Come on politicians, come on councillors, teachers and GPs – do the reading, do the thinking, take responsibility…
Here is a brief summary of an excellent article in the current edition of The Spectator, ‘The true cause of No10’s conversion therapy muddle‘:
The government just shocked everyone by throwing out a plan to pass a bill banning conversion therapy. Surely, by now, the vast majority of us know darned well that being gay or lesbian is natural, not unusual, and anyone who thinks they can ‘cure’ it is doing harm. What we mean by ‘trans’ people is not quite so well-defined, let alone ‘queer’ and all those other letters, but nevertheless at first glance, the ‘conversion therapy consultation’ looked like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, those who drafted it had what the Spectator calls ‘something must be done’ syndrome, and ended up throwing the whole thing out because people complained about the confusion and lack of understanding of the various issues evidenced in the consultation.
The Spectator article makes a comparison with the infamous ‘Bedroom Tax’ bill, which started out as ‘something must be done’ about having a shortage of housing and too many single people living alone in large houses. The law they made was a disaster, often penalising hard-pressed pensioners who were unable to move to smaller accommodation. It happened because the politicians putting the law together did not think through why there is a housing shortage, or what would happen to people who could not access smaller accommodation.
At last, we have the beginnings of a debate!
Here’s why the ‘conversion therapy ban’ plan failed. It got mixed in with the huge ‘sex and gender’ non-debate. For years now, increasing numbers of people have been saying we need to talk about the confusions and conflicts around laws about women’s and trans people’s rights, and where and whether they conflict, but we can’t, because ‘there’s a toxic debate’. Debates get toxic when there is ‘more heat than light’. In other words, when people feel passionate about something, but don’t understand it thoroughly, or at least don’t agree on what it all means.
That’s why I applaud The Spectator article. It’s one of several to come out lately that are mostly light, and not so much heat. There are though, two issues the Spectator gets wrong. Those two errors are very common ones, and I think they are the last things that stand between us and the debate we need to have. They are:
- There is a toxic debate
- There are a lot of people who are ‘born in the wrong body’ or, ‘assigned the wrong sex at birth’. Debating ‘sex and gender’ is cruel to them
So, let’s take a look at those two errors.
The first error: But I’ve seen the toxic debate!
Yes, but let’s be clear what you have seen. Stonewall et al wanted the law changed to remove all gate-keeping from people who wanted to self-identify as the opposite sex. They knew that this did not just mean people who’d undergone what we used to call ‘sex change surgery’, and they knew there’d be lots of opposition to the idea of men just wandering into women’s institutions and saying ‘oh, I feel like a woman’. Apart from anything else, women worried because self-ID would, legally, be open to ALL the people Stonewall puts ‘under the trans umbrella’, from cross-dressing nightclub acts to people who’d just picked up a new, fashionable label from the LGBTQIA+ stable for the fun of it.
Stonewall anticipated and headed off this opposition by pretending this was ‘gay lib 2′, and by claiming that women who need to discuss how this would work, and how we maintain safeguarding for women and girls, were ‘just like’ those people who supported Section 28 (Margaret Thatcher’s ridiculous and unquestionably harmful attempt to stop schools talking to kids about lesbian and gay people).
So of course, people got angry with women who questioned self-ID. We did point out that it was really unlikely a lot of socialist women were suddenly behaving like Margaret Thatcher but the whole thing got out of hand…
… some people worked this out but of course, particularly on social media, once a few tribes of people get angry, you will see endless abusive exchanges online.
But in the real world, this is not really a ‘toxic debate’ – it’s an inadequate conversation, stilted by the fact that those who know the issues best are least likely to say anything much at all. Their silence left the field open for those who were enjoying the battle – freed them up to bully women who spoke out, to wield the power of apparent virtue ‘I support trans women! He/she is a bigot!’ to slander and then remove their opponents from political or professional positions.
I think, at last, the light is beginning to dawn. A few more articles like the one in the Spectator, and a few more explanations of these two common errors, and we will be able to deal with those bullies, and at long last be able to have the debate properly.
So, there is not a ‘toxic debate’, there is a shortage of sensible, well-informed people who are willing to discuss the issues. That one is now sorting itself out. As to the second error:
The second error: Transition regret, and ‘de-transition’ are very rare. Lots of people are ‘born in the wrong body’
The second error in the article is the assumption that misdiagnosis, leading to ‘de-transitioning’ is a rare thing. It is not rare (evidence – with figures, such as we have – in the video below). The victims of misdiagnosis, and their parents and carers, are desperate for the situation to be better understood, and we owe it to them to make that effort.
