Welcome to Transtopia

Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 01.11.38If you’re looking for something specific, there’s a search bar on the lower right hand side of the page.

 

Hi. You’ve reached the blog of Lily Maynard. Welcome.

In late 2015, my teenage daughter Jessie declared she was transgender and the experience tugged us into a rabbit hole of Orwellian double-speak and general insanity. I read so much during that time and it was such a vast learning curve that I felt compelled to bring all the threads together in an article.  I was especially struck by the exponential surge in the number of teenage girls who were ‘identifying’ as boys, usually young lesbians and usually after lengthy sessions on social media. After Jessie desisted, I wanted to share what I’d read as well as what I’d learned and eventually I finished writing an article which contained over 100 links. Jessie added a short postscript of her own and I was delighted when 4thwavenow published it in December 2016 under the title ‘A Mum’s Voyage Through Transtopia – a tale of love and desistance’.

I’ve since re-published the article here on my own blog, under the title

‘My first article – A Mum’s Voyage Through Transtopia’.

Before you ask me any questions; before you critcise or praise my stance on transitioning kids, or the appropriation of womanhood by men, please read that. It’s where it all began.

After Jessie re-realised she was a girl and things settled down at home,  I expected to put my time in Transtopia behind me and move on. Instead I became more fascinated- and angry- with the culture of misogyny and homophobia which underlies transgender theory.  For without stereotypes there can be no ‘brave transgender children’. Without the dolls and the pink tutus, a love of glitter, a gentle nature and a will to dance, what could possibly make girls of the little boys of ‘My Transgender Summer Camp’? What other than her love of Batman, karate and jumping around could make that short-haired, fierce little girl into a boy trapped in a female body? A feeling?  How does a boy feel? How does a girl feel? Without sexism, there can be no transgenderism. Without the idea that there is a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ way to be a boy or a girl there would be no need to beguile and medicate these kids in an attempt to make them ‘fit in’. Our current culture of blind affirmation is not doing anyone any favours.  It is nothing short of abusive to tell a child that they are ‘wrong’, that they have been ‘born in the wrong body’ or that medication and surgery can make them into the opposite sex.

donttranskids

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‘Gender Neutral’ Toilets? Computer says no.

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 19.34.37.pngIn the first few months after Twitter added the ‘poll’ option for its users back in 2015, over 1.7 billion votes were cast.  The online poll is a data gathering research tool previous generations could never have dreamed of. A poll held in August this year asking ‘Which is better, cats or dogs?’ got over 6,500 votes and came to the rather surprising conclusion that nearly three quarters of participants preferred dogs to cats.

I was so surprised by this that I checked elsewhere. Research by Sainsbury’s came up with exactly the same answer – 74%. Madness. I suspect that more research is needed. But enough of our four-legged friends. I am easily distracted from the issue in hand.

In researching my last article, Unisex Toilets and Sexual Violence in Schools,  I came across several cases where parents had been horrified when their kids were suddenly expected to use gender neutral loos in school. Some had even taken their child out of school in protest. It seemed that while there were some people- mostly men- who didn’t mind the idea of gender neutral toilets, there didn’t seem to be too many people who actually, actively wanted them.

One such is transactivist and advocate for abolition of the Obscene Publications Act, Jane Fae, who enthused in Gay Star News last year, “Typically any introduction of a gender-neutral bathroom would be met with applause.” 

Why on earth would anyone want to applaud a gender-neutral toilet? You might want to rethink that, M. Fae.  In my younger days, I nipped into the Ladies’ loos in a club or bar on numerous occasions if a guy was bothering me or seemed creepy.   If he could have followed me in, I certainly wouldn’t have been applauding. I know I’m not alone in feeling this.  There have been quite a few online polls done on the subject of how people feel about unisex toilets and the general consensus is ‘computer says no’.

Paris Lees, happy to be seen on the toilet.

Paris Lees and other high profile trans-activists have also spoken about the joy of the gender neutral loo, claiming that women’s safety is in no way compromised by the presence of be-penised persons.

“Whatever the law is, people of all genders can still be dicks to you in public places,” says Shon Faye. Of course, a logical conclusion from that argument would be, ‘do away with all laws because people will commit crimes anyway.’ Faye goes on to add that the idea that he should use the men’s toilets “seems both ludicrous and terrifying”, ignoring the obvious reason that this is because there are men in there.

If (there is) proof that gender-neutral toilets put women at risk, I’m all ears. If not, I’m rather bored by people… whipping up unnecessary panic.” said Lees in 2017, claiming that fears about gender-neutral toilets were ‘all in the mind’.

Well, Paris, a recent Freedom of Information request by the Sunday Times showed that a huge 90% of sexual assaults in changing rooms took place in ‘gender neutral’ areas. Listening now? No. I didn’t think so.

gender neutralOf 134 complaints in 2017-2018, 120 reported incidents happened in unisex changing rooms.  Not necessarily toilets per se, but areas where women are in a state of undress and that are traditionally single-sex.

Ninety percent! Women are clearly more vulnerable when men are present.

So from 3rd-5th September I ran a three-day Twitter poll of my own, which captured a modest 2,770 votes. And here’s the result.

Lily Maynard gender neutral

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 19.54.48Of course, one of the problems facing the Twitter poll is sampling frame. While in theory you have all of Twitter, it’s naturally your own- usually like-minded- followers who are most likely to see, and vote in, your poll.

I tried to partly redress this balance by asking people to retweet; wording the poll to appeal specifically to those who might actively want gender neutral bathrooms, and only asking those who favoured them to give their reasons for the preference. My poll was shared 255 times and  although I have no way of tracking who shared it with whom, I do know it also reached the trans community: for example Michelle, ‘a loveable trans woman who loves God,’-  who later that week DMd me to call me a ‘pathetic vile bigot’-  shared the poll with his followers, although with limited success.

So my poll is what it is. It’s a Twitter poll. I don’t offer it up as a highly researched, peer reviewed study, although there are people determined to find reasons to scoff at even those.  Thanks to the wonders of the internet, however, we can look at other polls with similar wording and compare results. This should give a much bigger sample, although of course it will still not be indicative of the entire population.

My father remains unimpressed, musing, “An online poll just tells you what people who like answering online polls think.” Thanks, dad.

In a recent debate prompted by a row over new ‘gender neutral’ toilets at the Barbican Centre in London, the show Loose Women discussed unisex toilets.

“A unisex toilet! The stench, the filth and all the men,” started Christine Blakely, calling the women’s toilets, “A little sanctuary for a few moments.”

“We go in there to get away from men. It’s a safe place,” said Nadia Sawalha, adding, “I don’t want to send my daughter off to the loo in a restaurant not knowing whether there’s any strange men in there or not.”

The opinions of actual women mean very little to Penis Pink News, who ran a feature criticising the show,  declaring triumphantly, ‘What about your toilets at home?’ and citing unisex toilets in small facilities like aeroplanes and cafes as already gender neutral. The absurdity of this argument, of course,  is that we know who uses our toilets at home, and the tiny, wash basin-inclusive individual toilet of your local bijou cafe is a far cry from a communal public toilet block. The article in Penis Pink News concluded with a feat of spectacular mansplaining from Benjamin Butterworth, who claimed: ‘Loose Women really doesn’t understand.”

Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 18.32.08

After the show, Loose Women ran a poll asking viewers if they would be happy to use unisex toilets. 65% replied that ‘no way!’ would they use them.

Checking with other polls and surveys, it seems that Loose Women understands the situation very well.  I’m not alone with finding unenthusiastic results. When Channel 4 unveiled its new gender neutral (GN) toilets ‘4everyone’, women were not impressed, leading the Express newspaper to run its own readers’ poll in which a whopping 92% of people replied that men and women should not be expected to share toilets. When Irish broadcaster Claire Byrne ran a similar poll, only 31% of respondents voted in favour of GN toilets.

A 2013 YouGov poll suggested that only 38% of women would feel comfortable using a unisex toilet in a public place.

When it was reported that women at the Home Office were refusing to use the new £40,000 unisex loos, This Morning ran a poll asking, ‘Are you bothered by unisex toilets?’ and 66% of 21,000 people answered ‘yes’.

Presenter Danni Levy said “We cannot get past the fact that men have a penis and they use the toilet in a different way.”

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 21.18.36Penis Pink News responded again, dismissing the presenters as ‘cisgender’ and quoting a random on Twitter who told the This Morning team “perhaps you all get over yourselves and grow up.” Wowzer. I bet that told them.

Outside the realms of transactivism, the lack of enthusiasm for the unisex toilet is apparent.

I think the answers are consistent enough to be very clear – we don’t want mixed sex toilets.” said  Dr Jo Meyertons, going on to add, “Only trans-id males want them, and they don’t give a damn about women or girls.”

With the exception of the YouGov poll, one thing all these polls have in common is that they ask both men and women their opinions. While many men seem embarrassed or awkward in unisex facilities (I see the poor things cringe in Pret-a-Manger as they hurriedly ‘remember’ to wash their hands when they see women are present,) it is women that have more to lose. Men are far more likely to be unconcerned by sharing facilities. One woman responding to my poll commented:

“The survey isn’t restricted to women and it should be. Because women are at risk of sexual assault in bathrooms, not men, which is the main reason we don’t want gender neutral bathrooms.”

A male respondent answered the question, ‘Who actually wants gender neutral toilets?’ with:

“If I was a woman, the answer would be ‘definitely not’. Because I have daughters and a wife the answer is ‘definitely not’. If I had nobody else to worry about, my answer would be ‘not bothered’. That’s because men don’t generally have to worry about being attacked by women.”

One thing I noticed coming up frequently among those who supported the idea of GN toilets was the hope or presumption that unisex bathrooms would include private wash basins, be pristine, spacious, well-designed and luxurious. Well, I think we’d all like pristine public toilets. This, of course, will not always be the case.

Two ideas were put forward that struck me as important. The first was that unisex toilets would make bathroom visits easier for dads out with young female children.

Interestingly that very situation arose this afternoon when I was visiting a friend whose husband was getting ready to take their eight-year-old daughter to a concert.

“What will you do if she needs the loo?” asked mum, somewhat uneasily.

“Oh, I’ll wait for her outside the Ladies,” replied dad, immediately.

While on one level this could be said to show that GN facilities are needed, on another it draws attention to how society subliminally acknowledges the predatory nature of men. It’s perfectly normal for a woman to take her eight year old son into the Ladies, but neither the child’s mum nor her dad would have been happy for their daughter to use the men’s toilet, even with her dad as protector. Dad was also aware that, even with a small child, his presence in the ladies would not be welcomed. The reason for that is core to this whole debate.

Some shopping malls and larger restaurants already provide ‘family rooms’ with space for a buggy and changing facilities, although these are often a shared space with disabled people. More of these spaces should be provided in addition to disabled toilets. By their very nature these spaces are unisex.

Likewise more public bathrooms should be available for those with larger children or adults that have special bathroom needs and their carers: the Changing Places campaign has campaigned for this with growing success. Again, by their very nature these spaces are unisex.

The above are special bathrooms, not the traditionally single-sex communal cubicle or stall toilets with a shared hand washing area that are provided by most venues. These are not the spaces that are under threat by the current trend for unisex toilets.

The other argument for unisex bathrooms is that they could result in shorter waiting times for women in crowded areas such as clubs and theatres.  Of course, while this may be true on some level, women are no longer left with a space to escape from men- whether to avoid being pestered, discuss their date with friends, fix their lippy or clean up in private after a messy period. Some might say more to the point, what about urinals? Because surely even the most easy going of us doesn’t want to walk past a row of urinating blokes with their knobs out? If we get rid of the urinals it’ll take longer for blokes to go to the loo… yada yada… no time saved at all.

Nonetheless, 5% of my respondents said they liked the idea of gender neutral toilets, and a further 11% said they weren’t bothered, so let’s have a look at some of their reasons why.

 

Reasons for wanting, or not minding, unisex public toilets

Gender neutral lily maynard

Results of my Twitter poll

If they are floor to ceiling walls/locking doors, self-contained units with sink & hand-drier, then fine…. plus noise resistant…

I personally want gender neutral ones, after having used unisex toilets, which were individual rooms like disabled toilets, in a row. A lot more private and you didn’t have to basically sit in the toilet to close the door. Also makes sense in terms of handling numbers.

Gender neutral are great when it’s a separate room with toilet and sink. Nice if you need some private time in front of the mirror/sink (e.g. to refresh armpits).

Gender neutral accessible cubicles, one user per cubicle. Everyone can use them and it evens out the queues.

I’ve just come back from Sweden and they seemed to manage fine with public unisex toilets for everyone… no mess. No drama. No stink. Individual cubicles for all though.

If its all cubicles I don’t see the harm – how many times do women use men’s toilets in pubs etc,when the ladies is full?

I like gender neutral toilets although not with urinals. The ones I’ve used have an air of civility about them which is lacking in single sex toilets. People seem to be on their best behaviour when in the company of the opposite sex.

Because I appear somewhat in the middle, and I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.

If toilets are single cubicles and secure, I’d prefer gender neutral to even up the average time spent queuing. If they’re stalls, single-sex.

All toilets should be single occupant, designed for easy access, and for both sexes.

The pub I was in suddenly had mixed loos when the gent’s malfunctioned and had to be closed. Men & women in the Ladies’… I was more apologetic than the women seemed worried. Separate cubicles, locked doors. It seemed to work.

I like them insofar it means twice the amount of toilets for me which reduces walking and waiting time. That effect only applies to old buildings though, for the future it will probably lead to less toilets and women being marginalized again (by pee on the seats etc.)

Gender neutral. No more worrying about going into the wrong bathroom accidentally, no more wasting money on two bathrooms, no more looking for the bathroom only to find there’s only a woman’s bathroom on that floor. Its just more convenient.

Personally, if I have to go, Any port in the storm will do, I’ve used public Gender Neutral Loos, they are private, and guarded. Hell, I even have one in my home. That said, I am there to focus on the task at hand.

Totally not bothered. We’ve all been using gender neutral toilets in our homes, on planes, in small restaurants and cafes, and we’ve been fine.

I’ve seen some good examples & can see the benefits for opposite sex carers including fathers of young daughters. But they must be designed as such, not cobbled together, & must guarantee privacy.

Unisex if kept clean (urinals behind privacy wall) to reduce queuing time & allow opposite sex carer/parent to accompany. Not in places where females are more vulnerable (nightclubs? schools?) unless layout rethought.

 

Reasons for wanting three types of toilet, female, male, gender neutral.

I’d prefer all three to be options or it be by the public business’ choice themselves. Gov buildings should have all three though.

Definitely single sex with a third gender neutral option for those that want it.

I’d prefer to have Male only, Female only & ‘Anyone’ options. Covers all bases…

Single sex with a third option available for those who need it.

I would like three options: male, female, anyone welcome/family friendly.

There should be three rooms: male, female, whatever.

I answered single sex but I DO think single-stall gender neutral toilets are an acceptable addition to (not replacement for) single sex bathrooms.

*****

Although I only requested that people give me reasons FOR wanting gender neutral loos, lots of those against the idea also shared their thoughts. Here are some of them.

Reasons for not wanting unisex public toilets

Gender neutral lily maynard

Results of my Twitter poll

“I could foresee many instances where I’d miss there being (only) other women in that space. Tampons, escaping men in bars among the safety of other women, etc.

I like having a girls only space.

We had gender neutral toilets in a school where I was teaching recently… some parents of girls objected so strongly they threatened to take them out of the school.

Men’s toilets stink! Yuk I would not feel comfortable using a stall next to a man having a pee or anything else!!

I’m a bloke and I pee on the seat.. I can’t see many women liking that!!

Because men get more urine on the floor than women.

Even a 10 year old girl should not have to share a toilet with strange men with the perverts out there . What about sperm on the seat ?

Men’s loos are messy and stinky, leaving aside the obvious safeguarding issues.

I don’t even like male cleaners coming in. Vital that we retain sex segregated spaces in public.

This is probably hopelessly old-fashioned, but I’m not comfortable even having men’s and women’s toilets ADJACENT to each other. Where I live, a little girl was strangled and raped in a disabled/unisex toilet in a shopping centre while her family waited for her outside.

I for one have no desire to poop with a man in the next stall over.

gender neutralMixed sex are usually gross. Pee all over floor n seat. General feelings of discomfort and unsafe with unfamiliar male persons in that space with me. I don’t feel like I have to worry about peeping Toms either.

Used gender neutral loos last week at NT property- wee on seats and floors- horrid.

Quite apart from the safety aspect, I do not want to have to deal with loos where men have pissed on the floor and the seats. I know some women can be less than hygienic in their habits, but these are rare IME.*     

* in my experience

Any space with men in it becomes “Men’s Space” so there’s no neutrality about it. Men dominate any spaces they are allowed into.

Definitely prefer single sex loos.

I think all toilets should be single sex and gender neutral – so you use the toilet for your sex regardless of what gender you identify as.

Recently an old gentleman walked into a unisex loo as I was washing my hands. The dear didn’t know where to look even though I was only washing my hands.

Single sex offers privacy, for women and men. No one wants to deal with menstruation issues next to a male, and few men are comfortable urinating in front of women. Also, men’s loos stink – urine splashed everywhere!

Last thing I want are gender neutral loos.

I had to use a ‘gender neutral’ loo once. There was nothing neutral about it. Especially not the odour. Males quite clearly dominated, and it was absolutely disgusting to use. I had to pee with my bag on my lap because there was no hook, and no way I could put it on the floor.

I’ve had two miscarriages at work. There’s a lot of blood.

The last comment, so sad, sent me in search of an article I had read about the number of women who suffer miscarriages in public. I eventually found it on the Fair Play for Women site and you can read it here.  Be warned, it is deeply moving, it made me cry.  It also made me angry that so many men would be so flippant about women’s need for single-sex spaces. The writer concludes:

“If the world outside the Ladies’ was fully accepting of women’s right to privacy & dignity, of our desire not to be stalked and groped, of our naturally unpolished looks and our hormonally-active bodies, then we wouldn’t need those safer spaces.  As it stands, though, the world demands that we hide our ‘mess’ and has given us a small room in public places, where we’re supposed to sort ourselves out.”

 

One other reply that made a huge impression on me was this:

Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 22.24.59

The use of SpyCams. Also known as Molka. Recently I was contacted by a woman via Twitter. She lives in Korea, where women are frequently filmed without their knowledge and the results posted on the internet, sometimes by boyfriends but often by strangers. The results can ruin women’s lives.

“I am now spreading the facts about Korea’s misogyny, especially about Molka, which means a spycam in Korea,” she wrote. “Could you please spread this so that this gets more attention please? I would be so thankful. Since this is a problem of Korea, not many people gives interest to this issue, but still I would like everyone to know this. Thank you so much.” She linked me to this thread on Twitter.

gender neutral toilets lily maynardIn Korea, men ‘hide cameras in their clothes or stuff’ so that they can secretly take pictures or videos of women without being noticed. The videos are uploaded to porn sites and victims have little luck getting them taken down.

Journalist Raphael Rashid tweeted in June that some South Korean women are now wearing masks to hide their faces when using public toilets, so they can’t be identified.

In Seoul, the situation has reached the point where public toilets are checked daily for these cameras. In 2017 over 6,000 cases of ‘molka’ were reported- this number, of course, does not include the women too scared to report the crime, or the probably even larger numbers who never even realise they’ve been filmed.  The checks seems to be vaguely ineffective, despite the huge numbers of women being filmed or photographed in states of undress without their consent, the authorities have not yet reported finding a hidden camera. One reason for this may be that in unisex toilets, a discretely held or placed phone may do the job.  Cameras can be hidden in baseball caps; in shoes. In August of this year, an estimated 70,000 people, mostly women, took to the streets in protest, some wearing masks, to protest being filmed by hidden cameras, some on mobile phones, some cached by men in public toilets. Many held high banners declaring, ‘My Life is Not Your Porn’. Laws against ‘Molka’ are proving inadequate. An article in the Independent earlier this year ended with the ominous prediction. ” Activists have warned the practice is reaching epidemic levels and could spread to other countries.”

If men can wander in and out of public toilets used by women, holding phones; planting cameras, taking photos and sexual assaults will all be much easier. And before you scoff at the potential for that, remember the statistics we’ve looked at already. 90% of sexual assaults in changing rooms in this country took place in ‘gender neutral’ areas.

Think it doesn’t happen here?  Here are just some of the SpyCam items available on UK Amazon and Ebay. A baseball hat with a camera in the front will cost you £55. A fake water bottle is a snip at a mere £32. You can buy a plastic coat hook with a hidden camera in it for less than £15. One UK seller among many has sold 53, has more than 10 more available and boasts 100% customer satisfaction. At the time of writing, 43 people are ‘watching’ the item on Ebay.

SpyCam molka lily maynard

So, where does all this leave us? Potential forthcoming changes to the Gender Recognition Act would make it even easier for men to access women’s spaces. Any man- ANY man- will be able to simply self-identify as a woman and have as much legal right to be in a woman’s bathroom as in the men’s.

Some might claim that if public bathrooms are changed to unisex, at least we aren’t pretending women have the right to female-bodied spaces any more. To be honest, that’s the only upside I can see.

*****

Postscript: changes to the Gender Recognition Act

Concerned about potential forthcoming changes to the Gender Recognition Act? You should be! The new system would leave itself horrendously open to abuse.  Laws that were slipped through years ago without public consultation mean that already a birth certificate is the only document that can’t be changed on a whim. Our right to women-only spaces is slipping through our fingers. To campaign for women’s rights is now widely viewed as transphobic. This has to stop.

We have just one chance to have our say in the government consultation which ends next month on 19th October 2018.  If you haven’t already, I urge you to take part.

Fair Play for Women have some excellent information on their website here, and their free online booklet can talk you through the questions in the GRA consultation, explaining just what the government are asking and what the potential changes may mean. You can also get involved in spreading the word yourself. Act now, while you can. This really could be our last chance to protect female-bodied spaces.

 

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Unisex toilets & sexual violence in schools

Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 03.12.53“If you get the toilets right, you get the teaching right.”

So said Schools’ Minister David Miliband, somewhat bizarrely in 2004. Well, are schools getting it right?

