[This is a series of arguments about the work of Jerry Leach.
You can also read my separate, thorough analysis of Leach.]
Leach's response to Dr. Milazzo is quite weak is you read it carefully, but Leach uses some poor tactics to make that difficult. His own response is actually extremely limited, just four paragraphs. Unfamiliar with block quotes, he confusingly switches back and forth between anonymous responders. Both he and his quotes use a ploy of throwing out so many varied and vaguely stated ideas most of which are unrelated to Dr. Milazzo's article. What the messy collection does not do is wrestle with Milazzo's actual critique, Leach's purported causes of transgenderism. She also touches on Leach's poor credentials and that a person who can stop acting on transgender-motivated activities is under remission, not healing.
I'll response to "Leach's" response in three sections, based on who is writing.
First, Leach throws out quotes of three people whom he has show Milazzo's article to. The first and third have nothing to say except that Milazzo is biased. True, anyone with an opinion is biased. So? Only the second quote means anything. Milazzo points out that Leach's causes of trans males are present in virtually all cisgender males and therefore cannot possibly be the cause of transgenderism. The second quoter does not argue the former opinion, only the latter. "Just because my lack of a father figure contributed largely to, if not directly responsible for my GID, does not mean that every boy without a Father figure will end up a transsexual. . . . A cough is a symptom of many illnesses. Just because one has a cough doesn't mean they have lung cancer." This metaphor is backwards.
The quoter implies that having bad parents doesn't make you everyone a transexual. In one case, everyone with single effect, a cough, has any of many possible causes, illnesses. In the other case, everyone with a single cause, bad parenting, has any of many possible effects, transgenderism, homosexuality, cisgender-ness, or heterosexuality. If you have the same same cause in the same situation, you get the same effect. Leach needs to show what the difference in cause and/or situation is between transgender and cisgender people. He implies the difference is everything Milazzo addresses, Milazzo shows those are not differences at all, and the quoter, and by extension Leach, does not argue with this point. It would appear Leach is backing down.Then the anonymous quoter speaks of Leach's credentials, partly harping the same anti-intellectualism of Leach and partly proposing that Leach's personal experience as transgender and his healing was an equivalent to an education. In some fields, experience is an adequate replacement for education, but not psychology. In fields you can see and touch, you know what's happening. In psychology, there's no guarantee you know what is happening. A mechanic doesn't need education she can open the hood and, with common knowledge, can see the problem and if making a change gets the car running, it's fixed. You cannot see inside a person and what the clients says is the problem may not be the problem. And, as Milazzo points out, just because a person stops acting like another gender doesn't mean they've lost that gender identity. You would never risk a surgeon without a degree or food that has not been approved just because they have had experience. If Leach doesn't believe this, why does he flash his M.Div. around like at the end of his response? Shouldn't his experience in ministry be just as good?
Considering Jerry Leach.
In the second and of three places to ever use research, the third I
will discuss in the chapter Intersex, he quotes at length an anonymous
and vague "medical research specialist." One can only be suspicious
that the "specialist" is kept anonymous and their real title hidden.
"[Y]ou could send him the e-mail you received from Dr. Zucker where
he says that "with GID persons it is just called therapy, NOT
reparative therapy."" "Reparative therapy" was coined by Elizabeth
Moberly and Joseph Nicolosi, both of whom Leach quotes and supports, to
mean therapy which repairs the old, wounded relationship with parents
to stop current homosexual attraction; Leach et al admittedly apply the
exact same technique to transexuality. While I cannot speak for a
private correspondence between them, Zucker thoroughly rejects this
entire theory so he is right to say that he, Zucker, does not perform
reparative. The "research specialist" has not done enough research to
(I am not clear why this person believes "reparative therapy" is an
insult. I only care that Leach does not realize whether or not he is in
that business.) Again, quoting the same "specialist" who quotes yet
another anonymous source:
In the case of transsexualism, there is no consensus amongst clinicians
about the effectiveness of psychological treatments but there is evidence
that, in a proportion at least, their perceived quality of life may be
improved by cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. (I
tracked the quote to the conservative, Christian journal
How does Leach not realize this is a stinging rebuke of his ideology? When he believes psychological treatment is completely effective and cosmetic and surgical treatment completely ineffective, this quote which is supposed to support him perfectly disagrees. In yet another quote (http://www.thieme-connect.com/ejournals/abstract/eced/doi/10.1055/s-2005-865900), the meaning is ambiguous. When reading the article, however, it clearly favors hormone treatment which Leach rails against. "In transsexual people, cross-sex hormone therapy is an important component of medical treatment. In male-to-female transsexuals, feminizing effects should be achieved before irreversible sex reassignment surgery (SRS) is considered." (http://www.thieme-connect.com/ejournals/abstract/eced/doi/10.1055/s-2005-865900) It goes on to describe dosages and the success trans people have had.
