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Hopkins under fire for anti-LGBT report

Petition demands public disavowal

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Johns Hopkins, gay news, Washington Blade

The George Peabody Library of Johns Hopkins (Photo by Matthew Petroff; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

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.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Inkpen

    October 13, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Instead of throwing a temper tantrum, HRC could commission an independent scientific study to refute the report.

    • lnm3921

      October 13, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      Yes, but not as fun as taking a tantrum. If Donald Trump can take constant tantrums, why can’t everyone else?

      • Inkpen

        October 13, 2016 at 8:47 pm

        Huh?

  2. Leslie Gray

    October 13, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    It’s about time McHugh and his organ of misinformation got shut down.

    • dlampo

      October 14, 2016 at 11:14 am

      Got shut down? You sound like a fascist.

      • Leslie Gray

        October 14, 2016 at 5:27 pm

        The conservative religious community are the fascists, with their demands for special rights to be able to inflict their current fashion belief system on literally everyone else including people that are not of the same beliefs as they are.

        NO, I am not a fascist. I am merely tired of the lies, twisted truths and other intentional misinformation that the bigot Paul McHugh and his friends keep promoting. Johns Hopkins needs to have the fortitude to denounce a liar whose actions a damaging to both the reputation of that institution and causing serious harm to transgender people merely because McHugh is a fundamentalist catholic.

      • uhhuhh

        October 17, 2016 at 8:17 am

        You sound like the vacuous, gay Republican apologist for bigotry that you are.

        • dlampo

          October 18, 2016 at 2:57 pm

          I haven’t had a good laugh like that in a while. Too bad you’ve lost all capacity for rational thought, but thanks for your insights.

      • Katrina Rose

        October 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm

        “Got shut down? You sound like a fascist.”

        You sound like someone who believes Bernie Madoff and Enron should have been allowed to operate unimpeded.

        • dlampo

          October 18, 2016 at 2:55 pm

          Yep, that makes a lot of sense.

  3. LesbianTippingHabits

    October 14, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    McHugh and Mayer are also parsimonious tippers – only the wait staff knows for sure.

    Remember, tips are good karma. And karma never lies. Thank you.

  4. old married lady

    October 16, 2016 at 1:55 am

    This is not the first instance of a doctor associated with this hospital acting in a biased fashion toward sexual/gender minorities.JH was the origin of the tragic “twins study” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer . It’s time this sort of thing stops.

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Glenn Youngkin sworn in as Va. governor

Republican backed teacher who opposed trans student guidelines

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Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin at his swearing in in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 15, 2022 (YouTube screenshot)

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin took office on Saturday amid concerns that he will seek to curtail LGBTQ rights in the state.

“Today we gather not as individuals, not as Republicans and Democrats,” said Youngkin after his swearing in. “Today we gather as Virginians.”

Former Gov. Ralph Northam and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) are among those who attended the ceremony that took place at the State Capitol. Terry McAuliffe, who Youngkin defeated in the general election, did not attend because of a COVID-19 scare.

Youngkin during his campaign against McAuliffe expressed support for Tanner Cross, a gym teacher at a Leesburg elementary school who was suspended from his job after he spoke out against Virginia Department of Education guidelines that are designed to protect transgender and non-binary students. Youngkin has also said he does not support allowing trans children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

Youngkin on Thursday named Elizabeth Schultz, an anti-LGBTQ former member of the Fairfax County School Board, to his administration.

“We will remove politics from the classroom and focus on the essentials,” said Youngkin in his inaugural speech, without specifically mentioning LGBTQ students.

He added “parents should have a say in what is taught in schools.”

Youngkin has also expressed his opposition to marriage equality, but stressed it is “legally acceptable” in Virginia and would “support that” as governor.

Lieutenant Gov. Winsome Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares also took office on Saturday.

Winsome, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, is the first woman and first female of color elected lieutenant governor. Miyares, a former House member whose mother was born in Cuba, is Virginia’s first Latino attorney general.