Not according to a 2010 report which suggested that one in four secondary pupils thought their school toilets were “disgusting”, 38% of secondary school girls admitted to “holding it in” to avoid going to the toilet while at school, and 27% of secondary school boys said they never use soap at school. On top of that, 36% believed the school toilets were “never clean”.

How to improve things? Roll out the unisex ‘gender neutral’ toilets!

On 22/8/18, The Scottish Sunday Herald and The Scottish Sun announced that parents, who had not been consulted or forewarned of the changes, were not happy about the new ‘gender neutral’ toilets installed in Carolside and Braidbar Primary Schools. One paper referred to the action as, ‘highly inappropriate’.

Local councilor David MacDonald observed:

“…this has left some parents worried, angry and upset, particularly parents of girls approaching and going through puberty and those who need private spaces to deal with menstruation… Boys urinate on toilet seats whether by accident or on purpose. Are girls expected to enter a cubicle and be charged with having to wipe down a toilet seat with toilet paper to get rid of the urine and then be forced to make direct skin contact with the toilet seat when they sit down? I can’t imagine how incredibly unsanitary that situation will be, not to mention absolutely disgusting.”

Chris McGovern, former TUC member & chairman of the Campaign for Real Education stated:

“Girls, in particular, are likely to feel threatened and some may simply refuse to use the toilets. The council… needs to undergo a course of detoxification in order that common sense can be restored to its thinking. In the meantime, I fear for the well-being of the children.”

Whilst this is the story currently in the public eye, the unisex toilet debate is not an entirely new one. One of the first secondary schools to establish unisex toilets was Bramhall High School in Stockport, way back in 2000. The headteacher claimed it would ‘prevent bullying, vandalism and smoking.‘  At the time the Department for Education ruled, “the time is not right for the introduction of unisex toilets in our schools”, saying they were technically illegal.

Roll on a few more years, and in 2016, over 700 parents signed a petition to protest against ‘gender neutral’ toilets opening at a London primary school, concerned that this might result in an increase of sexual assaults. In every case I have read about while researching this article, parents who object to unisex toilets say the school did not consult them before the changes were made.

Supporters of the scheme have pointed out that these are ‘only’ primary schools.   That doesn’t allow for the fact that plenty of girls start their periods while at primary school. I was eleven when I started my periods, & while I had just started at secondary, there were girls in my year who had started before me. I remember being embarrassed to unwrap a Tampax in the loos on occasion: if boys had been using the same bathrooms I would have been mortified. No: women aren’t exaggerating, men, when we say we often get blood on our fingers when we have our periods. We are changing tampons and blood -soaked pads! Sometimes the water does run red in the sinks and occasionally we do need to rinse out underwear, or pad our knickers out with paper hand towels from the communal area. No, we’re not over the moon about that either. As for the growing popularity of the Mooncup, a healthier and more environmental option to pads and tampons, what young woman is going to want to rinse her menstrual blood down the sink with a group of boys watching? That knocks that one on the head.

Establishing unisex toilets in primary schools could result, for example, in a five year old girl sharing toilet facilities with an eleven year old boy, a potentially uncomfortable and intimidating situation for both.

Whilst the schools featuring in the press this month are primary schools, there are several secondary schools which have already brought in the idea.

Lily MaynardWhile the popularity of ‘gender neutral’ toilets is growing, by law single sex toilets must be provided for children in school over the age of eight. As recently as June 2018 the Department for Education document ‘Gender separation in mixed schools’ (non-statutory guidance) stated:

“Separate toilet and washing facilities must be provided for boys and girls aged 8 years and over pursuant to Regulation 4 of the School Premises (England) Regulations 2012, which falls within the exemption provided for in Schedule 22 of the Equality Act 2010.”

As long as schools keep access to some single-sex toilets available to students, they are allowed to establish ‘gender neutral’ or unisex toilets in new-build or refurbished schools.  Sometimes they can be a cost-cutting measure: one set of toilets is cheaper to built and maintain than two and, where staff supervision is provided, a single bathroom area is easier to supervise.

It is unlawful for schools to act in a way incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. These rights include Article 8: the ‘right to respect for private and family life’ which includes a duty to protect the individual’s physical and psychological integrity.  One student complained that the ‘girls’ toilets were much further away from the main areas of the school, and less well maintained. If a menstruating girl is forced to wash blood from her hands in a communal washbasin area, in the presence of males, is her physical and psychological integrity being preserved?

Some have claimed that in 2007, government guidelines recommended that all toilets in new-build schools should be unisex.   In fact, the Department for Education and Skills document suggested that to help stop bullying, loitering and smoking in school toilets:

hand-washing facilities should be made visible and potentially unisex by being moved out of the cubicle area as a direct extension to the circulation space.”

The same guidelines advised: “sanitary products and sanitary disposal units must be provided in toilets for girls aged eight and over.”

Would a school providing unisex toilets then need to ensure that sanitary products and disposal products were available in every cubicle? It seems so.

The open spaces, clean and well stocked soap dispensers, working hand dryers,  frosted glass and background music suggested by the ‘Bog Standard’ campaign are admirable. But neither the Manchester headteacher nor the government guidelines explained exactly how the unisex aspect of these new toilets could cause an end to bullying, loitering or smoking.

An article run at the time on the BBC website ran a poll, answered by 2066 people, asking “Can unisex toilets in schools tackle bullying problems?”.  Less than one in five respondents thought it could. Nearly 70% of respondents answered ‘no’, whilst almost 12% were ‘unsure’. One young woman, a recent school leaver, commented:

“Unisex toilets aren’t that great of an idea as bullying will still go on. Even more so I think. It’s just absurd to think that this will in some way help combat the vast problem of bullying in schools.”

Lily MaynardIn 2014, The Independent ran an article entitled ‘Unisex toilets in schools should be avoided at all costs’. Rachel Roberts anticipated,  ‘a teenage pregnancy here, a sexual assault there, lots of discomfort and embarrassment for both sexes, a urine-soaked mess of raging hormones, sexual bullying and teenage tears,’ adding,I don’t believe that all the lads would welcome the shared space either, as teenage boys have their own insecurities.”

 

 

Also in 2014, children’s rights campaigner Esther Rantzen criticised Towers School and Sixth Form Centre’s plans to introduce unisex toilets.

“These children are at an age when they are extremely self-conscious and aware of their bodies and the changes they experience. It’s an extremely delicate time for them… This is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard and I suggest the school rethinks its proposal.”

Twitter as usual, had plenty to say on the subject of this week’s announcement.

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When Chris MacGovern said he ‘feared for the well being of the children’, you could be forgiven for thinking he was indulging in a touch of hyperbole. Yet the figures surrounding sexual violence in schools are both surprising and shocking.

lily maynardIn 2017 TES revealed that in many cases schools have failed rape victims by putting them back into classrooms with their alleged attackers.

Maria Miller, chairwoman of the Women and Equalities Committee, reports some of the incidents that parents have told her about. One mother told how a primary school dismissed it as ‘playful activity‘ when her six-year-old daughter was raped by a classmate. The incident was not recorded centrally because the instigator was under the age of criminal responsibility.

This raises issues about the number of assaults among schoolchildren, how those that are reported are detected or recorded and what can be done about it. If some incidents of sexual assault involving young children aren’t being properly recorded, it suggests that the dark figures will be even higher.  In what universe are unisex toilets going to help address these issues?Lily Maynard

It is hardly surprising that parents are not happy about the idea.  UK government figures show that sexual violence in schools is rising and while the government report,  Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges” makes plain to stress in bold font that such assaults can occur between “children of any age and sex“, it goes on to demonstrate that it is statistically girls that are at far more risk of assault.

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The Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey of 2017  found that  64% of girls aged 13-21 had experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment at school or college in the past year. This included 39% having their bra strap pulled by a boy and 27% having their skirts pulled up within the last week.

Let’s not digress here  into Girl Guiding’s new policy of allowing ‘transgirls’ (boys) to sleep in girls’ tents on camps and ‘transwomen’ (men) to run girls’ packs – without parents being informed.

lily maynardSexual violence in schools is nothing new, but most of us assume that growing public awareness means that girls nowadays are more likely to report it and more likely to feel they will be listened to if they do. This does not necessarily seem to be the case.

The Feminista report on sexism in schools,’It’s Just Everywhere’ shows that less than a quarter (22%) of female students at mixed-sex schools think their school takes sexism seriously enough.

78% of secondary school students are unsure, or not aware, of the existence of any policies and practices in their school related to preventing sexism. The report goes on to observe the cycle that is perpetuated when sexism and sexual harassment is not taken seriously.:

Even when an incident occurs that students clearly recognise as harmful and unwanted, students are currently unlikely to report it. They do not believe the teacher would take reports of sexism and sexual harassment seriously, and anticipate that they would be viewed as being difficult and oversensitive. Under-reporting contributes to a view among school leaders that sexism is not a problem requiring action – so the issue is not raised with students. This institutional silence on the matter fuels the perception (or recognition) among students that sexism and sexual harassment is considered to be ‘normal’ and unimportant, which in turn fuels a reluctance among students to report it.

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 02.35.24An investigation by the Press Association in 2017 revealed that children as young as five had been excluded from school for sexual misconduct.  In 2017 the BBC revealed that over the previous three years, police in England and Wales had received reports of 2625 sexual offences, including 225 alleged rapes, taking place on school premises. Combined figures from 30 police forces showed reports of sexual offences by children under ten had more than doubled in the past year, from 204 to 456.

Yet this is clearly the tip of the iceberg: 11% of female students who have been sexually harassed in school say that one of the reasons they did not report it was they felt ashamed that it happened and were scared of the consequences of reporting it.

One female student said “I wasn’t aware that these incidents could be reported, no students have ever been told it is wrong to act in this way, not discouraged or punished for it.”

In 2017, the Women and Equalities commission reported that ‘Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate must assess schools on how well they are recording, monitoring, preventing and responding to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence.’

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of all 16-18 year old boys and girls reported that they hear terms such as “slut” or “slag” used towards girls at schools on a regular basis.

Lily MaynardHow gender neutral toilet and hand washing areas could help to minimise abuse, whether it’s one child calling another a ‘slut’ or a serious sexual assault,  is a question which nobody seems to feel the need to answer.

“Sexual harassment occurs when sexist stereotypes flourish.” said MP Maria Miller.  “The Government has to show more urgency; there must be clear guidance for schools that leaves them in no doubt about their responsibilities to keep girls safe and tackle gender stereotypes, as well as support for those experiencing harassment and abuse.”

Interestingly, Maria Miller supports self-identification, the proposed changes to the gender recognition act (GRA) which will allow anyone to be legally recognised as either male or female just by declaring themselves to be so. It is hard to see how our responsibility as adults to ‘keep girls safe’ is compatible with these changes.

Bra-strap snapping, looking up skirts: these assaults may happen for a variety of reasons but they inevitably happen to female-bodied people. They happen because the victims are girls.

Take boring old ‘unisex’ and turn it into trendy, cutting-edge ‘gender neutral’ and you have a winning formula. Some schools are embracing the idea wholeheartedly.

“Gender-neutral toilets planned at all-girls school in case any pupils decide to transition” ran a Telegraph article in March 2018, reporting that a private all-girls school in Blackheath, London is installing gender neutral toilets.

The news report reads almost like a marketing ploy. Headmistress Carol Chandler-Thompson speaks to reporters about the super new toilets and the refurbishing work going on at the school in the ‘leafy London suburb’. While she currently has no trans-identified pupils, Ms Chandler-Thompson is confident that this situation will change, explaining,  “I fully expect I will do.”

“We are obviously a girls’ school,” she adds, “but we may have young people who are transitioning here and we would support that… We would help them see out their education, making sure they can fulfill their own potential.”

There is an ever-increasing avoidance of mentioning that it is females – girls, women, female-bodied, XX people- that are at a greater risk of violence from males- boys, men, male-bodied XY people. More and more frequently, women speaking about their biology and how it affects them are considered to be transphobic. From pussy hats to periods, we just aren’t meant to talk about the fact that it is women who are the subject rather than the object of violence, because it might make trans-identified people feel uncomfortable.

“You don’t have men and women sharing for obvious reasons. It’s a sex issue…. observed Sean Donovan, father of a child at North Cambridge Academy which installed unisex open plan toilets in 2016.

A University College of London study on sexual abuse in schools determined:

“offenders are most likely to be adolescent and adult males… girls are around twice as likely as boys to be sexually victimised… sexual abuse is more likely to occur in places where risk of detection is low… victims of adolescent abusers are generally younger than for adult abusers…”

The problem with calling a girl a boy and a girl a boy, and the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, is that worrying statistics like these get swallowed up within the ideology of magical thinking. If we cannot tell a male pupil from a female pupil because gender identity tops biology, what happens to the collection of statistics? If a transgirl assaults a transboy, is this recorded as a female on male assault? Statistics become meaningless and strategies cannot be developed to protect the children- mostly girls- who are being assaulted and raped. This is one of the reasons that Transgender Trend’s guidelines for schools are so important. The welfare and safety of every child must be considered.

If schools affirm that a boy is a girl, or that a girl is a boy, based on the say-so of the child- with or without the support of a parent- they are giving out two clear messages.

The first is that increased vulnerability to sexual harassment and assault is something that girls bring upon themselves by ‘identifying’ as female. The second is that this is something girls can attempt to opt out of by ‘identifying’ as male.

Whilst new-build toilets are long overdue in many schools, it isn’t the unisex aspect of the toilets that could prevent bullying but better supervision and design. Before we are so quick to leap on the idea of ‘gender neutral’ toilets as the way forward, perhaps we should think of the rights of girls- and boys-  to safe spaces.

How about we make a start by giving them sex-specific privacy in the school toilets?

 

 

 

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Child Transition: the Myth of Informed Consent

Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 01.26.51.pngMagical thinking. It’s everywhere. And in no place or time is it more powerful than in childhood.

‘Childhood,’ wrote Edna St Vincent Millay, “is the kingdom where nobody dies.”

As a child, I was quite certain that I wasn’t going to die. A space ship, or a time traveller, would turn up at some point in my adulthood and I would be spared; whisked away to another universe.  I absolutely knew this was true. For years.  Childhood is not necessarily the kingdom where nobody dies, but it is the kingdom where everything is possible. Where your toys come alive when you’re not there. Where there are monsters in your wardrobe or under your bed. Where if you swallow an apple pip, a tree might grow inside you. Where if you tried hard enough, you could move things with your mind. Where if you can’t see something, it doesn’t exist. Where you definitely don’t believe in ghosts but you hope they wont haunt you for not believing in them.  Where mirrors are windows to other worlds.  Where there might actually, really be a unicorn living in the woods.  Where there is a gender fairy who pops pink or blue brains into our bodies at birth, and a girl can turn into a boy if she really, really wants to and wishes for it hard enough.

Children are experts in magical thinking. While they learn at an incredible rate, they haven’t been around very long so they only have a small frame of reference. Kids haven’t yet developed very accurate tools for differentiating between fantasy and reality.   Can a child possibly understand the physical and psychological input involved with developing and maintaining a trans identity?  Can a child really give informed consent to transition?

Gender identity problems in children are not new, but they have increased exponentially in the last decade. Traditionally 80% or more of children who believed themselves to be ‘born in the wrong body’ desisted by the end of puberty.

In 2009, the Endocrine society observed “Given the high rate of remission of GID after the onset of puberty, we recommend against a complete social role change and hormone treatment in prepubertal children with GID.”

‘Watchful waiting’ was considered to be best practice and nobody was rushing to affirm and consolidate any sort of identity in a child barely old enough to have become aware of the concept.

“Trans activists warn focusing too heavily on desistance encourages people to take gender dysphoria in children less seriously,” writes LGBTQ reporter Ana Valens in The Daily Dot.

 

HOW Many Trans Kids?

Lily MaynardGIDS (Gender Identity Development Service), which treats children under 18 in the UK, received 94 referrals of children in 2009/10. By 2016/17 this had risen to 1,986 referrals. (figures adjusted to removed 18+)

That’s not two, not ten, but TWENTY TIMES as many children referred in the space of a decade.

In Australia, Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital is struggling to cope with demand for child gender services.  From one patient in 2003, the hospital expects to see 200 children and adolescents this year.

Activists say this is because historically children have not ‘had the words’ to explain being transgender and, due to increased publicity about the condition, more kids are coming forward. They say the children that desisted in those studies desisted because they were misdiagnosed or ‘not real trans’. Others claim that there was no follow up on many of the children, but this has been shown to be untrue.

It seems hard to equate those views. There were less children coming forward a decade ago, but they were mostly misdiagnosed? Now there are twenty times as many children coming forward but they are not being misdiagnosed? It just doesn’t seem to add up.

One thing most people would agree on is that as awareness has increased, the notion of the transgender child has captured the imagination of the press, parents and gender non-conforming children everywhere.

With the advent of the ‘tranzkidz’, traditional approaches have changed. Nobody seems interested in asking where all these transgender children have sprung from.  Instead, numerous articles online and in newspapers and magazines chart the story of the girls who live as boys and the boys who live as girls. Transition is a life or death matter, we are all told, despite there being little or no evidence to support this.

Stereotypes & Sexism

lily MaynardThe sexism of the ‘born in the wrong body’ myth is gargantuan and usually entirely overlooked. That’s the fundamental premise behind the transgender child.  It seems to be less about breaking down stereotypes and freeing the spirit and more about those good old-fashioned, sexist, pink and blue boxes; selling the illusion of how elementary and desirable it might be to skip between the two to children too young to know any better. The majority of the mainstream press has bought into this idea. Journalists like Janice Turner, Andrew Gilligan and Jesse Singal, who have dared to question the current trans-narrative are called ‘transphobic’ and accused of stiring up hatred against trans people.

If we tell a child that Jack is a girl born in a boy’s body, what is the child supposed to understand by that? What does that tell the child about sexism and stereotyping?

In the words of one young person on YouTube: “My whole childhood was just basically like, you’re a boy, you can’t play with that, you’re a boy you can’t do that, you’re a boy, ner ner ner… & every night I’d go to bed and be like, ‘God, why don’t they understand that I’m not a boy?'”

WHY couldn’t he play with that? WHY couldn’t he do that? WHY aren’t we addressing the unjust and ingrained sexism in society rather than medicating & reforming young people’s minds and bodies to fit new stereotypes?

A young Australian transgender child’s parents report that she wakes up in the night with screams of,“Change my clothes, change my clothes!”  For Pete’s sake, change the child’s clothes! Let her wear what she likes!

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 14.03.46 We need to tell children that there is no right or wrong way to be a boy or a girl and that they shouldn’t be defined by their genitals. You don’t get to decide if you’re born a boy or a girl, and it should not affect the games you play, the clothes you wear or the choices you make. Telling kids that girls’ brains are one way and boys’ brains are another way is sexist. We know it to be untrue.

A great number of the human rights battles of the last century were fought in the name of equality between the sexes, and those battles should not be erased with a swish of the gender fairy’s wand.  Being a boy or a girl is a biological descriptor, not a word that describes the things you like doing or wearing. Boys and girls are biologically different, but that doesn’t mean they have pink and blue brains, or need to behave in certain ways.

On the subject of stereotypes, this is what Jazz Jennings, famous child reality show star, has to say in ‘I am Jazz‘: “For as long as I can remember, my favorite color has been pink… most of all I love mermaids.”

What seeds does this sow in the minds of children? Certainly not the idea that kids are perfect as they are. What does it mean to the girl who likes football, to the boy who likes pink tutus?  To the child that ‘doesn’t do girl right’ or to the effeminate boy? The child who already feels different to their peers may see this as a way to fit in, and a way to be special all rolled into one. If we can’t explain how a child can be transgender without recourse to stereotypes and sexist generalisations, then how can we expect a child to think there is more to it than that?

Take away the stereotypes and we are left with, ‘some kids ‘just know‘. Like I knew I was invincible? Like my five year old brother-in-law knew he could learn to fly? How about if the adults around us had been telling us yes, we were different to other kids and those beliefs were correct?

When you’re born, it’s your body that makes you a boy or a girl. If you tell a child otherwise, you are lying to them. We don’t get to choose. We just are.

Informed consent is not informed if it’s based on a lie.

 

How young is too young?

Diane Ehrensaft infamously claimed that trans babies might pull out their hairslides or make dresses of their babygros. Of course, females are not genetically pre-programmed to like things stuck in our hair, and wearing floaty robes is considered the norm for men in many parts of the world. Stereotypes yet again.

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‘All About Trans’ is an organisation set up to improve portrayal of trans people in the media.

After meetings with AAT, CBBC (the children’s branch of the BBC) has run several programs featuring trans children, including ‘I am Leo’, a series about a trans-identified child.

 

Feminist writer Helen Saxby described ‘I am Leo’ as:

“biased, misleading and even dangerous, in the sense that it presented an overwhelmingly positive view of the experience of being transgender, with little attempt to qualify this picture with correct information.”

Saxby adds,All labels carry a certain degree of restriction, whether it is ‘girl’, ‘boy’ or ‘trans’. Leo simply has a new box to be trapped in.”

Once again, a simplistic view of transition is given to children- of course it is! We are dealing with five or six year olds here. It has to be simplistic. We can’t explain the surgical side of breast removal, or breast implants, of vaginal atrophy, of leaking neo-penises… are you insane? it’s children’s television for goodness sake!

There are several organisations who receive a great deal of funding from charities like Children in Need and the National Lottery to go into schools, clubs and local libraries and innocuously suggest to kids that they may be wrong and need ‘fixing’. They claim to be helping children ‘find the words’ to explain their gender identities and encouraging diversity and acceptance. I mention some of them in But Nobody’s Encouraging Kids to be Trans.

Stephanie Davies-Arai of Transgender Trend emphasises  the importance of supporting and accepting children, “without affirming their belief that their body is ‘wrong’”, adding that,“… the blithe normalisation of childhood ‘transition’… puts children at risk of invasive and untested medical procedures which will keep them medical patients for life…  All children have the right to be taught facts based on reality, not ideology masquerading as truth.”

Children who are told they can choose their gender, or ‘become’ a boy or a girl, are not being given the whole picture about what transition entails. We recognise that they are too young to comprehend the potential side effects of the medications, or the gory reality of the medical procedures, involved in transition. But without the whole picture, you do not have informed consent.

