Experts Speak Out Against Gender Reassignment in ‘Dysconnected’
Documentary film sheds light on dangers of ‘transitioning.’
Fatherhood was the impetus that stirred filmmaker Don Johnson to make the new movie Dysconnected: The Real Story Behind the Transgender Explosion. It is an exposé of the transgender tsunami sweeping the U.S. and irreversibly altering hundreds of thousands of lives, especially among girls. Dysconnected features 18 professional perspectives using compelling evidence as blowback to cultural winds pushing children into thinking they can change their gender. Johnson and two of the professionals in the film spoke with the Register.
“I see the chaos my girls have to live through,” Johnson shared. “So I started with science and just followed the story where it went.” It led to perspectives from sociology, education, medicine, philosophy, psychology, theology, and that of Daisy Strongin, a young women who has detransitioned. She speaks in a permanently lowered voice about deep regrets for having been led so far astray. The film opens with her jubilant celebration of a mastectomy and the effects of puberty blockers. Three and a half years later, ecstasy turned to regret, weaving human emotion into the expert testimony.
“It’s amazing how therapists and teachers and medicine have been flipped upside down,” Johnson said. “Now we are pushing unreality onto these kids and asking them to live an insane life disconnected from reality.”
According to him, the idea of gender reassignment is anti-science and anti-philosophy. “Your will is not outside of you, disconnected from your body,” he said. “That’s where we got the title: from the words ‘disconnected’ and ‘gender dysphoria.’ The idea of you being separated from your body is death. That is the part that led me to philosophy. It’s a story about bad science that is driven by bad philosophy.”
Dysconnected is somewhat of a sequel to Johnson’s previous film, Unprotected: The Untold History of the Sexual Revolution. It included his conversion story along with several other well-known Catholics who came to realize the truth about Humanae Vitae and the devastating effects of 50 years of the sexual revolution. Transgenderism, Johnson noted in this new movie, is one of the effects of separating procreation from human sexuality.
Johnson credits the making of Dysconnected with deepening his Catholic faith. “When you dig down into what is really driving this, the Catholic Church is the only institution on the planet that has the necessary foundation to stand against it,” he said. This was apparent to him last October, he said, as part of a “First Do No Harm” group that rallied in front of the Anaheim Convention Center, where 10,000 members of the American Academy of Pediatricians gathered for a conference. Johnson’s group held up signs with messages such as “Surgery Does Not Cure Depression,” and “No One Is Born in the Wrong Body.”
“There were other protesters such as Gays Against Groomers, radical feminists against trans … Protestants and Catholics — a broad spectrum,” he explained. “The bottom line, though, is there is only one group that has the philosophical foundation of what it means to be human, combined with the moral foundation to actually stand against this.”
A prime example, according to him, is that the Church is the only institution teaching against contraception. “Otherwise,” he said, “there’s no adequate foundation to stand against homosexuality, same-sex marriage and transsexualism.”
Spirit and Body are One
Deacon Patrick Lappert, a medical doctor who is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama, served 24 years in the U.S. Navy and is now in private practice. Shortly after his 2014 ordination, he gave a presentation on the harm from gender-reassignment surgery as part of the opening of a chapter for Courage International in his diocese. He continues to give presentations, including at parochial schools, priest convocations, and this past November to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Lappert pointed out that even within the Church, however, transgender advocates can be found. “There have been heresies in the Church throughout history, but this is a very serious one,” he said. “If you believe transgenderism, you’ve lost the thread of what the Incarnation is. You can’t say it’s possible to have an identity separate from the body; it’s one identity.”
“Transgenderism makes a charade out of our very salvation,” Lappert said. “It’s saying that Jesus appeared to be a man rather than being a man. He’s known to be a man because people can see he’s a man. Man owed God a debt, but God paid that debt for us because only God is infinitely good. The hyperstatic union of God and man is what makes his dying on the cross efficacious. This is a spiritual reality.”
As both a deacon and physician, Lappert addresses spiritual and scientific realities, but for the movie, he spoke of the corrupted thinking in medicine. “Those claiming ‘affirmation care’ is evidenced-based have no science to back them up,” he said. “It’s absolute junk science. It’s just like lobotomies, and it’s making them a lot of money. It’s absolute insanity what they are doing to children.”
