Dr. Keith Ablow: Misinformer Of The Year On LGBT Issues
In 2011 Fox News’ Dr. Keith Ablow brought a toxic mix of homophobia and pseudoscientific anti-LGBT talking points to new lows. The “Fox News Medical A-Team” member has been a prolific source of anti-LGBT misinformation, disguising his animosity toward gay, lesbian and transgender people as expert commentary on human sexuality. His bigoted rants against J. Crew, Dancing with the Stars, and the Girl Scouts have earned widespread criticism and mockery, eventually causing him to resign from the American Psychiatric Association. For his consistent promotion of known falsehoods and shirking of established medical opinions on LGBT issues, Ablow has earned the title of LGBT Misinformer of the Year.
“Not A Man!”: Keith Ablow’s War Against Chaz Bono
Ablow: Chaz Bono Is A Woman Suffering From A “Psychotic Delusion.” In a May 17 FoxNews.com column – which was taken down shortly after being posted – Ablow criticized Chaz Bono for drawing attention to transgender issues, accusing him of suffering from a “psychotic delusion”:
Chaz Bono is not a man. She is a woman who has undergone radical surgeries and is taking male hormones in order to look like a man. That isn’t a political position, it’s a biological reality. [...]
[W]hile Chaz Bono may now feel that her journey toward self-acceptance has ended, I am not convinced. I say this because, absent the gender politics involved, I was taught to consider Chaz Bono’s contention that she is male as a psychotic delusion—a fixed and false belief.
Psychosis is not a predictor of long-term emotional well-being or stability.
Mind you, I am not judging Ms. Bono. But there is nothing substantially different from a woman believing she is a man than there is about a woman believing she is a CIA agent being followed by the KGB (when in reality, she is, say, a salesperson at J. Crew). [FoxNews.com, 5/17/11]
Ablow: Dancing With The Stars Will Turns Kids Transgender. In a September 1 column on FoxNews.com, Ablow warned parents not to let their children watch Chaz Bono on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, arguing that “gender dysphoria” could be “kindled” by watching a transgender person being celebrated on television:
I advise parents to not allow their children to watch the episodes in which Chaz appears. […]
The last thing vulnerable children and adolescents need, as they wrestle with the normal process of establishing their identities, is to watch a captive crowd in a studio audience applaud on cue for someone whose search for an identity culminated with the removal of her breasts, the injection of steroids and, perhaps one day soon, the fashioning of a make-shift phallus to replace her vagina. […]
It would be wrong to think that gender dysphoria cannot be kindled by celebrating those who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery. Human beings do model one another—in terms of emotion, thought and behavior. By broadcasting, applauding and mainstreaming the journey of a very disordered person who endured, and likely will continue to endure, real suffering based on extraordinarily deep psychological problems, we suggest that that journey is a smart—even heroic—one to take. [...]
Chaz Bono should not be applauded any more than someone who, tragically, believes that his species, rather than gender, is what is amiss and asks a plastic surgeon to build him a tail of flesh harvested from his abdomen. [FoxNews.com, 9/2/11]
Ablow: “Chaz Bono Is Not A Man!” On the September 9 edition of Fox Business Network’s America’s Nightly Scoreboard, Ablow said:
ABLOW: There are a lot of kids who will be watching. Look. Kids go through phases. Adolescents. There may be tomboys watching who are girls. They don't really need to be encouraged to say 'hey wait, wait a second. Maybe I'm not just a tomboy. Maybe I'm a boy!' Chaz, look at them applauding him with a standing ovation. Now look, this is a guy who has had a terrible run of things. An incredibly tortuous path and it's not over. So I don't like the idea that you'd suggest to adolescents and young people a surgical remedy at the plastic surgeon's office for a psychiatric condition! [...]
ABLOW: The emperor has no clothes. Chaz Bono is not a man. Alan, Chaz Bono is not a man! Newsflash... Test him. Go get the DNA my friend. I stand with reality. [Fox Business Network, America’s Nightly Scoreboard, 9/6/11]
Ablow: Transgender People Are Analogous To People Who Believe They Are Zebras. From the September 8 edition of Howard Stern’s SiriusXM program:
ABLOW: Here’s an analogy: If a person came to me tattooed as a zebra – Zebraman... go on TV, but if you want me to agree with you that you’re a zebra, well now you’re invading my reality... It’s dancing with a woman as a man. I'm not going to have my kids watch a show in which people pretend to be farm animals. [The Howard Stern Show, 9/8/11]
Ablow: APA Yielded To Political Pressure On Transgender Issues. On the September 14 edition of Fox News’ America Live, host Megyn Kelly confronted Ablow about his Bono comments, citing statements from the American Psychiatric Association condemning Ablow’s analysis. In response, Ablow said:
ABLOW: The DSM-5, the Working Group, you have to understand organized psychiatry has presided over the decimation of psychotherapy. That book that he’s involved with, our diagnostic manual, has spliced and diced the range of human experience into such sterile categories that they’ve yielded to political pressure throughout the years completely. [Fox News, America Live, 9/14/11]
Ablow: Transgender People Are “Exact Parallel” To Anorexics, Heroin Addicts. From the September 19 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:
ABLOW: We know, Bill, people model their behavior after one another. We wouldn’t invite people with anorexia to go on fashion shows and talk about how wonderful they feel now that they’re thinner and how they want more liposuction. This is an exact parallel. [...]