“The younger ones can really, really want to be girls or boys,” says consultant clinical psychologist, Dr Bernadette Wren of the Tavistock Clinic, “and then they can give that up and their relationship to their bodies can settle down quite comfortably. If we can help some of those young people through adolescence, they might make a different choice (than medical transition)  later.”

When grown ups who have themselves transitioned come to your school and tell you- as is now happening in Scotland, in London, in Brighton, all over the UK-  that you can choose whether to be a boy or a girl, you’re probably going to believe them. Why wouldn’t you? We are all programmed to have a default setting to believe that what we are told is true, and this trait is at its strongest in children under seven.

So what are small children being told?

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Blur – the non-binary kindergarten penguin for 3-6 year olds.

UK-based GIRES (Gender Identity Research & Education Society) enrapture 3-6 year olds with their magical gender-selecting cartoon penguin stories  designed to brainwash teach gender identity to impressionable children.

In their lesson plans for teachers they stress that “Understanding gender diversity should start at primary school level, before children’s views become influenced by the prejudices of the adults around them.”

In this story the penguin’s parents ‘didn’t immediately understand’ and were wrong to think it was a boy or a girl. In fact, it is neither. A party is thrown to celebrate its non-binary status.

Idiot parents watch in the background.

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In another tale those silly old parents tell Polly they can’t tell if she’s a boy or a girl so whenever she’s ready she should tell them herself. She tells a friend instead, that she’s a boy.  Humbled and re-educated parents and celebratory parties abound.

This is magical thinking at its most spendid.

Under the new draft guidelines created by Education Scotland, NHS boards and the Scottish Government, from 2019, children will be told in the classroom  “Your gender is what you decide. You might be a boy or a girl.” 

There is an informative Twitter thread about the details and implications of this, here.

Lily Maynard

Rather than trying to explain the incredible complexity and long term implications of transition, every attempt is made to make it appear something simple, straightforward and special. Penguins! Parties! All your problems solved! Why so simple? Because children cannot understand the implications. And if they cannot understand the implications, they cannot consent.

Why are hundreds of thousands of pounds being given in grants to the organisations that promote this ideology? Why not spend that money on a ‘girls can play football, boys can like tutus‘ campaign?

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The precious bear in Introducing Teddy makes it sound so simple when he confides,“In my heart, I’ve always known that I’m a girl Teddy, not a boy Teddy.”

In ‘George‘ a story about a boy who wants to play a female part in a play, transition is presented as a rolicking good adventure:

“Everyone thinks George is a boy, but she knows better… George and her friend come up with a plan so she can finally be who she wants to be.”

Lashings of post-op ginger beer all round, then.

“Don’t call me he, don’t call me she, please don’t assume who I must be,” waxes the eloquent Phyllis Wrothblatt in ‘All I Want to be is Me’. Despite having been scribed by a middle-aged MTF, the book is described as giving “voice to the feelings of children who don’t fit into narrow gender stereotypes, and who just want to be free to be themselves.”

Er, hang on… stop right there. That would be ALL children, wouldn’t it? No child is a stereotype. ALL children want to be free to be themselves!

A friend of mine had a sign hanging in her kitchen when our kids were little, which read “You are clever, beautiful, talented and special – just like everyone else.”

Let’s keep that in mind shall we, while we’re setting the cloth out on the altar of the gender fairy? Transition is being presented to kids as simple, as fun, an adventure and a viable option for any child who doesn’t see themselves as a stereotype. It isn’t like that.

When very, very young, both Jazz Jennings and Jackie Green told their parents that ‘God had made a mistake and I should have been a girl.’  Both children were told that an operation to make them into a girl would be possible when they were grown up.

One mother of a  trans-identified five year old says of her daughter, “He talks about ‘when I start having medicine to make me grow a willy.’”

Some might wonder how a five year old thought that such magical medicine existed. Of course, it doesn’t. A girl can’t ‘grow a willy’. Nothing can actually turn a boy into a girl, certainly not in the way that a six year old could conceive it, apart from magical thinking.

Jackie Green underwent vaginoplasty on his sixteenth birthday.

“Everyone says what is in between your legs doesn’t matter and I agree,” says Jennings, who underwent the same operation earlier this year, age seventeen.

I was going to link to some information and photographs about what ‘MTF vaginoplasty entails, but if you really want to see, you can use your Google-Fu.

The ‘gender non-conforming’ child often grows into a gay adult.

LGBT is so often referred to in one breath, as if the letters are all sides of the same dice, that it becomes hard to separate them. Gender critical people, who question the ethics of transitioning children, are often accused of being ‘anti LGBT’.  On the contrary, many of us are aware that more often than not, it is potentially gay kids who are harmed by child transition.

Lily MaynardTraditionally, ‘gender non-conforming’ kids often turn out to be gay if left alone to grow up and find their own space. But if a child who is likely to grow up to be homosexual misses out on a timely puberty, how is he supposed to have the experiences that would have naturally enabled that sense of identity to form?

The GIRES penguins demand parties and celebration; those special bathroom rules were made just for you: that interview in the paper where mummy was so proud to see your photo: who would actually want to be a stompy old lesbian when they could be a fortitudinous transboy? Who would want to be an effeminate gay boy when they could be a precious transgirl?

Although many gay people say they knew they were gay from a young age, many others don’t come to the realisation until their 20s or older.  The lesbian girl may feel different but she may not yet know why. She may assume these feelings mean she should be a boy, especially if people have come into her school and told her that is a distinct possibility.  Puberty has not struck and those feelings may not be fully formed. She feels like an outsider and transition seems like an answer: it ostensibly offers a way to belong, to conform. But of course, it doesn’t. Puberty helps us on the road to establishing who we are and is an essential – the essential- step on the road to adulthood.

The name and pronoun change consolidates this idea. The puberty blockers stop the puberty that might have resolved her issues. The block is both physical and psychological and the child is further alienated from her peers.

Koerte, Geocker et al discussed this in Dtsch Arztebl Int , in 2008.

“Multiple longitudinal studies provide evidence that gender-atypical behavior in childhood often leads to a homosexual orientation in adulthood, but only in 2.5% to 20% of cases to a persistent gender identity disorder.”

They conclude that “irreversible physical interventions are clearly not indicated until after the individual’s psychosexual development is complete.” The idea that the effects of puberty-blocking treatment are totally reversible is true, they believe,“only with respect to its physical effects, not with respect to the irreversible damage it does to the process of psychosexual development.”

“I’m actually wondering what are we trying to accomplish here?” asks Dr Eric Vilain, chief of Medical Genetics at UCLA, a pediatrician and geneticist, in a video interview“Are we trying to reduce the number of gay & lesbian adults?”

How can a child understand the implications of puberty blockers?

In 2015, Polly Carmichael of the Tavistock told the Guardian about “simplistic arguments that if you have the blocker then all the problems disappear. In our experience, all the problems do not go away.”  She adds, “The blocker is said to be completely reversible, which is disingenuous because nothing’s completely reversible.”

The use of puberty blockers to treat trans-identified (transgender) children has only been around for a decade, pioneered by Boston Children’s Hospital as recently as 2007.  By 2017, over 800 young people in the UK had been prescribed puberty blockers. These drugs block the sex hormones oestrogen and testosterone.  They stop the onset of periods and breast growth, or voice-deepening and facial hair growth. The drugs have been tested for use in halting precocious puberty, although there have been concerns about side effects of Lupron, with reports of spinal problems, osteoperosis and fibromalgia.  Depression and anxiety have also been reported by women who had been prescribed the drug as children. In America, more than 10,000 ‘adverse event’ reports have been filed with the FDA (Federal Drug Agency) , reflecting the experiences of women who’ve taken Lupron.

“The biggest problem though is that studies show that 100% of kids who go on puberty blockers do not desire to come off. They go on to cross sectional hormones where they remain infertile. Also sexual pleasure development does not occur from early pubertal blockade… These kids will become permanently damaged adults. Add in the increased cardiovascular, thromboembolic and cancer risks and you have a recipe for disaster.”

Michael K Laidlaw MD.

Used to delay puberty, ostensibly to ‘buy time’ for the trans-identified child to make its mind up about transition, puberty blockers can make medical transition easier by suppressing secondary sex characteristics and leaving the child’s body more of an androgynous medical ‘tabula rasa’. Growth spurts in height do not occur, reproductive organs do not develop and muscle mass is not gained. How exactly this is ‘reversible’ as it isn’t possible to turn back time, is debatable. Where the use of puberty blockers leaves the majority of children who would traditionally change their minds is a question which does not seem to be being asked.

“We have shifted to make the treatment available earlier and earlier. But the earlier you do it, the more you run the risk that it’s an intervention people would say yes to at a young age, but perhaps would not be so happy with when they move into their later adulthood.” 

Dr Bernadette Wren 2015.

While we occasionally read in the press about transmen who have babies, most doctors recommend a hysterectomy after 5 years on Testosterone because it can create similar effects to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which has been linked to increased risk of  endometrial and ovarian cancer. To state the obvious, a hysterectomy results in a sterile young woman.

The puberty blockers and hormone treatments that are becoming more commonplace arrest both the physical and psychological development of a child.

“Young people with gender dysphoria constitute a singularly vulnerable population, one that experiences high rates of depression, self-harm, and even suicide. Moreover, children are not fully capable of understanding what it means to be a man or a woman.”

(Hruz, Meyer, McHugh)

The child put on puberty blockers does not go through puberty with their peers, their ‘difference’ is further accentuated and that lost experience cannot be regained. Puberty suppression has a significant negative effect on the height growth rates of both males & females, and can result in problems with bone-mineral density. Changing the normal physical development of a child in an attempt to treat a psychological condition is a serious step, and many would question the idea that it would result in a more accurate diagnosis of the child’s underlying problems.

“Whether puberty suppression is safe and effective when used for gender dysphoria remains unclear and unsupported by rigorous scientific evidence.”

(Hruz, Meyer, McHugh)

These are complex ideas which can be difficult for the adult mind to explore and consider. How a child is supposed to work through these issues is a question that should be explored more deeply, rather than being brushed under the carpet.

“Experimental medical treatments for children must be subject to especially intense scrutiny, since children cannot provide legal consent to medical treatment of any kind (parents or guardians must consent for their child to receive treatment), to say nothing of consenting to become research subjects for testing an unproven therapy.”

(Hruz, Meyer, McHugh)

Ten years after the first pioneering treatments of 2007, we now hear of cases where hormones are prescribed to children without the parents’ support or consent. In one case (in Canada) the prescribing physician actually refused to meet with the parents  of the child before prescribing testosterone.   A UK doctor who was privately prescribing hormones to children as young as twelve was recently suspended pending investigation by the General Medical Council, but is now practicing again.

Research from Bechard, Zucker et al states, “It has been our clinical impression that the psychological vulnerability of at least some of these youth has been overlooked.”

About 17% of all children suffer from a mental disorder in early childhood, defined as the period up to the age of 6 years. In their 2008 study, published in Deutches Artzeblatt, Korte, Geoker et al made two important observations about Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in children.

“GID (gender identity disorders) are often associated with emotional and behavioral problems as well as a high rate of psychiatric comorbidity.

Neurobiological genetic research has not yet convincingly shown any predominant role for genetic or hormonal factors in the etiology of GID.”

(Korte, Geoker et al)

In other words, firstly, GID is a problem of the mind, often co-existing with other problems of the mind, and secondly, there seems to be no physical cause for it. If a young person feels that they are something they are not, the problem is with the mind, not the body.

Of the twenty one 5-17 year olds who received a new diagnosis of GID in Vikram Jaswal’s clinic (up to mid-2008), all had psychopathological abnormalities that, in many cases, led to the diagnosis of additional psychiatric disorders.

It seems hard to believe that trans-identified children can fully understand the implications of transition and consent to such procedures. Not just the psychological implications of being told that they are something they are not and the effects of delayed puberty, but the physical effects of hormonal medications and intrusive surgeries.

A life with a micro-penis, or no penis, impaired sexual feeling and function, embarking on a medical pathway which will almost certainly result in sterility- how can a child consent to this?

 

Kids believe what grown ups tell them.

“Children have developed a specific bias to believe what they’re told,” says  Jaswal, of his 2010 study of 3 year olds, published in Psychological Science. “It’s sort of a short cut to keep them from having to evaluate what people say.”

Dr Vilain believes early social transitions unfairly push children to thinking they should identify as the opposite sex and that social transition can lead to unnecessary medical interventions for transgender kids.

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“I think it’s putting a lot on the shoulders of these children,” said Vilain, in 2017. “It’s putting them on a path that will have a lot of medical and surgical consequences.” 

He goes on to say that it will be “much, much harder for them (trans-identified children)  to get out of this belief,” if everyone around them has affirmed their trans identity from an early age.

It’s very important to keep in mind that according to numerous studies – and the Tavistock Clinic itself – traditionally, most trans-identified kids desist.

Being told your feelings are valid is not the same as being told they’re true. And that’s the fine line that is more and more frequently being crossed in the treatment of children who sufferer from gender dysphoria in all its forms.

That’s the fundamental premise behind the transgender child.  It isn’t about breaking down stereotypes and freeing the spirit, it is about those good old-fashioned, sexist, pink and blue boxes and selling the illusion of how elementary and desirable it might be to skip between the two.

Adult expectations

It is also significant to consider what sociologists call ‘labelling’, close neighbour of the Pygmalion effect. As social psychologist Robert Rosenthal puts it, what one person expects of another can come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 23.48.15If a parent has fiercely and publicly fought, for example, for their child’s access to a different bathroom or a change of pronouns at school, and insisted to all around that their child was ‘born that way’ it will be especially hard for the child to step back and say they’ve changed their mind, or they were confused, or they no longer feel that way.  To renounce being trans and the special status that accompanies it, both consciously and subconsciously, will be much harder if the child feels they are contradicting or even letting down those that have supported them.

If the girl’s parents have told her yes, she’s a boy if she says so, and she then decides she is not, the child may feel she is calling her parents liars if she openly changes her mind. And remember – until recently more than one study showed that up to 80% of kids desisted.

“If a lot has been invested in living in a gender role, then, potentially, it is difficult for young people to say: ‘Well, actually I don’t feel like that any more.’” says Polly Carmichael of the Tavistock Clinic.

There are also some parents for whom the brave transgender child is a validation of their own expectations and values. Some parents may prefer a trans child to a gay one if their religion condemns homosexuality. One mother boasted that now her boychild had transitioned to a girl, she (sic) would be able to get married in their local church. In a facebook group, a parent whose child shows no inclination to take puberty blockers looks for ways to persuade them to do so. Another parent reports on her blog how her pre-teen, non-binary child cried and didn’t want her first injection, but “after some panic and more than a few tears” was persuaded otherwise.

Recently a seven-year-old boy was removed from his mother and placed in paternal custody because the judge ruled the mother had caused the boy “significant emotional harm (by pressing him) into a gender identification that had far more to do with his mother’s needs and little, if anything, to do with his own”. The mother was also told by the judge to stay away from the controversial transgender children’s charity, Mermaids.

In extreme cases, Munchausens by proxy, an illness where a parent or carer causes or excabates symptoms of illness in a child, cannot be ruled out.

I was told that my transgender feelings were permanent, immutable, physically deep-seated in my brain and could NEVER change, and that the only way I would ever find peace was to become female.writes one man of his childhood.

The Transgender Child may very well come to believe that all their value is tied up in their transgender identity. How to back down without feeling you’ve betrayed those closest to you, who have fought for you to be your ‘authentic self’?

 

Understanding consequences

Transition is not simple. While younger children can simply grow or cut their hair and change their clothes in order to ‘pass’ as a girl or a boy, there will always be awkward situations requiring a high level of cognitive dissonance or practical concerns around masquerading as the opposite sex. But the boy has been told he can become a girl, and why would he not believe that? As of next year in Scotland eight year olds will be taught  in the classroom that ‘some trans people change their bodies‘. The boy will know that is something that he might want to do someday so he looks just like a real girl. But ‘one day’ is a very long time away when you’re eight and the summer holidays last forever.

Then puberty strikes.

If the boy doesn’t want his voice to break, his Adam’s apple to develop and hair to start growing on his face; if the girl doesn’t want breasts and curvy hips to begin to show, if the outward trappings are to be maintained, then puberty blockers will be needed. At this point it may well seem like a natural progression to the child whose ‘gender identity’ has been affirmed. After all, if the girl has had it confirmed that yes, she is actually a boy, it may seem like an inevitable next step.

Can either even begin to comprehend the restrictions and consequences of being a lifelong medical patient? Of course they can’t. This is refected in UK law- which doesn’t even hold an eleven year old to be empathic enough to look after a pet properly.

How old is ‘grown up’?

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There are a variety of things that a child can do independently by law in England and Wales. A child can buy a pet unaccompanied age 12 and take up part-time work at 13.  Age 14 a child is considered to be old enough to be held responsible for their own seatbelt, and can give evidence under oath. A sixteen year old can get married or serve in the armed forces with parental permission. They can also ride a moped, play the National Lottery and consent to sex, although probably not all at the same time.

At seventeen a child can become a blood donor, and take a driving test.

A child cannot vote, buy alcohol or cigarettes, buy fireworks, place a bet in a betting shop, drive a large goods vehicle, watch an X rated movie or purchase an X rated game, have a tattoo or leave school before the age of 18.

At eighteen, we act as if a magical button is pressed and maturity is ingested along with the birthday cake.

The fastest growing group of trans-identified children is teenage girls. In fact, ROGD, or Rapid onset Gender Dysphoria, was described in The Lancet in 2017.

Gender incongruence can also emerge for the first time during pubertal development, with no history of gender-discordant behaviours or feelings reported in childhood or prepubertal adolescence.”

 

Psychotherapist Lisa Marchiano notes:

“In the past five or so years, gender dysphoria has begun presenting in a new way. Adolescents… are identifying as trans ‘out of the blue’ without any childhood history of discomfort with their sex…”

The NHS website has this to say about hormone treatments.

“Teenagers who are 17 years of age or older may be seen in an adult gender clinic. They are entitled to consent to their own treatment and follow the standard adult protocols… By this age, doctors can be much more confident in making a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and, if desired, steps can be taken towards more permanent hormone or surgical treatments to alter your child’s body further, to fit with their gender identity.”

As many studies show, however, our brains aren’t fully developed before the age of twenty five.

“We now realise that the brain doesn’t stop developing until mid-20s or even early 30s.” says Sarah Helps, consultant clinical psychologist. This is particularly important in terms of social reasoning, planning, problem solving and understanding. So the brain is reorganising itself, which then means that different thinking strategies are used as your brain becomes more like an adult brain.”

in 2013, new guidance for psychologists acknowledged that adolescence effectively runs up until the age of 25 for the purposes of treating young people.  Neuroscience shows that a young person’s cognitive development continues well into their 20s and that emotional maturity, self-image and judgement will be affected until the prefrontal cortex.

“The idea that suddenly at 18 you’re an adult just doesn’t quite ring true,” says child psychologist Laverne Antrobus, who works at London’s Tavistock Clinic. “My experience of young people is that they still need quite a considerable amount of support and help beyond that age.”

In reality, there are procedures that doctors are unlikely to recommend in certain circumstances. In my early 20s I told my doctor I didn’t want children and wished to be sterilised. He refused to consider it, which I found extremely pedantic and bombastic of him at the time. Fast forward less than a decade and I was pregnant and looking forward to being a mother. Did he have the right to deny me that procedure? Maybe, maybe not. One thing is for sure, I was well over the age of legal consent.

Consent is complex, and there is no clear cut line as to when our brains reach maturity.

Informed Consent

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 03.24.19Many surgeons in the USA are happy to operate on children despite the minimum age in the USA standing at eighteen and the legal impossibility of gaining informed consent.

Dana Beyer, a father and Executive Director of Gender Rights Maryland , advocates that children should have a full right to self determination, claiming:

“If a child grows up and decides to de-transition, then what of it? The harm done is minimal.”

A six year old, told that he can ‘become’ a girl, a nine year old whose school changes their pronouns, an eleven year old told that puberty blockers will ‘buy her time’… how can they understand the implications of this adult-sanctioned change? The little boy who wants to get rid of his willy – can he understand the implications of crafting a neo-vagina, crafted from the remains of his scrotal sac or intestines, that will need dilating for the rest of his life? The little girl who doesn’t want periods or breasts – can she understand the significance of growing facial hair that will never recede, of the medically-recommended hysterectomy ; of the promised penis that will need to be forged from the flesh of her arm or her thigh?

Every day that a girl is told she’s a boy, the idea is affirmed that she is something she is not, and each day is a further step down the transition path.  How can a child consent to procedures that will leave them unable to experience a normal puberty, when they are too young to understand what puberty is? How can they begin to understand the implications of a future as a life-long medical patient; the side effects of hormone treatments, sterility, loss of sexual function and the potential problems involved with surgery? My belief is that they can’t.

The idea that children cannot consent has not evolved to restrict them, but rather to protect them. Is it such a huge stretch of thinking to suggest that a child who can consent to medical transition can also consent to other things? Consuming alcohol? Taking drugs? Sexual intercourse? If not, why not? These waters are very muddy indeed.

Activists claim that trying to help kids feel happier in their bodies is conversion therapy, but this is a myth. Telling a boy ‘yes, you’re a girl’ so he can better fit society’s expected stereotypes of behaviour; suggesting that a girl’s body needs converting to a facsimile of a boy’s body – THAT’s conversion therapy.

Why are hundreds of thousands of pounds being given in grants to the organisations that promote this ideology? Why not spend that money on campaigns to break down gender sterotypes?

Gender is a social construct, a set of sexist and outdated stereotypes forced onto males and females by society. Most of us don’t even have a ‘gender identity’ and it is regressive to suggest to kids that they do. Personalities come in all types and both boys and girls should be allowed to play with a variety of toys independent of what they have between their legs. The ‘gender revolution’ is very far from a revolution if it can’t deal with concepts as simple as this.

Children can’t consent to transition because they can’t understand what it means to be a man or a woman. They have no grasp of the complexities of adult life in the ‘big wide world’, or of the effect transition may have on their future physical relationships and sexual feelings. They can’t understand – nor should they be expected to – the physical complexities of medical transition.

The idea that a child can consent to transition?  It’s a myth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Telling Tales – four stories of women’s bodies, gender & dysphoria.

