Gwendolyn Herzig, a pharmacist who describes herself as a transgender female, testified in support of the gender-altering treatment of minors during an Arkansas state Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week. The legislation, S.B. 199, being considered would prohibit physicians in the state from providing most types of such treatment to minors, including prescribing puberty blockers or hormone replacement therapy, or from performing transition-related surgeries. (NBC uses “gender-affirming care,” which is both an oxymoron and cover-phrase devised by pro-transexual activists. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!)
At one point, Sen. Matt McKee, a Republican, asked Herzig if she has a penis. You can see the exchange above.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is..
Was McKee’s question unethical?
Whatever you may think of the question, Herzig handled it very well.
I could justify the question was going to credibility and bias. The other side of the argument is that it was needlessly embarrassing to the witness, as well as disrespectful.
I wouldn’t have asked it.
13 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: The Icky Question”
“Her” comment, “I’m a health care professional; I’m a doctor. Why don’t you treat me as such?” is telling. And…? Was “she” there to testify as a pharmacist, or as a trans-female? Does a pharmacy doctorate give “her” particular insight into matters of pediatric “gender-altering” surgery? My pharmacist is a good guy, but I doubt I would consult with him about any surgical procedure. The question is icky, yes, but I think it is relevant, to gauge “her” commitment to allowing children having a life-altering and medically unnecessary surgery that “she” may or may not have had “herself.” I may excuse the delusions of others, but I refuse to participate in them.
She may not actually be a physician, but she did stay at a Holiday Inn last night!
I wouldn’t have asked, but in light of a witness who was dodging the previous question, I can see why it was asked. I also have no sympathy for the lack of respect for the witness considering she obviously had knowledge of the horror stories associated with people who transitioned and regretted it.
Good point JohnG.
Herzig and virtually the entire trans community *are aware* because they read and discuss what is the most important issue for them only after oxygen, water, and food.
I do believe that qualifies as more than a dirty little secret.
Senator McKee is showboating for his audience, asking a question of dubious relevance, and doing it in about the crudest way possible. As it is, any witness would have a legitimate excuse for avoiding any further questions from him–whether that unwillingness was what he wanted is difficult to determine. But he lost ground politically by being an asshole: getting approbation from people who already agree with you doesn’t help much if you alienate those who are undecided. Of course, we all know the hearings are only window-dressing, so he doesn’t actually lose much. Dr. Herzig handled it as well as could be expected, and rather more politely than most witnesses would have… and a hell of a lot more politely than I would have.
If the question had been “have you had hormonal treatments and/or surgery?” or “where are you in terms of completing your transition?” it would have been a lot harder to duck, but then McKee wouldn’t have been able to do his little smirk quite as ostentatiously. I don’t know enough about the proposed legislation to have an opinion about its merits. But I do know that Sen. McKee is disgusting.
And just for the record, I personally know two people who have completely transitioned (one in each direction), and a couple more who are undergoing the process. Not a one shows any signs of regret.
Surely you understand if there is to be regret for that which is irreversible, it is rarely instantaneous.
McKee missed an opportunity to probe Herzig’s perspective on what constitutes a transexual.
Either he was unprepared or just being a dick.
My guess: both.
When the question was about whether people can or do have regrets about transitioning, especially having had life altering surgeries or pharmacology, and the man at the table is arguing FOR said things for MINORS, and is lying or willfully ignorant of people who’ve regretted the surgery, then it’s a legitimate question. You’re willing to leave the door open for yourself if you kept it, but you’re going sit and push to deny that opportunity to MINORS?
It’s unethical to not ask the witness that question.
This kind of butchery of young people shouldn’t even be a debate.
Of the two that have transitioned and of the two undergoing the process, were/are they less than 18 years old? I haven’t researched this, but I’ve been informed that these treatments have irreversible outcomes and can lead to other health problems later in life. Having to wait until becoming an adult seems reasonable.
Senator McKee asked a question in a disgusting way; nicer words could have been used to get the same answer, and it was a question that needed to be asked in order to determine the witness’s biases and if those biases damaged her credibility.
The answer to your first question is no, which, of course, is relevant.
Dr. Herzig’s current plumbing is less so, but not completely irrelevant.
But we agree, I think: Sen. McKee did his cause no good by being an asshole simply for its own sake.
“…testified in support of the gender-altering treatment of minors…”
1. The treatment does not alter their gender. It alters their body for gender appearance.
2. Minors? Idiot children who think they deserve all things by fiat and ex nihilo? They deserve much more protection than they are receiving.
3. Is “being a dick” a denigration of penises? What’s wrong with a good penis?
If he asked me, I would have responded “yes, would you like to see it?” Or, “Yes I do, but I keep it in this jar of formaldehyde.”
People defending the abuse of minors deserve to be treated this way. Taking offense is nothing but pretending to be a victim to distract from having no significant position on an issue.
4. Oh my gosh s.he.it was offended like a delicate flower. But the woman in glasses directly behind could barely not laugh.
My stipulation is that people like this deserve this treatment.
If they deserve this treatment, is it unethical to give it to them if the treatment is unethical?
If the topic is trans-confirming surgeries and treatments then it is relevant to ask if one has undergone such treatments and surgeries. It goes to relevance if you are supporting treatment and surgeries for others then it makes sense to determine to what degree the witness has submitted him/herself to such life-saving modalities. I see no reason not to use appropriate, scientific, anatomic nomenclature in these conversations. Euphemisms be damned!