ABLOW: If that’s what you want, open the gates. Open up the DSM-4, our diagnostic manual in psychiatry, take the heroin-dependent people, put them on TV with their drug paraphernalia and have them speak about how happy they are. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 9/19/11]
Ablow Resigned From APA Over His Chaz Bono Comments. On the September 19 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, Ablow announced that he had resigned from the American Psychiatric Association in light of his Chaz Bono comments:
O’REILLY: Now you resigned, today, from the American Psychiatric Association because they disagree with you, correct?
ABLOW: Look, I’ve supported them, I’ve written books that explain psychiatric thinking on behalf of the American Psychiatric Press, one of my mentors was the president of the American Psychiatric Association, but the bottom line is when you have volume after volume coming out where they’re taking diagnoses out, putting new diagnoses in, what kind of medicine is this? A group that supports Obamacare. A group that can literally say, “Hey I’m not going to take your call doctor because there’s no evidence that watching this fellow on TV can hurt anyone.” Well guess what, there’s no evidence on the other side either. So no, I’m out. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 9/19/11]
Keith Ablow’s Campaign Against Transgender Acceptance
Ablow: J. Crew Ad Promotes “Psychological Sterilization.” In an April 11 FoxNews.com column, Ablow criticized a J. Crew advertisement for depicting J. Crew president Jenna Lyons painting her son’s toenails pink, writing:
Yeah, well, it may be fun and games now, Jenna, but at least put some money aside for psychotherapy for the kid—and maybe a little for others who’ll be affected by your “innocent” pleasure.
This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity—homogenizing males and females when the outcome of such “psychological sterilization” [my word choice] is not known. [...]
[E]ncouraging the choosing of gender identity, rather than suggesting our children become comfortable with the ones that they got at birth, can throw our species into real psychological turmoil—not to mention crowding operating rooms with procedures to grotesquely amputate body parts? Why not make race the next frontier? What would be so wrong with people deciding to tattoo themselves dark brown and claim African-American heritage? Why not bleach the skin of others so they can playact as Caucasians? [FoxNews.com, 4/11/11]
Ablow: J. Crew Ad is An “Attack On Masculinity.” On the April 12 edition of Fox Business Network’s America’s Nightly Scoreboard, Ablow said:
ABLOW: Gender distinctions have a place in society. If this woman wants to paint her son’s toenails pink, I guess we should have no objection to someone who’s male modeling a sundress in their catalogue. I think it’s a message she meant to send. It’s an attack on masculinity. [Fox Business Network, America’s Nightly Scoreboard, 4/12/11]
Ablow Misinforms About Treatment For Transgender Youth. On the October 18 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Ablow warned against providing hormone blockers to transgender youth, suggesting that not enough research had been done on how to treat transgender children:
ABLOW: It’s very tough to reverse course. And this has been written about. There are people who undergo these transformations, they may regret it later. But when you’re a boy, who, at three, is taken at his word, signing to his adoptive female parents, “I am a girl, too,” and you then are dressed as a girl and then you get hormone injections, it’s tough to reverse course even though they say “well, we’ll stop the estrogen when he’s 15 so he can decide.” Well, maybe.
I think it’s time. Here’s the thing. It’s time for the President’s Commission on Bioethical Concerns, just as with stem cells, to get involved here, summon the best minds from around the world to look at this issue, because the theory that people are born into the wrong bodies needs to be looked at scientifically. We need guidelines here for how to behave toward those young kids particularly who are at risk to be misinterpreted. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 10/18/11]
Ablow: Letting A Transgender Girl Into Girls Scouts Is A “Form Of Abuse.” In an October 28 article for FoxNews.com, Ablow expressed his opposition to the Girl Scouts’ decision to accept a transgender girl, calling it a “form of abuse”:
Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and part of Fox News' Medical A-Team -- while prefacing himself by saying, "I know a lot of experts will disagree with me" -- cautioned the Girl Scouts against welcoming boys who present themselves as girls until more data is available on any potential harm it could do.
“On the face of it, it seems to be expecting far too much psychologically of young girls to ignore the anatomy of a boy and act as though he is a girl," Ablow said. "The girls are just developing comfort with their own bodies, after all.”
He, too, called it a "form of abuse."
