“They’re experimenting on the body, and people are paying a huge, massively high price for these medical experimentations,” says Dr. Miriam Grossman, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and author of “You’re Teaching My Child What?”
In this two-part episode, we dive into the origins of gender ideology, why there is a growing push in America to teach even kindergarteners about gender and sexuality, and why many countries in Europe have started sounding alarm bells about “gender-affirming care.”
“We really have to ask questions here. We are sterilizing these individuals. We are giving them medical treatments that cause a long list of medical problems—cardiovascular problems, blood clots, heart attacks, cancers, kidney failure. We’re putting girls into menopause,” Grossman says.
“This is the so-called gender-affirming care that all the organizations and our Health and Human Services and President [Biden] are foisting on doctors like myself.”
Miriam Grossman, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Dr. Miriam Grossman:
So happy to be here, Jan. Thanks for having me.
Many of our viewers might be familiar with you from this recent film, “What is a Woman?” You seem to have a different perspective than many of the other experts. To start, I want to find out who is Miriam Grossman? What makes you tick? How did you come to your expertise?
I’m a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist. I’ve been working in psychiatry for almost 40 years. I was a psychiatrist for students at UCLA for 12 years. I became aware that many of the students that were ending up in my office due to depression or anxiety or insomnia were there as a result of the sexual decisions that they had made.
These were young people who were hooking up with strangers, with people that they hardly knew, and then dealing with their feelings about that later on, dealing with the possibility that they had a sexually transmitted infection or actually having been diagnosed with an STI, worrying about whether they may have HIV, worrying about being pregnant, or actually being pregnant and terminating the pregnancy either once or multiple times.
Now, mind you, my patients were very bright, accomplished, ambitious young people. UCLA accepts the top 2 to 3 per cent of all high school seniors in the state—very smart kids, and very well informed about so many issues. But on this particular issue, they were not well informed. For example, they had the idea that one can go out and be sexually active with just about anybody, whether you know their history or not, as long as you use a condom. It’s okay, you’ll be safe. Just go ahead, have a great time.
This is false information. Even with a condom, the protection against pregnancy and certain sexually transmitted infections is rather poor. And certainly there’s no protection against the emotional repercussions of engaging in intimate behavior with someone who you don’t know, and then you end up wanting to see them again, feeling some sort of attachment.
That person doesn’t even care to know your name or your phone number. This is misinformation, the idea that all types of sexual behavior put you at equal risk for infection, the idea that terminating a pregnancy and having an abortion is like getting your wisdom teeth removed.
I decided to dive into it and look at the history here. How did this all happen? I ended up writing two books. The first book was called, “Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student.” I explained how certain aspects of my profession, especially sexual health, were really no longer about protecting health. They were about ideology.
Then, I wrote a second book specifically about sex education and the history of sex education. That book is called, “You’re Teaching My Child What?” It’s mostly about the information that targets younger kids in the schools. That book was written in 2009.
There’s a chapter there called Gender Land in which I went into the topic of what is gender, and what ideas are being promoted to young children about their gender identity. I warned parents at that time that parents need to have their eyes opened about the ideology that exists in sex education. It’s a dangerous ideology that their kids and their families are going to pay a high price for.
In preparation for our interview, I read that chapter in your last book. The incredible thing about it was that a lot of what we’re talking about today, which in 2009 I had absolutely no idea about, was pretty much already baked in. Let’s start there. You say that there are dangerous ideas. What are these dangerous ideas?
You’re right, it was below the radar for nearly everybody. But there were a few people, brave, courageous individuals who brought a lot of this information to light. I do want to mention Dr. Judith Reisman, because she devoted her life to exposing Kinsey and the work of Kinsey. All of this started with Kinsey. She just passed away a year ago, and I want to acknowledge her work.
Regarding gender ideology, the person who came up with the theory was Dr. John Money. He came up with this idea that a person’s biology, their body, and their chromosomes is completely separate from their feeling of whether they are male or female. John Money was a troubled individual. He grew up in a home where his father was an alcoholic who had aggressive outbursts and would beat John and his mother. And so, John Money’s image of masculinity was that of a monster.
He wrote about how he was uncomfortable with his masculine identity and with his masculine genitals. He had what we would now call gender dysphoria. He came up with a theory in which he himself could feel better about being male. His theory was that, like I said, biology is completely separate from identity, and in fact, identity overrides biology. John Money had a prominent position at Johns Hopkins in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and he was part of a team that worked with what then used to be called kids who were hermaphrodites, now called intersex.
