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The Impact of Gender Ideology on Children and Society

The Conclusion of a Conversation with Beth Bourne
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Editor’s Note: We hope you enjoy the video above. If you’d rather just listen to the podcast, click the button below to Apple Podcasts: The Common Bridge. It is also available on all other podcast platforms. We have included the transcript to this program below. We offer this program in it’s entirety to our paid subscribers, and welcome all to subscribe below.

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Editor’s Note- This is the conclusion of a two-part conversation with Beth Bourne. Refer to Episode 241 to listen to part one.


Beth Bourne  

When she brought it up, I had not looked up the term but what it is, it's just moving around...you know how women tend to have more weight or fatty tissue on their hips or muffin top or on your thighs? To look more masculine, they would just take some of that extra fatty tissue and maybe they could put it in your pecs or your calf muscles. This is part of the problem though, once you start the surgeries - I heard from some patients at Kaiser, because I went on to some of these workshops - they do multiple surgeries; they do the mastectomy, they do the hysterectomy, they might even do a phallus surgery, or facial surgeries. For the men, it's really common to have their Adam's apple removed or shaved down. But still the problem is you still might feel like you don't pass for the opposite sex. If your hands are really small as a woman or your hips are wide or you're only 5'-3" you're probably still not going to feel satisfied. You're going to keep going in for more and more surgeries. And that's the part that they never brought up to me; they never brought up, hey, you're only 125 pounds, you're only 5'-4". You know what, we could give you a fake phallus but you still might not pass because everything about you still looks like a woman no matter how short you cut your hair.

Richard Helppie  

If you presented as someone that has gender dysphoria - if I'm understanding that - and they're now recommending hormone treatment and they're recommending surgeries, were you told this will cure your gender dysphoria?

Beth Bourne  

The term they like to use is, we're here to help you reach your goals. They even said, we don't want to be seen as gatekeepers, we want to help you become your authentic self. They compliment you, they say, this is so brave of you, I'm not sure the word was brave but it's very much of like praise for you to be here asking for these things and advocating for yourself.

Richard Helppie  

We're going to come back to that gatekeeper comment. I've got some experience - and I'm not a clinical person, but I've worked for a lot of different hospitals, including Kaiser - the notion of gatekeeper is that you want to have appropriate and effective care. Insurance companies, all the time, prior to a procedure and after the procedure, they want to know was it appropriate for the diagnosis and did it work, because their intention is, hey, we're not paying for it. And the physicians and other caregivers have the Hippocratic oath to say do no harm. An extreme example:  if I went over to the University of Michigan this afternoon and said, I want you to cut my left arm off, they know how to do that, right? I'm sure there's a guy in there that knows how to do that - that's a gender neutral term by the way, here in the Midwest "guy" -  I'm sure the doctor would say, we're not going to do that, that's going to harm you. I can't imagine my insurance company saying, oh, yeah, we approve that procedure. But what you're telling me, Beth, is - it's almost so bizarre to be true - that Kaiser said to you, hey, we don't want to stop you from doing this, we want to encourage this. But what was the malady they were curing? Did they say you're going to feel better mentally and physically after you've had this? And how long was the process before you were offered hormones and surgeries and the like?

Beth Bourne  

Well, just to go back to that, and I strongly advise anybody who wants to learn more about this medical side of it - and this will take you five minutes - just go on to Kaiser's website and ask Kaiser, gender dysphoria, what are the symptoms, how do you diagnose it, and how is it treated? I have the handout here in front of me; the symptoms of being gender dysphoric are just that you're uncomfortable with a part of your body and it doesn't match your gender identity, that you're anxious or depressed, or that you're stressed. The definition is something that, by this definition, I've been gender dysphoric my entire life, because I didn't like having big breasts when I was 12 or 13 years old running around the track. I didn't like the way my hips look, and most women are anxious and stressed. So everybody, I think, could fit the category of gender dysphoria. Then the way you diagnose it is, it just says, all you need to do is talk to your doctor and tell them that you feel upset about your gender identity. So that's it, that's how it's diagnosed; you tell a doctor. They kind of lay it out for you here, that you don't believe your body, it makes you feel comfortable with your gender. And then the way it's treated, they just give the list of all the procedures and the drugs that they can do.

Richard Helppie  

But isn't there something in there about mental health and emotional condition? There have been two studies where the correlation with autism and misdiagnosed gender dysmorphia, statistically they are joined; that there's other mental and emotional...there had to be some screening, I mean, didn't they screen you for mental trauma or anything to say, well, wait a minute, let's make sure we know what we're dealing with here?

