Who Are the Rich, White Men Institutionalizing Transgender Ideology?
(Jennifer Bilek) As an environmental activist who was deplatformed from a speaking venue by transactivists, in 2013 I developed curiosity about the power of this group to force this development. A year later, when Time magazine announced a transgender tipping point on its cover, I had already begun to examine the money behind the transgender project.
I have watched as all-women’s safe spaces, universities, and sports opened their doors to any man who chose to identify as a woman. Whereas men who identify as transwomen are at the forefront of this project, women who identify as transmen seem silent and invisible. I was astonished that such a huge cultural change as the opening of sex-protected spaces was happening at such a meteoric pace and without consideration for women and girls’ safety, deliberation, or public debate.
Concurrent with these rapid changes, I witnessed an overhaul in the English language with new pronouns and a near-tyrannical assault on those who did not use them. Laws mandating new speech were passed. Laws overriding biological sex with the amorphous concept of gender identity are being instituted now. People who speak openly about these changes can find themselves, their families, and their livelihoods threatened.
These elements, along with media saturation of the issue, had me wondering: Is this really a civil rights issue for a tiny part of the population with body dysphoria, or is there a bigger agenda with moneyed interests that we are not seeing? This article can only begin to graze the surface of this question, but considering transgenderism has basically exploded in the middle of capitalism, which is notorious for subsuming social justice movements, there is value in beginning this examination.
Who Is Funding the Transgender Movement?
I found exceedingly rich, white men with enormous cultural influence are funding the transgender lobby and various transgender organizations. These include but are not limited to Jennifer Pritzker (a male who identifies as transgender); George Soros; Martine Rothblatt (a male who identifies as transgender and transhumanist); Tim Gill (a gay man); Drummond Pike; Warren and Peter Buffett; Jon Stryker (a gay man); Mark Bonham (a gay man); and Ric Weiland (a deceased gay man whose philanthropy is still LGBT-oriented). Most of these billionaires fund the transgender lobby and organizations through their own organizations, including corporations.
Separating transgender issues from LGBT infrastructure is not an easy task. All the wealthiest donors have been funding LGB institutions before they became LGBT-oriented, and only in some instances are monies earmarked specifically for transgender issues. Some of these billionaires fund the LGBT through their myriad companies, multiplying their contributions many times over in ways that are also difficult to track.
These funders often go through anonymous funding organizations such as Tides Foundation, founded and operated by Pike. Large corporations, philanthropists, and organizations can send enormous sums of money to the Tides Foundation, specify the direction the funds are to go, and have the funds get to their destination anonymously. Tides Foundation creates a legal firewall and tax shelter for foundations and funds political campaigns, often using legally dubious tactics.
These men and others, including pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. government, are sending millions of dollars to LGBT causes. Overall reported global spending on LGBT is now estimated at $424 million. From 2003-2013, reported funding for transgender issues increased more than eightfold, growing at threefold the increase of LGBTQ funding overall, which quadrupled from 2003 to 2012. This huge spike in funding happened at the same time transgenderism began gaining traction in American culture.
$424 million is a lot of money. Is it enough to change laws, uproot language and force new speech on the public, to censor, to create an atmosphere of threat for those who do not comply with gender identity ideology?
Transgenderism: A New Medical and Lifestyle Market
It seems obvious now to look at the money behind transgenderism. Many new markets have opened because of it. The first gender clinic for children opened in Boston in 2007. In the past ten years, more than 30 clinics for children with purported gender dysphoria have arisen in the United States alone, the largest serving 725 patients.
Over the past decade, there has been an explosion in transgender medical infrastructure across the United States and world to “treat” transgender people. In addition to gender clinics proliferating across the United States, hospital wings are being built for specialized surgeries, and many medical institutions are clamoring to get on board with the new developments.
Doctors are being trained in cadaver symposiums across the world in all manner of surgeries related to transgender individuals, including phalloplasty, vaginoplasty, facial feminization surgery, urethral procedures, and more. More and more American corporations are covering transgender surgeries, drugs, and other expenses. Endocrinologists seeking the fountain of youth in hormones for more than a generation, and the subsequent earnings for marketing those hormones, are still on a quest for gold.