These are very, very rare individuals that are born with disorders of sexual development due to a medical condition. They either have abnormal chromosomes or abnormal endocrine disorders. Because of that, when they’re born, their genitalia are not distinctly male or female. For John Money, this was his specialty. John Money set out to prove his theory of gender identity to the world.
The perfect case showed up in his office in 1967, and it was a family from Canada. The parents were in their early ‘20s, a blue collar family, high school graduates. The mom had given birth to twin boys about a year-and-a-half earlier. Normal boys, no problem. These parents took the boys to be circumcised when they were about eight months old, and the boys names were Brian and Bruce. There was something wrong with the equipment that day, and there was a malfunction and Bruce’s penis was burnt off. It was just burned beyond recognition.
The parents took Bruce home. What were they going to do now? What in the world were they going to do? They turned to different doctors who gave them various advice. But finally, one day they were watching television, and Dr. Money was on television explaining how a boy could actually be raised as a girl if you started early enough in the boy’s life. A boy who has normal chromosomes, XY chromosomes, who’s born with normal genitalia, could conceivably be raised as a girl.
Remember, this was the time of stereotypes. Dr. Money was saying, “Dress the girl in pink dresses and give her dolls and give her a girl’s name. The boy will be perfectly fine as a girl.” And so, the parents were very excited about that. Let’s also remember that this was a relatively uneducated blue-collar family. In interviews that were done later with the parents, they explained how impressed they were with John Money.
John Money was the quintessential professor, sophisticated, worldly, well-spoken, and very convincing. They went down to Johns Hopkins to see Dr. Money and have a consultation. They thought that Dr. Money was the answer to their prayers. But as it turned out, they were the answer to Dr. Money’s prayers, because he was obviously for years searching for a case like this in which he would have two kids who are essentially clones of each other—identical twins with identical genetic endowments, an identical prenatal environment, and then both twins being raised in the same environment. So, this was just perfect.
Also, this was a time in which society was debating nature versus nurture. John Money’s hypothesis was that we are born with a blank slate in terms of gender. He told the parents that they must immediately change Bruce’s name to a girl’s name, put him in girls’ clothing, tell everybody that he’s a girl, and never, ever tell him the truth about his birth and what happened to him. Dr. Money said, “If you tell Brenda,” they ended up changing his name to Brenda, “if you tell her this whole thing, you’ll just sabotage this whole thing.”
Otherwise, he promised she would grow up to be a normal, healthy woman. She would not be fertile, but otherwise she would be normal and healthy and well-adjusted as a woman. So, they did that. He did recommend that Bruce be castrated, have his testicles removed, have his penis removed, and have a kind of elementary female genitalia constructed. He went through that surgery at Johns Hopkins. What happened to the twins? What happened to his family?
The family would travel down to see John Money once a year. During those visits, John Money would meet with the twins individually. He began to report in the literature that he was conducting this experiment. And he would report as the years went by, that the twins were doing great, and that Brenda was adjusting beautifully, that she never questioned anything about her identity, and that she was very feminine. She fit in with the rest of the girls. She was doing well at school and at home.
When the twins were about 10 years old, he published a larger report. In response to all of these reports that he was putting out about how well Brenda was doing, he was getting a huge amount of attention from both the professional and lay press. He had proven that his gender theory was correct. He had proven that whether you’re male or female all boils down to the environment that you’re raised in.
He was getting all kinds of awards. He got continuous funding from the NIH for 25 years, actually. His ideas about gender were institutionalized and immediately adopted within the entire field of medicine, mental health, and psychiatry, and outside of medicine as well, in child rearing and education and sociology and feminism. So, we didn’t hear anything else about the twins until 1999.
In 1999, Brenda came out and started to speak about what had happened. Brenda was no longer Brenda. Brenda was now David. The entire thing was a hoax. It was a hoax. So-called Brenda had not adjusted to this female identity that had been foisted on her at all. She or he—I’m going to say he—had always been very masculine and very aggressive, actually, with his mannerisms, the way he walked, and the way he talked. Kids would make fun of him and call him cavewoman.
He preferred his brother’s toys. He didn’t want to wear the dresses that his parents put him in. He would rip them off. He wanted rough and tumble play. He talked about wanting to be a car mechanic or a garbage man when he was in elementary school. So here, we’re being forced to return to these stereotypes. But in this case, in telling this story, it’s very important that even though the parents were following John Money’s instructions to the T, they were having huge problems with this kid. And the problems just continued to accumulate.