The anonymous person also blankly cites several more articles to support Leach. Of which I only fact checked a couple. One of these is a qualitative analysis of a cross dresser which concluds, "Pharmacotherapy with pimozide should be considered in cases of doubtful gender dysphoria.""Doubter gender dysphoria" is another reference that the medical community does not blindly recommend surgery for all people. Puri, B.K. & Singh, I. (1996) The Successful Treatment of the Gender Dysphoric: Patient with Pimozide. Aust. NZ.J. Psychiatry; June; 30 (3):422-425.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8839957?dopt=Abstract Another reference (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10929795&dopt=Abstract) demonstrates that gender dysphoria can be repressed, which critics interpret of Leach's "healing."One example is (http://home.surewest.net/drmilazzo/francie/therapy.html#_edn16) The article only reports instances as long as ten years, while Leach implies he has not acted out for twenty-five years. Thus this reference contradicts the permanent change Leach claims.
What is he thinking? I can only imagine: He never even read what he quoted, he is incapable of understanding the words, or he is hoping through the scientific sounding language that no one will notice he has no real scientific support. All of these possibilities are consistent with his "counseling" and all are examples of anti-intellectualism.
Elsewhere on the site Jerry mentions a research specialist named Mark who may be the same. I'll briefly run through other questions and objections of the "specialist."
how does one explain then the increasing numbers of former transsexuals who now claim to be recovered and free of the condition?
Where does the clam come from that this number is increasing? Milazzo already answered this: repression combined with known "waxing and waning" or transgender feelings combined with the fact that some who claim to be transexuals are only cross dressers which is easier is repress.
Dr. Kenneth Zucker, one of the world's most experienced researchers and clinicians in the area of GID, and currently the chief editor of the prestigious Archives of Sexual Behavior states: "Psychotherapy can be effective in treating transsexuals so that they eventually give up their desire for sex change, even if there was a biological predisposition for it."
Zucker deals with children and not adults. Leach deals with only adults and not children (so far as he has said). Therefore, Zucker's results is speaking about a different group of people. Further, Zucker does not use reparative therapy and does not promote reparative therapy for lesbians and gays so I am confident Zucker would not promote Leach's methods either. Further, Zucker results are highly suspect because most of his clients grow up to be homosexual. According to Leach, homosexuals have the same root issues as transexuals so I don't think Leach would believe Zucker's patients to be adequately healed.
Since Dr. M provides no direct references or credible supporting evidence for his terribly misinformed statements, and resorts to psychodynamic terminology, e.g.., accuses you of being a victim merely of ‘reaction-formation,' is unbelievable coming from a supposed professional.
I agree Milazzo should have used more references but she did use some. Remember, this is a general paper not meant for publication or anything fancy. But this brief article contains far more references than Leach's entire Flight toward Woman and he makes many more claims. The criticism is hypocritical. And ironically, Adult Gender Disorder Can Remit by Marks is referenced first by Milazzo, apparently not good enough for the specialist, but then the specialists uses the same reference to support Leach! The specialist does something else bizarre, discarding Milazzo's application of reaction-formation in Leach because she uses psychodynamic terminology. Maybe I'm missing something; I cannot understand why that's a bad thing. No further thought is given to reaction-formation.
[T]here is tremendous pressure from the social activists to politicize these things, and make statements about how Sex Change Surgery is THE ANSWER.
Both a red herring and a straw man. Milazzo never says SRS is the answer. If you browse the rest of her site, you'll see she does not believe this. The specialist then devotes five paragraphs to genetic determination. Milazzo never suggested genes determine or even influence identity, so chaulk up another red herring and straw man. "The Gene Illusion" the specialist uses in these five paragraphs is popular among the anti-psychiatrist movement and is not part of "mainstay psychotherapy." Chalk up another anti-intellectual idea.
[Dr. Milazzo writes] "[O]ne's core identity is known to
be permanently formed by early childhood ... many years of experience have
shown that therapy and medications cannot change one's gender identity..."
is so out of sync with the times in which we now live.
Yet Leach, in Flight from Woman p122, agrees that "this process of identifying oneself[sic] with one sex or the other is typically completed in the first three years of life." Again, Leach suggests his belief is so obvious he need not even back himself up.
The specialists quotes another ten or so references with brief statements only vaguely supporting him. I will not take the time or money to read and respond to every reference because
What's amusing about Leach here is that he brings up various trans people to gang up on Dr. Milazzo, as if Milazzo is an outsider and doesn't understand trans people.
Dr. M, we transsexuals together think you might better spend your time and energies seeking a more informed understanding of transgendered persons . . . Truly, the transgendered individual is among the most misunderstood and personally maligned minority in our world.
Also amusing is that after Leach et all have attacked her ruthlessly, he turns around into the compassionate counselor, "I want you to know that I am eager to come alongside of you in
your journey towards wholeness." What audacity! Leach, demonstrating his ineptitude, has nothing of consequence to say. Dr. Milazzo's attack on his causes for transexuality/transgenderism are never addressed. He continuously hammers that Dr. Milazzo is out of touch with modern science. No evidence, no references, just accusations.
Smear tactics are so common in our world today, aren't they?