A petition signed by 670 people has demanded that Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine publicly disavow the recent report by Dr. Paul McHugh and Dr. Lawrence Mayer that amounts to a “misguided, misinformed attack on LGBT communities.” The petition was signed by 264 alumni of Johns Hopkins institutions, 200 current students, 30 faculty members, and more than 100 staff, interns, residents and fellows.
The “special report,” which appeared in August in The New Atlantis, a conservative bioethics magazine, “falsely implies that children ‘are encouraged to become transgender’ and that young transgender children undergo medical interventions as part of affirming their gender identities,” says Tari Hanneman, director of the Health Equality Project at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in a blog for HRC.
Furthermore, the report contends that being LGBT is caused by childhood sexual abuse; LGBT people have inherent psychological difficulties; and sexual orientation is a choice and can be changed.
HRC asserts that neither McHugh, a former psychiatrist-in-chief at Hopkins Hospital nor Mayer, a biostatistician, has conducted original research on LGBT people and neither has ever written about sexual orientation or gender identity in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
“This misguided, misinformed attack on LGBT communities under the protection of the Hopkins name must stop,” the petition states. “McHugh is acting against the recommendations of the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association and, as such, is acting on his own personal agenda and not one rooted in evidence. McHugh is tarnishing Hopkins and causing significant harm to LGBT communities within Hopkins and beyond. McHugh’s actions are an embarrassment to those within Hopkins and who have trained here.”
While the 116-page report attacks the broader LGBT community, it specifically targets transgender individuals.
“McHugh’s history reflects particular animus toward transgender people, collaborating with an organization deemed a ‘hate group’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center and penning opinion articles mocking people who transition as ‘caricatures,’ ‘counterfeits,’ ‘impersonators,’ ‘confused’ and ‘mad,’” says Hanneman.
Mayer served as a $400-an-hour expert witness for defending North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law in a federal civil rights lawsuit.
“If Hopkins leadership ignore their community’s call to correct the record—clarifying that McHugh and Mayer’s opinions do not represent it, and that its healthcare services reflect the scientific consensus on LGBTQ health and well-being—its [HRC] Healthcare Equality Index score will be reduced substantially,” says Hanneman.