He even wanted to pee standing up. He wanted to learn how to shave. He would stand by as his brother would be watching his dad shave. His mom would be saying, “Brenda, I’m making cookies. Come join me in the kitchen and let’s make cookies together.” And Brenda-David, would say, “No, no, I want to watch Dad shaving.” This is all documented in the book by John Colapinto called, “As Nature Made Him: The Boy that Was Raised as a Girl.” It’s out of print, but you can still get it. It’s an unbelievably important book by John Colapinto.
What was going on with those yearly visits to Dr. Money was that the twins were very uncomfortable in John Money’s presence, because he was abusing them sexually by forcing them to undress, to get naked, and to act out different sexual positions. These were kids that he was doing this with. They were afraid to tell their parents. The parents had no idea this was going on. Eventually, the twins refused to go down anymore. That is why the family stopped going down when they were about 10 years old to see Dr. Money. The twins simply refused. They were being sexually abused.
Eventually, the family began to take David to a psychiatrist and a psychologist, and they told these professionals what the true history was. As David entered puberty, he realized that he was romantically attracted to girls. And he had been told all his life that he is a girl. That seems to have really been the final straw for him and he became suicidal. His therapist told the parents, “You have to tell the twins the truth.” Because this was affecting the whole family, it wasn’t just affecting Brenda-David. It was affecting his brother as well in a very big way.
In fact, it’s funny, as the twins later talked about it, it turned out that David-Brenda, was actually much more tough and assertive than his brother was. He would step in and beat kids up. Brenda, aka David, would beat kids up for beating up his brother. Anyway, the therapist told the parents, “You have to tell the kids.” So, one day the dad and the mom each took one of the twins and told them the truth. Years later, and you can see videos about this on YouTube about David recalling that moment in which he was told that he was born male. He says at that moment he felt such a sense of relief that he wasn’t crazy.
He had always been a boy, despite what everyone had told him. I’ve told this story so many times, Jan. And every time I tell it, I do get chills, which is what I have right now. Immediately on the spot, he made the decision to go back and live as a boy. He got a boy’s wardrobe, cut his hair, and took the name David. Why the name David, and why not go back to Bruce, which was his given name?
He took the name David, because he felt that until that point, he was fighting such a monster in his life, this monster of being led to believe that he’s something that he’s not by everyone around him, including Dr. Money. He identified with David fighting Goliath, and so he took the name David. He obviously stopped taking estrogen, and needed to have medical treatments and surgeries, which he went through, and needed to be put on male hormones. He eventually married a woman with two children. He was the janitor in a slaughterhouse, and he was father to these two adopted children.
It sounds like it had a good ending, but it did not at all having a good ending. What happened was that his brother Brian ended up overdosing. He became an addict and overdosed. With the impact of what he had gone through in his childhood with Dr. Money and with all the terrible things that had happened within the family, he paid a high price for that. And then, two years later, David committed suicide. He shot himself.
What can we take from this story? First of all, we have to acknowledge the unbelievable arrogance of a professional, high-standing academic, who was widely respected and accomplished. We have to acknowledge the arrogance that he had to exploit this family in order to hold them up as proof of his theory, and the immoral nature of obviously sexually abusing them, but also lying and creating this hoax in the psychological literature regarding the success of this experiment.
John Money was a very bad man. And yet, the entire industry, the entire gender ideology, and all these clinics and hospitals and gender education and the flags and this whole movement which has become a civil rights movement, basically, is entirely based on a concept that was never proven. In fact, the opposite was proven. This whole concept of having an identity as male or female being completely separate from your biology has actually been proven incorrect by John Money’s experiment. But because he was so successful in publicizing and promoting his fake results, and because his fake results were institutionalized and became academic doctrine within mental health and within sociology and all these other fields, that’s how we got to where we are now.
There have been a lot of studies that have been done in the realm of hormones, in the realm of behavior, and the intersection of these things that speak to the connection between biology and identity. I want to get you to briefly tell me what the scientific literature has to say about that, because we rarely hear about that.
At the time that John Money was promoting his gender theory, there was a belief that there was very little information on the Y chromosome. There was a belief that it was a genetic wasteland, that’s what it was called. The only information on the Y chromosome had to do with facial hair and genitalia and lower voice and things like that, and that otherwise it was empty. There was nothing there.
Since that time, we have mapped out the human genome. The Y chromosome is packed with information that’s unique to males. It has an impact on every single system in the body. We’re not just talking about the reproductive system or growing a beard or having a lower voice. We’re talking about the heart, the kidneys, the GI system, the brain, the immune system, and the list goes on and on. We now know that whether a person has two X’s, or an X and a Y, in just about every cell that has a nucleus in the body, that has an impact on their physiology on a cellular level, on an organ level, and on a physiology level.
