Lesley Stahl defends CBS 60 Minutes episode about transgender youths rushing into it


CBS is standing by a recent episode of 60 Minutes which highlighted the stories of transgender teens who say they were rushed to transition and now regret it – amid complaints from furious LGBTQ activists who say it shouldn’t have aired. 

The episode featured ‘de-transitioners’, people who had started taking hormones to change their gender within a few months of identifying as trans. All of them said they’d learned about becoming trans on the internet. 

Lesley Stahl, the veteran CBS journalist who led the episode, laid out how the teens can be easily taken advantage of by greedy doctors who are eager to perform reassignment surgeries and how they might have been influenced by the liberal-left tech industry, which is constantly pushing the issue on today’s youth. 

After the episode aired, she appeared in a bonus segment called 60 Minutes Overtime, where Stahl defended her report. She also took heat from a trans-rights lawyer who claimed her story could ‘stigmatize’ and ‘further marginalize’ suicidal trans youth if it was taken out of context. 

Stahl also heard from doctors and psychologists who said they were concerned about the number of surgeons ‘popping up’ offering to perform gender reassignment surgery to meet demand, without anyone checking their credentials. They said they were scared to speak up for fear of looking like they don’t support trans rights. 

Stahl said that after weighing it all up, it was a story worth telling and others, like Fox News host Tucker Carlson, agreed, saying it highlighted a seldom talked-about issue. 

Lesley Stahl is standing by her 60 Minutes episode that told the stories of trans people who felt they’d rushed into transitioning and now regretted it. She said it was a story worth telling, despite furious backlash from activists who say it ‘fearmongers’ people out of changing gender

Grace Lindinisky-Smith told Stahl that she went from a woman to a man and back again in a year

Garrett, from Louisiana, was castrated after three months

Grace Lindinisky-Smith (left) and a young man who gave his name only as Garrett (right) told Stahl about how they’d been prescribed hormones within a few months of researching transitioning on the internet. Grace then underwent a double mastectomy and Garrett became suicidal after undergoing castration. They have both transitioned back to their original gender

All four young people who spoke to Stahl said they were influenced by the internet and had researched it that way

All four young people who spoke to Stahl said they were influenced by the internet and had researched it that way 

But GLAAD claimed the episode fearmongered young people. They slammed it as ‘shameful’. 

‘Tonight @60Minutes @LesleyRStahl aired a shameful segment fearmongering about trans youth. Parents of trans youth could walk away with the false belief that young people are being rushed into medical transition. That is simply untrue, the organization tweeted. 

The people Stahl interviewed said just that: that they had been rushed into it, and now regretted it. 

One young woman, Grace Lindinisky-Smith, was granted a double mastectomy after just four months.

Garrett, a young man from Louisiana, was castrated after just three months of taking female hormones.

‘I didn’t get enough pushback on transitioning. I went for two appointments and after the second one, I had my letter to go get on cross-sex hormones,’ Garrett said. 

He said he became suicidal after starting the process and not before, as some of Stahl’s critics have claimed. 

‘I had never really been suicidal before until I had my breast augmentation. ‘And about a week afterward, I wanted to actually kill myself. I had a plan and I was gonna do it but I just kept thinking about my family to stop myself. 

‘It kind of felt like: how am I ever going to feel normal again, like other guys now?’ 

Lindinisky-Smith told Stahl in another clip: ‘We only did a few sessions. They asked me, ‘So, why do you wanna go on testosterone?’

Dr Erica Anderson is a gender psychologist and is trans. She told Stahl that six months, the standard that is set for diagnosing gender dysphoria, is not long enough and that she is appalled by what is going on in the medical field, with doctors rushing to diagnose patients and put them on  hormones

Dr Erica Anderson is a gender psychologist and is trans. She told Stahl that six months, the standard that is set for diagnosing gender dysphoria, is not long enough and that she is appalled by what is going on in the medical field, with doctors rushing to diagnose patients and put them on  hormones

Lee Savio Beers, the doctor who is president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, also expressed concern about what is going on and said it was imperative trans people are affirmed in their choices but that doctors are making sure they are giving proper advice

Lee Savio Beers, the doctor who is president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, also expressed concern about what is going on and said it was imperative trans people are affirmed in their choices but that doctors are making sure they are giving proper advice 

Dr Marci Bowers, a gynecologist, says she knows of surgeons and clinics 'popping up' to meet demand without proper policing

Dr Marci Bowers, a gynecologist, says she knows of surgeons and clinics ‘popping up’ to meet demand without proper policing 

‘And I said, “Well, being a woman just isn’t working for me anymore.”

