Skip to content

Benjamin Ryan vs. transgender people

Benjamin Ryan is an American writer and anti-transgender activist.

Ryan opposes US medical consensus on healthcare for trans and gender diverse youth. Ryan frequently supports trans-suspicious colleagues like Dan Savage, Jesse Singal, Jon Kay, and Jennifer Block as objective experts covering trans issues.

Ryan also supports sexologist and anti-transgender activist Kenneth Zucker, believing Singal’s version of why Zucker was fired in 2015. In 2023, Ryan began pitching a piece seeking “physicians who might have misgivings about the gender-affirming care model, or who otherwise have theories about why we have seen such a recent surge in trans-identifying young people.”

Background

Benjamin R. “Ben” Ryan was born in June 1978 to Sara “Sally” Stubbs Ryan (1944–1999), an educator, and John A. Ryan, Jr. (born ~1943) a general surgeon. Ryan has two siblings. Ryan attended The Bush School, an elite private school in Seattle, graduating in 1997, then earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 2001. Ryan volunteered with the Northwest AIDS Foundation and New York’s Gay Health Advocacy Project prior to beginning a journalism career.

Ryan has written for The New York Observer, New York Post, Gay.com, HIV Plus, Gilt City, Smart + Strong, NBC News, Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Guardian, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation, The Atlantic, New York, The Marshall project, PBS, The Village Voice, Money, Men’s Journal, City & State, Out, and The Advocate. Ryan’s work focuses on HIV, viral hepatitis, mpox, COVID-19, and cancer. Ryan wrote for Jesse Singal at New York.

Ryan has been a guest on Sirius Satellite Radio, NPR, iHeart Radio’s Daily Dive, Dan Savage’s Savage Love podcast, Owen Jones’ podcast, and NBC News Now.

2023 pitch attacking gender affirming care

On April 14, 2023, Harvard lawyer Alejandra Caraballo revealed that Ryan was working on a story attacking gender-affirming care for youth, writing:

“The New York Times and Benjamin Ryan are writing another transphobic hit piece looking for providers who “have misgivings about gender affirming care.” Providers and advocates should ignore any outreach or requests for comment from Ryan as he is another Jesse Singal.”

Caraballo (2023

Caraballo included the text of Ryan’s inquiry:

From: Benjamin Ryan
Date: Thu, Apr 6, 2023
Subject: New York Times article on how pediatricians are responding to rising rates of trans youth

I am writing an article for the New York Times about how pediatricians, family practitioners, psychologists and other front-line physicians who care for broad populations of children and adolescents are responding to the rising numbers of trans-identifying youths. What has it been like for these health care providers to care for such young people of late?

For one, I am interested in covering this subject from the perspective of a newly fractured legal landscape, in which various states have banned the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors with puberty blockers and hormones. What is it like for health care providers to care for trans-identifying kids in these states?

I am also interested in hearing from physicians who might have misgivings about the gender-affirming care treatment model, or who otherwise have theories about why we have seen such a recent surge in trans-identifying young people.

I would greatly appreciate your help in finding physicians for me to speak with. (Note that this article is not focusing on gender-care specialists.) I know this is a highly sensitive topic. So while I would prefer to get sources on the record, I am more than happy to accommodate anyone’s requests for anonymity.

Thanks very much for your help and your time.

All the best,

Ben Ryan

Benjamin Ryan
benryan.net
(917) [redacted]
Follow me on Twitter:
twitter.com/benryanwriter

Caraballo (2023) [emphasis mine]

Because the New York Times handles all transphobic content in-house now, Ryan published a different piece for NBC News instead on June 23, 2023. Ryan’s published piece has no mention of physicians who might have misgivings about the gender-affirming care treatment model.

Ryan told Jesse Singal:

“I sent that email and other versions of it to over 200 doctors and press reps at medical institutions. I asked people to send it to others and to email it to listservs. I knew very well that it would probably end up on Twitter and that Alejandra would post it. So I am fine with it being out there.”

Author and journalism professor Steven Thrasher minced no words in condemning Ryan:

2021 deleted tweets

In 2021, Ryan posted then deleted a series of tweets complaining about people criticizing Jesse Singal’s biased coverage.

March 23

  • https://twitter.com/benryanwriter/status/1374595992746606596
  • That is a truly dreadful thing of him to say. But where are the faults in his actual article about Singal?

March 24

  • https://twitter.com/benryanwriter/status/1374786380728041472
  • Notice how in all your own tweets, you have yet to challenge any of the facts that @jonkay said about Singal. You have just attempted to discredit Kay and the website he writes for.
  • https://twitter.com/benryanwriter/status/1374791116290146311
  • If you cannot make any substantive criticisms about ajonkay’s specific arguments supporting the thesis that Signal has been unfairly tarred and feathered, then we’re done here.
  • https://twitter.com/benryanwriter/status/1374797128762032131
  • Please show where Signal defended Kenneth Zucker’s practices and describe how that means that Singal believes that conversion therapy is a-okay.

