I have been involved in this issue since 2018 when Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) clinicians came to see me as their Staff Governor .
They brought concerns about the damage to children as result of the penetration of trans ideology into the service .They were too frightened to see me in my room at the Tavistock , emblematic of the climate of fear in organisations which have been ideologically captured.
The extent of this capture has been extraordinary and well planned. A prominent political journalist wrote:
During a long Westminster career, I have never encountered a movement that has spread so swiftly and successfully, and has so fiercely rejected any challenge to its orthodoxy …………..The transgender movement has advanced through Britain’s institutions with extraordinary speed. The only thing more extraordinary than the rapid spread of this new orthodoxy is how little scrutiny it has faced and the aggressive intolerance directed towards those who question it.James Kirkup
My report on GIDS was part of a chain of circumstances eventually leading to the Cass Review – then the NHS decision to close GIDS. Similar action has been taken in other countries such as Sweden and Finland.
It is vital to distinguish between gender dysphoria and transgender . The former refers to childhood disturbance in relation to the sexed body, the latter is an umbrella term and is easily used to foreclose exploration
Gender dysphoria is most commonly transient, as evidenced by the high proportion who desist, its socially contagious nature in teenage girl peer groups, and by the testimony of large numbers of detransitioners Its common comorbidities suggest that it is probably one contemporary means of expressing adolescent distress, alongside depression, anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders, among young people with histories of childhood trauma and those on the autistic spectrum ). For these children, a therapeutic approach which is neutral and exploratory is essential, locating their gender dysphoria in the context of their personal histories, and recognising that it may be a temporary expression of their wider distress .
Gender dysphoria is, then the manifest problem but the routes to it multifarious.
Here I would like to stress that all psychological disorders are very highly permeable to cultural context . The same kind of psychological problems present in different ways depending on context- many of the detransitioners I have spoken to had suffered from anorexia/bulimia (although the GIDS clinicians had not made the obvious link to disturbance in raltion to their sexed bodies) . There is evidence that as gender dysphoria rises, anorexia bulimia is falling.
The associated conflicts include –
- Internalised homophobia, –
- confusions about sexual identity,
- autism (35%)
- histories of trauma and abuse,
- profound family problems –
- and children who are just confused and lost in the world.
There is understandable confusion as regards homosexuality -do we need to be wary of the repeating the mistake of the past? . That history has been weaponised. But these situations are entirely distinct (see appendix).
So there is double damage- that which arises from putting the children rapidly on the pathway to irreversible damage and that which arises from the fact that the underlying problems remain unaddressed , as seen only through the lens of ‘being trans’ ( a point made by the Cass interim report)
Apart from the massive increase in yearly referral (90- 3500) , there has been a reversal in natal sex – that is girls not boys now predominate (80%) , the reason are not understood but include the internalisation of misogyny – that is hatred of the sexual body (relatively common in pubertal girls) massively amplified by the cultural context. Many of these girls do not so much believe they are a boy, it is more that they seek to get out of their female body. Affirmation can easily collude with the belief that the female body is disgusting and with the illusion that that it can be exited.
The normalised high levels of exposure to pornography has done, I believe considerable damage in contributing to girls negative self-perception .
I attended a conference of de- transitioners , all women , in 2020 They were all gender non-conforming and all lesbian. It was a very disturbing experience.
One of the woman said: ‘I speak for a generation of children who have been robbed of the capacity to have an imagination’- meaning the ordinary imagining of being of the other sex is not possible in this peculiar binary climate.
Another said “I look in the mirror and I do not see man , I see a mutilated woman.. that is now what I live with” Here I would like to draw attention to the bizarre Orwellian newspeak . ‘gender reassignment’, ‘top surgery’.
These terms serve to obscure the extent of the damage being done to children and young people – irreversibly bodily damage brought about by puberty blockers and opposite sex hormones and then surgery – double mastectomy, removal of genital and pelvic organs and creating pseudo genitalia leaving them sterile and lifelong patients many facing catastrophic complications.
There is understandable confusion -do we need to be wary of the repeating the mistake of the past as regard homosexuality? . That history has been weaponised. But these situations are entirely distinct which I can explain further.
We need to be clear that the issue here is not social justice but medical ethics – which is why I called my paper ‘First do no harm’.
There is understandable confusion – do we need to be wary of the repeating the mistakes of the past as regards homosexuality? That history has been weaponised. But these situations are entirely distinct Many of us campaigned in the sixties to put an end to medical conversion of gay men. The psychiatric and medical establishment, involved in this , were part of a whole context in which homosexuality was illegal. There is no legal basis for any discrimination against trans people who a re rightly free to express their gender and sexuality as they wish The trans ideologists, conversely, are campaigning to support the medical and surgical intervention in children and young people (intervention that interferes with their normal development). The Lesbian , Gay and Bisexual Alliance view this as conversion treatment – as many of these young people / are confused about their sexuality and if supported in a different way will desist from being trans and emerge as gender non conforming gay and lesbian people