Dr. Keith Ablow, a practicing psychiatrist known as much for his media persona on the Fox News channel and elsewhere as his two New York Times bestsellers, wrote what I thought was a pretty savage, fear-mongering diatribe recently against parents letting their children watch any episode of “Dancing with the Stars” that features a person who has undergone transgender surgery, Chaz Bono.
His logic is a thing of beauty to behold in its twisted triumph: Because some children who may be watching may be undergoing their own self-identity and sexual transformation (as most teenagers do at some point in their normal development), they are “vulnerable:” “The last thing vulnerable children and adolescents need, as they wrestle with the normal process of establishing their identities [… is to watch an adult who’s made the choice to change their gender].”
Except that Dr. Ablow says it in an emotionally-charged, vulgar manner so as to transform an immense and difficult decision into something that focuses solely on the physical aspects of a transgendered person’s identity.
I’ve typically come to expect shallow pop psychology from many of our media psychologists and psychiatrists. But somehow, I expected something more… well, thoughtful, from my colleague here in Newburyport.