A High School Girl’s Life After Transgender Students Join Her Sport

I’ll admit it, this article made me mad. Why? Probably because I have a daughter and could empathize with her and her parents hurt and anger. When does the medical community say enough is enough already? This topic is controversial but I mean no bias, disrespect, racism, nor hate towards any individual or group of people. Another article2 popped up the other day on a news feed and it made me think. As about to be a newly minted MD this month, and applying for psychiatry residency later this year, I figure I needed to be more clear on this subject as it is a topic I will undoubtedly face in the near future. I think the limited review on the topic I did do, raised more questions than gave answers. For one thing, discussion of this topic is politically charged and highly emotional which often blurs objectivity. Rational discussions rarely take place. I would like to think that Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital,2 would know what he is talking about. He states:

“that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.”

I suspect his position would disallow boys from entering girl’s sports. His position while seemingly politically incorrect, could be backed up by looking at other psychiatric disorders, right? Take for example a man who believes he is Jesus Christ and believes he the 2nd coming and the Messiah and all, he carries a bible in the subway and chants Proverbs intrusively to strangers. We label this man psychotic, diagnose him with schizophrenia and treat this mental disorder accordingly. Or the woman who believes she is infested by parasites with all objective evidence and workups negative, we diagnose with delusional disorder (delusional parasitosis) and treat accordingly. To me it seems legitimate to at least ask the question as to if we are in the same spectrum with transgenderism. There is a belief of something that objective evidence and science refutes. There is from what I’ve read3 a mismatch between ones assigned birth sex (genetics – XY, XX) and gender identification. But is the problem that the body didn’t follow the brain, or the brain didn’t follow the body, or did the body follow the genetics, and the brain didn’t, or was there some deep seated psychological trauma causing a flip-flop? Are we going down the wrong road treating with gender affirming therapies, genital altering surgeries, versus therapy for a mental disorder?3 Are we going down the wrong road allowing biological men to dominate in women’s sports?1,4 As for me, now I have more questions than answers, but at least I hope to be knowledgeable enough with tenants from different points of views to have logical and objective discussions. Regardless, I feel for this young girl and her dreams. Is it enough already, or do we live by political correctness?


  1. https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/05/06/8th-place-high-school-girls-speak-out-on-getting-beat-by-biological-boys/
  2. https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/johns-hopkins-psychiatrist-transgender-mental-disorder-sex-change
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5944396/
  4. https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/item/32180-transgender-athlete-breaks-women-s-powerlifting-records-prompting-criticism

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Robert Duprey MD

Robert is a 2nd career physician (MD); a combat Veteran with the US Army; a former psychiatric nurse practitioner; an independent researcher; a medical writer; and now having passed USMLE Steps 1, 2CK, 2CS, and 3, is a residency applicant. 

  5 comments for “A High School Girl’s Life After Transgender Students Join Her Sport

  1. Maddie
    May 22, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Is the concern due to the higher testosterone changing muscle mass. Before the olympic testing started didn’t some countries get in trouble for their athletics having higher testosterone/steroid levels? I know this type of testing would be a slippery slope. Who to test, what is too high, who is being singled out. I know there are women who naturally have higher testosterone levels.

  2. Bridget Reidy
    May 20, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    What gets to me is how anti feminist it is. Who is to say what it is to be a man or a woman? We know from anthropology that our cultural gender roles are cultural, and apparently quite flawed in our culture judging by the number who want to switch. I say abandon them!

    I’m not sure I’d fit my own notion of “woman” if I wasn’t raised like all girls in our culture to have a very difficult time figuring out how to be assertive without being judged as “bossy”, and then as we got older “bitchy”. How can a man decide he’s a woman, especially if he wasn’t socialized to have that quintessential problem? There are women who don’t think I fully experience what it’s like to be a woman in our culture because I’m big and tall so never get treated as a sex object or sexually harassed and I’ve never really feared being attacked. I honestly didn’t know how common all that was until the me too movement, so am I really a woman? I know being nurturing is not limited to females, and I’m getting less so every year now that patients don’t appreciate when I give extra and my kid is grown, so that can’t be the essential feature.

    We’d just gotten away from thousands of years of men deciding what women are and now we’re back at it. Why not just fight gender stereotyping kids and try to have a society where we don’t judge people by how they look?

  3. Randy
    May 18, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Thanks for writing this, Robert. I have a few observations.

    First, I’m not meaning to be critical but your links seem to be from pretty partisan sites, and pull in issues that are probably outside what I understand to be your main point. One of the dangers in discussing the transgender issue is that any criticism is often painted as hateful, transphobic, etc. I wish your sources were more even-handed, though I have to say there are darn few non-partisan sites out there.

    it’s been a while since I’ve been in medical school, but I was taught XX was female and XY was male. There are rare developmental problems and genetic abnormalities which I think deserve their own discussion, but I believe a person’s sex is still determined by their genetic makeup.

    I have a few transgender patients over the years, and while some seemed to be managing life pretty well, they all had significant problems with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Obviously that is anecdotal, but is really raises the issue of what is the chicken and what is the egg. Are the psychiatric issues the product of feeling that they are trapped in the wrong body, or is it the other way around? And yes I know that anxiety and depression are mood disorders and not normally associated with breaks from reality, my point is more that someone that is very troubled is not in the best position to be making major life decisions, and may be subject to skewed perceptions.

    That is doubly true with minors, who in my view don’t have the maturity to make decisions regarding “choosing” their gender, especially in considering hormonal or surgical therapy. Often I don’t think the medical community is doing these kids any favors.

  4. PW
    May 18, 2019 at 10:51 am

    I think we’re going down a very dangerous path here.

  5. Pat
    May 18, 2019 at 9:22 am

    I have one hell of a lot of bias against a particular group: I am very, very biased, irritated, and have no tolerance for the growing, frightening mob that insist that all things trans- are brave, awesome, beautiful, etc., particularly those physicians who join in the mob enabling.

    We do not cheer the anorexic who sees a 300-pounder in the mirror, we beg for them to get help, recognizing that their mental disorder is a threat to their life. Transgenderism may have genetic components as do other forms of mental illness, but we haven’t yet ceased describing depression, GAD, or schizophrenia as illnesses.

    No one is advocating cruelty toward those who have an obvious disconnect from objective reality. No one except those pushing trans- as just another lovely variation in the mosaic. And the cruelest of all are the doctors who engage in chemical, hormonal, and surgical mutilation to further the delusions of a patient in need of real help.

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