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Here are four stories selected from those that arrive in my inboxes. Four voices, four women, each with something different to say. One is a nurse, herself with a trans-identified daughter, who describes dressing the arm wound of a young woman who had recently undergone phalloplasty. Another is a young woman who transitioned and later detransitioned, who offered to share her story with me in a series of DMs via Twitter.  The third is a mother who emailed me about her daughter who was groomed online, over a decade ago.  Finally there’s a piece from a woman about her changing relationship with her breasts; at the end she offers a message of hope to the dysphoric young women of today.

These are among the voices that transactivism will try to silence with the cries of ‘transphobia’ and ‘no debate’. We need to hear these voices. We need to hear about the dark side of ‘reassignment’ surgery; we need to hear the voices of the desisters, the detransitioners; and the women who travel a long and difficult path but eventually come to love their own bodies.

Four women, four stories from the front lines.

 

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Thoughts from a Nurse

I have been a Registered Nurse for 30 years. For the past 7 years, I have been working in a very busy family practice setting. One of my roles in the family practice is having my own RN appointments with the physicians’ patients, to do nursing procedures such as syringing ears clear of cerumen, administering intramuscular and subcutaneous injections, removing sutures or staples from operative and trauma wounds, changing the dressings on operative and trauma wounds. These are just a few of the many nursing scope of practice activities I do within this role.

Also, I’m letting you know that over five years ago, my now 21 year old daughter told us that she thought she should be transgender. She has persisted to this day, in part, I believe, due to constant outside affirmation at school and work, and transgender-positive internet and social messaging.

One shift I worked, a patient in their mid 20s was booked to see me to have a dressing changed to a post-operative site to the patient’s left forearm. As I do with all patients, before their appointments with me, I reviewed the patient’s chart for previous information regarding what/when the surgery occurred and I discovered that the patient was classed as FTM (female to male) and had, two weeks prior, had phalloplasty surgery done and that the site I was to assess, clean and re-dress was actually the donor site for this operation. As a Registered Nurse, it is important for me to give evidence-based, excellent and compassionate nursing care to all of my patients. I prepared myself for this appointment by gathering dressing change supplies including sterile normal saline, antibiotic ointment, non-stick dressing pads, rolled gauze and paper tape. I tried not to think about my own daughter.

The patient arrived in my office, accompanied by their mother. Subjectively I noticed that the mother appeared to be approximately my age, late 40s early 50s, and had a tired look about her. She appeared to try to smile, but it looked more like a grimace, and there was a very sad look in her eyes. The patient appeared to be male, spoke comfortably to me, and sat in the patient chair, with their arm set up on a tray I had placed over the chair.

In reality, there was no preparation which could have readied me for what I saw when I removed the patient’s dressing. The entire diameter of the forearm was substantially reduced from the unaffected arm. It appeared like the skin/tissue which had been removed was likely 1 to 2 cm in thickness. The wound encompassed the full diameter of the left forearm, from just below the elbow joint to just above the wrist. I noticed that the patient had sleeve-type tattoos to both arms. The tattoo was completely gone from the site of the wound. The wound looked moist, red, inflamed, translucent tissue and the blood vessels were clearly seen just below the surface of the wound. Clear drainage was oozing from the entire wound. I couldn’t discern if the site was healthy or infected as I had never seen a wound site such as this before.

I had the patient’s family physician assess the site and he told me that the site looked well and not infected and asked me to clean it and re-dress it.  I applied a large amount of Fucidin (a prescription-grade antibiotic ointment) to the site, using a sterile tongue depressor to smear the antibiotic ointment onto the entire wound. I used numerous non stick gauze dressings to the site, and secured the dressings to the arm using a roll of clinging gauze dressing which I secured with paper tape. The patient tolerated this procedure very well. There was some discomfort, but overall the procedure went smoothly.

After the patient and the mother left the appointment with me, I had to compose myself. It was extremely upsetting and the memory will stay with me for a very long time. As an RN, seeing the condition of the forearm donor site, the only word that came to my mind was mutilation. I know that currently this isn’t a ‘politically correct’ term, but it is the only word that suits what I saw. It was healthy forearm tissue which was removed – not tissue removed because of disease or trauma.

I am also a mum. As the mother of a young daughter who, in my assessment,  has been taken in by both the transgender movement and identity politics/social justice world, for me to witness the degree to which females are being erased absolutely cut through to the depths of my female spirit.

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Thoughts from a Detransitioner

@trialeterror

I am a recent detransitioner who struggled with dysphoria. I’m 27 years old and identified as FTM since I was 16 after first hearing of the possibility online. It all came to a head when I was 25 and I began testosterone. I had top surgery early last year.

In retrospect, I was very unstable when I began transition. I had hit a major milestone (25) and felt like my life was going nowhere. I was aware that I had co-morbid depression and anxiety, but I was scared that if I tried to address those issues first, I would be the ONE unlucky person who would be prevented from transitioning (lol).

The 2016 US election scared me into having surgery and changing my legal documents before I was truly ready. Lots of paranoia, anger, fear. Shot days made me unhappy because they were a reminder of what I didn’t and could never have. I quickly developed a phobia of doing the shots myself- my best friend did all of them after the first few. I felt like a burden. I was very clearly suffering from thoughts of worthlessness that I absolutely believe exacerbated (or caused) the dysphoria. Chicken or the egg, I don’t know.  I cried a lot, had emotional breakdowns. ‘I don’t want to be here anymore,’ played on repeat in my head. Sometimes I’d say it out loud. I started having sleep disturbances, so I finally became desperate enough and started anti-depressants earlier this year. Within a couple of months, I experienced a decrease in dysphoria and an increase in clear, level-headed thought. It’s been weird. I’ve since stopped T and am in the process of changing my legal documentation again. I’m not currently angry, but I do feel failed by the system.

I do feel that I am doing better now- calmer, at least. I wanted to be male in the same way someone might want blue eyes instead of brown- except that people (understandably) take sex Much More Seriously than eye color. I don’t know if I will have a satisfying life, but I do want to try, and I don’t think that would be possible if I spent all of my energy trying to force my brown eyes to blue. I don’t much like the ‘gotta have it all’ or ‘you can be anything you aspire to be’ mentalities because oftentimes we just can’t. We’re all born with different innate strengths and weaknesses and reproductive capacity is just one aspect of a person. It just seems cruel to encourage large swaths of people to strive for the impossible/improbable, when they could lead an equally enjoyable average life.

The first ‘trans memory’ that I have is from preschool and is pretty meaningless out of context: I always wanted to be the dad when we’d play house. During early puberty when my body started to change, I had a vague thought/worry/fear that I’d just keep growing or change into a boy.  I think the first time I felt particularly different was the time that I asked my best friend whether she’d ever want to be a boy ‘just to try it for a day’ and she said no. I also had a huge crush on a gay boy and I read into that a lot. I was very shy about my romantic interests, so I never did tell him before we went separate ways.

I’m a human of the creative variety, but on top of stories and characters, I started inventing alternate personas for myself. I thought maybe I was reincarnated or maybe in some kind of Truman Show scenario. I was also smart enough to know that these ideas were ridiculous and not to talk about it. I was never overtly delusional to the casual observer, but there were a lot of other issues that I was struggling with and imagination was my coping mechanism. In retrospect, it’s easy to see how I became fixated on the idea of being trans, but you don’t really notice it in the moment. You don’t see how these things connect in any meaningful way, and once you’ve spent long enough thinking you’re trans, you don’t remember how you started believing it in the first place. You kind of don’t want to remember, in case it unravels the fabric of who you are.

I found out about FTMs at 16 and I told my mom at 17. She was the first adult that I told and I had no idea how she was going to react. It wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. She’s never been on-board with it, but she’s supported me in I guess the best way she knew how. My step-dad once threatened me with violence because I said that speaking on the phone made me dysphoric, but there was no follow through. This was early on and he was actually pretty supportive when I started transition years later. Go figure. My bio-dad is an alcoholic and this was also around the time I started distancing myself from him. His response was basically just ‘you need to get laid’ and then to pretend I never mentioned it. Classy.

I wanted to start transitioning in college (around 2010), but there were very few gender therapists at the time and informed consent wasn’t a thing in my area. The first person I ever saw seemed fascinated, but said outright that he’d never worked with trans people. He talked about himself a lot, which I didn’t realize was a sign of a poor therapist, but it made me uncomfortable anyway. The second person I talked to was a woman. My one memory with her is trying to describe height dysphoria. When I said I was too short, she informed me that I was an average female height, which still upsets me because of how acutely she managed to fail to identify the problem: not that I felt that my body was wrong, but that it was wrong for me. I’m not sure which experience disappointed me more.

Having seen two therapists unqualified to deal with my issues and being a sheltered kid just trying to get through college, I gave up and retreated online. I spent most of my time in my dorm room or in class. This must have been when being trans started to become ‘a thing’ because once I was out of college and had moved out, I started noticing people transitioning- mostly online. I had still never had any real meaningful talk with a therapist about my feelings. I was intensely jealous that some people had access to better services than I had. When I later transitioned, my aunt (my mom’s sister) was VERY supportive. Apparently, when my mom told her, she said in that worried way that, ‘those people kill themselves’ which is so painful because it’s such an important thing to talk about, but you don’t want the people you love- and who love you- to know that about you. Not being able to say ‘I’d never do that’ is so hard when you genuinely don’t know. I’m not a good liar. My aunt has daughter in high school and apparently IDing as trans isn’t so rare anymore. When I was her age, I only really knew one other trans individual personally. We met online and meeting him (a fellow FTM) was like meeting a unicorn lol.

I actually work as an admin on a college campus now and it’s strange seeing so many (what I can only assume are) trans-ID’d students walking around. I often wonder how many are even dysphoric, how many can relate to what I’ve experienced, and how many are just having a bit of fun.

I think the most concerning thing for me is that the therapist who wrote my letters never asked whether I’d ever had any sort of delusional thoughts and the doctor who wrote my prescriptions didn’t ask whether I was depressed.  Personally, I think informed consent should be available for adults. However, I also think that, as with smoking and other risk factors, doctors should at least be required to do some very basic screening and bring it up with the patient. If someone along the way would have said to me,

“It sounds like you may also be experiencing depression and anxiety. We can definitely try testosterone, but since the effects of hormone therapy are more permanent, I’d like to try treating you with an SSRI for a couple of months to see if that provides any relief.  If you still want to start testosterone after that and your bloodwork is clear, we can go ahead and give that a try while continuing to treat your other symptoms. How does that sound?”

I mean… I might still be in the same predicament, but maybe not. Maybe I’m just optimistic, haha.  It just seems wild to me that people advocate for LESS screening, when there’s already so much that we aren’t looking for.

I’ve thought about telling my story somewhere myself, but I wouldn’t really know where to begin in order to reach an interested audience where it might actually have some kind of impact, haha. I would definitely be happy to see it shared with others though, and it would be great to hear from more people with similar experiences.

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Thoughts from a mum

My wife Marie and I have 4 children, 3 girls and a boy who we have raised together. They are all now grown up and 3 have families of their own. My  daughter Amber is now a 24 year old woman with a boyfriend and a child. This is the story of her rapid onset gender dysphoria, which happened back in 2006.Out of the blue, when just 12 years old, my daughter said to us she was a boy and would now be called Sean.  She cut her hair and dressed as the other young men dressed.  Prior to the announcement we had absolutely no idea, she was a very feminine young lady.

Amber is an intelligent person, she spoke 3 languages by this age and stood out at school not only for having lesbian parents but because she was very academic.  She spent her summers at university summer schools in Cambridge and Bath designed to cater for children like herself.  She did not have much in common with her peers and had no friends who were girls at school.

When she spoke to us about these feelings we did not dismiss it or try to talk her out of her belief.  We listened to her carefully and we decided we should seek some help and advice.  We first of all spoke to 2 friends, one of whom is a MTF transsexual and one a FTM transsexual.  Both said the same thing- it just does not suddenly occur and we should seek help.

In the meantime we agreed to call her only by her nickname and the name we always used anyway, ‘Berry’, we did not refer to her as Amber.

WE first went to the GP who referred Amber to CAMHS.  They helped her work through her feelings and ultimately felt the alienation from her peers was at the root of her feelings and that she was probably not transsexual.  They referred us on to a gender ID clinic.  The wait for the services was more than 12 months so in the meantime she continued to have help and counselling from CAMHS and we also paid for a private opinion from a psychiatrist- not a gender expert but we felt it might be useful.

About 11 months after she first told us, a session with CAMHS found out some disturbing new information from her.  They called us in straight away and informed us she had disclosed that she had been talking to a person online-a MTF trans person in his 40’s.  This person had basically told Amber he thought her ‘problems’ were because she was trans.  We also found out that he had been telling her that if she was a boy then they might be able to have a relationship.

Obviously the first thing we did was call the police and they took it very seriously.  Her computer was examined and we went through many hours of police interviews.  The person was arrested and ultimately charged and imprisoned- Amber was not the only child.

We went through enormous feeling of guilt and knew we had let her down.  The dangers of the internet were not as well understood then as now, and we had been at best naïve and at worst negligent.

Amber, needless to say, was never trans and with lots of help and support we worked through her problems.

If she had attended CAMHS today I’m pretty sure they would accept she was transgender and the awful situation might never have come to light, or god forbid the abuse could have continued and she could have been in even more danger.

I know it’s a long story, and not an easy one to write, but the way her sudden trans revelation was dealt with by the GP, CAMHS and the psychiatrist was in stark contrast to what would happen today.  It all too clearly illustrates just one of the dangers of blithe acceptance of young people suddenly presenting as trans.

 

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Big Butch Breasts

I can’t sleep tonight. Peri-menopausal insomnia. So I’m drinking tea and wandering on the internet and I just watched this video by a young woman called Kat. It’s about binding. It’s about her stopping binding.

Then I cried a lot and made more tea.

I’ve got my tea propped on my chest. My breasts, always soft and slack from the time of their arrival, and now, as I near fifty, even more relaxed in their styling, fall to my sides and leave me a flat, bony expanse for my mug to rest on. I’m wearing a chunky jumper over my pjs. From the menswear section. All my clothes are butch. I’m a butch dyke, a lifelong lesbian.

When they came, these breasts, it was swift and overwhelming. Aged 12 and still at a middle school, in which I was expected to change for sports in a room with boys, I hid my first bra under a vest. It was a vile item, that bra. I liked my snoopy sweatshirt, the cool ice hockey jumper I’d inherited from my brother, my super-tight jeans (it was the early 1980s) but I loathed the shiny white bra with lace-trimmed cups. It was actually too small from the start; my mother, in denial about the size of my breasts, had insisted we buy an A cup. I never was that A cup girl. I quickly progressed to a cast-off from my sister. It didn’t have the lace, thank god, but a butterfly between the cups.

Breasts didn’t just bring the hated ‘pretty underwear’ into my life. They brought the eyes of others to my chest. And once, when I was still aged just twelve, the hand of an adult man. None of that was welcome. So, I wore baggy jumpers on hot days and hid as best I could. But still I flinched at people ‘noticing’ my breasts in swimming class. Hunched my shoulders. Buckled with embarrassment.

I always felt that they didn’t match me. I thought I’d been given the breasts of some girl who wanted big ones while she had the tiny, pert, barely noticeable, ones that were meant for me. Along with periods, which also arrived at age 12, my breasts were an almighty annoyance. Something to be managed. Something I must have been cursed with by a witch at my cradle.

And so began the relationship between us, me and my breasts. I tried to make the best of it. I hunted down the plainest bras I could find – not easy in pre-internet days. If BHS didn’t stock it, it didn’t exist… I avoided changing rooms by cunning re-use of an excuse note for PE. I muddled through.

But I still resented my breasts all the time. I thought they made me look stupid. I thought they made me a less serious person. Less me. That they were the body equivalent of a clown’s red nose. Make of that what you will but remember this was the Britain of Benny Hill, Are You Being Served? (which I dearly loved, by the way) and Carry On films. Big breasts were a joke. The women who had them were a joke too…

There were some dark times in my teens. Some were particular challenges relating to my life but some were the universal moments of self-doubt and confusion experienced by all adolescents, as I tried to determine who I was. Who I was, it appeared, was a lesbian. By fifteen I was saying the word to myself in private and to a few select friends. I got hold of my first lesbian books. Lesbian feminist books from publishers like Onlywomen, Sheba and The Women’s Press. Vital, political. Not perfect, of course, but powerful.

I believe that hard, bleak and repressive as the 1980s were in many ways, I possibly had a better, a safer, a healthier experience of growing up as a young lesbian then than I might today. Because those books told me that what I was, a woman who was attracted to women, who rejected ‘feminine’ dress, was a perfectly valid thing to be.

More than that, feminist books and magazines told me that the world was lying to me about what it meant to be me. They voiced the great truth that violence against women is a toxic plague and that mental illness, self-harm, anorexia and more, were partly expressions of women’s distress in an oppressive patriarchy. They said that I was entitled to be a whole person but that I would have to fight to be it.

But they also said that I was not alone. I was not alone and I could survive. The overwhelming message was one of affirmation and solidarity in struggle.

Of course, none of that is easy or simple. And I was, in any ways, a privileged young woman. There wasn’t much money in my family but my middle class background gave me access to books and education. I don’t generalise from that to others who lived through those times because I know I can’t. I was able to move through feminist spaces relatively easily as a white, middle class, non-disabled woman. I recognise my privilege. And in those spaces I met friends and lovers. I was very lucky.

But what of the breasts? I hear you cry… Well, over years, many years, I reconciled myself to them. I can remember several key moments that illustrate my changing feelings:

Aged fifteen, on a train coming home from a day in London, I saw a lesbian couple. One was wearing a t-shirt of a feminist press. She was so cool. She had no bra underneath and I saw the gentle swing of her breasts as she stood. She was tired. She yawned and her lover rubbed her shoulder. Gentle and affectionate. She looked at home in her body and her life.

Dressing up in drag with my friends for a party when I was seventeen. The feeling of the cool dress shirt on my skin. Looking at myself in the mirror, in my tail coat, knowing I looked good. Deciding that maybe the breasts didn’t ‘spoil it’ and that maybe there was something rather exciting about a female body in formal menswear… I have never changed my mind on that one.

Aged twenty, wearing a Lycra body for a night at a women’s club. It was the first time I’d ever relished others’ gazes. It was low cut, under-wired, black. No trim. Nothing ‘feminine’. I wore a leather biker jacket over it. I felt powerful.

I guess that part of that power came from owning my sexuality. I’d had a few lovers by then, none of whom seemed to think I had the wrong body on. In fact, they’d generally been quite keen on my breasts. And I had loved theirs. I had met breasts of different shapes, sizes, colours and textures. I’d mucked about with lovers – naming breasts, squeezing breasts, joking. But I’d met their power too. I remember the exquisitely sensitive breasts of a lover who would gasp at the lightest touch. I’d learned some of the language of breasts in warmth, in private, with affection and desire, and away from the ridicule of public gaze.

Later still, aged twenty nine, I gave birth. My breasts swelled, burned and rushed with milk. They were entirely mysterious again. My nipples cracked. The pain was some of the most excruciating I’ve ever experienced but I persisted. They healed. They settled into these new things that provided nutrition and comfort for my child for two years. I felt grateful and respectful of their ability to work such magic.

Now I look at them with a mixture of that eternal irritation (I’d still have preferred a neater pair) and admiration. For a body part so unappreciated by me, they have done rather well, I think. I can even, on a good day, look at the way they glide down my torso and see a sort of beauty in them. I make myself see that because, god knows, I can see it in other women.

And there is always a little voice in my head that says, ‘Remember, they want you to hate your body, to hate yourself, to be your own enemy. It saves them the trouble.’ It’s the little voice that feminism gave me. And the little voice isn’t wrong.

Like most people, there have been times when my mental health has wobbled and at those times I’ve felt that loathing, that doubt about myself, my body, my mind and how it all fits together. I’m not all worked out about this stuff. But I appreciate the healthy body I have. I’m old enough now to know that it won’t last forever.

But I wonder what my experience might be today, were I that same, breast-hating, 12 year old? If I were that girl who was usually happiest in her jeans, reading her book up a tree? If I became that teenager attracted to girls? If, instead of reading books of feminist stories, I was watching YouTube videos about binding? If, instead of reading the message that a wrong-headed world wanted to make me hate my body, I was getting the message that it was my body itself that was wrong?

I have always believed in respect for, and inclusion of, trans people. I have nothing to say about the experiences of those who transition. It is not my place to undermine anyone’s right to self-determination. But, equally, I will not silence myself, eradicate my story of my relationship to my own body, lest I be accused of transphobia. We need all the stories to be told.

Many, many women I have spoken to have experienced feelings of distress, panic, even loathing of their own bodies. For those of us living as butch lesbians, there are rarely safe spaces in which to share those anxieties and the strategies we use to manage or overcome them. So, here is my butch breast story. For me, time, experience, my developing sexuality, motherhood and ageing have all affected my relationship with my breasts. Had my initial dread and misery at their appearance been amplified or encouraged I might never have become the person who rocked her toddler to sleep at her breast. At twelve, I couldn’t possibly have known what a precious experience that would later be.

So, to girls out there who might be hurting their bodies, crushing tissue, breaking ribs, struggling to breathe, planning to excise the hated pieces of themselves, I would suggest, with respect and solidarity, that there may come a time when they can accept and respect their breasts. That it is possible to be a butch, breasted, confident person. Sometimes we are what society calls a contradiction, or what our peers appear to despise, or what the media ridicules or slanders, but we can also be each other’s friends, lovers and champions. I send a hug. I say, be kind to all parts of yourself and give it some time.

 

*****************************************

 

Thank you to the women who have shared their stories with me, and thank you for letting me share your stories with others.

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Brighton Rock -A Woman’s Place is Turning the Tide

Text & photos- Lily Maynard * Sketches – Michèle M

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On July 16th 2018, a group of almost 200 women, and a few men, attended a meeting organised by Woman’s Place UK’   at Jury’s Inn in Brighton.

A woman's place is turning the tide

“We are a group of people from a range of backgrounds,” declares Woman’s Place UK, “including trade unions, women’s organisations, academia and the NHS. We are united by our belief that women’s hard won rights must be defended.”

WPUK believes in the right of everyone, “to live their lives free from discrimination and harassment.” WPUK is concerned with the rights of women and girls, “who face both endemic structural and personal inequality,” and how those rights are affected by current proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act.