Beth Bourne  

That's just it, that's why I brought up the red flags. I brought up the red flags of having an eating disorder - and these are all true - when I was in college I was a distance runner in college, anorexia, and bulimia was rampant in my running club. I also had some eating disorders. I asked, could that be a red flag, that I've always felt uncomfortable with the way I look and maybe that's why I want to change. And they said, no, no, no, don't worry. Then when I brought up that my mother had had some mental illness in her 50s as well, and had a body dysmorphia with...she thought she had some cancerous lymph nodes. Anyway, the doctors were not willing to operate on her. She got some wonderful mental health treatment instead. But when I brought that up to Kaiser in the mental health assessment, they tried to say no, no. Though they did acknowledge that having body dysmorphia in your family could be hereditary, they said, no, that's not the case with you, in your mother's case there wasn't really cancerous lymph nodes but in your case, you just want your breasts removed - they didn't say breasts, they said, your "chest tissue,"- we know you have chest tissue and we know you want it removed so what you're doing is logical. Then the last issue I brought up was, that I had been sexually assaulted growing up, which, like a quarter of girls will have some kind of sexual assault when they're growing up. In my case, I grew up overseas, in Mexico City so I was on the metro and the subways as a kid and you get groped a lot by men. That's a big issue anywhere you have tight public transportation. So I brought that up as maybe a reason I'm uncomfortable in my woman body is because I was sexually assaulted. Again, the Kaiser gender specialist said no, no, that's not a concern, we'll just make sure, when you go to meet with the surgeon to have your top surgery done, we'll just be aware that you've been sexually assaulted. That's how we're going to deal with it, we're just going to put a note in your record. There was nothing I could do to try to get them to give me what I would have seen as mental health services that I really needed, right? They never suggested, hey, why don't you first do some therapy. They rushed it all within four months; I was given an appointment to actually have the surgery done. All of the visits for my top surgery, my mastectomy, were all done online. It's all telemedicine. When I met with the surgeon, she just had me lift up my shirt with no bra on so she could see how the surgery would go. And then she asked me, do you want...where do you want the nipples placed after we remove the breasts? Do you want to have them grafted back on or we could use tattoos to put them back on.

Richard Helppie  

So you never were in the same exam room with a physician, nobody saw you in 3-D, they're planning your surgery just like you and I are having this call today, three time zones away, and they're going to do an irreversible, life changing surgery. I am astonished. I've had friends bankrupted or near bankrupted for tragic cases that they didn't choose - breast cancer, ovarian cancer - did they talk to you about what this was going to cost you? 

Beth Bourne  

Well, that's the other thing too. I learned, during this conversation, that these top surgeries have become so popular within the Sacramento area that they'd hired four new plastic surgeons. This is in my little area here in Sacramento, there's this great demand such that they're hiring new plastic surgeons to do these. Then I also learned that the reason why plastic surgeons want to do these top surgeries is because when they're doing a procedure on a woman who's had breast cancer, they have to get out all that cancerous tissue so they have to be very careful and then they also usually have to put in some kind of breast implant, but if you're somebody who's going in for top surgery, they can just fit you in their calendar with a cancellation because they don't have to worry about any cancerous tissue, they can just chop, and then you're not asking to have any kind of implants so it's just stitching up. But also, Kaiser, they were excited to tell me that it's only $100 co-pay for the surgery. It's $100 because it's outpatient. That means a procedure - the Kaiser surgeon, they're going to make $10,000-$15,000 off of it - is only costing me $100 because all of the other members of Kaiser are paying for it. Kaiser is an insurer and they're also the provider, as an HMO. Then for the phalloplasty, they told me it was only $200 because it's three days of overnight stay at a hospital. With my insurance, it would only be $200. And the phalloplasty for the surgeon, $100,000 is what it costs to do.

Richard Helppie  

I'm trying to think if that's a male privilege that it cost you $200 to have a penis added and only $100 dollars to take your breasts off. [Laughter.] What did they tell you about the phalloplasty? How were they going to do that? How would this new penis look and how functional would it be? What did they tell you about that?