There’s a new specialty within the field of medicine and it is called gender-specific medicine. It should be called sex-specific medicine, but that’s another issue. The word sex and gender have two completely different meanings, but they’re no being conflated. But anyway, this new specialty, gender-specific medicine, is focused on what I just explained, the importance of one’s chromosomes in terms of how every organ system works, and also in terms of pharmaceuticals, the development of new drugs, treatment for cancer, and treatment for women who have been badly burned that do worse than men. We know that certain cardiac arrhythmias are different in men and in women.
There’s a textbook that’s about this thick, called “Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine.” So you see, this is very important, as this gender ideology has grown and become so prominent. It’s to the point where the New York Times came out with a poll a few days ago, [inaudible] and they asked as a concept, “Do you believe that gender is a completely different thing than biology, than sex?” In the 65 and over group, I think it was 18 per cent that agreed. But in the 18 to 29 age group, 61 per cent of people do believe that gender is separate than sex, meaning, John Money’s theory. And trust me, if we were to ask the younger kids, if we were to ask the 10 to 18-year-olds, it would be 90 per cent.
So, John Money’s theory—which was proven incorrect and there has never been any other experiment that would uphold his theory—John Money’s theory is what a majority of young people now have been indoctrinated to believe, and I don’t use that word lightly. I use the word indoctrinated, because they’re being told these ideas, which are false, over and over and over again by people who are in positions of authority. And for a child to challenge their teacher, as if that’s really going to happen, right? Because little kids adore their teachers, and little kids trust their teachers, and they’re not going to challenge them.
But let’s say there is that sort of odd child that’s coming from a family where they’ve heard something different and they might stand up and say, “Oh, I learned from the Bible that God said, ‘Male and female, I created them.’ Well, what about that?” That child is going to be made to feel like an outsider. They’re going to be ostracized. They’re going to be told that they are transphobic or racist, or any one of those things, those slurs.
I don’t know of any child who wants to become an outcast at school. When I use the word indoctrinated, that’s what I’m speaking about—this idea of gender identity being separate from biology, and that one can choose one’s gender identity. And by the way, gender identity is not limited to male or female. It’s a spectrum. There are many different identities. This is all presented as truth, just the way kids might learn that the capital of California is Sacramento, and what is five squared.
They’re taught that those are facts. They are facts. They are told that gender is between the ears, and that sex is between the legs, and they are not related to each other. You may choose to go on a wonderful gender journey of exploring which sex you are, and which gender you are. Should you decide that you are another gender, then these options are open to you in terms of medical care. And the only option with that care, which we will speak about, is gender-affirming care, only gender affirmation.
This concept of gender-affirming care that you just mentioned is being presented as something there is scientific consensus around, and that this is the way to do things, because it has been determined scientifically. You’ve made the case that is absolutely not true. What is gender-affirming care? Please explain that briefly. And then, what is the consensus? Is there a consensus?
Gender-affirming care means that whatever the child comes up with in terms of their identity, no matter how old they are, or what other conditions they may suffer from, that is their identity, and we accept it. We affirm it, and we give them the treatment that they would like to get. If they’re feeling nervous about puberty starting, we give them blockers. If they would like to, after a few years of blockers, appear more as the opposite sex, we give them opposite sex hormones, and then the surgeries later on.
Children change their minds about all sorts of things all the time. Frankly, adults do too, actually. But children do, especially as they’re discovering themselves.
Of course. Of course they do, and especially in adolescence. Adolescent development is, in large part, a search for identity. “Who am I? Where do I fit in? What do I want to do in my future? What career am I going to pursue? What ethnicity am I?” Those are the kids who might be of mixed ethnicity. “What religion am I?” There’s a search to determine identity. “Who am I?” That’s a very central part of adolescence and young adulthood. It’s healthy to undergo that search and to go through it. But this is an altogether different kind of thing when we talk about gender identity.
Because with gender identity, we’re telling kids that they need to determine whether they’re male or female. We are proposing to young people that that’s actually something that can be dependent on feelings and inclinations and that it’s fluid. Our girls now are being led to believe that if they are not stereotypically female, they have to think about this. They might very well be boys, and they will fit in better with boys. Their life will be more consistent with their feelings and who they feel they are if they transition to being male, as if that’s even possible.
You’ll have to note again the manipulation of language and the Orwellian use of language when the term gender-affirming is used. They are experimenting on the body, and people are paying a massively high price for these medical experimentations. All of this is just so upside down. I feel, Jan, like I’m living in a parallel universe. One universe is the whole gender industry, which includes Washington, DC, and includes the president coming out not a long time ago, as well as his assistant director of Health and Human Services, Dr. Levine, coming out and instructing parents that if they have a child who is questioning their gender, then it’s crucial that, as soon as possible, they get them gender-affirming care and basically put them on the path toward medical interventions.
