A psychologist employed by a federal agency is being penalized for speaking out against gender ideology.

Three psychologists working in the Department of Veterans Affairs penned an op-ed late last month warning of the danger posed by allowing biological men to access women’s bathrooms and medical exam rooms. One of the authors, primary care psychologist Dr. Nina Silander, was placed on administrative leave following the article’s publication, according to documents obtained by The Washington Stand.

According to a letter Silander sent to her senators and representatives in Washington, D.C., she was “put on administrative leave due to patient care/safety concerns, which are entirely unsubstantiated given the reality that I have provided quality veteran services and received no complaints to date.”

“My co-authors … anticipate facing similar repercussions for their authorship of this article,” Silander wrote. “We maintain that we are within our rights as federal employees to comment, in our own time and with appropriate disclaimer, on matters of public concern and information already available to the public.”

In the article Silander co-authored with fellow VA clinical psychologists Catherine Novotny and Edward Waldrep, the trio wrote, “VA leadership, perhaps inspired by President [Joe] Biden’s executive order on ‘Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,’ recently began … injecting concepts of gender ideology into our clinical work.”

They continued, “From here on, the distinction that will matter in patients is their self-identified gender, not their biological sex. We believe this effectively extinguishes the entire class of women, undermining many physical and legal protections for female veterans.”

“Single-sex spaces within the VA—those ensuring bodily privacy, such as bathrooms, exam rooms and medical exam areas—can now be accessed by males who self-identify as women,” the psychologists noted. “We view this VA policy as a betrayal of our female patients. Women face a disproportionate statistical risk of assault, harassment and voyeurism by men. And male violence patterns are unchanged by subjective feelings about gender.”

All three authors, with a combined 44 years of experience in clinical psychology, have a particular professional focus on sexual trauma recovery, a factor on which they laid particular emphasis in their article.

“Imagine a rape victim being forced to share a bedroom in a residential program with a man,” they wrote. “Even worse, according to VA policy, if the female veteran objects, she is required to relocate, despite being the complainant. What has happened to women’s security? What of bodily privacy?”

“The VA’s current policy is based on premises we believe are contradictory, anti-female and unconstitutional. It appears to be motivated by politics and fickle media narratives rather than by sound clinical practice,” the psychologists wrote. “The VA must restore single-sex spaces in which biology is the only relevant factor.”

According to a complaint filed by Silander with the VA’s Equal Opportunity Office and obtained by The Washington Stand, Silander’s VA manager, Dr. Christine Fultyn, inquired whether Silander “had in fact co-authored this article,” two days after the article’s publication.

One week later, Silander reported, Fultyn came to her office and “asked if I was aware of some of the backlash in response to the op-ed. She presented the detail memorandum for me to read, explaining that higher ups had determined to launch an investigation based on ‘patient safety concerns.’” Silander was then removed from her clinical role “effective immediately.”

That same day, Fultyn, along with “LGBQT+ Coordinators and members of our DEI Committee,” scheduled an event for Feb. 6 “to offer support and resources for anyone with concerns related to the recent op-ed.” The event was canceled on Feb. 5 to ensure that staff had adequate time to devote to “patient care/training/administrative tasks.”

Silander recounted that minutes later Fultyn “informed me that the investigation had ended without need for disciplinary action” and that Silander could return to clinical care the very next day. “I inquired about the investigation,” Silander stated, “but Dr. Fultyn was unable to provide additional information and referred me to submit a [Freedom of Information Act] request.”

According to a report by National Review, Silander’s co-author Waldrep has also been retaliated against for publishing the article. He reported he was subjected to “a barrage of backlash in a VA group chat he belonged to that’s dedicated to LGBT matters” and was eventually “kicked out of the chat.”

Waldrep had previously been targeted for questioning the VA’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, which included segregating therapy groups by race. He was, according to National Review, “stripped … of his ability to supervise students, prohibiting him from doing didactics trainings with rotations and from attending meetings where students were present.”

In the wake of Silander’s and Waldrep’s article and the retaliation against the two, Reps. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., and Eli Crane, R-Ariz., sent a letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough outlining their concerns over the agency’s LGBTQ and DEI initiatives.

“The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has started to enforce VHA Directive 1341(3) in a way that puts women veterans in danger,” the congressmen wrote. “Specifically, the VHA is allowing biological men into women-only single-sex spaces, including bathrooms, exam rooms, and medical exam areas irrespective of where the veteran is in their ‘transition’. We are concerned that this would put women veterans in danger … ”

The congressmen added, “The VA must ensure that women veterans are not being put at risk to appease radical transgender activists. … The VA must focus on delivering world-class healthcare and benefits to our nation’s heroes. The VA’s DEI efforts distract from your important mission and must end immediately.”

Originally published by The Washington Stand

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