Beth Bourne  

Hey, real quickly, going back to the top surgery, my good friend down in Southern California, she wanted breast reduction. She's my age and she's had three kids and larger breasts and she had to push so hard with her doctors to call it medically necessary so she didn't have to pay the $10,000 to have just her breasts reduced to size from an E to C cup. But for me at Kaiser all I had to do is say this is it, I'm non-binary or transgender and they just say immediately, well, it's medically necessary then. That's another question, why? Why is it so hard to have your breasts reduced in size when you have a bad back? Are you a real medical need versus this mental need where your brain doesn't match your body? Okay, so for the phalloplasty - and this was really shocking to me - I was told I was going to need to be on the testosterone for 11 months and I pushed back and said, really, I have to be on testosterone for 11 months? I want to have my phalloplasty sooner than that. I want to have my top match my bottom, and Kaiser, they said, we'll talk with our specialists in San Francisco, that's where the surgeon is and we'll see if they'll make an exception. And they did. They gave me approval for a phalloplasty within four months. I didn't really know much about what this surgery means; I learned a lot. One of the first appointments - there are only two appointments for mental health - the first appointment they asked me what are my goals for having this phalloplasty done, and I just said I want to have a penis and be able to stand when I go pee; I gave some some reasons why; none of them made sense and I wasn't worried about that, right, because I'd already learned from the top surgery...I didn't know what their incentive is to approve everything but they do. I don't think there's anything you could say to not get approved for these surgeries. This is the decision chart for having your phalloplasty done - I kind of wrote all over it - but these three little circles that you choose from when you're making a decision about your lower surgery - this is included in my article, this is one of the slides that Kaiser gave me - one of the big decisions you have to make for this fake phallus is you need to get tissue from your body that they can transplant. You need to choose between using this tissue on your wrist or using the tissue on your thigh. They explained to me that if you use tissue on your wrist, the phallus is going to be longer and smaller in, I guess, diameter because this skin on my arm has less fatty tissue. But if you use your thigh skin tissue, then it'll have more girth, you'll have a wider, thicker penis. Anyways those are the decisions you have to make, as well as your phallus can either allow you to pee standing up or to have penetrative sex. None of this makes any sense because actually it's never going to be functioning and so you're not really going to be able to use it as if you were a male person with a healthy penis. You can look online, what these surgeries look like afterwards and they're really disturbing, none of it makes any sense. I don't even call it plastic surgery because it's not even trying to look like something that's real, so it's all shocking to me.

Richard Helppie  

Here's the thing. This sounds like a firsthand account. How can we be in this situation where we have the president of the United States, we have state legislatures, we have governors, we have well-funded and respected medical institutions all saying we need to do this, we need to do more, because without it we're not a good society. They're quite firm about that, that we're not being inclusive, that we're being harmful to trans people. Were you ever told about success stories? Like look, we had a patient that was like you and we did this and that person is living a much happier, healthier life; what did they tell you about that?

Beth Bourne  

I will bring up some examples of how they try to only...I want to mention this first:  what they do, what I see with Kaiser, is immediately they let you change your health records, they let you change your name and pronouns. They give you all the attention of meeting with these different people you might want to meet with and then they send you to these workshops. For any surgery at Kaiser for gender affirming care, you can attend a Zoom call and you can hear the surgeon answer questions and then they have a panel of recent patients who will talk about their experience in very positive ways. And this is just a few months after these young women have had their breast surgeries. I don't believe we do anything like this in any other kind of surgery. I've never heard of people going and listening to people talk about their knee replacements, or their hip surgeries or some kind of like panel discussion. To me, when I was listening to people talk about their experience having top surgery - or their mastectomy - is that they were there trying to tell you, if I could do this, you could do it, and here's what I did. I made sure I had people help bring me meals or take care of my pets or change my room around. So this way, it's much harder to back out of your consideration of doing this because you're seeing these other people.

Richard Helppie  

Well, one thing I want to push back on a little bit is that it is common to have other patients talk, like in the case of knee replacement, hip replacement, other surgeries. It's not necessarily recent patients because people really don't know yet. You might get your knee replaced; how do you feel about it three years down the road, five years down the road, eight years down the road? Big difference. When you first get it done, if you've been in pain, you're so relieved you go, yeah, I think it's going to be better. Did they have any patients that had the surgeries done five years ago? 