Youngkin in his inaugural speech noted “the people of Virginia just elected the most diverse leadership” in the state’s history. Youngkin’s first executive order ends “the use of” so-called “critical race theory” (which is not taught in Virginia schools) and other “divisive concepts” in Virginia’s public schools.

The General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session began on Wednesday.

Republicans control the House by a 52-48 margin. Democrats have a 21-19 edge in the Virginia Senate.

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Va. school board names new chair who called for burning books

Kirk Twigg backed torching of materials with “sexually explicit” content

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(Screenshot via WUSA)

The Spotsylvania County School Board voted Monday to name Kirk Twigg, who advocated for burning books he deemed “sexually explicit” in November, as its new chair. 

His win gives conservatives the majority on the board as Republicans across the country continue an effort to ban books dealing with LGBTQ issues and racism from schools. 

Spotsylvania County has been involved in the controversy from the beginning, voting last year to remove books containing “sexually explicit” materials — only to rescind the order a week later.  

Monday’s board meeting, Twigg’s first as chair, would prove to be disorganized and, at times, unruly. 

Twigg’s first order of business was to call an unscheduled, closed-door session, which may have violated Virginia’s open meeting requirements. According to Virginia Code, a closed meeting cannot be called without a public body approving a motion that states the subject matter and the purpose of the meeting, as well as an applicable exemption from open meeting requirements.    

After the board returned from the closed-door session, Twigg said well-regarded Superintendent Dr. Scott Baker would be fired without cause. Baker had already announced he would be resigning at the end of the school year in December. 

After Baker decided to resign, a longtime Spotsylvania resident penned a letter in the Free Lance-Star, calling him “the finest superintendent, by far.”

“Dr. Baker is trusted and respected by parents, students and employees of Spotsylvania Schools; and he never lost sight of his mission for good reason,” it read. “He did so despite the noise and disruption from those few board members dedicated to bringing political disruption and dissidence into our public educational system. Shame on the few.”

As Twigg made the announcement, another member of the board interrupted him, saying: “Um, Mr. Twigg, no he is not. You need to make a motion — there needs to be a motion and a vote.”

Board members continued to speak over each other as conservative members attempted a vote. But Board Member Nicole Cole told the chairman she had comments. 

“I believe that the board members who have lodged this termination owe our citizens and our students of Spotsylvania County a justification for firing Dr. Baker,” said Cole. “You have not stated any justification or ability to fill the position. How is this good for the students, the children of Spotsylvania? How does this make sense?”

In a rebuke of the chaotic meeting, she added that Twigg “couldn’t even properly chair a meeting.”

After approximately 7 minutes of heated discussion where members from both sides got noticeably frustrated, the board voted 4-3 to fire Baker. 

Twigg, Lisa Phelps, April Gillespie and Rabih Abuismail, who also advocated for burning books, voted in favor. 

The Free Lance-Star reported that Baker was escorted from the building before the board returned from the second closed-door meeting. 

An emergency meeting has been scheduled for Friday to name an interim superintendent.

“It’s just very sad to hear that a superintendent who has been fully engaged in this community for 10 years is just let go with no rhyme or reason,” said Board Member Dawn Shelley, while noting Baker’s accomplishments. 

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Melissa Etheridge to host Heather Mizeur fundraiser

Virtual event to take place on Tuesday

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Heather Mizeur, left, with Melissa Etheridge. (Photo courtesy of Heather Mizeur)

Singer Melissa Etheridge next week will hold a virtual fundraiser for Heather Mizeur’s congressional campaign.

The fundraiser will take place on Tuesday at 8 p.m. with tickets starting at $50. Supporters who donate at least $250 will be able to speak with Etheridge and Mizeur in a private Zoom room.

Mizeur, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates who lives on the Eastern Shore with her wife, is running against anti-LGBTQ Republican Congressman Andy Harris in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District. Mizeur ran for Maryland governor in 2014.

Mizeur on Thursday noted to the Washington Blade that her congressional campaign has raised more than $1 million.

“It’s going really, really great,” said Mizeur.

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