Have you ever seen anything like that before in your lifetime?
ANDERSON: No. No. And it’s a — it’s a clear overreach on the part of such legislatures. Clearly, they are demonstrating their ignorance and prejudice.
STAHL: At least six major medical associations have weighed in against these bills, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, of which Dr. Lee Savio Beers is the president. [TO SAVIO BEERS] I’m gonna read you something that was said in support of this law in Arkansas. One of the Republican senators said gender-affirming treatments are, “at best, experimental, and, at worst, a serious threat to a child’s welfare.”
DR. LEE SAVIO BEERS: These are not experimental treatments. They’re really based in scientific literature, they’re based in decades and decades of expert experience, and they’re backed by a number of major medical organizations.
STAHL: The field of transgender health care has grown rapidly. In 2007, there was one major youth gender clinic in the entire country. Today, there are at least 50. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health, WPATH, issues guidelines that currently say to get medical treatments like hormones or surgery: those under 18 should have parental consent and have seen a therapist; to get hormones, those over 18 can sign an informed consent form after an initial assessment, but for surgery they too need to have seen a therapist. Revised guidelines are expected by the end of this year. The process today is much easier than it used to be when patients who wanted to transition had to go through extensive therapy that many considered onerous and insulting. In some cases, doctors even tried to quote, cure them.
ANDERSON: There’s been a residue of trauma in the trans community. People tell the stories of feeling mistreated by the health care system that subjected them to all this extra scrutiny. So there’s been a reaction, which is, well, if we actually accept that trans people exist and — and deserve a right to be themselves and to have access to quality medical care, then let’s give it to them.
After showing Anderson with a 17-year-old patient who “started the transition process at the age of 13,” Stahl admirably questioned Anderson on the idea of having children as young as four make the decision despite having had those feelings for only a few months.
Anderson replied that the “formal diagnosis for gender dysphoria” has to “have existed for a minimum of six months,” but she would prefer it go longer.
This opened the door to what would be the middle portion of Stahl’s reporting with the reality that “[i]n some cases, patients are choosing to reverse the process” (or de-transition).
Stahl chronicled Grace Lindsky-Smith, who decided to become a man but immediately came to regret it (click “expand”):
STAHL: In her early 20s, Grace Lidinsky-Smith was seriously depressed and developed gender dysphoria. She began searching for answers in transgender communities on the internet.
LIDINSKY-SMITH: And when I saw them being so happy and excited about doing this wonderful, transformative process to really, like, become their true selves, I was like, have I considered that this could be my situation, too?
LIDINSKY-SMITH: I just had this sense that if I could inhabit life as, like, a trans man, as a man, then I wouldn’t feel so self-conscious. I was thinking that it would make me feel very free.
STAHL: Grace says she found a gender therapist on the internet and told her, “I’m thinking of transitioning.”
LIDINSKY-SMITH: She thought it all sounded pretty good.
STAHL [TO LIDINSKY-SMITH]: Did the therapist not question you about how deep the feeling was and what it was stemming from?
LIDINSKY-SMITH: She didn’t go — really go into what my gender dysphoria might’ve been stemming from. We only did a few sessions.
STAHL: Because she was over 18 and didn’t need parental consent, she says she merely signed an informed consent form at a clinic and got hormone shots.
STAHL: Just four months after she started testosterone, she says she was approved for a mastectomy, what’s called top surgery, that she told us was traumatic. [TO LIDINSKY-SMITH]: You know, I’m kinda surprised because, based on everything you’ve said up to now, I would’ve thought you’d have a great sense of relief.
LIDINSKY-SMITH: I started to have a really disturbing sense that like a part of my body was missing, almost a ghost limb feeling about being like, “there’s something that should be there.” And the feeling really surprised me, but it was really hard to deny.
STAHL: And so she de-transitioned by going off testosterone, and then went back to the clinic and, she says, complained to the doctor that the process didn’t follow the WPATH guidelines.
LIDINSKY-SMITH: I can’t believe that I transitioned and de-transitioned, including hormones and surgery, in the course of, like, less than one year. It’s completely crazy.
Stahl also spoke with former Boston Children’s Hospital psychologist Dr. Laura Edwards-Leeper, who said the rush to transition children “greatly concerns me” because “what is happening is unethical and irresponsible.”
Unsurprisingly, Edwards-Leeper said colleagues are “very scared to speak up because we’re afraid of not being seen as being affirming or being supportive of these young people or doing something to hurt the trans community.”
Stahl said “[t]here’s no confirmed number of de-transitioners” and while it’s “assumed to be small,” there’s a Reddit “support group with over 19,000 members worldwide” and, for this story, she and her team spoke with “30 de-transitioners.”
Appearing on a video call with four of them, a boy named Garrett spoke up about having felt little to no pushback as he began taking hormones after only two medical appointments.
Garrett and another teen named Daisy spoke about their regrets and how they felt even worse once they changed to become a woman and male, respectively (with the former having had his male genitals cut off) (click “expand”):
STAHL: For Daisy in Chicago, who says she started taking hormones at 18, everything was great in the beginning.
DAISY: After every step that you take, every milestone, feels like a million bucks. When I got top surgery, I was elated. When I changed my name, I was elated. But when everything that I had set out to do was done, I still felt incomplete.
STAHL: Garrett from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went from taking hormones to getting his testicles removed, he says, in just three months, whereas the current guidelines call for continuous use for a year. He later got a breast augmentation. But, instead of feeling more himself, he says he felt worse. [TO GARRETT] So more depressed after you transitioned than before?
GARRETT: I had never really been suicidal before until I had my breast augmentation and about a week afterwards I wanted to, like, actually kill myself. Like, I had a plan and I was gonna do it, but I just kept thinking about, like, my family to stop myself. It kind of felt like how am I ever going to feel normal again, like other guys now?
As she did at the beginning, Stahl closed with proponents of continuing to give children the ability to receive hormones and undergo surgeries, including with Anderson and Human Rights Campaign president Alfonso David (who cited crimes against trans people, but provided no evidence of whether such crimes were committed by fellow LGBTQ individuals).
So, for the crime of providing a balanced look at whether it’s a good idea for children in pre-K to change from male to female or female to male, Woke-O-Haram wants CBS News cancelled. How ludicrous indeed.