Beth Bourne  

No, it's all very recent, all young people. The surgeon himself, he's actually a male who identifies as a trans woman. That also raised a red flag for me, why do we have a person who identifies as transgender, being the surgeon who's doing these surgeries on young women who I don't think need to have their healthy breasts removed. So there's just a lot of concerns and I saw that throughout Kaiser; there are a lot of doctors who are captured by this. Oh, and I want to add this - I have friends here in this town who work for Kaiser and I know for a fact, there are lots of physicians who don't want to be prescribing cross sex hormones. If you're an adult, you can go to your primary care physician and get a prescription to take, in my case, testosterone or in your case, estrogen, even though it's off label use, the FDA has not said it's safe to do. But these guys are doctors, they don't want to be doing this and so they've actually asked, can you please give this request from a patient to another doctor. They have a champion within Kaiser clinics, one doctor who is the gender affirming specialist for adults to give out these wrong sex hormones. I do think there are some really good doctors who don't want to be doing this. They don't want to be involved in it. They know it's wrong. But Kaiser has...I don't know what it's called...the golden handcuffs, where they pay their medical providers really well and so a lot of doctors, I think, stay. I do think a lot of the other - Dignity Health or [inaudible] - big HMOs are also doing these kinds of gender treatments.

Richard Helppie  

Beth, you've had an incredibly difficult journey with your child.

Beth Bourne  

No, I have. Yes, there is...I have nothing to do with that. Of course, any kind of of threat of violence is a terrible idea. But no, I have nothing to do with that. I think they're trying to find some way to frame me in a way that doesn't make me look like just a rational concerned parent. We've seen these bomb threats all over the country; anytime you have someone speaking out about something that's happening in the schools or the libraries, then you get these threats, these bomb threats. I did have one of the local journalists send me a copy of the bomb threat email that he was sent so I have seen them. They said - the FBI and the Yolo County Sheriff and our local police department - were all investigating it, they never interviewed me, they never asked to see my computer. I don't think they actually thought I had anything to do with it. But that's the problem. This has become a political issue, where the Left is saying it's kind and inclusive to give transgender kids whatever they want and it's the Right wing who's actually hateful and bigoted and transphobic for pushing back on this. And I keep trying to say I've been a Democrat my whole life, I voted for Biden, how can you say that I am a Right wing extremist? Why is it an extremist view to tell your child that for them to go on puberty blockers they're going to be a guinea pig? This science has never been done before. When I spoke to my endocrinologist here at Kaiser, they even said to me it's an emerging field of science, we don't have any long term studies but we'll put your daughter right away on puberty blockers or testosterone, because we think it can be life saving. Why is it life saving to give a child a drug that's actually going to harm their body? None of it makes sense but they'll say to you, would you rather have a living son or dead daughter? They put the parents in this hostage situation where you have to make the decision, if you don't give your kid these drugs, even though we can't prove that they're safe, you could risk losing your child to suicide. And it's all over the schools, this idea that transitioning is life saving; kids are even being introduced to this idea.

Richard Helppie  

Let me let me break it into that a little bit. I went looking for any kind of study that said suicidal ideation is caused by belief in a transgender identity and is fixed by applying these chemical and surgical procedures. And there is none. There is no body of evidence that says we have studied this and yes, we think this reduces suicidal ideation. In fact, they said it's anecdotal and that we should not be taking extreme measures based on these anecdotes. That's what Finland, Sweden, the UK, and the people that haven't been cowed into silence in the United States are starting to say - that it doesn't solve this suicidal ideation. The other thing is threats of suicide are made in lots of circumstances; a person tells their lover if you leave me, I'm going to kill myself. That doesn't mean that that person needs to stay with them to prevent a suicide. It means the person that has a suicide ideation needs to have help coping. We seem to have lost our common sense with that phrasing. And, again, I would be happy to look at any data but it's not only not there, but it points to the opposite direction.

Beth Bourne  

It makes sense right? If you've taken your body and you've harmed it in a way that...if you take testosterone, you have vaginal atrophy, your bones and joints hurt, your brain's not working as well, you've lost five to ten years of your life. A phalloplasty means you're never going to have a healthy sex life, if you've had top surgery you're never going to be able to breastfeed your baby. Of course you're going to have more suicide ideation after these surgeries than before them. The numbers are...you're right, they are just not the studies out there right now.

Richard Helppie  

You're in Northern California, so presumably, you're not far from San Francisco. As a liberal person living in that part of the country, I would imagine - correct me if I'm wrong - that if a man wanted to dress in traditional female attire and that's the way they wanted to live their life, you'd probably shrug, more power to them, if they made that decision at 35 years old, something like to that degree, that wouldn't bother you a bit, an adult making an adult decision.

Beth Bourne  

I probably would have said that a couple of years ago, that it wouldn't bother me but you really are not in a safe situation if you see grown men using your bathrooms or even dressed in an appearance that looks like they're trying to not be...that you would not be as at risk of being harmed. But we know that 99% of sexual assaults are done by men and it's just normal for a woman to want to feel safe or for a child to want to feel safer because they see a female body. So some of it just does kind of bother me, the idea that we're in situations where women wouldn't feel as safe because we're not seeing what's reality.