To this effect WPUK has arranged a series of talks around the country, meeting firstly in Cambridge in November 2017, then in Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh, London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Oxford, Basingstoke,, Newcastle, Todmorden, Hastings, and most recently, Brighton.

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Taking the train down from London for the meeting, I decided to make a day of it and go for a swim in the afternoon. Siri informed me that high tide would be at two so I planned a swim for three.

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The beach was crowded and the stones were hard underfoot but the water was dark blue and perfectly chilled.  I buried my phone and cash in a plastic bag under my towel and stepped into the icy water. I only had to swim a couple of strokes before my feet no longer touched the ground.  Perfect. It was only too cold for a couple of seconds.  I bobbed like a baby seal on the rolling waves under the blue sky and burning sun. It would have felt more like an alpine lake than the English seaside if it hadn’t been for the undulating waves and salty taste of the water… and the seagulls screeching overhead… and the crowds of people talking loudly in English…  and the omniscient wafting odour of weed.

But you get the idea. No seagulls shat on me, no poops or tampons floated by.   For a journey just an hour south of London, this is as tropical as it gets.

After my swim I wandered through the Lanes, a little string of hippy happiness traversing the town centre. The shop and stall holders are kind and cool; touched with an air of having just got back from Goa or trekking in the Andes. Small dogs trotted past my feet and the air was filled with the scent of veggie burgers and vegan cupcakes. The atmosphere on a sunny Monday afternoon was almost festival.  I purchased a delicious but pricey coffee from a cheerful and friendly barrista and pretended not to be surprised at the £85 price tag on an ‘upcycled’ kimono.

I passed on the kimono and instead paid £4 for a charity shop scarf, which seemed like a spectacular bargain. I ran it under a tap, wrung it out and put it over my shoulders to keep cool.  At five o’clock I met Michèle in a coffee shop and we checked our email. The venue had been announced! We left the Lanes and meandered back down towards the seafront.

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The Friends Meeting House, Brighton

‘A Woman’s Place is Turning the Tide‘ had originally been planned to take place at the Quaker Friends Meeting House, but they had backed out of hosting it a couple of days beforehand, weighed under by the usual bullying. A Woman’s Place were uncowed by this, organising another, larger venue and relocating the event to the waterfront.

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The new venue was the modern and gargantuan Jury’s Inn, overlooking the sea.

We knew that protestors were expected, and there they were. We could hear them as we approached, chanting the inevitable: ‘Transwomen are real women!’

Transactivists, hotel guests & passers by outside Jury’s Inn

“No debate! No debate! Transwomen are real women,’  they cried.

‘Trans rights are human rights!’ They waved their placards.

‘Trans rights are not for debate,’ they called, earnestly,  as we approached the building.

“No debate! No debate!

No debate! No debate!

No debate! No debate!”

Transwomen are men Lily MaynardTranswomen are, of course, not women. Can I be a trans woman? No? Why not? Because I’m not a man. It really is that simple. We all know what a woman is: we all came out of one. We have words like masculine and feminine to help us describe the more ethereal aspects of how we perform gender; ‘man’ and ‘woman’ are biological descriptors. You can’t just take them – we need them. Women, and men too, need those words to describe our biology and how it affects our lives.

Trans people should have the same human rights as the rest of us. Obviously. Nobody I know has issues with that. Have you ever heard anybody say trans people shouldn’t have the same human rights as the rest of us? If I heard someone say that, I’d pull them up pretty sharpish, I can tell you that. Human rights are universal.

But trans rights do not automatically include the right to stop women talking about things that affect them.  We get to talk about that. Trans rights do not over rule women’s rights. This is not a game of Top Trumps. It is entirely disingenuous to suggest that anyone wishing to discuss feminism and changes to the GRA wants to take away anybody’s human rights, erase people or deny their existence.

Sometimes I feel we are so close to agreeing on all this. Prescribed gender roles are harmful. As humans, our responses to gender are complex and diverse. We need to break down stereotyped ideas of how a boy or girl should behave. Why this obsession with appropriating the language of biology?   How can a boy possibly be a girl unless we completely change the meanings of the words ‘boy’ and ‘girl’?  And to spread the net a bit wider, those who don’t want to choose a pink or blue box but still want their seat on the trans-train can be non-binary, or gender fluid, some are demi-girls or demi-boys. The trans umbrella spreads itself wide. LGBTQIA? Everyone can be special! Kids as young as twelve or thirteen are declaring themselves asexual.  FFS- you are literally 12! It’s quite normal not to fancy anybody at 12 , let alone not desire to indulge in rampant shagging- because YOU ARE A CHILD.

The belief that people can be born in the wrong body is akin to a religious issue. You may believe that we have culturally gendered souls that can slip into the ‘wrong’ body. I may call this sexist nonsense. Our disagreement on this no more means I am trying to erase you, or harm you, than my refusal to accept that god is a white-robed beardy bloke who lives on a cloud in the sky means I am trying to erase certain groups of Christians.

So there were they, waving their placards, chanting with excellent enunciation and full of righteous energy, and there were we, wanting to have a meeting and wondering if anybody was going to get punched this time.

“Transwomen are real women!

No debate!

No debate!””

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One of the protestors had a sign on their T shirt reading ‘Fuck Gender Norms’ and I wanted to shout, ‘Yes, I agree! Fuck gender norms, they’re bullshit, it’s all nonsense! Wear what you like! Love who you like! Express yourself! Be masculine; be feminine, be passive or assertive, have long hair or short; paint your face or not.  It’s called having a personality. Challenge those sexist stereotypes, break those gendered barriers. Change things! You don’t belong in a box.’

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I’m fascinated by the protestors who turn up to events organised by gender critical women.  Some people have said to me, don’t write about them, why even mention them, it’s just giving them attention. But to understand what’s going on, we need to try to understand them. How has this happened?

I believe in the power of protest. I’ve marched against bombs, wars, homophobia, rape, racism; against the poll tax, oppressive foreign regimes, corrupt banks, politicians and the meat industry. I’ve protested for the right to listen to loud music in a field and waved banners calling for the decriminalisation of drugs. I was actively involved in Greenpeace actions in my 20s.  My politics are libertarian left.  I have never been ‘the bad guy’ before and I don’t believe I’m the bad guy now.

Myself and other women want to talk about how changing attitudes towards gender and the redefining of words used to describe it affect the rights of women and children.  We’re told that to do so is hatred. Me-from-the-past views this with horror. Women being told they can’t discuss their rights? The ground feminists had gained, lost so soon?  It’s like one of the dystopian scifi novels I read so avidly in my teens. Oh the irony of being accused of erasing people by those who want lesbians to accept penises as female! The irony of being called regressive by those who think a feminine boy in a Frozen tutu should be encouraged to think he’s a girl!

Later on in the evening, the chant turned to ‘Non-binary is valid’, which must be a contender for the most ridiculous slogan in the global history of protest. We’re all bloody non-binary, with the possible exception of Barbie and Action Man- and they aren’t real. It would almost be endearingly funny if trans-ideology wasn’t resulting in young people becoming desperately unhappy – suicidal, as we are so often told- surgeons removing young women’s healthy breasts and minors being medicalised with off-label drugs. Most- but certainly not all- who transition are over the age of eighteen, but doctors have long known that the pre-frontal cortex of our brains doesn’t mature until we are at least in our mid twenties. Youngsters are impetuous. That’s one of the reasons their car insurance is so insanely high.

Most of the protestors are under 25. I feel maternally protective towards the narcissistic little blighters, although I know they hate me. I wonder if they’ve had a proper lunch.

For all the cries of equality, there is undoubtedly a hierarchy among the trans-identified  and their ‘17 types of gender‘.  Transwomen are at the top, naturally, their voices are loudest and they are the most listened to because they are men and we live in a patriarchy.  Transmen seem mostly incidental, noted in the papers only when they give birth or occasionally when they grow a beard.  At the bottom are actual women who want a shaft of the rainbow, the handmaidens of the trans movement, the ‘sisters not cis-ters’ who are happy to describe themselves as ‘cis’.

Michèle, never intimidated,  took a leaflet with a smile. Someone put their foot in the revolving doors, just for a second, when I wouldn’t take the one held out to me. The door stopped for a moment, then seconds later we stepped into the cool, air conditioned, glass and marble lobby of the hotel.

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We registered in the lobby, where our bags were checked.  Outside, a few guests perused the protestors as they began chanting ‘transmen are real men’.  We milled off to the bar for a drink in the stunning air-con lounge. The space was huge and cool.  I sipped hot coffee and slipped over to the window, where I could see the protestors down in the street below.

“I should have taken a leaflet,” I wail, angry with myself for being momentarily intimidated. Michèle gives me hers. It’s disappointing.

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Debunking the leaflet

Firstly, we need to remember that sex is also a protected characteristic. Female-bodied people – aka women- have the right to their own spaces. We do not currently legally have to let boys change with girls; to let men into women’s refuges. We do not have to say that men are women. Yet.

As Helen Saxby pointed out later, in her talk, Penny Mordaunt (Minister for Women and Equalities) may well have assured us that the Equality Act won’t be affected by any changes to the law, but if you take the view that trans women are women it erases the sex class of women altogether.

There is no evidence that the UK trans community faces higher levels of violence than other marginalised groups.

There is a rich and detailed global history of LGB art and literature, even in cultures that punished or erased homosexuality. There is no history of transgender children. The Roman were keen surgeons who kept close records of their various achievements, which even included foreskin reconstruction. There is nothing to suggest that they even considered the idea of performing a ‘sex change’. It’s extremely hard to believe that nobody felt able to speak up about this until about 15 years ago and now suddenly thuosands of young people are ‘finding the words’ at last.

Discrimination is not a good thing. Women know all about it, and it isn’t something we chose to identify into, thank you very much, nor is it something we should be expected to have to identify out of. While I support your human rights, I will not call a man a woman and I do not have to believe in your gender fairy.

Support is essential for all of us, especially those of us going through crises or mental health issues. However, if you’re starving yourself, I’m not going to tell you you look better the thinner you are; if you’re self harming I’m not going to say ‘that’s a great way to let it out’. Supporting someone means more than blind acceptance of their beliefs.

The horror of child suicide has been used as a very effective silencing technique. Those who feel that mental health problems are caused by gender dysphoria rather than the other way around are dismissed as heartless and full of hatred for trans-IDd children.  Yet the Tavistock and Portman GIDS clinic states that among children referred to the clinic “suicide is extremely rare”. Outside the story of American Leelah/Josh Alcorn, most of the very few young trans-IDd people that have taken their own lives had full parental support. The 48% suicide attempt myth has been debunked here – one study represented as interviewing over 2,000 trans people actually interviewed 27. A peer-reviewed study shows that post-transition suicides, and psychiatric inpatient care, are actually higher post-op than pre-transition.   J. Michael Bailey, Ph.D  and Ray Blanchard, Ph.D talk about the ‘transition or die’ myth here

The GRA already gives trans people the right to ‘jump ship’ on their sex and have all records changed if they can show their intent is wholehearted and genuine. The leaflet describes it as ‘really difficult and expensive’. It costs £140, and those on low income receive help to pay. You can view the current process here. Changing the GRA so anyone can change all their documents- including their birth certificate- just by waving a wand causes all sort of problems from genealogy to criminal investigations.

I’m unsure what the writers of the leaflet mean when they speak of the ‘further trans rights’ they are seeking in addition to making self-identification viable in law.  If a male can wake up one morning & legally declare himself female ‘just like that’ where else is there to go?

The last part of the leaflet says ‘hormones are not prescribed to anyone under 18 in the UK.‘ This is blatantly untrue. They are prescribed to children as young as twelve. See here. Even the NHS website says otherwise. “If your child has gender dysphoria and they’ve reached puberty, they could be treated with… synthetic (man-made) hormones that suppress the hormones naturally produced by the body.”

So the leaflets were full of sensationalist misinformation, or ‘alternative facts’, which was disappointing but not entirely surprising.

The Meeting

Lily Maynard WPUK Brighton

The Panel – left to right: Helen Saxby, Kathleen Stock, Phillipa Harvey, Ruth Serwotka, Gill Smith

WPUK Lily Maynard

Helen Saxby, Kathleen Stock

Lily Maynard WPUK

Kathleen Stock, Phillipa Harvey , Ruth Serwotka

WPUK Lily Maynard

Ruth Serwotka, Gill Smith

WPUK

Phillipa Harvey by Michèle M

Phillipa Harvey‘s welcome was met with applause; the bar and the aircon were noted and praised. She thanked the hotel for hosting us at short notice.

“The term TERF will not be tolerated- this is abuse of women. Please be aware of how others in the room will feel as you are speaking. I’m angry that in defending women’s hard fought for rights we are being called transphobic.

Changes in law matter. Thank you for caring how the changes in law matter…  for caring to attend this meeting.”

Harvey introduced the first speaker of the evening.

Helen Saxby

WPUK Helen Saxby

Helen Saxby by Michèle M

The first speaker was Helen Saxby, a feminist writer and blogger.  Saxby told us that she wanted to talk about “how we’ve got where we are and why we feel angry about it.”

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 01.34.43Saxby reminded us that the government consultation has now been launched and that it will be the first chance for women to have a say concerning changes to the GRA (Gender Recognition Act).  You can take part  in the government consultation about the GRA or just learn more about it here.

She spoke of the legal fiction put into law when the GRA was first introduced in 2004, back when nobody was expected to say that transwomen actually were women, and how it was supposed to “help alleviate the gender incongruence of a very small group of people so they could live more happily”.  She spoke of the abuse women received on Twitter if they dared to say that transwomen weren’t women.

‘What is at stake is the actual meaning of the word woman.’

Saxby warns.

Helen spoke of how the phrase ‘Transwomen ARE women’ is used to put a stop to talk of women’s rights. “It’s like a football chant,” she observed wryly.  Saxby pointed out that calling transwomen women used to be ‘a way of being an ally; a way to be nice… not hurting their feelings… just a matter of courtesy’, but what it has become is ‘a political slogan’.

Over the years, she said, the number of transactivists groups have grown, and they’ve been talking to governments, the NHS and other organisations and any argument has been shut down. It now seems transphobic to say transwomen are men.

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Helen Saxby by Michèle M

“Women are easy to ignore, feminist women are particularly easily ignored and lesbian feminist women are easiest to ignore.”

Saxby spoke of the Allsorts Schools Toolkit and how it discriminated against girls, and Transmedia Watch who work to ensure that male transgender crimes are reported as female crimes but if the man later takes his life it will be reported in the press as a trans suicide.

“It’s quite clearly unfair in sport,” she added, “when a male bodied person competes against a female... In every area where trans rights have been pushed for, it is women and girls who lose out.”

“Some gay men are beginning to realise what transgender ideology says about their sexuality,” observed Saxby, “and that it’s not really what they want either.” She said she hoped gay men would support their lesbian sisters who looked after them during the AIDS crisis.

“The mantra ‘transwomen are women’ is no longer a matter of courtesy, it’s a political point. It’s nothing to do with transphobia, bigotry or hatred…  I am being bullied by a political dogma that I don’t agree with. It’s my political right to say no to that dogma- and I would like everybody here to say no to that dogma.”

A resounding cry of “No!” and applause came from the audience.

“If you take the view that transwomen are women… what it does is it erases the sex class of women. If women as a female sex class can contain males it is no longer a female sex class and this means that the characteristic ‘sex’ in the Equality Act has actually disappeared simply by making it meaningless.”

If the suggested change to the GRA takes place, “the law of the land would be telling us that we actually choose our own subordination.” 

“Let’s get everybody we know to look at the consultation and fill it in. Please fill in the consultation and give women a voice.” she concluded.

I have only captured a few of Saxby’s points in this piece: she has blogged about her talk at the meeting and I thoroughly recommend that you read about it here, on her excellent blog ‘Not the News in Briefs’  You can also hear her talk on YouTube here.

***********

Gill Smith

“I wanted to show my face and say I transitioned and detransitioned.”

A Womans Place Lily Maynard

Gill Smith by Michèle M

Smith said she hears the mantra ‘no debate’ and sees it everywhere. Some LGBT ideas are taking precedence and others are being dismissed. Only certain views are allowed to be expressed, and there are those who would shut her voice down.

“I’m going to talk about my own experience and the number of young lesbians I see calling themselves trans everywhere I go now… I think that must be questioned. I’m sticking up for my own community, for younger lesbians. I thought of myself as trans at one point… I started medical transition; a diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder. I took cross sex hormones for almost four years. I spoke to a couple of surgeons about breast removal: this was 2006 and it was incredibly rare…. I don’t pretend it’s an easy issue… It’s a serious issue especially when we’re talking about teenagers and their bodies.”

WPUK Lily Maynard

Gill Smith by Michèle M

Gill told the audience how she was a confident child and a ‘tomboy’ growing up. She thinks she might have identified as a transboy if the idea had been around.

“If my mum had took me to the doctor I’d have been asking for puberty blockers.”

After realising she was attracted to girls, she was bullied and began having panic attacks.  She received a gender identity disorder diagnosis, which she says her mother did not agree with.

I separated my mind from my body,’ she told us.

Smith moved to London at the end of the 90s, binding her breasts and determined to transition. She is adamant that she didn’t get much help from the organisations that are meant to help young lesbians.   Smith pointed out that even if scientists looked at her brain and found it was different – “which it isn’t,” – it doesn’t mean you need to change the body in an attempt to match the two. She reminded the audience that male and female are biological categories; that biological sex is a material category.

WPUK Lily Maynard

Gill Smith by Michèle M

“A female is supposed to be feminine and heterosexual. You’re seen as abnormal and not woman enough. I hope lesbians in particular don’t forget that we have historically been medicalised, pathologised and fetishised… I hope we don’t forget this.”

There will be more and more young women detranstitioning in the near future, Gill believes. Wanting to send a message to girls and teenagers that you can have short hair, wear clothes that you feel comfortable in and still be female, she asserted that that it isn’t progressive for young women to be constricting themselves in new boxes when they should be smashing the boxes. She finished by telling gender-questioning girls and young women is that if they want to speak to anyone there are always women who are listening.

Gill has been speaking out about her transition experience for a few years now and says she is happy to have received a lot of support from other women. She finished by thanking A Woman’s Place for giving her a chance to share her story.

“You’re a woman and the word woman belongs to you.” concluded Smith.  “You don’t have to change your body…  go out and change society.”

You can hear Gill’s talk on YouTube here.

Kathleen Stock

Lily Maynard Womans Place

Kathleen Stock by Michèle M

Kathleen Stock is an academic at the University of Sussex , where “…we argue about the rights and wrongs of social arrangements: we have opinions but try to back them up with reasoned argument.”

“I’m clear, personally, that I completely support the rights of trans people to live their lives, without violence, harm or discrimination.” stated Stock at the outset of her talk.

“I’m also keen to distinguish between transactivists and trans people.” Stock referred to transactivist organisations as “rich, well connected and politically powerful’.  She reminded us that not all trans people support the aims of, or agree with, these organisations.

Conflicts of interest occur between groups when giving one group something takes something important away from another group. Stock said she disagreed with transactivists who claim that there is no conflict of interest between trans rights and women’s rights if transwomen are recognised as ‘literal women’.  If same-sex spaces for females- places where they undress or sleep- are reduced, it potentially reduces females’ safety from sexual violence.  Likewise if we give females political or media representation to transwomen, or places in female sports, the result is limited representation for females.

“If trans women are literally women, not just legally but in every possible context…  that does nothing less than force society into a complete re-understanding of what it is to be a woman, and obviously that has an impact on the biological females who were already occupying that category. So it’s perfectly ok for us to talk about that because it has an impact on our lives”

Stock said her writing had been met with ‘aggressive, angry public responses’ from fellow academics and is told she is causing ‘harm and even violence’. She is adamant that she does not claim that transwomen are especially violent, just that they are biologically male and it is important to recognise patterns of male violence.

Criticised for not being ‘kind and inclusive’, Stock observed that these expectations are gendered.

“I’m supposed to care that I’m not being kind because I’m a woman: no one tries that shit on men!”

Told that she’s playing ‘intellectual games’ she notes that she does not consider this debate to be a ‘fun game’ and that the criticisms she receives are personal rather than academic. Normally, she says, you engage with arguments, not character. There have, she informed us, been public protests about her on campus.

Lily Maynard A Womans Place

Kathleen Stock by Michèle M

‘The aim is to make me feel ashamed.. socially isolate me from potential supporters… and the ultimate aim to get me to stop talking… you’re told you’re evil, you’re told you’re confused, you’re not kind, you’re causing harm.. It’s particularly aimed at females…. In my case it hasn’t worked. I feel no shame whatsoever in anything I have written.”

This was greeted with cheers and applause from the audience. Kathleen went on to say that she sees men saying or writing similar things to herself but they do not receive the same damning response. Academics only feel comfortable taking privately or using pseudonyms, she added, saying she had lost count of the number of emails of support she had received from fellow academics but most said they ‘can’t face the onslaught’ of speaking openly.

Stock observed that some academic areas where proper discussion, analysis, and observation seem currently lacking are Law, Medicine & Biology, History and Psychology. She spoke compellingly about the importance of proper debate and research in these areas and how we need ‘public clarification of the fact that law cannot change biology.” 

“Some people believe hormones can make transwomen into women: that’s not true. If academics don’t start saying this more loudly the public will get more and more confused…. if we can’t talk about female health and reproduction then we are lost.’

Speaking of how Stonewall promotes the rewriting of history; Kathleen talked about how the Stonewall riots have been rewritten to erase lesbian instigator Stormé Delaverie. Marsha P Johnson, a self-described gay man and drag queen who arrived after the riot had started, has been posthumously ‘transed’ and credited with starting the riots.

“I would have thought historians who cared about truth should be getting on to that,” she added, observing that ‘proper academic scrutiny’ is needed when it comes to statistics about transwomen’s lives, rather than the phone polls and internet surveys carried out by organisations like Stonewall. Studies should ideally be carried out by someone neutral: we need to know where the statistics come from and who funded them.

Stock spoke of the importance of philosophy in discussing these issues. It is a human right to be free of violence but not necessarily through giving transwomen access to women’s spaces. We need to talk about female bodies and experiences because ‘if we can’t name our own bodies we can’t name our own oppression’.