Puberty blockers are another growing market. The plastic surgery arm of medicine is staged for an infusion of cash as well as organ transplants, especially womb transplants for men identifying as women who may want future pregnancies. These surgeries are already being practiced on animals and the first successful womb implant from a deceased female donor to another female has already been a success. Biogenetics is poised to be the investment of the future, says Rothblatt, who has headed a massive pharmaceutical corporation and is now heavily invested in biogenetics and transplants.
Transgenderism has certainly made its way into the American marketplace, so it seems important to consider the implications of this as we pass laws regarding transgender individuals’ and our civil liberties. Transgenderism sits square in the middle of the medical industrial complex, which is by some estimates even bigger than the military industrial complex.
With the medical infrastructure being built, doctors being trained for various surgeries, clinics opening at warp speed, and the media celebrating it, transgenderism is poised for growth. The LGB, a once-tiny group of people trying to love those of the same sex openly and be treated equally within society, has likely already been subsumed by capitalism and is now infiltrated by the medical industrial complex via transgenderism.
Who Works to Institutionalize Transgender Ideology?
Much more important than funds going directly to the LGBT lobby and organizations, only a fraction of which trickles down to assist people who identify as transgender, is the money invested by the men mentioned above, governments, and technology and pharmaceutical corporations to institutionalize and normalize transgenderism as a lifestyle choice. They are shaping the narrative about transgenderism and normalizing it within the culture using their funding methods.
This can hardly be a coincidence when the very thing absolutely essential to those transitioning are pharmaceuticals and technology.
This article will use the Pritzker family as a case study, both to reduce length and because they are emblematic of how this works. Those funding trans organizations and normalizing transgenderism are channeling funds in the same ways and invested in the same medical infrastructure. This can hardly be a coincidence when the very thing absolutely essential to those transitioning are pharmaceuticals and technology. It is also important to note that though the trans lobby has sewn itself to the LGB umbrella, LGB people as such are not lifelong medical patients.
The Pritzkers are an American family of philanthropic billionaires worth approximately $29 billion, whose fortune was gestated by Hyatt Hotels and nursing homes. They now have massive investments in the medical industrial complex.
Examining just a few of the Pritzkers in this article will give you some indication of their reach and influence as a family, especially as regards the transgender project and their relationship to the medical industrial complex. As you read, remember, transitioning individuals are medical patients for life and the Pritzker family are not an anomaly in their funding trajectory or investments in the medical-industrial complex.
Once a family man and a decorated member of the armed forces, Jennifer Pritzker now identifies as transgender. He has made transgenderism a high note in philanthropic funding through his Tawani Foundation. He is one of the largest contributors to transgender causes and, with his family, an enormous influence in the rapid institutionalization of transgenderism.
Some of the organizations Jennifer owns and funds are especially noteworthy to examining the rapid induction of transgender ideology into medical, legal and educational institutions. Pritzker owns Squadron Capital, an acquisitions corporation, with a focus on medical technology, medical devices, and orthopedic implants, and the Tawani Foundation, a philanthropic organization with a grants focus on Gender & Human Sexuality.
Pritzker sits on the leadership council of the Program of Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota, to which he also committed $6.5 million over the past decade. Among many other organizations and institutions Pritzker funds are Lurie Children’s Hospital, a medical center for gender non-conforming children, serving 400 children in Chicago; the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago; a chair of transgender studies at the University of Victoria (the first of its kind); and the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. He also funds the American Civil Liberties Union and his family funds Planned Parenthood, two significant organizations for institutionalizing female-erasing language and support for transgender causes. Planned Parenthood also recently decided to get into the transgender medical market.
Jennifer Pritzker funds strategically, as does his family, by giving to universities that become beholden to his ideology, whose students go on to spread gender ideology by writing pro-trans articles in medical journals and elsewhere. Jennifer’s uncle and aunt, John and Lisa Pritzker, gave $25 million to the University of California at San Francisco for a center of children’s psychiatry. Jennifer likewise funds hospitals and medical schools where the alumni go on to create transgender specialties and LGBT medical centers, even though lesbians, gays, and bisexuals don’t need specialized medical services.