Richard Helppie  

In passing, in walking down the street, you're not going to judge somebody. If somebody's in a personal space that's a little different issue. (Beth Bourne:  Exactly.) I would imagine Caitlyn Jenner doesn't bother you a bit. It's her business.

Beth Bourne  

Well, I've heard Caitlyn Jenner likes to play golf as a woman so even though they have said that they don't want to have boys or men in women's sports, I'm not sure if in their own golfing situation they acknowledge that they have a great advantage in golf as a male body. 

Richard Helppie  

Caitlyn Jenner even says that trans gendered people don't belong in women's sports and Jenner will not hit from the ladies tees.

Beth Bourne  

Oh, I didn't know that. Okay, so that's good. I like that. Because we know male bodies are stronger, faster, have more spatial awareness, quicker reflexes. I mean, they have advantages in every sport, from fishing to darts to pool, you name it. 

Richard Helppie  

That's why we have women's sports and women have come a long way in basketball, women's softball, swimming. It's very difficult to compete with a male. Of course, we have Lea Thomas, who - I understand has not gone all the way - likes to show his male genitalia in the locker rooms. Again, I'm not an expert on this, I'm just the interviewer, but let's come back to what the media coverage has been like. I mean, I would think if I was in Davis, California or Sacramento and I saw this story on the local news, and maybe I'm a dues paying member of Kaiser, I'd kind of like to want to know about this. Have you gotten much coverage on local print or electronic media?

Beth Bourne  

I did notice just last week, our local newspaper did. They had an event where they brought in this national speaker to speak out against Moms for Liberty, so they mentioned me being the chair of Moms for Liberty and that I had done this. I'm not sure what the word was they used but basically they were trying to say that I had done something wrong by trying to figure out what would happen to my child when she turns 18. The article is written in a very negative way of me doing this undercover work. I would hope mainstream media would pick it up more but I can see why they wouldn't. I mean, if you open a newspaper or magazine or go on a website, some of the biggest ads all come from these medical providers and these drug companies. If you open up my local paper, you're going to see a big ad for Kaiser, you're going to see a big ad for Dignity Health. Why would a newspaper or a news station want to cover the story of a woman who's saying that our medical establishment, Kaiser, has been captured by a dangerous ideology. So I'm not surprised that the local or mainstream media is not picking it up. But some other much bigger, larger, international news outlets are hopefully picking up the story soon. I've been talking to reporters who will be picking up the story.

Richard Helppie  

Well, you've had a quite the journey as a mother and as a investigative journalist and now as a target, if you will, of a backlash. It sounds to me like you're trying to get facts and your perspective out there. Of course, there are always more facts to come as a story unfolds and there are other perspectives. Again, we invite anybody that has a countervailing view; we'd love to have you on the program to express your support. If we've gotten something wrong here, we'd sure like to be corrected about it, so we invite that. Beth, as we come to the close of our talk today, is there anything that we didn't cover that you'd like to make the readers, the listeners, and the viewers of The Common Bridge aware of, or any kind of closing remarks? This has really been a powerful talk today.

Beth Bourne  

I've enjoyed all your questions, they've been excellent. Maybe the wisdom I would like to pass on to any parents or aunts and uncles or grandparents who are listening, is to just be really curious about what it is your your kids are learning from elementary school through high school, college. If you could just ask them some questions like, what do you think about being a man or a woman or ask them if you could see their their science book, if you could look at what they're learning in their health class, and maybe even meet with a teacher; to really drill down deep into finding out what they're learning about human bodies, what does that mean? Could you change your human body? What is being offered to kids? Whatever your insurance is, ask that question to your child's pediatrician; what would you do if you heard from my child that they want to change their sex. Because a lot of those conversations are happening now, after the parents are asked to leave the doctor's office. Once a child is 12 years old here in California, they can meet in private with their doctor and once they are 14, parents don't even have access to their emails back and forth. So just be really curious. I appreciate getting to be on your show today. It's wonderful.

Richard Helppie  

Thank you so much. We've been talking today with Beth Bourne about a very delicate, very complicated topic around transgenderism, transgender rights, transgender ideology and the impact on youth and its medicalization. Look up Moms for Liberty. Look up, Colin Wright. Look up, Beth Bourne and satisfy yourself with your own education. We try to do our part to inform here on The Common Bridge. And with that, this is your host, Rich Helppie, signing off on The Common Bridge.

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