Almost all the professional organizations are on board with this—The American Academy of Pediatricians, the American Psychological Association, the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Association of Endocrinology. All these organizations have been captured by this ideology.
Let me jump in here. When I read the Gender Land chapter in your 2009 book, everything that we’re discussing here, including the biological basis for behavior and masculinity and femininity, as well as these medical interventions and gender-affirming care, all of that exists in 2009. But somehow it’s not a central thing in our society or in our social discourse. But today, it very much is. As you were saying, all these institutions, which are the key medical institutions in our country, are following this ostensibly false model. It’s hard to fathom how that’s even possible, given literature around the biology and those realities.
Okay. Until the ‘90s, we didn’t offer hormones and surgeries for transitioning into the other sex, unless you were an adult. This treatment was not at all available to kids, and typically it would be men in their 30s and 40s. When I went to medical school in the ’70s and ’80s, gender identity disorder or transsexualism was something that was considered to be very, very rare. It was something that we read about in the textbooks and didn’t really pay much attention to. And that includes my training in psychiatry and child psychiatry. I can’t recall one lecture ever on that subject.
What happened is that these individuals, these men that would transition to living as women in the ’90s and before, their mental health did not improve as much as was expected, as much as what was wanted, because they didn’t pass easily as women. They had gone through male puberty as male adolescents, and that masculinizes them both internally and externally. But let’s just focus now on the external.
Once a boy has gone through male puberty, his voice is permanently lowered. He has all the facial hair, body hair, bigger hands, taller, longer limbs, the muscle mass, and broader shoulders. All these things made it more difficult for individuals to then pass as women, even if they went on estrogen and went on anti-testosterone medication and had operations. So, they weren’t doing that well in terms of their mental health. They still had very high levels of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and actual suicides.
Doctors in Holland came up with the idea that if only these individuals could be identified at an early age before puberty, then they could be prevented from going through their puberty, and directed through female puberty instead, and then they would be able to pass much more easily when they were adults. Maybe their mental health would be better, and their risk of suicide would be better. That’s where all this came from.
Those researchers in Holland came up with the following plan, which is now called the Dutch Protocol. Their plan was that you have to identify kids at an early age who have experienced unhappiness and discomfort with their sex for many years, and who, as they start their same sex puberty, they get worse. So they’re allowed certain signs of puberty at the beginning of their puberty, and that heightens their discomfort with themselves. So, you can identify those kids.
They should not have mental health problems aside from their gender issues. They identified a small group, because it’s an unusual and a rare condition, or it was then, for a pre-pubescent child to suffer from their biological sex, and to insist that they are either the opposite sex or that they want to be the opposite sex and for that to persist over years. That was uncommon, and a rare condition. So clearly, it was difficult for them to assemble this group of kids, but they did do that.
In the end, they got 55 subjects, which is a small number of subjects to have. They took those kids, and I want to underscore something here, because this is very important. These subjects in the Dutch studies that became known as the Dutch Protocol were kids who had gender dysphoria as small children in elementary school, and not developing it as teenagers or as early adolescents the way that the kids are currently. They did not have other significant mental health issues. Those are two really important criteria that you need to keep in mind as I’m talking about this.
They took those kids and they put them on puberty blockers at age 12, and those puberty blockers had never been used before for that purpose. And to this day, puberty blockers are not licensed or FDA-approved in any country to be used with gender dysphoria. They are only approved for other uses. For example, there’s a condition called precocious puberty where kids who are five, six or seven years old begin to go through puberty, because they have abnormal hormonal levels and those are documented. It’s a medical condition, so it’s approved for that.
The Dutch in the ’90s took this group of kids and gave them puberty blockers at age 12. At age 16, they gave them opposite sex hormone, testosterone for the girls, and estrogen for the boys. And then, at 18, they made surgery available, if they chose to go through surgery. There were a lot of problems with this study that I’m not going to go into, but it’s well documented that there were a lot of issues with the way that this study was designed and conducted. For example, there was no control group.
They didn’t take another group of 50 kids who were presenting in the same way, and just allow them to go through normal adolescence and young adulthood and see how they turn out, and what happens to them. There are a lot of studies, there’s actually 11 studies on these type of kids in which we see that if we don’t give them medical and surgical options, and we simply allow them to go through regular puberty into young adulthood, the vast majority of them, around 80 per cent, that’s an average, some studies show around 90 per cent, their dysphoria with their bodies, and their unhap