Here are just several current activities of Pritzker-funded medical school alumni and recipients of Pritzker money.
James Hekman founded the LGBT medical care center in Lakewood Ohio.
David T. Rubin sits on the advisory board of Accordant/CVS Caremark, the largest pharmaceutical chain in the United States. CVS acquired Target department stores’ pharmacies in 2015. Target, of course, is the site of a major social controversy about unisex bathrooms and is a corporate funder of the trans-pushing Human Rights Campaign activist group.
Loren Schecter is the author of the first surgical atlas for transgender surgery, author of pro-trans journals, was awarded for legal advocacy of transgenders, performs reconstructive surgeries, and is director of transfeminine conferences sponsored by World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH). He also performs reconstructive surgeries at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Schecter is also the “surgeons only sessions chair” on the Scientific Program Committee of the newly formed United States arm of WPATH (World Professional Association of Transgender Health), USPATH, holding conferences in Los Angeles for surgeons in transgender surgeries.
Robert Garofalo, a gay man, is director of the St. Lurie children’s gender clinic, head of the hospital’s division of adolescent medicine, and a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University, which J.B. Pritzker (whom we will meet later) funds.
Benjamin N. Breyer is chief of urology at San Francisco General Hospital and a professor at the University of California at San Francisco, specializing in transgender surgery.
Nicholas Matte teaches at the Mark Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, with a specialty in queer studies. Jennifer Pritzker also funds the Bonham Centre. Matte lectures around the country on transgender issues, and espouses the idea that we are not a sexually dimorphic species.
Mark Hyman is the Pritzker Foundation Chair in functional medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. Cleveland Clinic conducted the United States’ first uterus transplant.
Baylor College of Medicine is on the receiving end of the Pritzker School of Medicine’s “pipeline programs” for people studying to be doctors. Baylor is where the nation’s first child was born from a uterus transplant as part of an experimental program funding the procedure for 10 women in order to develop uterus transplants ultimately health insurance and taxpayers will pay for rather than being relegated to elective infertility treatment.
Jennifer Pritzker has also helped normalize transgender individuals in the military with a $1.35 million grant to the Palm Center, a University of California, Santa Barbara-based LGBT think tank, to create research validating military transgenderism. He has also donated $25 million to Norwich University in Vermont, a military academy and the first school to launch a Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.
Pritzker’s funding is not confined to the United States, but reaches other countries via WPATH, in conferences for physicians studying transgender surgery and funding of international universities.
Cousin to Jennifer Pritzker, Penny Pritzker served on President Obama’s Council for Jobs and Competitiveness and Economic Recovery Advisory Board. She was national co-chair of Obama for America 2012 and national finance chair of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. To say she was influential in getting president Obama elected would be an understatement.
To say she was influential in getting president Obama elected would be an understatement.
As Obama’s secretary of commerce, Penny Pritzker helped create the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), by facilitating an award of $70 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the first funding of its kind. Obama made transgenderism a pet issue of his administration, holding a meeting at the White House (the first ever) for transgenderism.
The administration quietly applied the power of the executive branch to make it easier for transgender people to alter their passports, get cross-sex treatment at Veteran’s Administration facilities, and access public school restrooms and sports programs based on gender identity. These are just a few of the transgender-specific policy shifts of Obama’s presidency.
Soros and Gill are two other major transgender movement funders who generated millions of dollars to get Obama elected, and Stryker was one of the top five contributors to Obama’s campaign. Under Obama and President George W. Bush, the federal government also funded the Tides Foundation $82.7 million, which in turn donated $47.2 million to LGBTQ issues over the last two decades.
Penny has funded the Harvard School of Public Health and, with her husband through their mutual foundation, The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, are funding early childhood initiatives as well as providing scholarships to Harvard University medical students. The Boston Children’s Hospital Gender Management Services wing physicians are all affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Penny Pritzker also sat on the board at Harvard, where student life offices teach students, many of whom go on to lead U.S. institutions, that “there are more than two sexes.”