2023 deleted tweets

March

  • A bombshell article by @WritingBlock challenges claims by activists that the science supporting the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors is “settled” and that the use of puberty blockers and hormones in transgender kids is “evidence based.” http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • Many argue that giving puberty blockers and hormones to trans minors is uncontroversial & backed by high-quality science. Block’s reporting disputes this. Swedish health authorities, for example, say the risks “currently outweigh the possible benefits”. 2/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • [March 2, deleted] The Dutch protocol came about some 15 years ago. And the rise of the use of puberty blockers for this purpose is quite recent. That said, a very small number of children actually currently receive them. But the trend is heading upward quickly. Or it was before these bans.
  • [deleted]
  • The prescription of hormones to trans-identifying minors is often framed as a choice of life on meds vs death by suicide. But researchers have not actually shown that hormonal treatment for gender dysphoria impacts death by suicide. 5/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • @HRC said in a press release today that “ALL gender-affirming care is age appropriate and medically necessary.” But in the UK, health experts found there’s “scarce & inconclusive evidence to support clinical decision-making” for kids with dysphoria. 6/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • Mark Helfand of Oregon Health & Science University criticized @WPATH’s recommendations for treating #transgender minors, including a lack of grading system to assess the quality of scientific evidence backing the guidelines. #trans 7/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • At an October meeting of the AAP, @WritingBlock reports, @DrScottHadland of Harvard Med said, “Ten thousand pediatricians stand in solidarity for trans and gender diverse kids & their families to receive evidence-based, lifesaving, individualized care.” 8/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • Gordon Guyatt (@GuyattGH) of McMaster University found “serious problems” with the Endocrine Society’s guidelines for treating #trans kids, such as making strong recommendations based on weak evidence–meaning they should not be called “evidence based”. 9/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • In contrast to @DrScottHadland, @GuyattGH said, “When there’s been a rigorous systematic review of the evidence” about treating #trans kids “and the bottom line is ‘we don’t know,’ anybody who then claims they *do* know is not being evidence based.” 10/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • While myriad medical organizations in the US back prescribing puberty blockers & hormones to trans-identifying minors, standards abroad are very different. Sweden did systematic reviews in ’15 and ’22, found evidence was “insufficient and inconclusive.”11/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • The Endocrine Society ( @TheEndoSociety) commissioned 2 systematic reviews for its clinical practice guideline for treating #trans adolescents with sex steroids and found the quality of the evidence regarding health risks was “low” or “very low”. 12/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • In sum, @WritingBlock’s reporting suggests that @WPATH and @TheEndoSociety’s guidelines for treating #trans adolescents are not truly “evidence based”, nor uncontroversial, nor do they balance the known and potential risks v benefits of such treatment. 13/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf
  • @MattWalshBlog, who doesn’t so much debate the science behind care for trans minors as douse the field with gasoline & set it on fire, has made the topic so combustible in Tennessee, he teed up the politicization of #HIV prevention there, I reported: 14/
  • @WritingBlock reviews the history of gender medicine in @BMJ_Latest. Note that her article was peer reviewed. 15/ http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/transgender.pdf…
  • [deleted]
  • [deleted]
  • [deleted]
  • [deleted]
  • [deleted]
  • [deleted]
  • [deleted]
  • [deleted]
  • [deleted]
  • [deleted]
  • [deleted]
  • Kindly do not come to this thread disrespectfully. I will not tolerate malicious statements toward anyone and the misgendering of transgender people.
  • Also, for anyone coming to this thread who thinks they know who I am, what I think or believe or what I’m about, do take note that I do not share my personal opinions about many issues on Twitter. I invite you to read my reporting on LGBTQ issues: http://benryan.net/lgbtq.html
  • Context: https://ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Issues/SexualOrientation/IESOGI/Other/Rebekah_Murphy_20191214_JamesCantor-fact-checking_AAP-Policy.pdf
  • She said two academic experts reviewed it.

March 4

  • When @JesseSingal, @WritingBlock and I or others report about the science of treating gender dysphoria in minors, we are constantly subjected to overtures of violence, commands that we should kill ourselves, or in my own case, expressions of regret that cancer didn’t kill me. 1/
  • Meanwhile, press freedoms are also being threatened from the right as Florida Republicans in particular seek to clamp down on reporters’ abilities to freely do their jobs and to seek the truth about contentious and important questions. 2/

References

Singal, Jesse (April 25, 2023). On Alejandra Caraballo vs. Benjamin Ryan vs. Steven Thrasher. Singal-Minded https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/on-alejandra-caraballo-vs-benjamin

Ryan, Benjamin (June 23, 2023). The LGBTQ population is growing, but medical schools haven’t caught up. NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/lgbtq-health-care-curriculum-medical-school-training-rcna89599

Ryan, Benjamin (February 2, 2023). How Tennessee axed millions in HIV funds amid scrutiny from far-right provocateurs. NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/tennessee-axed-millions-hiv-funds-scrutiny-far-right-provocateurs-rcna67769

Ryan, Benjamin (March 16, 20223). Transgender woman, 79, can claim Maine nursing home discriminated against her. NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/transgender-woman-79-can-claim-maine-nursing-home-discriminated-rcna20314

Ryan, Benjamin (July 3, 2023). Trump vs DeSantis – where do they stand on LGBTQ+ rights? Openly http://www.openlynews.com/i/?id=954c4808-5e45-450d-b21a-4e00c0450e71

Ryan, Benjamin; Anarte, Enrique; Greenhalgh, Hugo (July 3, 2023). Trans U.S. seniors fear bleak future in residential care. Openly https://www.openlynews.com/i/?id=4ad6f631-853c-42b1-ad75-993aac2652a3

Resources

Benjamin Ryan (benryan.net)

Twitter (twitter.com)

LinkedIn (linkedin.com)

Facebook (facebook.com)