Astonishingly, the few ‘gender clinics’ we have in this country, have made next to no effort to monitor what happens to young people after they’ve been through the process of cross-sex hormones and surgeries (most commonly, double mastectomy to give a flat chested appearance.)
I personally think the reason this terrible situation has occurred is that we have been tolerating quasi-NHS, business-focussed organisations into our health service, organisations that are more motivated to tout for ‘business’ (ie, patients) than they are to take full responsibility for their actions.
This is deeply dangerous in the case of gender-clinics, because giving cross-sex hormones to young women induces effects that have been compared to undergoing menopause in your 20s – an occurrence which should necessitate doctors looking out for and dealing with the serious health issues excessively early menopause can cause.
That simply isn’t happening for girls who transition. The reason those clinics think detransition is rare is simply because they haven’t asked, and it looks as though they haven’t asked because it’s not in their (business) interests to know.
Sinead Watson gives some likely figures here.
This, and other evidence suggests transition-regret, and/or de-transition (with all the health and psychological problems that leaves young women with) could easily be over 50% – we have yet to find evidence of *how much* over 50% It is.
It begins to look as though being ‘born in the wrong body’ is not nearly as common as gender-ideologists would have us believe. As for ‘assigned the wrong sex at birth’ this very phrase is stolen from another medical situation, and was originally used before doctors had the knowledge and techniques to work out the actual sex of people with DSDs (disorders of sexual development). Nowadays, ‘getting the sex wrong’ at birth is incredibly rare, and has absolutely nothing to do with the people who decide they are ‘trans’, let alone ‘non-binary’.
Nor does it have anything to do with gender dysphoria which, as the imminent Cass Report will show, has a number of causes and absolutely should be not taken as automatic evidence that a girl needs a change of pronouns, cross-sex hormones and a mastectomy.
So, given the huge increase of particularly girls and young women, being queued up for gender reassignment, this is a very, very harmful situation that any responsible person would want to see discussed and understood.
But there is good news now
We are reaching the point where we can have a debate. We just need to be clear: the ‘debate’ was made toxic by bullies and mis-informed passionate people. Let’s clear that up and shed some light, so we can do those girls and women justice, by having a proper public debate.
We know that gender-dysphoria is real, and it hurts. We need to protect doctors and counsellors from screeches about ‘transphobia’ whenever they discuss any causes other than the mythical ‘born in the wrong body’ one (‘mythical’ is, obviously, my opinion but come on socialists – what happened to your rationalism? How can ‘you’ be born in the ‘wrong’ body? What are ‘you’?). We need to check what we think we know (Yes of course I include myself in that ‘we’) because a whole raft of grant-farming organisations have been riding on propaganda and dodgy statistics whilst those who knew stayed silent.
We can begin to see that the equally misguided (but usually well intentioned) idea that we need to ban all single-sex spaces and services for the sake of all those ‘born in the wrong body’ kids is wrong. It has been creating terrible divides within families and women’s organisations. Looking at this as a misunderstanding rather than attempts to ‘exclude’ anyone unfairly should quickly make it ‘discussable’, and so solvable.
We’re nearly there. Here’s my stance: Cross-sex hormones, rash decisions about surgery and misunderstandings have been hurting our girls. You cannot be ‘born in the wrong body’. You only have the body you were born in, and the reasons for feeling you want to reject it are many and complex. This has absolutely nothing to do with DSDs (commonly misnamed ‘intersex’ conditions), and nothing to do with properly informed, mature adults opting for ‘sex change surgery’ (they are already protected in law – as they should be.)
Let’s get going with the real debate. It’s important, because, as mothers everywhere will tell you, we need to actually help dysphoric youngsters, instead of using them as political footballs.
What to do now
The only danger now is that failing right-wing media have seen the ‘gap in the market’ where politicians and media who wish to seem fashionably ‘progressive’ have avoided proper analysis of the gender debate. Since the Sex Matters ‘respect my sex if you want my ‘x’’ campaign launched, The Daily Mail appear to be claiming the debate for their own, which is likely to heat up the ‘left-right’ element in the rows that have been occurring.
Please help us solve this now, firstly by using your experience to recognise bullying and game-playing under those apparently virtuous slogans, and applying what you know to the people who are so outrageously accused. Let’s have some solidarity – some real, audible support for the victims of all this slander.
Secondly, please understand that it’s worth the effort of getting better informed yourself, talking the issues through with family and friends, and if you’re in a position to do so, setting up a decent debate within your own political party, union or professional organisation.
We owe that much at least to our girls.
Times are hard, and so the articles on this site are freely available but if you are able to support my work by donating a few pounds, please click the link below. It really helps to keep the writing going.