Trans Kids On The Today Programme

Originally posted at Transgender Trend

In the following report, we don’t judge either of the children featured (who were both charming and very likeable), we use their interviews only to question the level of rigour in the reporting of these cases, as well as the ideology which underpins the assumptions made about appropriate ‘treatments’ for such children.

What’s striking about the coverage of this issue on the Today programme is the lack of incisive questioning of the kind you would expect for a serious news item; John Humphreys tried, but came across as out of his depth on an issue which demands serious challenge. Children’s bodies are being medically altered into a biologically intersex condition to fit a psychological identity: the ideology behind this practice is not one which needs to be treated with polite deference.

The adoption of the new language – “assigned the wrong gender at birth” for example – obfuscates the issue from the start, and subsequent inaccuracies in language further confuse things.

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Awakening clinician: What do we think we are talking about?

Originally posted on Youth Trans Critical Professionals

Why are so many children and young people suddenly identifying or being identified as transgender?

Why are gender and sexuality being confused? Why are we not asking questions about including and valuing everyone in a gender neutral way? Why are many professionals – including myself – suppressing our own questions in public and professional forums?

When we talk about transgender – what do we think we are talking about? 

How do we support people with indeterminate sex (different from indeterminate gender) to feel safe alongside every other individual?

How is medical intervention for children of indeterminate sex a different issue from medical intervening for children articulating gender confusion?

Can we clarify the terminology? ‘Male to Female’ and ‘Female to Male’ seems too binary and incomplete. The issue is ‘Male to Trans’ and ‘Female to Trans’ and using this terminology we begin to encompass a broader, more accurate, notion of the shared experiences and identities of men, women and Trans people.

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In praise of gatekeepers: An interview with a former teen client of TransActive Gender Center

Originally posted at 4th Wave Now

I also had an experience there which I believe to be directly negligent on the part of the therapist. During the course of my therapy, before I received a referral for hormones, I began to have trauma flashbacks, which I hadn’t previously remembered. I brought these up to my therapist, and her only response was to devote one or two sessions to it, and then continue with the transition therapy process. This process seemed to be primarily about validating pretty much whatever I said about my gender/planning and mapping out a timeline for my transition, and it was not brought up at any point that prior trauma might have anything to do with dysphoria. The implication that was always present, in therapy or in the other trans-related discussions I was part of, inside and outside of TransActive, was that if I was trans (and my therapist never gave me the impression that I might not be), my options were “transition now, transition later, or live your life unhappy/commit suicide.” To a teenager who is struggling with mental health issues, this is a very attractive proposal: “This is The Cure for all of the emotional pain you’re feeling”.

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“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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The right way for women to disappear

Originally posted at Glosswatch

For a long time I have felt a parallel can be made between eating disorders and gender confirmation surgery as forms of self-harming body modification. It’s not a comparison I make lightly, just for the hell of it. Indeed, every time I’ve made it, I’ve had to put up with the ritual public Shaming of the TERF, alongside the trivialisation of a condition which led to several long-term hospitalisations against the “realness” of true gender dysphoria. It’s been suggested to me that anorexia is an attempt to “express your feels” as opposed to the real suffering of “having a skin that metaphorically itches all the time” (as if anyone who’s ever had anorexia would not understand that!). A piece I wrote about the inappropriateness of positioning female body hatred within the context of “cis-ness” got me to Level 2 on the Blockbot. According to the official narrative, anorexia is at best mental illness, at worst vanity; transness, on the other hand, is politically radical, unquestionably authentic and quite incomprehensible to “the cis”.

A woman who starves puberty into remission is sick, so sick you can section her, decree her officially incapable of knowing what her own body needs.  One who drugs puberty into remission is not sick; she is, on the contrary, a mystic emissary from Planet Gender. Her – his, their – word is law. A woman who, like me, tries to kill herself because no amount of starvation will make her breasts fully disappear is considered mad. One who merely threatens to kill herself should no surgeon be willing to slice off her breasts for her – well, that person is merely a victim of medical gatekeeping.

Why is this?

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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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Woman’s Hour On Teenage Girls At Tavistock Clinic

Originally posted at Transgender Trend

1,398 children and adolescents have been referred to the Tavistock Clinic this year (compared to 697 last year) and of that number almost 1,000 are girls. Girls have been over-represented at the clinic for the past five years, with the disparity between boys and girls increasing year on year.

Throughout their interview, both Polly Carmichael and Bernadette Wren from the Tavistock clinic referenced the “social revolution” and the rapidly changing context within which teenage girls are making the decision to transition. Various points were made, such as the fact that people are much more accepting now and we live in a world where people surgically alter their bodies, a possibility which did not previously exist. Dr Wren’s view: “I don’t think we should necessarily take a negative view of this” was echoed in her neutral stance on the “phenomenal unexpected increase” in the number of girls referred to the Tavistock this year: “it’s not for us to approve or disapprove.”

Although it was reassuring to hear that the clinicians see their job in terms of “holding” these girls, enabling them to “get on with their lives without necessarily jumping into the physical interventions,” we feel there does need to be an ethical debate about whether this is a positive or negative development, given that we are talking about medically unnecessary invasive interference with healthy bodies, with some irreversible effects and a lack of research on the long-term health effects. This is not something about which we can afford to be neutral. Use of terms like “social revolution” make it very clear that the recent transgender phenomenon is sold as a social justice cause rather than a medical one, but those adolescents caught up in it will nevertheless be medical patients for life as long as they identify as transgender.

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