When various medical associations put out consensus statements, according to him, it’s deceptive. “For instance, the endocrine society had a committee of around nine people that came up with a consensus statement and put it out, and the world thinks the whole profession agrees with it,” Lappert said. “People get cowed. Research funding is driven by politics, but so is your very employment. It’s not common to speak out against consensus statements because there’s too much at stake. Doctors often have college debt and a mortgage. I don’t have debt and am in private practice, so I can speak out.”
Some European countries are waking up and beginning to stop transitioning children, Lappert noted. “The long-term database in Great Britain and Sweden found that you are 19 times more likely to kill yourself if you are fully transitioned,” he said. The U.S. rarely follows patients more than three years, according to him.
Although many doctors in the U.S. are going along with altering children, Lappert said that may change soon. He pointed to the growing number of personal-injury lawsuits due to irreversible harm inflicted on children. “Fear of loss of money and loss of licensing will drive some of these groups like insurances companies and large hospital systems out of castrating children and giving them puberty blockers,” Lappert said. “There’s a lot at stake because the harms from castrating children are going to be spectacularly bad.”
Lappert told of a man who came to him in despair. “He was sent to Thailand” for so-called transgender surgery. “Within months he wanted to kill himself. He was a punk rocker, his girlfriend left him, and then his friends had convinced him that he was supposed to be a woman. He had a pistol in his mouth and had a sudden interior urge to speak the name of God. He told me, ‘I felt that the pistol was a microphone, and I could talk to God.’ He walked into a church, and a priest who had been at one of my talks sent him to me.”
Although Lappert called the story heartbreaking, he said the young man’s conversion into the Catholic Church has brought him consolation. “Before surgery, one of his questions was, ‘Am I going to make to be able make it to daily Mass?’ He is looking for a religious community now where he can live as a eunuch.”
Disruptive to Well-Being
Pamela Garfield is a licensed clinical social worker in California, a “trans-sanctuary” state where minors can get surgery without parents’ permission. She has been in the field since 1997, with a primary focus on teens and families. Losing her job has allowed her the freedom to speak the truth from a unique perspective.
Despite a medical situation and already having had COVID, Garfield was turned down for a medical exemption from the vaccine and fired. She has a nerve pain disorder —Thoracic Outlet Syndrome — which left her bed-ridden for four years. Three surgeries gave her enough relief to return to work part time for a short while in 2021, facilitating group therapy in an after-care program for adults and teens at Sutter Health in San Mateo.
Returning to work after being away for four years was like being Rip Van Winkle and waking up in another time, according to her. “The world had changed,” she said. “I had been working with kids for many years, and none of this was happening before.”
“The studies pushing for this are lies,” Garfield said. “They are trying to mask other issues. People with trauma are attracted to this because trauma causes people to feel unsafe in their body and to want to change their body.”
She noted that a high percent of young people identifying as transgender are autistic. “For autistic people sitting at home and feeling socially outcast, this is a way to get praise and get attention. They also tend not to like to be touched and close to people, so it’s easy for them to think, ‘Oh, that’s what is wrong with me.’”
“Children being told they can be any gender is very disruptive to their well-being,” Garfield said. “They need adults to ground them in reality. They don’t know who to trust and where to turn. It’s hurting them emotionally, but even people not getting sucked in are still getting harmed. It’s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The online stuff is even more damaging. How can they form bonds and have real relationships if people can just change who they are and the adults even play along? This is pulling families apart, with adults telling children that their parents don’t love them if they don’t go along.”
Toward the end of the movie, viewers see Strongin living a life she never imagined; connected body and soul, married and a mother.
About her new motherhood, she explained: “None of this was planned. I was very surprised when I saw the positive pregnancy test. When I think about the second biggest life change — transitioning, I planned for it and fought for it and had my most important relationships jeopardized by it. It was all about me and what can I do to self-actualize myself. Now, I’m just bowled over with gratitude that God would allow my body, after what I’ve done to it, to allow me to have a healthy baby boy. How can I respond to it except worship and praise?”