Penny Pritzker’s brother, J.B. Pritzker, is an American venture capitalist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and business owner. He is co-founder of the Pritzker Group, a private investment firm that invests in digital technology and medical companies, including Clinical Innovations, which has a global presence. Clinical Innovations is one of the largest medical device companies and in 2017 acquired Brenner Medical, another significant medical group offering innovative products in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology.
We have to look at why this is framed as a civil rights issue when the main issues seem to be capital and social engineering.
J.B. provided seed funding for Matter, a startup incubator for medical technology based in Chicago. He also sits on the board of directors at his alma mater, Duke University, where they are making advances in cryopreserving women’s ovaries.
J.B. is running for governor of Illinois in 2018 and put $25 million into an Obama administration public-private initiative totaling $1 billion for early childhood education. J.B. and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, donated $100 million to Northwestern University School of Law, partly for scholarships and partly for the school’s “social justice” and childhood law work.
We have to look at why this is framed as a civil rights issue when the main issues seem to be capital and social engineering. There doesn’t seem to be a sphere of influence that is untouched by Pritzker money, from early childhood education and universities to law, medical institutions, the LGBT lobby and organizations, politics, and the military. If they were the only ones funding the institutionalization of transgender ideology they would still be fantastically influential, but they are joined by other exceedingly wealthy, influential white men, who also have ties to the pharmaceutical and medical industries.
Pharma and Tech Giants All-In for Transgender
Along with support by pharmaceutical giants such as Janssen Therapeutics, the health foundation of a Johnson and Johnson founder, Viiv, Pfizer, Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, major technology corporations including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Intel, Dell, and IBM are also funding the transgender project. In February 2017, Apple, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Yelp, PayPal, and 53 other mostly tech corporations signed onto an amicus brief pushing the U.S. Supreme Court to prohibit schools from keeping private facilities for students designated according to sex.
As these corporations were pushing for transgender bathrooms, they were fighting President Trump’s travel ban and immigration policies. In reporting the incidents simultaneously, CNN News made the obvious connection between the corporations’ interest in the immigration ban and commerce, quoting a legal brief signed by the companies that said, “It is inflicting significant harm on American business, innovation and growth.” It made no such equivalent connection for the corporations’ interest in transgender rights. The obvious question would be: Why do they care? The obvious answer is: money.
It behooves us all to look at what the real investment is in prioritizing a lifetime of anti-body medical treatments for a miniscule part of the population.
Melding this manufactured medical issue with civil rights frame entails the continuance and growth of the problem. Transgenderism is framed as both a medical problem, for the gender dysphoria of children who need puberty blockers and are being groomed for a lifetime of medicalization, and as a brave and original lifestyle choice for adults. Martine Rothblatt suggests we are all transhuman, that changing our bodies by removing healthy tissue and organs and ingesting cross-sex hormones over the course of a lifetime can be likened to wearing make-up, dying our hair, or getting a tattoo. If we are all transhuman, expressing that could be a never-ending saga of body-related consumerism.
The massive medical and technological infrastructure expansion for a tiny (but growing) fraction of the population with gender dysphoria, along with the money being funneled to this project by those heavily invested in the medical and technology industries, seems to make sense only in the context of expanding markets for changing the human body. Trans activists are already clamoring for a change from “gender dysphoria” to “gender incongruence” in the next revision to the international register of mental diagnosis codes, the ICD-11. The push is on for insurance-paid hormones and surgeries for anyone who believes his or her body is in any way “incongruent” with his or her “gender identity.”
Bodily diversity appears to be the core issue, not gender dysphoria; that and unmooring people from their biology via language distortions, to normalize altering human biology. Institutionalizing transgender ideology does just this. This ideology is being promoted as a civil rights issue by wealthy, white, men with enormous influence who stand to personally benefit from their political activities.
It behooves us all to look at what the real investment is in prioritizing a lifetime of anti-body medical treatments for a miniscule part of the population, building an infrastructure for them, and institutionalizing the way we perceive ourselves as human beings, before being human becomes a quaint concept of the past.
This article has been corrected to note the difference between Baylor University and Baylor College of Medicine. The two are no longer connected.
Jennifer Bilek is an artist, environmental activist, writer, and an engaged citizen.