‘And they said, “Okay.”‘ 

She said she then underwent surgery, but immediately felt wrong.

THE DE-TRANSITIONERS STAHL INTERVIEWED 

Grace Lidinsky-Smith

Lindinisky-Smith said she had been searching the internet, feeling depressed, in her early 20s when she came across transgender online communities. 

‘And when I saw them being so happy and excited about doing this wonderful, transformative process to really, like, become their true selves I was like, have I considered that this could be my situation, too? 

‘I just had this sense that if– if I could inhabit life as, like, a trans man, as a man, then I wouldn’t feel so self-conscious. I was thinking that it would make me feel very free.’ 

She said she found a therapist on the internet but ‘she didn’t go – really go into what my gender dysphoria might’ve been stemming from. We only did a few sessions.’ 

She found a clinic and was given hormone injections within months, she said. 

‘They asked me, “So, why do you wanna go on testosterone?” And I said, “Well, being a woman just isn’t working for me anymore.” And they said, “Okay.”‘ 

Four months after starting testosterone treatments, she got a double mastectomy but she soon afterwards began feeling like part of her was ‘missing’.  

‘I started to have a really disturbing sense that like a part of my body was missing, almost a ghost limb feeling about being like, there’s something that should be there. 

‘And the feeling really surprised me but it was really hard to deny.’ 

She stopped taking the hormones and started living as a woman again, after complaining to the clinic. 

Garrett 

Garrett, a young man from Louisiana, was castrated after just three months of taking female hormones.

‘I didn’t get enough pushback on transitioning. I went for two appointments and after the second one, I had my letter to go get on cross-sex hormones,’ Garrett said. 

He said he became suicidal after starting the process and not before, as some of Stahl’s critics have claimed. 

‘I had never really been suicidal before until I had my breast augmentation. ‘And about a week afterward, I wanted to actually kill myself. I had a plan and I was gonna do it but I just kept thinking about my family to stop myself. 

‘It kind of felt like: how am I ever going to feel normal again, like other guys now?’ 

 

‘I started to have a really disturbing sense that like a part of my body was missing, almost a ghost limb feeling about being like, there’s something that should be there,’ she said.

‘And the feeling really surprised me but it was really hard to deny.’

Lindinisky-Smith said she had been searching the internet, feeling depressed, in her early 20s when she came across transgender online communities. 

‘And when I saw them being so happy and excited about doing this wonderful, transformative process to really, like, become their true selves I was like, have I considered that this could be my situation, too? 

‘I just had this sense that if – if I could inhabit life as, like, a trans man, as a man, then I wouldn’t feel so self-conscious. I was thinking that it would make me feel very free.’ 

She said she found a therapist on the internet but ‘she didn’t go – really go into what my gender dysphoria might’ve been stemming from. We only did a few sessions.’ 

She found a clinic and was given hormone injections within months, she said. 

‘They asked me, “So, why do you wanna go on testosterone?” And I said, “Well, being a woman just isn’t working for me anymore.” And they said, “Okay.”‘ 

Four months after starting testosterone treatments, she got a double mastectomy but she soon afterwards began feeling like part of her was ‘missing’.  

‘I started to have a really disturbing sense that like a part of my body was missing, almost a ghost limb feeling about being like, there’s something that should be there. 

‘And the feeling really surprised me but it was really hard to deny.’ 

She stopped taking the hormones and started living as a woman again, after complaining to the clinic. 

‘I can’t believe that I transitioned and de-transitioned, including hormones and surgery, in the course of, like, less than one year. It’s completely crazy,’ she said.  

Dr. Erica Anderson, a gender psychologist who is trans herself, told Stahl there were a growing number of doctors who are essentially jumping on the band wagon of performing gender reassignment surgery to because there is a growing market and it’s trendy.

‘There are health care providers who have jumped into this area because trans people are interesting. You know, they’re unicorns. You know, “Oh, I have one of them now.” ‘And I think it’s deplorable,’ she said. 

The standard for a formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria is that a person has been feeling that they want to transgender for at least six months. 

Anderson said that she did not think it was long enough. She treats patients who have taken four years before transitioning.  

‘I’m not satisfied with six months myself. 

Dr. Laura Edwards-Leeper, a psychologist, told Stahl she was ‘deeply’ concerned about what was going on but was afraid to speak out about it for fear of being accused of transphobia. 