Can the category of lesbians include a pre-op man with a penis?

‘Lesbians like myself say no,” asserts Stock, to the general agreement of her audience, adding, “this isn’t because I am being mean or unkind.’

Academics need to talk, because ‘facts matter, the truth matters’  especially in the face of ‘wild, inaccurate, confused claims and theories’ which will be accepted as truths if no-one is there to correct them.

Kids online are living in a climate of suffocation, terrified of saying the wrong thing. They feel stifled and frightened… ‘herding and groupthink’ is developing online. They need to see academics show it’s ok to speak out and show how to deal with disagreement.

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Kathleen Stock by Michèle M

Fascistic tendencies develop in society if no one can speak out. Stock referred to the harassment of A Woman’s Place, threats of violence and the recent bomb threat. Her own email account had been hacked that morning. Of academics she concludes:

‘Quite frankly, they need to woman up!’

Kathleen- now Professor Stock – has published her notes for her talk at A Woman’s Place here.  Again, I thoroughly recommend you read the whole piece yourself. You can view her talk on YouTube here. She has also written in the Economist and other publications: this thread on her Twitter links to many of her inspiring articles.

**********

Ruth Serwotka

WPUK Lily Maynard

Ruth Serwotka by Michèle M

‘It’s been quite a week….  every week is quite a week in the land of gender identity,’ began Serwotka, speaking of how the Friends’ Meeting House had changed their mind about hosting the meeting.  She asked us to please give the organisers a clap for ensuring the meeting went ahead, and we enthusiastically complied.

In a darker moment, she spoke of the ‘culture of intolerance’ and referred to a picture doing the rounds online, a picture she had been sent, the silhouette  of a woman entitled ‘Kill TERFs’.

‘Freedom of speech matters, our right to free assembly matters, women matter.’

To loud applause and cheers, Serwotka referenced the letter from Women’s Place U.K, signed by so many and published in the Morning Star, and also the recent protest at Pride as progress that had been made in asserting women’s rights.

Women are not making progress, we are moving backwards, said Ruth. She spoke of how, in the poorest communities in the UK, women are now more likely to die at a young age than their mothers were. She pointed out how there will be fewer women in parliament if women’s shortlist’s are open to men.

‘No mainstream political party supports us’ she observed, chillingly. “We do not have equal pay fifty years after the Equal Pay Act.”

A Womans Place Lily Maynard

Ruth Serwotka by Michèle M

‘We must never forget that every week more than two women are murdered in this country, which is why we need services that are female centred and protect the rights of women and girls.’

The Home Office, observes Serwotka, says violence against women and girls is a serious crime, which has a negative effects on our economy, our health service & our criminal justice system.

We’ve had a lot of patronising statements released in the last few weeks about how women have been ‘very silly and got our knickers in a twist’ when expressing concerns about the effects of changes to the GRA. These concerns, she continued, are very real and the changes are more than ‘a little administrative tidying up’.

Serwotka spoke of how in August 2015 Stonewall requested that the government removed single sex spaces from Equality law, without consulting women, but Stonewall is now denying they ever requested that. This is ‘a repositioning and a complete hogwash’. She was met with cheers when she called for Stonewall to be held to account.

We must remain vigilant and respond to the consultation.

Ruth pointed out the importance of upholding the right of women to have their own spaces in law, pointing out that rape crisis centres, counselling and domestic violence services all need protecting; there should also be single sex wards in hospitals and there should be female only prisons.

“We think protecting female prisoners who are very vulnerable is a really important thing that we should continue to uphold as a civilised society.”

Serwotka added that women should have the right to request a female doctor for certain services, and that single sex carers should be available for the elderly.  High street changing rooms should have single sex changing rooms where women and girls are ‘not open to the male gaze of anyone who says they are transgender’ and toilets should also remain single sex, especially in schools. She also spoke of the right of women and girls to have their own spaces in sports and competition.

‘As women and girls we want a fully informed discussion and in a democratic society we have that right to meet, to discuss and put to our opinions forward’

You can see Ruth Serwotka’s full speech here on YouTube.

**********

There were lots of questions and observations from the floor. The microphone was passed around, and audience members were given two minutes to speak.  The atmosphere was excited as many people expressed their support for the speakers and the desire to carry on the discussion.

One woman said she was ‘here as a cis-gendered person’ and spoke of there being “so much fear and anger in the room.”

A few women booed at this, but Phillipa Harvey put them straight.

“We need to have this discussion and listen to each other. We have made this meeting an open meeting. We must listen to each other. Show respect.”

Another person observed that ‘TERFs are like a mouldy smell and they spread,’ which was not the most inspiring observation of the evening.

A bloke in a skirt and a T shirt stood up and said he’d been a cross-dresser most of his life and didn’t want to interfere with women’s rights. This was much more positively received.

There were many other people who spoke up, but my notes get more and more garbled from here on and this seems like a good place to leave my report of the meeting.

Phillipa concluded:

Lily Maynard Womans place UK

Phillipa Harvey by Michèle M

“This conversation needs to continue happening.. I would like to call on everyone who has their hand in the air. We just don’t have the time.

It was clear we need to have a discussion. Sometimes it becomes quite heated but this meeting will bring us forward… thank you for bringing your thoughts, your agreements and disagreements to this meeting.”

Harvey told us the hotel had had problems with guests resenting the demonstrators, and some people people had refused to pay their bills. She told us that there were demonstrators at both the front and back of hotel- exercising their democratic right to demonstrate- and that exiting from the car park might be best way to exit.

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 00.25.02Michele and I made our way up to the hotel bar for a drink. Someone said Julie Birchill had brought everyone a round, but I never found out if that was true or not. If she did, we missed it! We sipped our drinks and chatted with some of the other women, but after about half an hour we were passed a piece of paper with an announcement from the hotel.

A few activists were still outside, talking with guests and passers by. We downed our drinks and left.

“I’m buggered if I’m leaving through the car park,” I scowled at Michele, and she agreed.

Transphobes aren’t feminists!”  A pair of hands waved a piece of cardboard at us through the tall glass panels as we headed for the exit.

The voices became louder as we passed out through the doors into the cool Brighton evening air, although the activists’ numbers had dwindled.  A seagull pecked nonchalantly at a piece of bread. Several police officers were keeping a wary eye on things but no violence broke out.

“Transphobes are not welcome here!” an activist chanted as we stepped onto the pavement.

“Fight back, fight back!” chorused her friends.

“Non-binary people are valid!

Non-binary people are valid!”

“No debate! No debate!

Fight back, fight back!

No debate, no debate!

No debate!

No debate.”

No debate.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

ROGD- Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria

There’s an ongoing battle between those who recognise Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) as ‘a thing’ and those who deny it exists. ROGD believers are mostly gender-critical parents and professionals, who have seen it with their own eyes in their children or patients, to them it is undeniable. I am firmly in this camp, having seen ROGD in my own daughter, who is now eighteen and desisted nearly two years ago.

ROGD deniers are mostly transgender people and parents who’ve transitioned their own children. Organisations like Mermaids, Gendered Intelligence and Allsorts are also scathing, because if ROGD exists it challenges the ‘born in the wrong body’ narrative. They claim that parents who observe ROGD in their own children just hadn’t noticed the signs that their child was trans, or that the child had kept it secret from them. Either argument is grounded in the idea of bad or inadequate parenting and assumes a closed and unproductive relationship with the child.

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The reality is that many healthcare professionals recognise ROGD as a reality.

Tania Marshall, M.Sc., psychologist, and award winning author accepts the veracity of the condition (left) and therapist and Jungian analyst Lisa Marchiano responds here to a trans-identifed teen who says “recently I have been reading some of your writing on “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria…. if my parents knew what ROGD was, they would probably argue that I am in that category. I came out to them about a year ago and I hadn’t shown any gender dysphoria in early childhood.”

 

 

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In addition, and perhaps most significantly, some clinicians at the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock clinic in London, which deals with gender dysphoric children, recently acknowledged the term. You can read their article in the Journal of Child Psychotherapy here, and the Twitter thread pictured to the left here.

 

So what is ROGD? I’ve written about ROGD previously in ‘but nobody is encouraging kids to be trans’

“ROGD is the name given to the situation in which an adolescent child, who has shown no prior belief that they are ‘in the wrong body’ suddenly expresses a desire to transition, usually after spending a lot of time on social media.  These kids are often autistic, gay, or have undergone trauma.  Many of these kids desist – usually the ones whose parents have not immediately changed their pronouns and rushed them into gender clinic referrals. My daughter Jessie, for example, herself a desister, has two IRL friends who identified as trans for well over a year and who have now desisted.
Some parents have presumed that trans support groups would acknowledge the ROGD phenomena.  Trans support groups are understandably vocal on the subject of the high levels of bullying, self-harm and suicide attempts in the trans community and these parents hope that the identification of ROGD might raise awareness of the fact that transition is not the best route for every child.  Instead, attempts to raise the subject are met with complete denial and even accusations of neglect.  ROGD does not exist, it’s made up.

On June 12th, I posted this request on my Twitter account:

Screen Shot 2018-07-27 at 03.25.52Between June 12th and June 14th- in the space of just three days – 39 parents replied to my Tweet.  Some responses below have been cut slightly but no words have been changed. Where a parent commented more than once, three dots (…) join their comments.

There are kids out there – mine included – who experienced #ROGD for several years and today have dreadful mental health problems trying to get over it. Listen to #transregret #detransitioners and all young people who changed their minds.

Yep! My daughter. Aged 15 announces out of the blue… My GNC tomboy daughter subsequently diagnosed with ADHD found something on instagram that she felt answered why she felt ‘confused’ and not feeling like she fitted in around puberty.

My quirky, non-conforming, socially awkward, very intelligent daughter decided she was a boy after a summer spent on YouTube & Tumblr. Dysphoria followed. This has eased now, and nearly two years later she is a lot happier in her body… Schools need sensible advice on how to help children like my daughter. (This parent adds a link to the Transgender Trend resources for schools)

My d is a classic case: high IQ, ADHD, anxiety, some ASD symptoms, artist, anime, hard time fitting in w/alpha girls, romanticizes mental illness, romanticizes being LGBT member, trauma, afraid of physical intimacy, etc. Surprise announcement at 15…  I forgot to mention this new identity bubbled up after she became completely immersed in and enamored with DeviantArt and Tumblr. Those two sites seem to breed transgender identities.

My daughter came out as trans age 12/13. Outgrew it by age 17. I was encouraged by well meaning people to put her on puberty blockers – which could have caused bone damage & cognitive delays….. It was agonizing. I was so worried about her. And I felt completely alone. Every other parent of a trans child I saw in the media was “so happy” about their child being transgender. No mention of the risks involved, no expression of fear or loss. It was awful.

Yes. With great excitement after learning the concept “transgender” as a way to not have to “live as a woman”, my kid came out after turning 18. History of anxiety, signs of OCD and ADHD and very high-functioning ASD. No need for diagnostics…she went to ICATH clinic for T Rx…

5 years ago just b4 daughter’s 16th birthday she suddenly told us she was TG. Socially immature & academically very smart. After binging on utoob & tumb1r. Persists d/tconstant affirmation from teachers & employers. Hasn’t told extended family tho… Recently started Rx Androgel. Rxd by AB family doctor. No mental health or endocrine assessment.

Sorry, my story is a brainwashed child of 9 yrs old.

Me too. 21 year old autism spectrum son, no gd as child, typical boyish interests, on oestrogen now. Now very unhappy.

My daughter is affected by #ROGD. Name change, GID clinic pathway, utterly heartbreaking. Her Mum just cries. So sorry (replies another parent) ….. I just cry too.

My child at age 14/15. Since diagnosed as ASD, plus other MH issues. Now taking T (now a young adult). Effect on my child and our family life has been massive. Impossible to discuss and work through issues due to politics of it.

Absolutely! My daughter fits into this description!!!

Yep, mine did that, then desisted within 2 years.

Me, you know my story. (Gender Critical Dad)

My daughter certainly qualifies: (the mother links to their story here) Out of the blue announcement at 13 years old. Now 17. Still thinks she’s a trans man… She says she’s gay now. So many of these girls are lesbians who think they’re boys. Or heterosexual girls who think they are gay men. It’s absolute insanity… I really don’t know what she’s imagining. But it’s not based in reality. My college daughter tells me many hetero boys on campus who have sex r-ships w/trans-identifying chest binding women. She says they seem to be attracted to that look. Don’t know what to make of any of this.

My daughter qualifies. No dysphoria at puberty at 11. Very feminine after. Decided she was trans around 16 along with an entire friend group. Tumblr, deviantART, YouTube, anime, cosplay, ADHD, anxiety, anorexia, social problems. Currently thinks she’s a gay man.

Trauma, ASD traits ROGD overnight, anime, comic con, social justice issues, bullied, high IQ, bullied. De-sisted after a year. Hers was never felt but thought, she thought her way back, given space, time and circumstance, and NO affirmation.

My daughter came out at almost 19 but says she felt this way since 16 (21 now). She has aspergers, severe depression, anxiety and is gifted. Never once mentioned wanting to be or feeling like a man. Hated shaving her legs and wearing dresses in teen years but so do others

15-year-old daughter out of the blue after prompting from a counselor; it was horrible. We fired the therapist and lovingly but firmly explored the holes in the so-called science. After about a year it seems to be lifting, thank God. Love to all here. ❤

We are in this situation.

My kid for 2yrs 13/14-16. She no longer IDs as trans. The pain and suffering she experienced was real and awful. She learned to love herself.

DD has mild depression anxiety then came out gay. We supported, like gf. Then spiralled down into anorexia, announced “I’m your son”, then suicide attempt. 4 months inpatient tx, BPD Dx, much improved. Still wearing binder but happy and good therapist now. Fingers crossed.

Kid identifies trans at 14 after huge emotional traumas at school (2 child suicides), immersed in school lgbt queer peer gp & toxic frienemies. Developed anxiety/depression, hooked on SM. Always GNC, had no body issues. School gave detentions to girls for wearing “boys” trousers. (This post is expanded in the DM section below)

Suddenly and gradually, classic cookie-cutter #ROGD… DM me for more…

My daughter “came out” to us at 16, but came out to her friends 6 months before that immediately after meeting another “transboy”. She was always a “girly” girl, but also liked comics. Apparently she’s a “feminine transboy.” ASD ADHD and always had trouble keeping friends…  I’ll add that one of the most frustrating statements my daughter made was telling me she “figured it out” by reading the comments section of trans videos on YouTube.

(post in reply to above) I understand how you feel. When I asked my daughter how she determined she was trans she said by looking at those around her and how they identified and the internet. I about fell through the floor!!

Adding my dd to the list. First came out to a few friends, then to us last year at age 15. Right after that she shared with social media.

My story is the same as everyone else’s.

My daughter suffers from #ROGD. Isolation, body issues, grief, internet, puberty- BAAM! She convinced herself shes a boy. Now- 3 years later – very much in doubt, painted into a corner, anxious, depressed, tired, cant see the forest for trees.

Out of the blue, my daughter announced she is trans at 15 WITHIN 24 HOURS OF MEETING ANOTHER ROGD GIRL at school. History of ASD, ADD, not fitting in, etc. had been ‘all girl’ up to that point and really still is except in her head where she thinks she looks/acts male.
While my son was away at college came out as trans at age 20. Never showed signs of gender dysphoria as a child.

MAMA BEAR 2nd tweet: my kid is now “nonbinary”. Changed name & pronouns. Hates her female body & definitely has GD which should be treated. Now rooms with female-looking friend who goes by he/him. My kid on wait list for publicly funded mastectomy b/c wants to get rid of her breasts.

My 19 y/o kid suffers from BPD, severe depression, & anxiety. She was always precocious,bright & active as a child—loved wearing skirts & pants. Announced bi in high school then gay. Became obsessed with queer peer group & an ASD girl who has now had mastectomy. Lots of Tumblr.

My always-girly 21yo D was diagnosed bipolar 2 at 15; much anxiety, depression; moved to affirming city/college but dropped out b/c of anxiety; tons of Tumblr etc. followed by trans announcement; living with 3 girls, all of whom think they’re gay bois; at least 2 now on T.

Son spent way 2 much time on Tumblr-Twitter. Heavy into anime. Off to college & find out from social media He’s a girl. Hist of ADHD recent depress & anxiety. Hasn’t pursued hormones. Casual name change w friends but not out 2 extended family. No issues w gndr b4 social media.

Daughter entered #transcult as a college student. Not a tomboy or GNC Previous lesbian identity. Quiet, academic, into social justice. Likely was on trans-promoting sites when she was younger.

My D14- came out right before she was 12. Too much internet- Blindsided parents. Much more to our story. Aarrgghh!

My daughter went from cutting to trans. She was around 15 ish.

My son said he wanted to transition at 20. He showed no prior indication of this. He exhibited typical male characteristics from birth through childhood to young adulthood. He is attracted to women, by the way. He has been suicidal for several years.

My teen is a desister. she declared trans at age 13, and at age 15 desisted (she had socially transitioned, which I did not fight while I was fighting to prevent any medical transition. Her trans family rejected her when she asked abt biology.)

All the above 39 responses were received within 48 hours of my post. The comments below came in a few days later.

20 year old ASD female born daughter here – told us she trans shortly after 18th birthday – suffering acute anxiety and depression. Ideological stance makes it impossible to discuss for fear of alienating her. Needs a medical professional to tell her the feelings may not last.

Do you still need responses? Yes, suddenly at puberty my daughter started with tho we didn’t know it by that name at the time. Depressed and we find out she has ADHD and is gifted…not feeling like she fit in…

My son told us at 16. I’m like all the rest. I think you’ve been following my tweets. Thank you!

I’d also told parents they could direct message me via Twitter if they didn’t feel able to post directly on the thread. These are the 27 private messages I received, again, all but three in the 48 hours after my Tweet, from parents who wanted their stories to be told anonymously. I have removed a few minor points that might be identifying features- hometowns, colleges, names- and shortened a couple of the more lengthy responses. Two of the posts are longer versions of public comments made above.

Hi Lily,
I saw you are asking for stories of ROGD parents. Here’s mine: My kid, having shown no signs of being transgender as a kid, announced at age 12 that she was transgender. She was diagnosed with ASD just a month or two before her announcement. She had been heavily involved on Tumblr with a nearly 100% transgender friend group there. She is obsessed with all aspects of identity, but especially with gender identity and sexual orientation. At first, her dysphoria wasn’t too bad, but now, about 15 months on, it’s a daily topic of discussion and an ongoing struggle. She also suffers from depression and anxiety and has been hospitalized in a psych unit twice. She’s been completely brainwashed by the arguments of trans activists (biological sex is a myth, there have always been transgender people going back to the Egyptians, the increasing numbers of trans people is due entirely to “increased acceptance”) and is impervious to anything we have to say about it. Our story is a lot like the stories I’ve read on 4thwavenow and the Gender Critical Resources forum. Thank goodness I’ve found these resources, because, like the good liberal I am, I started down the “affirm” path, despite the fact that this made no sense to us. Fortunately, we have not been affirming this identity for around a year, and the therapists we’ve found here in (location deleted)  have been pretty decent, neither affirming nor taking a hard-line stance against her being transgender, which I think would have turned her off from therapy in general. All we can do is hope things turn around and try not to fight with her about this while still making it clear how we feel about this. It’s been a nightmare and I’m currently seeing a counselor myself to deal with how I’ve reacted to this situation, which is increased depression and anxiety. Please keep my story anonymous….

My daughter was 12 when she told she was Trans. Also 6 other girls, and 1 boy, in her grad and the one below her out of 700. The grade after those two-none. Tumblr has been my nightmare. She has not desisted yet, but she has recently acknowledged that she can’t actually change her sex. I’m somewhat hopeful. I try to get her thinking critically. Hope that helps…. My daughter is still wearing a binder and insists on the male name. However, she has agreed to wait until she’s 18 to bring up getting hormone treatments again. She said that she likes where she is right now, and wants to focus on school and getting ready for college. My friends think she is looking for a graceful exit. I don’t want to get my hopes up. But this significant, because in our state, 16 year olds are allowed to take hormones without parental consent. They can’t get a tattoo, or drink until they’re 21, but at 16 they can take cross sex hormones! It’s insanity. I’m still sending her links to 4th wave articles I think it’s helping.

At age 14, my daughter said she was “trans,” “agender.” Said she didn’t feel like a girl nor like a boy. Wanted to be called “they/them,” and change her name. Her friends and siblings went along, but her father and I continued with singular. She is now 18, identifies as gay, and seemed to drop the notion that she is trans or agender. It happened seemingly out of the blue, and was encouraged by a gay male friend of hers who was studying gender and sexuality at college.

