BreakPoint: A Psychiatrist Who Defied the Transgender Movement


Chuck Colson

John Stonestreet: Two months ago, I introduced you to a leading psychiatrist who opposes the transgender movement. Chuck Colson told us about him 12 years ago. Stay tuned to BreakPoint.

Back in June I told you about renowned psychiatrist Paul McHugh. He’s won numerous international awards for his work, but he’s recently been labelled a hack by the transgender movement. Why? Because he once banned sex reassignment surgeries at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

He’s also publicized a study that shows a suicide rate 20 times higher than the general population for those who have undergone such surgery. And another that showed that up to 80 percent of children with transgender feelings simply outgrow them.

Well, Chuck told us about Dr. McHugh years ago on BreakPoint. Here’s Chuck:

Chuck Colson: You see them at night in big cities: men dressed up as women, complete with makeup, jewelry, and high heels. Despite their best efforts, it’s not a pretty sight. Nor is the sight of men who take a more drastic step: undergoing so-called sex-re-assignment surgery.

When these surgeries were first performed at Johns Hopkins University in the early seventies, one psychiatrist—Paul McHugh—started asking questions about the wisdom of this. After all, the outcomes were not women, but grotesque caricatures of them.

When McHugh became psychiatrist-in-chief in 1975, he decided to test the claim that men who underwent sex-change surgery were psychologically better off. He also wanted to study the outcomes of sex-reassignment surgeries performed on baby boys with ambiguous genitals.

So McHugh encouraged the research of a colleague, psychiatrist Jon Meyer, who was following up men who received sex-change operations. Meyer found that most of the patients he located did not regret their surgery. But in every other respect, McHugh writes, “they were little changed in their psychological condition. They had much the same problems with relationships, work, and emotions as before [the surgery].”  “I concluded,” he wrote, “that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness.” Wouldn’t it be better, he thought, to concentrate on fixing their minds instead of taking the far more drastic step of re-arranging their genitals? Thanks to the research of Meyer and others, it became possible to do just that—to make sense of the mental disorders that were driving the request for the surgeries.

McHugh then turned to the practice of sex-reassignment surgery for baby boys with ambiguous genitals. For years doctors had told parents that their child’s sexual identity would conform to environmental conditioning: They would happily grow up as girls.

But a study found exactly the opposite. These re-engineered boys endured “prolonged distress and misery.” When they discovered their true genetic heritage, most of them began to live as males.

Given that there’s no evidence that sex reassignment surgery helps either adults or children, why did doctors recommend it in the first place? The answer is that psychiatrists were enamored of the feminist theory that sexual identity was determined, not by biology, but by cultural conditioning. Psychiatrists went along with this despite the fact that animal research had long shown that male sexual behavior is directly derived from exposure to testosterone in utero. And so today, the transgendered movement is firmly protected by rigid codes of political correctness. You’re a bigot if you say that a person is made a certain way and can’t change his gender.

Well, thanks to this research Johns Hopkins no longer performs sex-reassignment surgeries. But trendy ideologies are being used to argue for a host of feminist causes—like women in combat. When you hear them, tell people about the psychiatrist who took on the ideologies and proved gender isn’t a preference or a choice. These psychiatrists found out indeed that human nature can’t be manipulated, that the Bible was right all along—we are made, male and female, in His image.


Editor’s note: This commentary first aired on June 5, 2005. Johns Hopkins University has recently, and tragically, resumed sex-reassignment surgeries.


A Psychiatrist Who Defied the Transgender Movement: Chuck Colson on Dr. Paul McHugh

As Christians, we need to be prepared to care for the victims of the culture’s confused gender ideology, bringing truth and restoration in the name of Christ. Read more about Dr. Paul McHugh’s work by clicking on the links in our “Resources” section.


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