‘It greatly concerns me where the field has been going. I feel like what is happening is unethical and irresponsible in some places.

‘Everyone is very scared to speak up because we’re afraid of not being seen as being affirming or being supportive of these young people or doing something to hurt the trans community. But even some of the providers are trans themselves and share these concerns,’ she said.  

On his show on Tuesday night, Carlson noted how the young people interviewed by host Lesley Stahl all said they had learnt about transgender surgery and identity on the internet, and were influenced by the forums and communities online.

‘They see a daily barrage of propaganda, most of it online, made possible by Google and Facebook. That propaganda has a very specific effect, as intended.’

Carlson said that it was designed to normalize the feelings of gender dysphoria which, he said, were relatively uncommon until the internet age.

Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night spoke about gender reassignment surgery for young people

Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night spoke about gender reassignment surgery for young people

And he told his viewers that statistics showed the drastic surgical options frequently led to further unhappiness.

‘Gender reassignment surgery and chemical castration cause depression and exacerbate mental illness,’ he said, pointing to a study five years ago under the Obama administration, which he said found no positive health benefits.

In a 2016 document called the ‘Proposed Decision Memo for Gender Dysphoria and Gender Reassignment Surgery,’ Obama officials concluded that: ‘Based on a thorough review of the clinical evidence available at this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria.’

Carlson lamented the ease with which young people can receive gender changing treatment.

He quoted Joe Biden from an October 2020 town hall, to suggest that Biden backed surgery.

‘He suggested that children as young as eight can change their sex,’ Carlson said.

Biden said he supported children being able to live as a different sex, but he did not mention surgery.

Biden told the town hall: ‘The idea that an eight-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides, ‘You know, I decided I want to be transgender. That’s what I think I’d like to be. It would make my life a lot easier.’ There should be zero discrimination.’

Carlson said the process was too easy. ​

‘Therapists will steer those kids to doctors, who will almost immediately give them powerful sex hormones, whose long-term effects we can’t know,’ he said.

‘In some cases, those kids will then be referred to surgeons, who will mutilate or remove their sex organs permanently.

‘That is happening across the country tonight. We rarely talk about the details of any of it. It’s all good, we’re told. It’s all part of a vital, long-overdue process of personal liberation, and if you stand in the way or ask too many questions, you’re evil.’ 

Civil rights lawyer Alphonso David criticized Stahl and said the episode should also focus on the positive stories of people transitioning, which are the 'vast majority'

Civil rights lawyer Alphonso David criticized Stahl and said the episode should also focus on the positive stories of people transitioning, which are the ‘vast majority’

Stahl was slammed by GLAAD for highlighting the issue. They said she was fearmongering

Stahl was slammed by GLAAD for highlighting the issue. They said she was fearmongering 

LGBTQ activists accused Stahl of fearmongering and only telling a negative side of the story. 

They said she should have focused on positive trans stories. 

GLAAD tweeted: ‘Tonight 60 Minutes aired a shameful segment fearmongering about trans youth. 

‘Parents of trans youth could walk away with the false belief that young people are being rushed into medical transition. That is simply untrue.

‘As the piece noted, every major medical association supports affirming, age-appropriate care for trans youth and the guidelines for that care are safe and well-established. And yet, the majority of the story was devoted to “raising concerns” about youth accessing that care. 

‘The segment also wrongfully implied that trans YouTubers and online communities which affirm trans youth are somehow brainwashing kids and turning them trans. That is dangerous and at the same time ridiculous. Aren’t we past arguing that media can turn people gay or trans?’ 

The organization also claimed that the piece ‘promulgates the same anti-trans dog whistles that we hear from anti-LGBTQ activists and in state legislatures like Arkansas.’ 

The start of the episode was devoted to recent law changes which take away trans medical treatment, like hormones. 

Stahl also had Alphonso David on the bonus segment of the show where he ripped into her for airing the comments. 

‘I have a number of concerns that talks about detransitioning without focusing on the wider context of the trans experience.

‘We also have to talk about the people who successfully transition- the vast majority that do. I’m concerned about that young person who is facing discrimination and they may attempt suicide because society has told the, they are worthless and a story taken out of context could further victimize and marginalize these people.

‘Bringing a story to light about de-transitioning without talking about the vast majority of people who successfully transition sends a message… we need to also elevate the stories of people who successfully transition,’ he said.  



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