Please feel free to use our story. I didn’t want it to come from my account because… I’m scared that we’ll be harassed/doxxed/reported to social services and I’ll be fighting for my right to protect my own child. My daughter, who’s pretty smart and socially awkward but had never had a problem with her own body till she went to secondary school and linked up with the LGBT group. My kid came home as gender fluid (which I understood and told her she didn’t have to conform to social gendered stereotypes, told her I must be gender fluid too), then she came home as non binary (which I said I understood as similar to gender fluid and repeated that it was all rubbish to expect people’s behaviour and personalities to be either/or)…  This school group started to take over every waking moment with LGBT projects like presentations to school assemblies, visibility days etc… My middle daughter one day said she was trans….  I asked about her sexuality and was confronted with, “So you’re saying I’m just a lesbian?” which I said was insulting to lesbians, which she hadn’t considered. The school had a very stupid uniform policy which differentiated between girls and boys trousers. My kid didn’t like the trousers “assigned” for girls so I bought her trousers she liked and was comfortable in. She got repeated detentions and lunch/break detentions for wearing these trousers… My kid stopped going to school. She developed high anxiety levels, depression and spent far too much time with unsupervised internet access (my fault)… CAMHS eventually really helped with the anxiety but after 6 sessions it came to an end and she hadn’t mentioned gender issues at all to the therapist, yet at home I was having “dead daughter live son” ultimatums thrown at me, quoted suicide stats, she changed her name 3 times, wrecked her room (very carefully) sent me you tube/instagram videos, became aggressive/shouty and confrontational whenever I asked any question like, “What is it that makes you feel you are a boy?”. She demanded blockers and testosterone and called me transphobic for not blindly doing all this immediately. Her friend also locked me into an instagram debate about how my lack of support for my son would result in their death…  Towards the end of term my kid wanted the school to support her in a big ‘coming out as trans’ assembly presentation. They asked me what I thought and I explained that we’d been to CAMHS, we were going to spend the summer talking this through without school pressure and to put it off till after the school holidays. The message that was conveyed to my child was that they weren’t going to let her do her presentation because her mother didn’t support it. That night my child threatened to jump out of a 4th floor window. I took her to A&E where she asked to be taken into care. We spent the night in the children’s ward on suicide watch and I cried all night… During the summer we worked on self esteem. She started (a new school) and it’s been slow but steady improvements. The school were very supportive and allowed her to use a different name and present as a boy. I wasn’t sure about this. Slowly her attendance has improved and her academic learning is back on course. She has a part in the school play and her friends seem friendlier. She now thinks she might be a gay boy…  she told friends that she’s done everything to indicated to other gay boys that she’s a gay boy but to no avail yet. I am still struggling to get a message of reality through to her. She has said that everything about women is disgusting and then proudly wears a feminist badge. She has accepted that I won’t endorse any permanent changes to her body while she’s a child. I have told her about… the long terms affects of meds and have tried to big up the gender critical brigade and butch lesbians. I have tried to explain the deep misogyny in the ideology and the violence towards feminists in the name of transwomen. I have explained the concerns I clocked with the huge rise in referrals of teenage girls, to which she says “So you think I’m just like everyone else then?”. I have tried to explain the worries about being reliant on life long meds in an increasingly capitalistic world where our access to free health care seems more and more at risk. She gets angry at me when I make a point or ask a question because, “What you say makes sense but it sounds offensive but I can’t explain why”. I have had a year of this. We have agreement that she masquerades at school and then is herself at home. The last few months have been really good on the other fronts of her life (homework, new friends, assessments out the way, school play etc). I have been controlling internet and social media, repairing family relations after a horrendous year for everyone, limited those old friends and encouraged hobbies, exercise and arts…  My kid is still confused. I wish she wouldn’t wear her binder and I blame myself for not being stricter with the social transition side of things, I hadn’t read enough at that stage to fiercely oppose the idea. When she outgrew a binder I refused to get her another and provided a sports/training bra, but she got a friend to order one for her instead. I reported this to the school and am deeply worried she’ll find someone to order blockers/T if she was inclined. I am hopeful she’ll grow out of her dysphoria and find a way to be happy in herself. Our story is ongoing…and breaks my heart everyday.

Hi – my daughter has all of a sudden come out as trans gender. She spent a lot of time on YouTube and Tumblr and is convinced of it. She’s seen a psychologist who feels she’s just going thru a phase and will grow out of it .

Have a daughter who has just desisted after 1 1/2 years. Glad we live in Africa since in our home country (Sweden) I fear the outcome may have been very different. She bought a tshirt today stating ‘All Women’. I almost cried… I feel very lucky indeed. So many incredibly horrific stories. It’s like we all admire the kings clothes and the few pointing at his nudity are crucified.

My daughter was always somewhat gender non-conforming (at least according to narrowly defined sex stereotypes). As a young child she loved dinosaurs and dogs, and spent a lot of time BEING a dog, horse, or cat. She always eschewed stereotypical “girly” things, which was fine with us, her parents. Around age 8 or 9 (circa 2011/2012) she started spending time online, especially a site called Chicken Smoothie, where her father and I had to repeatedly intervene because role-playing areas (even those designated for young kids) were constantly being infiltrated by older teens and young adults who would serve up a lot of inappropriate content. All of these young people (not my daughter’s age, but older) would have extremely detailed “profiles” which laid out their identities in detail. They were all some flavor of -sexual and somewhere on the trans “spectrum.” Chicken Smoothie was followed by Tumblr which was more of the same but many magnitudes more extreme. It shouldn’t have surprised us when, after marinating in this crap for three or four years, she told me one night that she thought she was trans. My knee-jerk reaction was to say, “Oh, hell no!” I mean, I didn’t verbalize it, but that’s how I felt inside. And, I don’t know why I reacted like that because, politically, I had always been on the left and very supportive of so-called marginalized groups. But, something just felt really wrong. Thankfully, in the moment I just told her that I thought she should hold off on doing anything, including transitioning socially, until high school. What I did do was get her hooked up with a therapist (I didn’t even mention the gender stuff) and talked to her pediatrician and got her on some anti-depressants, which helped A LOT. I don’t know if my initial hesitation had anything to do with it, or if it was the meds, or what, but over the course of the past couple of years she has gone from transboy ID to something more akin to “non-binary.” She’s never demanded pronoun or name changes, and we have supported her in expressing herself however she sees fit (short hair, men’s clothes), with the exception of a ban on any and all binders because they’re super unhealthy!!! I am so thankful that as soon as she told me and I started doing research online, I came across 4th Wave Now and other gender-critical people and websites, and realized I was not actually a giant asshole or a bigot for not affirming my daughter’s self-diagnosed transgender identity. All of my research really hit it home that this was a long-term fight, and that losing was not an option. She and I don’t talk about it much – I’ve found less is more in terms of confronting her about it – but she seems about 800% more comfortable with being female than she was two years ago. I’ve read this elsewhere, and I’ve told it to her repeatedly: There is no wrong way to be female. Any ideology that says that clothes or interests define a person’s sex or gender is a load of horse manure. That’s called sexism. I think the person who has struggled the most with my daughter’s trans ID is my husband, who is my daughter’s adopted dad (I’m her bio mom, but her bio dad is not in the picture). I think her desire to harm herself in this way was extraordinarily painful for him. It was easier for me in some ways because I just got mad and took a more pragmatic approach to the situation, trying to find ways to help her without harming her. He just got really depressed. As you know, there’s loads of support for people who want to affirm their kid’s trans ID, but if you have reservations you’re immediately branded a bigot. It’s very isolating. Thankfully, things have improved, like I said. Anyway, that’s our story. I’d like to remain anonymous if you use it. Two things I should have added: 1) In response to all of the problems we had with Tumblr, we ended up blocking it on our home computers and we seriously limited her access to apps and sites on her iPhone with parental controls – better to not have her marinating in self-harm posts and trans ideology 24-7; and 2) We are currently in the process of having her evaluated for ADHD (Inattentive Type) – she exhibits almost all of the symptoms. It seems ASD and ADHD are common in girls with ROGD.

My daughter came out suddenly trans at age 13. Now 17. Hasn’t transitioned. But uses male name and dresses as a boy… I believe that there are probably people who are truly trans. But for too many girls, specifically, I think they are misfits that have been convinced via tumblr, you tube, anime, etc, that the reason they feel this way is because they were born in-the wrong body. My daughter has no male traits at all. Never into sports, has no real male friends, doesn’t play “boy” type games, etc. lives in a hot pink bedroom. Liked wearing girls clothes until just recently when she said she couldn’t pass if she wore women’s clothing. Yet when she first came out she explained she was male presenting as female. She spends 80% of her time with online friends from god knows where. Rarely goes out with “live” friends her “closest” friend has Aspergers. I say closest in quotes because they hardly spend time together….The school had bent over backwards for her…  I can’t approach her with any alternate theories. She has all the canned lingo down. I pray that she will come out ok on the other end and that end being before college. But doubtful.

Not my kid, but my nephew. Got a girlfriend senior year who caused him a whole host of issues, eating disorder, drugs, then told him she wouldn’t date him unless he identified as a woman. She’s gone but he is still trying to be a lesbian. Before that, he seemed to me a typical boy, slight of stature, but typical boy interests. School culture may also had a lot to do with it.

Hi there, about the ROGD post. My daughter turned 14 and hit puberty then within three months was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, went from thinking she was bisexual to lesbian to pansexual to gender fluid to thinking she is a boy within two more months. This as well as claiming to be pagan then wiccan then atheist and a couple of rounds of being vegetarian too. One year later she now thinks shes a gay boy. She also disagrees with putting anything in your body that you don’t need and risking side effects. So I do see light at the end of the tunnel lol

In reply to your tweet. Yup, my 17 year old. Now his 20 year old brother is ‘questioning his gender’. It’s endemic.

Won’t post publicly but my 12 yo came out as trans last year. Friends and school affirmed with no notification to us. We found out after a friend reported her as suicidal and the guidance counselor called me about “my son”. We are trying to navigate without too much affirmation but have changed name/pronouns at home. She still will go by old name around extended family and friends as well as doctors. I feel helpless and unable to even seek help for fear of being labeled one way or another. The politics of this issue is frightening. I don’t want to lose her. I’m scared.

Here you go: my autistic, brilliant, loving, socially awkward daughter came out to me out of the blue at the age of 13. She got the idea after attending a school presentation; a school where over 5% of the students were trans, where names and pronouns were changed without my knowledge. She received affirmation from therapists, teachers, and students. I was emotionally blackmailed by therapists to support her social transition. By the time I realized this was a big mistake, her beliefs became more deeply entrenched. She is 17 now and plans to begin medically transition next year. I am trying to do everything I can to get her to see the truth before it’s too late.

Hi Lily, My daughter is 19. She came out as lesbian at 16, started going to (allegedly) LGBT support group Allsorts Youth in Brighton where she was snared by the trans-cult. She now insists she is a man despite all evidence to the contrary, and is on the pathway to transition. Tav and Port know she is ROGD but that doesn’t seem to bother them. While it is clear to me this will eventually be accepted as a national scandal and should my daughter see sense she’ll be able to sue for millions, I’d much rather she saw sense now, before it is too late. The NHS should be helping her come to her senses. It should not be humouring her delusion.

Our child came out as trans unexpectedly at aged 20 – having shown no signs previously. This followed a traumatic time in her life. Had come out as a lesbian around aged 18. From there, ‘progressed’ to trans with body dysphoria. 10 months ago went to see the GP, prior to making a new start at uni: now has 2 separate NHS diagnoses and will start testosterone shortly. Wants double mastectomy.

My child texted me to tell me they wanted to be a boy at 14, the usual story of immersing themselves in trans YouTubers. They had always been GNC but never suggested being a boy until 14. They told their guidance teacher & the school immediately changed their name and sex without consulting us. We were referred to CAMHS who were very supportive and they even told the guidance teacher when they imposed themselves on an appointment that their actions had not helped & they had jumped in too soon in changing name & sex. Our child is now 18 so can make their own decisions & we keep saying we believe they are GNC not trans. Up to now they have not attempted to refer themselves & I am hoping they won’t. (sentence deleted to avoid identification)  our relationship is improved despite difficult conversations. Our child has recently been assessed for autism & has been told they have “sub” indicators of autism but they do not have enough for a diagnosis & adult mental health services will not do a full assessment. I am desperate & terrified that my wonderful, confused child will start down a path of transitioning that will cause them harm and that they could come to regret. I do not mention this on Twitter as my child, & some of their friends, follow me on Twitter & ultimately it is their story not mine.

My 16.5 year old daughter came out as trans at age 14.5 in a period of social isolation and depression. Never fit in with the girls because of giftedness and limited interests (books). Deep thinker. Social justice minded. is now called a boy in school and everywhere but at home. My story is like so many others. The culture is enabling this and pushing our children onto a path of psycho social and medical self harm. Has ASD traits, sensory issues , diagnosed with generalized anxiety. Sexuality unclear. Very uncomfortable with sexuality in general. Now IDs as a gay boy. I suspect is a lesbian with high functioning depression and possibly mild Aspergers. (sentence removed)  Has perfect pitch and synethesia.

Hi Lily, have experienced the same with daughter – no where near out of the woods. Really appreciate all your tweets and info. Makes me feel less isolated by it all.

Hi. A few years ago when my daughter was about 13 her body developed pretty quickly and she hated it. She’s reserved and quite shy and had started getting attention from boys and even men in the street – very curvy hourglass figure. Her whole demeanour changed. She became depressed and suffered from anxiety. We’re very close and we talk about everything. Anyway things escalated – started to want clothes from boys’ section and had her hair cut short and shaved at sides. Then progressed to wearing chest binders. I went along with all this because you walk a fine line with teenagers and I wanted to keep the lines of communication open between us. However when she said she thought she was trans like some other girls at her school I told her I would support her through everything, except I could not finance or be part of her changing her body because if she ever regretted such a drastic action I would never forgive myself . It was a very difficult year or so but basically I listened to her every time she needed to talk – night or day. She got some counselling at school and I encouraged her to take up interests (she joined a local rock school where she played guitar) and meet her friends on weekends. Then one day she said “Mum I think I’m a lesbian”. I said that was no big deal but to take her time, that she was still young and didn’t have to worry because her sexuality would become clear to her in time. Just wanted her to enjoy being young. Anyhow over time I could see her growing in confidence and being happier with herself, she stopped wearing the binders and developed her own quirky punky image. Then about 6 months ago (at about 15 1/2) she said ” yep mum am 100% sure now I am a lesbian,” and then more recently, “what was I thinking about wanting to be a boy!” I would encourage any other parents to adopt the wait and watch approach even when your child seems quite determined, because if they are really unhappy with their developing body like my daughter was, changing sex seems like a very attractive solution at the time. I say this with no disrespect to trans people and of course I believe in supporting trans people’s rights.

My child (now aged 19 suddenly came out as trans soon after being put on strong antidepressants by Camhs who indoctrinated and fed my child hate towards me and had my child taken into care at 16. I have two other happy healthy children (age 16 and 22) living at home with me.

All we knew of our daughter and our relationship which I thought was closer than some came to a crashing end at 19 and 1 day when she met a young woman who had recently had double mastectomy and was identifying as transgender man. 19 and 3 weeks identified as genderfluid to us but transgender man to friends. Stopped going to uni lectures. Self diagnosed acute anxiety, depression, dysphoria. Refused counselling because of anxiety and “deprogramming”. At this point in our journey our relationship had gone from very strong and loving to we were oppressing her refusing to believe she was a man. The speed from which all this happened was breathtaking. My husband, other children, family and friends were disbelieving in that nothing prepared us for the misery of trans gender identity. She rejected everyone pre trans. I ended up travelling to her college town so she would reluctantly meet me for an hour. She thought and still thinks i am an absolute transphobe.

Hi lily. My daughter was 12, completely out of the blue. We supported her when she said she wanted a haircut, said we’d@talk to school etc. Didn’t get round to it as it lasted less than 48 hours!

My daughter was age 12, entering 7th grade, when she came out to me only (not dad & brother) and asked for a binder. Looking at her YouTube history it appeared she spent the summer following Miles McKenna, who was now her idol. I took away YouTube (due to Miles making adult jokes) and told her until she goes through her history w/me and we decide together if it is a healthy choice or not she cannot have YouTube back (this was in September 2017 – we are now in June 2018). As of today she still does not have YouTube and she has decided she doesn’t want it back. She only came out to a few of her real life friends, but all of her online friends. I bought her boxers, I bought her clothes from the men’s aisle, I took her to get her hair chopped. I see all of this as harmless exploring. I did not allow her to change pronouns (kids will believe what you tell them they are), I did not buy her a binder as her lungs, spine, ribs and other organs need the room to grow. She told me she would not think of hormones until she was about age 23, so I left that alone. Due to living in a state where it is questionable if to not affirm is considered conversion therapy, which is illegal, she did not see a therapist. Instead we spend one hour a week working on anxiety and confidence. She has been great, open, honest and working through the exercises. I believe she has desisted (10 mos later). She does not like to talk to me about transgender, so I have not asked her directly. She varies her dress now, growing out her hair, no longer attempts to deepen her voice, and recently (her choice) applied, interviewed and gained a position in an all female STEM group. In her application she stated she wanted to meet other girls who are into STEM as none of her current friends are. I doubt I would have been able to help my daughter through if it were not for the writers on 4thwavenow and the parents of a gender critical support forum. They helped me realize I am sane and if I continue to support my daughter in her SAFE exploration she would be alright.

Hi Lily. My son, now 23, went to XXXXXX University, very bright, top grades, athlete, musically talented. His girlfriend of 3 years left him in the 3rd year of college. Became depressed, mild and then severe. Came back home almost 2 years ago, all of a sudden, after being exposed to the transgender propaganda, he became obsessed with wanting to change his name, possibly starting to wear women clothes, considering transition! He is in therapy but our family is absolutely shattered. We walk on eggshells. Why don’t any of the psychologists he has met consider addressing self esteem issue rather then suggesting he starts mingling with transgender groups? This is INSANE.

Daughter always tomboy and socially somewhat awkward, previously diagnosed with ADD and attachment disorder. Early puberty was a shock to her system. Hit high school, felt like fish out of water among all the princess girls. Decided a kid like her could not be a regular girl. Binged on youtube trans videos and decided she was trans, at 15. Decided there was no other explanation for her PERSONALITY as a non-princessly, math-loving, gamer nerd girl.

I‘ve just caught up your thread about cases of ROGD. My child 17 yo female has been struggling with this so feel free to add me to the case list. Can explain full story in confidence and craziness of “professionals” who were “helping”.

Hi Lily. Never heard of ROGD before but what you described fits my daughter’s case too. Gay, yes, GD, no. Went thru all this about five years ago – she is almost twenty now and in a stable SS relationship. She went from describing herself (suddenly) as Trans (following self diagnosis in social media) to queer to just plain old gay. We just said a strong no to any GD therapy. Sadly we recently heard her partner is taking hormone therapy… it’s a complicated world!

ROGD messages – response analysis

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I received responses, of one or more comments, from 42 parents (plus one aunt and one grandmother) in replies to my Twitter thread which you can read here. All but 3 were in the 72 hours following my request for parents to contact me.

I received direct (private) messages from 27 parents. Almost all respondents were mothers.

I have not included any of the the responses I received from teachers, family friends, distant relatives and concerned members of the public. (Or any of the messages telling me I’m an evil transphobe and ROGD is made up.) Parents do sometimes contact me, but here I have included only the DMs and messages I received on and in response to that thread,  my Tweet asking for stories from individuals whose children experienced ROGD.

Screen Shot 2018-07-28 at 01.58.5367 trans-identified young people were mentioned. Fifty two of the children referred to were girls. (Two of these doubled up as mentioned in both the DMs and the thread comments so read above as 54.) Nine were boys. The sex of six of the young people was not mentioned.

None of the respondents seemed to believe that their child actually was ‘born in the wrong body’ although one respondent did say ‘I believe that there are probably people who are truly trans’.

At least 12 of the children have now desisted. I do not include in that ‘she seems to have..‘ or ‘I think he has…’ so the figure may be higher. Transactivists will claim that these children are just pretending to desist because of their ‘transphobic’ parents. It is, of course, possible that this is the case. One of the problems with collecting information about desisters is that once a child desists, parents are not so keen to talk about it. Many just want to put the hell behind them and move on. I believe parents of desisters are much less likely to respond to a request like this than parents of children who are still trans-identified. This is, of course, my opinion.

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One of the weaknesses of studies based on random requests for information, like so many of the LGBT studies floating around, is that you have a self-referred sample.

This is not supposed to be a great scientific study. It’s not a dissertation, it’s not peer reviewed, it’s not anything grandiose. This post has no delusions of grandeur, it is what it is.  I asked for parents who believed their child was suffering from/had suffered from ROGD to contact me, and contact me they did.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-28 at 02.03.28

Of course, as has been pointed out to me so very many times, the fact that a parent doesn’t know their child feels ‘born in the wrong body’ when they are very young doesn’t mean that child doesn’t feel that way.  It is possible that all these children had such terrible relationships with their parents that they hid their feelings, and also possible that the parents were so completely disinterested in their children and unaware of their feelings and interests that they didn’t notice. Possible, but unlikely. These parents seem intelligent and articulate and they seem to love and support their kids. These parents seem convinced that their children’s gender dysphoria was rapid onset.

One thing that does stand out is the number of children diagnosed with ASD or ADHD. At least 16 of the 67 children had an ASD or ADHD diagnosis.

“diagnosed with ADHD
socially awkward, very intelligent
high IQ, ADHD, anxiety, some ASD symptoms
History of anxiety, signs of OCD and ADHD and very high-functioning ASD
autism spectrum
diagnosed as ASD, plus other MH issues
Trauma, ASD traits… high IQ
aspergers, severe depression, anxiety and is gifted
mild depression… anorexia, suicide attempt
ASD ADHD
BPD, severe depression, & anxiety
diagnosed bipolar 2 at 15; much anxiety, depression
Hist of ADHD recent depress & anxiety
ASD .. acute anxiety and depression
Depressed and we find out she has ADHD and is gifted
diagnosed with ASD
having her evaluated for ADHD (Inattentive Type) – she exhibits almost all of the symptoms
autistic, brilliant
they have “sub” indicators of autism
Has ASD traits, sensory issues , diagnosed with generalized anxiety”

Many other young people had co-existing mental health issues.

Many were lesbian, although this was not mentioned as often as I would have expected.

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-28 at 02.47.25To dismiss ROGD out of hand, we have to believe that all sixty seven of these parents knew nothing about their kids.  Now, kids don’t tell their parents everything.  We’ve all heard parents say, “We didn’t know she was sleeping with him…  we didn’t know he was taking drugs… we didn’t know she was self harming… we didn’t know he was in a gang,”  but this is very different. To suggest that ROGD is not real is to suggest that throughout the entire childhood of their offspring, these parents were deluded.   That the girl who never once even said ‘I wish I was boy’ was keeping her true ‘gender identity’ under wraps. The response to that is often, ‘but now they’ve been given the words!’ I ask you, why would young people need to be ‘given the words’?

The only argument against the existence of ROGD is rooted in the idea that all parents whose kids did not come out as trans until they were adolescent are blind idiots who knew nothing at all about their children.  It’s also presumes those children had such a terrible relationship with their parents that they never felt able to talk about them about their feelings. I think that says a lot more about the family relationships of those making the accusations than it does about the families with an ROGD child.

ROGD IS REAL.

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I’m not a therapist or a psychologist & I don’t give out advice online beyond offering links to useful groups such as the gender-critical parents forum (which has 960 members), and useful website such as Transgender Trend, 4thWaveNow, Gender Critical Dad and YouTube channels such as Peach Yoghurt.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Pride & Prejudice – who is standing with lesbians? #GetTheLOut

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 01.54.02This year’s Pride in London parade was ‘hijacked’ by a lesbian activist group called ‘Get the L Out.

