Five Millimetres of Integrity blogger Kathy Shaidle is upset that she doesn’t have a column, but an actual journalist (who happens to have a transsexual history) does. Well cry me a river.
When we last saw Shaidle, I was sort of stating the obvious on this blog, that Ezra Levant and
Spin SunTV– along with Shaidle as a guest — were likely fishing for a complaint against them, for all the attention, seeming validation and sympathy that “victimhood” could bring the fledgling network. (Incidentally, they seem to have found a Montreal dancer who objects to a gotcha-style interview, and who they’re now making out to be “Big Brother”). “Trying to Offend…” was partly inspired by Shaidle’s fishing quip on Levant’s show that any human rights complaint dispute between a Muslim person and a gay man would be resolved in favour of Muslims because “none of the gay men I know know anything about bomb making.” Before that, Shaidle was railing on about “mentally ill castration fetishists” when Canada was considering including human beings who happen to be transsexual and / or transgender in human rights legislation. She revisited this phrase in her attack on journalist Jillian Page of the Montreal Gazette.
Shaidle is taking a page from Levant in believing that if you say something often enough (like, say, “mentally ill castration fetishists”), that’s all that’s needed to make it true. Which is a pretty cynical attitude to have, and says a lot about what she thinks about Canadian readers’ intelligence.
Of course, an actual journalist might care about what the American Medical Association says about transsexual people:
Whereas, An established body of medical research demonstrates the effectiveness and medical necessity of mental health care, hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery as forms of therapeutic treatment for many people diagnosed with GID; [vi]; and…
Whereas, Physicians treating persons with GID must be able to provide the correct treatment necessary for a patient in order to achieve genuine and lasting comfort with his or her gender, based on the person’s individual needs and medical history [viii]; and…
In fact, the AMA, the American Psychiatric Association, the Canadian Psychiatric Association and all other major medical authorities in North America point to six decades of research and study to show gender transition as a proven and effective solution for transsexual people, as opposed to the often tragic results of aversion-type therapies.
Instead of doing this homework, Shaidle points to the tragic story of Mike Penner / Christine Daniels as “evidence” that transition and affirmation can only lead to depression and suicide. When LA Weekly ran an poignant and in depth memorial for Penner, they discussed many things that possibly led to the sportswriter’s suicide, and being trans wasn’t one of them — although detransitioning likely was:
Although many issues were at play at this point, one stood out: Penner repeatedly told friends his return to a male lifestyle was a last-ditch effort to reunite with his wife in some way.
“I questioned whether or not there was any hope there, and I told Mike that, and Mike seemed intellectually to understand that,” LeCoe says. “It’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, nothing’s promised.’ But there was that hope that if Christine was gone and never coming back, then just maybe.
“There was at least a time when Mike would say, ‘I’d settle for being her close friend. I’ll settle for anything.’ ”
Penner’s byline returned to the L.A. Times in October 2008 without any public notification, and his divorce from Dillman became final on October 24. Penner and Dillman began to lunch together occasionally after that, but it was always awkward, LeCoe says.
Friends say Mike Penner 2.0 was sullen, visibly depressed and quiet, the opposite of Christine Daniels. And occasionally, there were mixed signals, like the time Diana suggested they go to a play in Malibu and Penner asked if maybe he ought to go as Christine. (He did not.)
At one point that fall, LeCoe accidentally called him “Christine,” then quickly apologized. “No, that’s okay,” Penner told her. “One of the best years of my life was spent being Christine. But I’m never going back.”
Late in 2008, Penner went back to Metropolitan Community Church. It was the last time the Rev. Thomas saw him. The two stole away for a brief, private chat after the service, and Penner surprised the pastor.
“He looked at me and he said, ‘Don’t you ever believe that I’ve given up being Christine,’ ” Thomas recalls. “I knew exactly what he meant. Everything about his body, everything about his fabric, everything that made him human was still screaming, that had been screaming for 40 years, that got to the point of Mike transitioning to Christine.
“But he hoped returning to Mike could possibly lead to reconciliation with Lisa. He loved Lisa, there was no doubt about it.”
Of course, it’s perfectly legal for Shaidle to spin the Penner / Daniels tragedy to reflect her opinion. Doing so merely demonstrates how totally lacking in empathy she is — and lacking in journalistic impartiality at the same time. But a real journalist might have been inclined to do some homework. Which might be why Kathy Shaidle still does not have a column.