A group of distinguished scholars who bridge disparate disciplines of neuroscience, child and adolescent psychiatry, immunology, biology, and behavioral physiology, politics & public administration, and biochemistry have lambasted German state television for its seemingly endless promotion of destructive, anti-scientific transgender propaganda to young children.
The scathing criticism, which came on the second day of so-called ‘LGBTQ Pride Month’ in a group opinion editorial published by the German newspaper Die Welt, took direct aim at Axel Springer SE, the largest digital and periodical publishing house in Europe, for utilizing the public service broadcasting company to sexualize young children—and as a means to socially engineer and indoctrinate them with radical left-liberal LGBT and gender ideology.
Together, the authors, Dr. Alexander Korte, a senior physician at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich who treats adolescents with gender dysphoria; Antje Galuschka Ph.D., biochemist, and freelance science journalist; Uwe Steinhoff Ph.D., the head of the department of politics and public administration at the University of Hong Kong; Marie-Luise Vollbrecht, a doctoral student of behavioral physiology at Humboldt University in Berlin; and Rieke Hümpel, a biologist and newspaper editor, blamed state-funded media outfits ARD, ZDF, Detuschlandradio for disseminating medical misinformation, ignoring biological facts, and dramatically downplaying the grave and inalterable health risks associated with hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery.
The authors note that shows they watched across various state-funded television and social media channels had an “ideologizing tongue” and “consistently denied the fact that there are only two genders.” Meanwhile, “pronouns” were frequently referred to. Continuing, Korte, Galuschka, Steinhoff, Luise Vollbrecht, and Hûmpel wrote that, while watching state TV, they were confronted with bizarre topics like “drug group anal sex,” with narrators consistently spreading claims that German society is a “hateful, LGBTQ-hostile society.” Alongside these spurious claims, state TV shows habitually failed to take into account biological facts—and scientific and journalistic principles were disregarded.
The five authors said that, more often than not, dubious sources were presented to the viewer as “experts,” while questions critical of the narrative were usually avoided altogether. This, the authors say, creates a “distortion of reality based on refutable false statements” so as to manipulate children and young people.
Perhaps most disturbing, broadcasts presented the “use of puberty blockers, the administration of opposite-sex hormones and the surgical removal of the penis, breast, and uterus” as innocuous medical interventions, the authors said, adding that “serious, irreversible mental and physical consequences” of these medical procedures were “either not described at all or, at best, were mentioned in passing.”
“The public needs to open their eyes. It is unacceptable that a small number of activists with their “woke” trans ideology has infiltrated the ÖRR, spread misrepresentations as to the supposed state of the art, and permanently damage the lives of children and young people,” they wrote, adding that parents are, in the vast majority of cases, entirely unaware of the toxic state media their kids are consuming.
In conclusion, the authors called for the socially harmful trend to be addressed before being brought to an end as quickly as possible.
We not only call on the editors and directors of the ÖRR to change course, but also address our appeal to the control bodies of the radio and television councils and to politicians: actively work to ensure that the ÖRR is published appropriately, neutrally, truthfully and with respect reported to the dignity of all human beings.
We challenge the ÖRR to present biological facts and scientific findings more truthfully. We demand a departure from ideological perspectives – especially with the trend topic “trans.” We call for an immediate change of course in the ÖRR and would like a broad discussion, as we assume that our random checks are only the tip of the iceberg.
The five signatories then direct the reader’s attention to a 50-page dossier, published on June 1st, 2022 and signed by a collection of some 700 German concerned citizens made up largely of professionals, including professors, doctors, nurses, social workers, journalist and authors, publishers, teachers, scientists, civil servants, engineers, mathematicians, physicists, business people, students, pensioners, and others.
The dossier, titled: Appeal: Stop False Reporting by Public Service Broadcasters, says that it is an initiative of 120 scientists, psychologists, educators, and representatives of other professions—and declares it serves “solely to inform and educate the public.”
The dossier reads:
We scientists and doctors call on public service broadcasters to present biological facts and scientific findings truthfully. We demand a departure from the ideological approach to transsexuality and a fact-based presentation of biological facts according to the state of research and science.
We, the undersigned, as academics, have long observed how public service broadcasters have appropriated depictions of “queer” transgender ideology while denying scientific facts.
The starting point is always the false claim that there is not only one male and one female gender, but a variety of genders or intermediate stages between man and woman. The clear-cut notion of sex, which enables anisogamous reproduction, is mixed up with psychological and, above all, sociological claims, with the result that conceptual ambiguity arises.
The confusion of terms and the associated shift in meaning ultimately aim at the implementation of political demands.
The subject of “trans” is brought to children and young people through public broadcasting, with the result that the number of children and young people treated for gender dysphoria has increased twenty-five-fold in less than ten years.
We as scientists strongly oppose the notion that women and men are merely social constructs or felt identities. We see the achievements of the women’s movement threatened because from now on every man can declare himself to be a woman and penetrate her protected zones. Measures to promote women are being undermined, as is their protection from violence. Children are forced to make a decision during puberty before they reach sexual maturity, the consequences of which they cannot foresee.
In this dossier we show how massively public broadcasting ignores science, spreads false claims, and continuously violates the Interstate Media Treaty:
• The reporting does not follow recognized journalistic principles, it is neither independent nor factual.
• Claims are not carefully checked for truth and provenance prior to dissemination.
• The principles of objectivity and impartiality in reporting are continually violated, there is no diversity of opinion or a balanced offering in trans reporting. Rather, images and handouts from trans associations are adopted unchecked on Instagram and recommended to children.
• In the youth programs and social media channels, the formulation of the media state treaty according to respect for human dignity and the protection of moral and religious convictions is repeatedly violated. Boundaries of shame are torn down. Pornographic depictions are provided without age verification for children and young people.
We demand an immediate change of course in public service broadcasting. The material gathered here speaks for itself and is just the tip of the iceberg.
Following the dossier’s publication and the subsequent controversy and outrage that ensued, Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Axel Springer SE, wrote an apologetic opinion editorial for Die Welt titled: “Our House Stands for Diversity and Freedom,” where he, in an effort to calm the ‘woke’ mob, levels criticism against the five authors, saying that piece written by the Ph.D.- and M.D.-holding scientists is “scientifically, roughly one-sided at best.”
“The whole tone is superficial, condescending, and resentful,” Döpfner continued. “Not far removed from the reactionary attitude: homosexuality is a disease. Transsexuality is imagination. Instead of the liberal spirit of ‘everyone should be happy according to his own façon,’ it whispers about the protection of the ‘moral convictions of the population.’ The lyrics have a sound that is uncomfortable for any free tolerant mind.”
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.