News Alert re "AETNA Clinical Policy Bulletin 0615: Sex Reassignment Surgery"


Posted 2-14-07 in Trans News Updates

[Update of 2-15-07]



AETNA SRS Policy Bulleting 0615 defames postoperative transsexual women:


AETNA Insurance Company's Policy Bulletin on SRS now includes the following bizarre lines, straight from the ideology of the infamous Clarke Institute, using long out-dated and unscientific terminology from the 1980's:


"Experience in specialist Gender Identity Units has shown that only about 15% of male transsexuals and 90% of female transsexuals are considered suitable for surgery or still desire it after specialist psychiatric care and a prolonged period of observation used to identify the relatively rare "true" transsexual from the more common "secondary" transsexual."


And then, thanks to Anne Lawrence (more), Elizabeth Latty, Meredith Chivers and J. Micheal Bailey, the Bulletin concludes with the following extremely defamatory assertion about transsexual women:


"Lawrence and colleagues (2005) stated that male-to-female transsexuals display male-typical category-specific sexual arousal following sex reassignment surgery, and that vaginal photoplethysmography is a promising methodology for studying patterns of sexual arousal in post-operative transsexuals."


What on earth is such an outrageous and unproven assertion doing in a medical insurance policy bulletin? And what does this mean anyway? What purpose could this assertion possibly have, and why does the Bulletin conclude with those lines?  Does AETNA mean to suggest that postop transwomen are really 'men' sexually, perhaps as some kind of weird "warning"?  Or is AETNA possibly thinking of requiring plethysmographs of sexual arousals in post-op women to 'confirm' which ones are the 'true transsexuals'? Or what?



So where does this assertion come from?


It is based on measurements of sexual arousal using plethysmography (i.e., using a widely disputed device), as conducted in the sex lab of disgraced sex scientist J. Michael Bailey at Northwestern University.


Using penile and vaginal plethysmographs, Bailey conducted 'arousal tests' on men and women watching pornography. He then claimed these tests demonstrated that no men are bisexual, but that all women are bisexual.  This "discovery" was announced via a Northwestern University Press Release in 2003, in which Bailey claims to have discovered a "sex difference in the brain" between men and women. 


Bailey later announced this discovery more widely in a New York Times interview, raising a firestorm of protests from the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities. After investigating Bailey's research, the NGLTF published a Fact Sheet which raised very serious questions about his scientific methodology, including his use of the widely discredited plethysmograph.


Bailey never responded to the NGLTF's questions about his methods.


Lawrence, Latty, Chivers and Bailey later claimed that plethysmograph readings on a tiny and select group of 11 postop women demonstrated that no postoperative women are bisexual. From this very limited 'evidence' they went on to make the claim (as quoted in the AETNA SRS Policy Bulletin) that "male-to-female transsexuals display male-typical category-specific sexual arousal following sex reassignment surgery".


Forgetting for the moment that there is no scientific basis for this claim, what on earth does this strangely-worded phrase even mean to claim? 


What Lawrence, Latty, Chivers and Bailey are claiming is simply that no postop women are bisexual. Given that Bailey also claims that bisexuality occurs only in females, they then combined the two claims to defame transwomen - as Bailey did in his earlier press release, where he announced that "transsexuals have the brains of men but the genitals of women". 


All of these claims are based on interpretations of plethysmograph measurements, and none of these claims have been confirmed in any way by any other researchers.



So why is AETNA taking these bizarre and unproven claims out of context, and usiong them as the conclusion to their Clinical Bulletin on sex reassignment surgery? I.e., why is AETNA doing this in such a way as to widely defame transsexual women? 


Perhaps you should ask them.


LynnConway.comTrans News Updates > News Alert re AETNA Policy Bulletin 0615