"This is all [putting] the cart before the horse. We're conducting social, cultural, sexual experiments on the fly, using our own kids as guinea pigs, without the necessary research to guide us," he said. [FoxNews.com, 10/28/11]
Keith Ablow’s Year Of Anti-Gay Pseudoscience
Ablow: Pedophilia, Homosexuality Are Both Sexual Orientations, Influenced By Environment. In an August 11 column for FoxNews.com , Ablow wrote:
[F]or many people, environment and social influences do indeed impact sexual desires and sexual behavior. [...]
[S]ome adult men who have unresolved issues connected to important females in their lives during childhood and adolescence will close the door (perhaps permanently) to intimacy with females and find their sexual drive directed out of necessity toward males. They may not be unhappy about this situation, but the outlet for their erotic drives might indeed have been based partly on the tenor and tone of their early relationships, not purely on their genetic makeup.
When a magazine publishes photos of a child which are intended to be erotic, and when many thousands of adult women purchase that magazine, thereby blessing its content, that normalizes the notion that children are appropriate objects of sexual fantasy. And it has the potential to encourage men who would otherwise never have expressed their unconscious sexual interests in children to actually act upon them. [...]
We humans are powerfully influenced by one another and by the cultural values and perspectives we promulgate. Those influences can impact sexuality so dramatically as to determine not only whether one acts upon sexual feelings toward men or women or children, but also whether one ever feels such desires at all. [Fox News, 8/11/11]
Ablow: Lesbian Parents Influenced Their Transgender Child To Identify As Female. While discussing a story about a transgender child that had chosen to go on hormone blockers, Ablow said:
ABLOW: What’s happening here? We have two women raising a child. He’s adopted. And he’s come to believe that he too is female. That argues for a complete psychological evaluation, not just of the boy, but of his parents as well to see whether psychological forces are at play here to make him say such things. We need to do away with stigma and look at this as scientists and really understand what’s happening -- not make it a cultural debate, but a scientific one. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 10/18/11]
Ablow: Lesbian Mom Trying To Project “Her Own Discomfort With Masculinity” Onto Her Son. In an October 26 column for FoxNews.com, Ablow responded to the news that J. Crew’s Lyons had begun dating a woman by writing:
I thought Lyons was promoting a cultural agenda at her son’s expense—and at the expense of all our sons whose masculinity was being downplayed. Why else would you pick that photograph, decide for Beckett that it was a really good one with which to brand him in the minds of millions, and make sure that his hair was long and wavy for the photo shoot? Why spend tens of thousands of dollars (or a hundred thousand or more) to distribute that particular photo of Beckett to millions of us? […]
If reports in the media, from the New York Post's Page Six, for example, are correct, Lyons is now divorcing her husband, is romantically involved with a woman and battling over how much of a settlement to give her husband, since she was the breadwinner in the family. […]
What it says is that my worry that Ms. Lyons might be expressing her own discomfort with masculinity and projecting it onto her son—and mine, and yours—seems to have been justified.
It says that Lyons does seem to have been promulgating her perspectives on gender roles having no value.
It says that she was, indeed, apparently using J. Crew—a brand so many of our kids gravitate toward— as her launching pad for a mini-campaign to change the way our kids think about their bodies and their gender identities. [FoxNews.com, 10/26/11]
Ablow: Benetton Ad Claims “Homosexual Sex... Would Lead To World Peace.” In a November 17 column for FoxNews.com, Ablow criticized a new ad campaign by Benetton featuring images of world religious and political leaders kissing, writing:
The only psychological interpretation of such ads that makes sense to me as a psychiatrist is that the corporate leaders at Benetton literally believe that homosexual sex between world leaders -- or at least homosexuality, as an orientation -- would lead to world peace. They have tipped their collective hands as a company and indicted marital fidelity, faith and heterosexuality, labeling them the real sources of hatred and suffering around the globe. In the collective mind of Benetton, if religious leaders and political figures would just have sex with one another all would be well.
Really. That is what they seem to think--or at least what they want our sons and daughters to think.
No matter, Benetton would have us believe, that we may have vast differences on human rights. No matter that we may have profound differences on religious tolerance. No matter that we may have fundamental differences on economic policies, respect for international law and child labor. All these non-issues will melt away with enough wet kisses between men who were once so backwards as to believe that ideas and ideals and knowledge of history and courage still mattered. No, Benettonians -- that new movement of homoerotic Utopians -- are telling us, homosexual sex is what matters -- and so much of it, in such unrestrained fashion as to unite men from democracies with men from dictatorships, Catholic and Muslim leaders, black men and white men. See, we had it all wrong talking about hearts and minds, about the Greatest Generation and lessons from history. We had it wrong elevating principle over pleasure and sacrifice over sexual gratification. We had it wrong thinking we could move the world forward while allowing men to be attracted to women. Our connections must be made man-to-man, with our tongues and genitals. That is the only road forward. [FoxNews.com, 11/17/11]