“Gender identity refers to a person’s sense of fitting into social categories”: Wisdom for the Youth of Today from GIRES (Gender Identity Research and Education Society)

Originally posted at GenderTrender

The following gems are excerpted from GIRES’ submission to the proposed new NHS Service Specification (“treatment guidelines” to you and me) for the UK Gender Identity Development Service for Children and Adolescents (GIDS). The ‘fitting-youth-into-social-sex-categories-development-service’ in question operates out of the Tavistock and Portman facility and is run by Dr. Polly Carmichael.

The clinic, which attempts to treat children who are disturbed by sex-based social roles with pharmaceuticals, has quietly posted two items on their website for public feedback without notifying the press or public. The deadline for replies is April 20.

The first item is a ‘Policy Proposal’ which quite sensibly rejects lowering the age for cross-sex hormones below the age of sixteen in the UK. This is a response to transgender industry and activist lobbying to allow permanent irreversible changes to be performed on children below the age of legal consent.

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When is a support group not a support group? The troubling story of a UK trans support group

Originally posted on Youth Trans Critical Professionals

Should a TV programme be the basis for irreversible medical intervention? (What would we feel if a troubled teen had instead watched an ISIS recruiting video and announced to her family that she was off to Syria to find a husband?)  Might not a teenager be made to feel uncomfortable about an emerging lesbian identity within the context of a private London single sex school?  Was the chance discovery of a leaflet for Gendered Intelligence really a sign from God? And how free was the child to pass through what might have been a transient phase once enrolled in a group where her newly formed identity would be reinforced by adults?

In the world of ‘Gendered Intelligence’, the thought ‘Am I the other sex?’ is not a thought that can be challenged but is taken as a revelation of an essential truth. The role of the adult and of the parent is to support and affirm this identity. At the monthly parents’ group, we were encouraged to speak freely and not to feel that we had to be ‘politically correct’. But there was an underlying narrative: feelings were our own but the facts were in the possession of the convenor, and those facts were the ‘trans narrative’.  Our children could only be happy if we supported them through transition. We would find it difficult, we might grieve for the child we might feel we had lost but this was merely part of a journey familiar to our experienced convenor, herself the parent of a trans man (who transitioned from female to male I think at age 21). The presence of this convenor necessarily makes it hard to question the trans narrative. ‘Where are you on the journey?’ asked the parent convenor, when I introduced myself.  My answer, ‘Which journey?’ did not go down well.

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Tomboys and sissies: where we’re going wrong

Originally published by Bronwyn Winter at The Age

I would like to live in a world where ‘male’ and ‘female’ cease to be categories of social distinction, to the considerable advantage of those labelled ‘male’ and the considerable disadvantage of those labelled ‘female’.

I would like ‘gender’ to disappear as a mark of social categorisation and prescribed behaviours, even if ‘sex’ – the number of ‘Xes’ in our  chromosomes – inevitably remains one mark of biological diversity, and differing needs, among us.

But we do not live in such a world, and gender continues to separate humanity into two classes. As such, it is a deeply political question. It shapes our collective social experience as sexed beings from the day we are born, and we cannot disappear that experience and acquire another, simply through an act of will. Biology is not everything, but it is not nothing either – as any intersex person surely knows, and as all women know.

Throughout history, any specificity of women’s embodiment or needs has been ideologically constructed as justification for considering us weak, incompetent and unclean. We know, deeply, viscerally, that embodiment is a political issue.

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What Do I Expect from Him?

Originally posted at My Only Path to Power

I believe that he has gender dysphoria. I believe that when he looks in the mirror he sees a man and expects to see a woman, and I believe that this situation is extremely uncomfortable. I believe that his decision to live as a woman was not easy nor casual nor malicious.

However, I also believe that he has a responsibility to be kind and empathetic and honest, to women and especially to his wife. I married a person I thought had these qualities. I yoked myself to a person I thought would think as much of me as he thinks of himself.

Because his dysphoria is so uncomfortable, he feels that he has no choice but to live as a woman and no choice but to accept every line of the transgender political movement. How can I expect him to do otherwise, he asks?

The following is what I expect of a partner who is intelligent and empathetic and who wants to have a loving, equal relationship with me. I believe that it’s reasonable. What is this condition if it is not compatible with empathy and the ability to think of a partner as well as oneself? What is it if it is incompatible with truth? If it is inherently that antisocial, then the problem doesn’t lie with me and can’t be fixed by me.

I expect him to see the misogyny in his community.

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Girl transitions to avoid getting periods and being a lesbian

Originally posted at Purple Sage

This is a young girl who didn’t like the female role, was incredibly horrified when she got her first period, and didn’t want to be a lesbian. These are the reasons she gives when asked how she knew she wanted to transition.

She describes being in denial about getting a period, and seems to think periods are really terrible. When she got her period she cried and felt “crushed,” “shocked,” and “hurt.” She says there is no word to describe how awful she felt about her period.

Getting her period was “the beginning of the breaking point.” The rest of her breaking point was her mother, who did not agree with her plans to transition and attempted to support her natural development as a lesbian woman.

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The Artifice of Femininity: Double Standards in The Danish Girl

Originally posted at Jeanne de Montbaston

I saw The Danish Girl, the film loosely based on the real story of Lili Elbe, at the beginning of the month. But I’m only now writing this blog post, because it took (as usual) a little while to organise what I wanted to say. The film is a strange mixture. I thought it was subtle in the way it told the characters’ stories, moving and engaging. As you might guess if you know Elbe’s history, it is pretty dark, with some appallingly disturbing scenes: notably, the episode in which a doctor emotionlessly diagnoses Elbe as a homosexual and enforces a ‘cure’ involving radiation of the genitals, and the scenes of Elbe’s horrific pain following a surgery that was crude beyond belief. But – disappointingly – it’s also saccharine in places, with some surprisingly false notes.

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How men are using gender identity to deny male privilege

Originally posted at Lavender Blume

Anyone who has delved into the topic of gender identity has likely heard about the diverging understandings of gender according to queer theory (gender is arbitrary i.e. whatever you say it is) and radical feminism (gender is a social construct with well-defined parameters). This disagreement comes down to how womanhood and manhood are defined (although for reasons obvious to feminists, the nature of womanhood is much more frequently debated) and what we’re ultimately supposed to do about sex/gender stereotypes.

For centuries, women have struggled to break away from the expectations regarding how we’re supposed to look, act, think, and feel. While debates rage on about what it means to be a woman or a man – or a proper lady or a real man – there are people who want to identify as something other than what they were born as or how they’re expected to be. While it’s often said that the reason for this varies from person to person as it’s a purely personal choice, this individualistic approach fails to take into account the inequality between the sexes. This is critical to understanding what’s happening and why because a system whose goal is the dominance of males over females will necessarily seek to define womanhood and manhood, femininity and masculinity, in such a way as to perpetuate that supremacy. It attempts to do this at every opportunity and within every social movement, arguably most aggressively when done under the guise of progressive politics. Once a theory regarding gender is adopted by those who identify as social justice advocates it becomes nearly impossible to question a doctrine already presumed to be revolutionary.

Are we willing to consider that some of the ideas promulgated by such groups could in fact reinforce structures of power rather than challenge them?

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