I was on the tube on my way to Pride when my phone buzzed.

“OMG have you seen this? Are you there?”

I clicked on the link Emma had sent me.

Hijack? Anti-trans group? What had been going on while I obliviously consumed a lemon muffin and a 3 shot Americano in Starbucks?  I flipped through the article to read that a group of women ‘seeking to exclude trans people’ had hijacked the front of the Pride march and were parading with ‘anti-trans slogans’. Was this more hyperbole from Pink ‘Penis’ News?

The tube went into a tunnel and I lost my reception.

Arriving at Charing Cross, I negotiated the hordes of rainbow-garbed youngsters walking backwards with their phones in the air or sitting on the pavement rolling joints, and skipped nimbly over the discarded beer bottles and coke cans. The atmosphere was still charged with energy; outlandishly dressed people laughing and dancing & uploading pictures to Instagram.  There were more rainbow flags than ever. MacDonalds, that staunch supporter of all things revolutionary and cutting edge, had adorned its store front with a bunch of multi-coloured balloons & the guy who usually sells hoodies & sweatshirts at the edge of the square had added a string of rainbow merch to his bow. The obligatory adorable gay-ally dog trotted past me & I joined the queue to get into the central compound.

Pride in London

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As a teenager I once joined a protest march against Barclays involvement in South Africa; a march ending in a rally at Trafalgar Square, where the name ‘Barclays’ was met with boos. Barclays has a new slogan now, crafted from the finest word salad: ‘diversity is important but inclusion is essential’. How times change: Barclays is now also a headline sponsor of Pride in London. I try not to be too cynical about the commercialism. Yay for democracy & all that. As one Twitter user put it

“I’m ok with it. I’ll rather have the commercial soft support than no support at all.”

But still. Pride sponsors. Barclays. Starbucks.  Amazon. Nandos. Even Tesco, FFS.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 02.52.36.pngI made it past security and offered a fiver donation for a ‘Pride’ tote goodie bag. Inside was a magazine, a couple of rainbow wristbands, a lot of flyers advertising holidays in Italy and an Oyster card holder with a picture of Jerusalem on it.

I spoke briefly to the Stonewall people who wouldn’t give me an ‘I rainbow-heart NY’ badge unless I signed up to go to NYC Pride. Or something like that. Maybe I got a bit confused. Perhaps it’s catching.

I grumble about commercialism and, of course, in the same breath I embrace it. After taking some photos, I found myself drawn into the ‘Gay Shop’ where I passed on the ‘pansexual’ beaded bracelet- no really, I’m fine- in favour of a bright blue water bottle.  I bought Jessie & middle-child a T shirt each. They’d come up with friends in the morning and had ‘run out of money can you get us a T shirt please mum’. I nearly bought a ‘Pride’ Oyster Card holder but it was three quid. I paid with a Barclays bank card.

Lily Maynard Pride

Pride Lily Maynard

I managed to find a takeaway coffee and perched myself at the top of the steps, just as Courtney Act tottered onto the stage to tumultuous applause. I took a few photos of the crowd and a sip of coffee and sat down in a quiet corner to flip through my phone and see what was going on on Twitter…

Anne Ruzylo

… and there they were. The lesbian hijackers!

On 7/7/18 group of lesbians from ‘Get the L Out’ jumped into the London Pride parade, bearing banners, to protest against lesbian erasure.

I had arrived at Pride late, bought a couple of T shirts, whinged a bit about corporate sponsorship and taken some photos. These women had a plan. These women were there right at the start, banners ready, fearless and outspoken, to stand up for the rights of lesbians like my daughter. I wanted to hug them all. It’s on my bucket list to hug them all.

Their blog is here.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 20.01.15Get the L Out’ is a group of lesbian and feminist individuals and organisations, opposing the increasingly anti-lesbian and misogynistic LGBT movement and the erasure of lesbians. We believe that lesbian rights are under attack by the trans movement and we encourage lesbians everywhere to leave the LGBT and form their own independent movement, as well as to be vocal and take action against the proposed changes to the GRA (Gender Recognition Act).”

They recorded a short video of their action, which you can see here.

#GetTheLOut

The video, which begins just before the women leapt onto the Pride flag and began their protest, starts mid-conversation.

“… I think we’re going to get lost otherwise.”

“Yes, I think so too, I think we should do it now. Come on!”

The women run forward, chanting and shouting slogans.

Get the L Out

Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 23.25.50.

“Come on, you’ve had your moment,” says one organiser briskly, trying to get them to move off the flag, but the women aren’t budging until they’re ready.

Ten minutes or so into the parade they lie down in the road and start chanting, ‘Get the L out of Pride’.

Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 03.49.38

‘They’re losing our respect,’ one beardy bloke told a journalist, seemingly unaware that it was unlikely that a group of lesbians would be overly preoccupied with gaining his respect.

It’s a hot, hot day and the sun is beating down overhead.

“I should’ve put some sunscreen on,” one protestor says to another, and they laugh.

An organiser approaches them.

“We don’t mind you being here, we appreciate it, but maybe just advance a little bit, just so we can gradually move on.”

Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 23.50.36.png

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The women move on. En route, one hands her phone to some young women at the side of the march. “You want to know what sort of messages we get online just for being a lesbian?” she asks. “It’s just here.”

“That’s so bad.”

“I know.”

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 00.18.19.png

Later I watched a video that had been live streamed by a Pink News journalist. He scuttled down the parade route ahead of the protestors, somewhat like a disorientated and quivering squirrel, repeating over and over again the phrases, “Anti-trans campaigners… what has it come to, Pride in London?… Sadiq Khan was meant to be leading the parade… More as it comes….”

In the course of the video he describes the protestors as:

“A group of radical feminist campaigners who are opposed to transgender rights…  the group who were protesting against transgender rights… a group campaigning against transgender rights… a group of radical feminists who appear to have issues with transgender people… carrying signs opposing transgender rights.. the anti-transgender campaigners… a group who clearly upset many people… distributing these leaflets which are vile… anti transgender rights campaigners…

He mentions the word ‘lesbian’ only once, when he scathingly refers to the protestors as ‘a group of women who describe themselves as lesbians.”

Get the L Out

“Do you disagree with transgender people being here?” he asks one.

“No, absolutely not,” she replies. “Absolutely not. But I do disagree with men saying they’re women and that they’re lesbians.”

“Get the L out of Pride!” chant the women behind her. “Get Lesbians out of Pride! Stop lesbian erasure! No man is a lesbian! Lesbian, not queer!”

Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 02.50.30.png

Pink News Journalist asks another of the women why she is there and suggests that the sign she is carrying means she has “issues with transgender people”.

“I don’t have issues with transgender people.”

She tells him she is protesting, “because I feel that lesbians are no longer represented by LGBT organisations…. I’m carrying this sign,” gesturing towards her banner, which reads ‘LESBIAN = FEMALE HOMOSEXUAL’. “This is a positive sign.” she adds, firmly.

PNJ takes one of the leaflets and reads part of it out to his audience. He then continues to refer to it, and the protesting lesbians, as ‘opposing transgender rights’.

Later,  PNJ asks another of the women what the protestors want, and if it has anything to do with the Gender Recognition Act.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 13.56.24“To get the L out of Pride.” she replies.  “Lesbians are lesbians. A man cannot be a lesbian; a person with a penis cannot be a lesbian.”

“Is this to do with changes to the Gender Recognition Act?” he enquires.

“It certainly is, we need a proper, open debate and we’re sick of trans-activists preventing that with violence, intimidation and threats…

A man who alters his body is a man who alters his body. He is entitled to the same respect as everybody else. He is not a woman and should not be in a woman’s space…

The sex that you’re born, unfortunately, is the sex that you will remain. When archaeologists dig you up in 1000 years time they will look at the chromosomal evidence. Your external organs will have faded away…”

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Have you tested your own chromosomes?” asks the journalist, bizarrely. When she replies no, he goads, “But you believe you’re a woman; you believe sex is defined by it, so how do you have that belief?”
The woman looked somewhat astonished but was polite enough not to laugh in his face.

“Look at me. No one has ever questioned that I’m a woman…  Read Cordelia Fine. The Royal Society gave her a prize for a reason.”

“That’s interesting,” he replies, in much the tone I would adopt if smallest brought me yet another kitten house sculpted from cereal packets, poster paints and toilet rolls.

“I think there’s a lot of sympathy in the crowd,” she continues.  “We are getting a lot of cheers. A lot of lesbians feel the same as us but people are scared to speak out because of all the violence and all the threats. I’ve had death threats, I’ve moved house; people are doxxed. Maria MacLachlan was beaten and the guy pretty much got away with it. There’s a lot of intimidation going on and people know that.”

The journalist turns to another woman and asks her to tell listeners about the reason behind the protest.

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“Pride is not representing lesbians at all, and we feel that we have been erased, and that is why we are here basically… 

because men are saying they are trans, they are lesbians and are pressurising the lesbian community to actually sleep with them… 

we are pressured online, we’ve been called TERFs; there are lots of women who wanted to take part in Pride and they were frightened to come because of this, because of the hostility against lesbians.”

This is the A5 double-sided leaflet that ‘Get the L Out’ handed out to the crowds lining the parade route.

Get the L Out

Get the L Out

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PNJ suggested that the when the crowd cheered the women it was because they didn’t understand the message. He suggested the crowd were cheering the empty space immediately behind the protestors rather than the protestors themselves. He then claimed that the cheers following the women must be sarcastic. At one point he referred to loud cheers as ‘a smattering of applause’.

“The message is going down in a mixed way,” said Pink News Journalist. “I’m not sure people understand what their message is.”

The one thing we can be sure of is that PNJ didn’t like it one little bit.

“The crowd earlier were chanting shame,” he reminded his viewers.

“‘They seem pretty pleased with themselves. They have spoiled the Pride march!” he complained at one point, only to follow it up a few minutes later with, “The group appears to be here to provoke some sort of reaction but really they failed.  There doesn’t seem to be much of a reaction at all.”

Oh the confusion! Even now, a few days later, critics of the protest seem confused. On the one hand the protest was a minor disruption by ‘only eight or ten’ women’, but on the other hand it’s a huge display of hatred that left many ‘feeling unsafe’.

Which is it to be?

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If, like me, you aren’t seeing any actual ‘hatred’ in the words or banners of these women, the first important question has to be,

‘does pro-lesbian now automatically mean ‘anti-trans?

This seems to be what the mainstream media believes; what the Mayor of London believes; what Stonewall, Pride London and Pink News believe.

This is not about hatred, at least not about hatred coming from lesbians and feminists.

Get the L Out

The second question we need to consider is,

‘Is lesbian erasure now a trans right’?

I have honestly never heard anyone say ‘I hate trans people’. Believing that it is not possible to be born in the ‘wrong’ body is not hateful and erases no-one. We all have a right to our religious and spiritual beliefs, and if you want to believe that souls are gendered and that we have pink and blue brains; if you want to worship at the altar of the gender fairy, then go for it. Nobody can tell you what to believe. Your beliefs are your own business. It’s when you start demanding that everyone around you agrees with you and that if they don’t share your ideology then they must be evil people who hate you and wish you ill; that they must be silenced – well, that roar is the sound of transactivism rearing its tyrannical, despotic head.

The ideology of transactivism purports that a man who believes he is a woman, is a woman.

An astonishing number of people are willing to say this.

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Transactivism also purports that a woman who believes she is a man is actually a man, but nobody pays much attention to that, because… misogyny. The women who think they’re men aren’t shouting that gay men should have sex with them, and gay men aren’t feeling they have to hijack marches to make people listen to how threatened and angry this makes them feel because a) Biology and b) Patriarchy.

A good trans-ally is expected to support the idea that a man who believes himself to be a woman has the heart and soul of a woman.  If a man ‘identifies as’ a woman, he actually IS a woman. And if he is a woman, so it follows that he has the right to be in spaces designated for women. Sports teams, changing rooms, bathrooms, women’s festivals specialising in workshops on vaginal steaming, women’s intimate waxing salons, women’s refuges, to name but a few such spaces around which controversy has recently risen.

gaslighting

The gaslighting of an entire population.

If we accept that the group of men who call themselves transwomen ARE women, it follows that they can also ‘identify as’ lesbians.  And if actual lesbians don’t like this – if they reject the idea of sex with these men purely on the grounds that they are… er… men, those women are automatically transphobic.

You see where this is leading?

A lesbian, attracted by very definition to other females, who points out that she doesn’t want to have sex with someone on the grounds that they are a man- any woman who points out that a person who has (or has ever had) a penis is not a lesbian- is transphobic.

Lesbianism is transphobic?  WTF? No wonder lesbians are pissed off enough to take to the streets of Pride protesting about this. Their banners didn’t read, ‘We Hate Trans People’, they didn’t read, ‘Trans People are Dirty and Stupid‘, they didn’t read, ‘Trans people are second rate citizens’. Remember what they read?

“Lesbian = Female Homosexual”

“Transactivism erases Lesbians”

“Lesbian not Queer”

Where is the support for lesbians? Who in the LGBT movement is fighting for the right of lesbians to actually be lesbians? Who is standing up to those who insult, threaten and even strike these women? Well, not Stonewall, that’s for sure.

Stonewall’s Ruth Hunt released this call to armsstatement shortly after Pride.

“The event was marred by a transphobic group… a transphobic group who are actively working against the community… distribut(ing) leaflets filled with myths and lies… not everyone was safe… hatred directed at trans people… these people have deserted the fight for LGBT equality, they have no place at Pride… Be an active, fierce ally.”

Stonewall

Over and again the lesbian protestors are referred to as ‘anti-transgender’: not just by Pink ‘Penis’ News, but by the Guardian; by the Independent.

The Independent refers to the women as ‘anti-trans protestors’.

Patrick Greenfield writes in The Guardian of “a group of about 10 women carrying anti-trans signs…  anti-transgender campaigners…  women carrying anti-trans signs…”.

He goes on to quote a Liberal Democrat LGBT chairperson who talks of “transphobic protestors… a betrayal of the thousands marching”.

Owl Fisher churns out a quick piece, in the same paper, calling the protestors “divisive, hateful and misguided.”

There’s no pride in hatred,” he pontificates profoundly, adding, apparently with no trace of irony, “Trans women wanting to be accepted as women – some of whom are lesbians – does not erase anyone else. On the contrary, it enriches our community.”

Get the L Out

Er… hang on… the claim that men can be lesbians doesn’t erase lesbians? Saying that penises are female doesn’t erase lesbians? Would permitting white people claim to be black, for example, ‘enrich’ the black community? Of course not. What planet is he on? Where is this ‘hate’? Just how does this work? How much doublespeak are we supposed to be able to swallow?

LGBT Labour said “these people should never be allowed to march at Pride again”.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said, ‘The vast majority of those present at yesterday’s march respected and embraced that and the Mayor condemns the tiny minority who did not. Transphobia is never acceptable.”

Viking FM DJ Alex went so far as to call the banners ‘hate crime and surely they will now all be arrested and charged?”

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After initially claiming that ‘hot weather’ was their reason for not stopping the women, then acknowledging that the protestors hadn’t done anything illegal, Pride in London released a statement saying they would be ‘reviewing what happened with the Metropolitan police. They went on to call the protest

“shocking and disgusting…a level of bigotry, ignorance and hate that is unacceptable… we condemn it completely… we reject what this group stands for… we are shocked and appalled…  some felt threatened by the protesters…”

So there you have it.  PRIDE rejects lesbians who claim penises can’t be female. To say a man cannot be a lesbian is threatening and an act of hatred. Is it any wonder lesbians are wanting out from under the LGBT umbrella?

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Not one review I have read in the mainstream press even acknowledges the issues these women were trying to raise awareness about. It was as if those speaking out to condemn the women had not even taken the time to read the writing on their signs, let alone think about the very real concerns expressed in their leaflets.  Their action was doubleplusbad and even thinking about what it entailed could be dangerous and problematic.

It couldn’t be clearer that LGBT will not protect lesbians. This level of misogyny makes me scared & sad for young lesbians everywhere. Is it any wonder that so many lesbians want out?

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Meanwhile, back at the parade, Pink News Journalist points at the protestors and shoves his microphone into the faces of two young women observing the parade.

‘‘This is a group of radical feminists who appear to have issues with transgender people.’ They have occupied the Pride march. They’re being allowed to lead it…”

He pauses and, when no response is forthcoming, asks them directly what they think.

“That’s ridiculous,” says one, smiling.
“That’s pretty shit,” grins the other.

“Organisers, police, nowhere to be seen!” he adds, inviting them to share his outrage. They nod blandly.

“I don’t know if either of you are trans,” he adds. “I see you’re wearing a trans wristband.”
“Yes,” says the girl wearing the band.

“Presumably this is not a great l message to send? They’re distributing these leaflets which are vile,” he says “I don’t know if I can say that and be impartial?” 

The girl with the wristband shrugs and she and her friend look away.  After a moment’s awkward silence, during which he realises he isn’t going to get the reaction he’d hoped for, he thanks them and moves on.

“Still distributing leaflets to the crowd,” he observes, his voice growing slightly higher at his inability to find anyone quite incensed as himself.

What has it come to, London Pride?” he wails for the twentieth time.

Elsewhere, one of the women is speaking to other lesbians in the crowd, telling them she gets called a vagina fetishist or a transphobe online for saying she won’t sleep with people with penises.

“Do you think that’s normal?” she asks another lesbian.

What, sleep with someone with a dick?”  responds the other woman, taking the proffered leaflet. “Why would I? I’m a lesbian!”

“I’m really tired of this,” the protestor says, handing a leaflet to another couple. “Lesbians shouldn’t be shamed for loving women.”

“Fuck you, TERFs!” calls a man from the crowd.

This is what happens when we ignore the fact that Pride was started as a riot,’ says PNJ, meaninglessly, seemingly oblivious to the irony and forgetting that only minutes before he had bemoaned the lack of a police presence.

Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 19.20.45“Trans women started Pride! These people hate trans people! They’re ignoring the history that Pride is a protest started by trans people!” yells a bloke in a black net top with roses on it.
“These people are here to erase the history of Pride, to erase trans people! They don’t just hate trans people, they hate sex workers, they hate anyone who doesn’t fit into their oppressive ideology. They are just as bad as the Westboro Baptist Church & the bigots who come out here saying gay people are going to hell!”

PNJ is so happy to come across someone as incensed as himself that he overlooks the absurdity of the suggestion that lesbians would tell gay people they were hellbound, and bounds over to net-top to introduce himself.

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 01.10.31“Oh, you’re Pink News!” coos net-top into the lens, as his friend flicks his hair back & grins at the camera, “They were taking photos of me… (he points at the protestors) I can guarantee you they’re going to try to go after me and attack me personally.” He taps his fingers on his chest. He sounds strangely happy at this unlikely prospect.

“They were trying to get cops to arrest my friend for no fucking reason… these people are absolute bigots, they’re the worst.”

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 03.31.37.png“I fucking had a go at the TERFs! I had a go at the TERFs! The police are angry at me, fuck it, I don’t care!”  boasted a green-haired bloke who sounded remarkably like Rik Mayal in The Young Ones.

“I’m angry that the first thing of Pride was the TERFs. Fuck them. The opening thing was ‘transactivism erases lesbians’? Fuck off with that! I almost got in trouble with the police but I don’t care, Pride is a riot! Why is this group opening, saying ‘you are not welcome at Pride trans people’? Don’t tell trans lesbians they’re not welcome at Pride!”

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“The anti-transgender campaigners appear to have continued down the march, They’re no longer near… This is what Pride is all about, this is the real Pride!” exclaimed PNJ happily, as the charismatic, heterosexual Mayor of London pressed a button turning the advertising screen at Picadilly Circus into a giant rainbow.

And perhaps, in a time when the gay rights movement is willing to chuck lesbians under the wheels of the gender identity bus without a moment’s thought, perhaps it is.

************

POSTSCRIPTS

GetTheLOutGetTheLOut

The Lesbian Rights Alliance has written an open letter to Stonewall which collected 135 signatures in two days.

Open Letter to Stonewall

Dear Ruth Hunt
Remove the L from LGBT

We demand that Stonewall removes lesbians from the list of groups you claim to represent as a national LGBT organisation. Since its foundation, Stonewall has rarely represented our interests. Now, in your single-minded campaign to promote the trans political and ideological agenda, you not only fail to represent us, but you actually promote lesbian invisibility – and lesbian erasure.

Lesbians are biological women who are sexually attracted to, and have sexual and emotional relationships with other biological women, only. Being a lesbian is primarily about sexuality: it is a same-sex attraction. Stonewall no longer accepts this basic, socially-accepted definition of lesbians. In fact it defines homosexuality as ‘attraction to the same gender,’ not biological sex.

As a consequence you support the absurd idea that male-bodied persons can be lesbians, and you demand that they be accepted as such by actual lesbians. If we refuse to accept these men as lesbians you label us transphobes and “TERFs”, unleashing a torrent of hate speech upon us from your supporters.

The vast majority of biological males who self-identify as lesbians retain their penises. So Stonewall is not only promoting hate crime against lesbians, but imposing compulsory heterosexuality on lesbians.

Stonewall does not recognise or represent the many young women who reject conventional feminine stereotypes in appearance and sex roles, and who become lesbians at puberty. Instead you support the trans argument that many gender non-conforming lesbians must really be men, born with “male brains” in the “wrong body”.

This outdated definition of lesbians was first promoted by male sexologists at the end of the 19th century. It has now become the dominant narrative. In the absence of alternative information, young women are stigmatised and bullied into taking on a male identity, rather than being healthy young lesbians. As one young woman told the Lesbian Rights Alliance, ‘there was no one who looked like me or acted like me who I could turn to as a role model.’

In your support for trans ideology you are literally erasing young lesbians, telling them they must mutilate their own female bodies to impersonate men and appear to be heterosexual. In 2016- 2017 female adolescents comprised over 70% of young people seeking to transition at the Gender Identity Development clinics, the majority of whom are attracted to their own sex.

In your educational programmes for schools you claim to address homophobic bullying, but none of your school materials represent gender non-conforming young lesbians.

For the few lesbians who have managed to escape lesbian conversion to trans and joined LBGT groups at college or university, they are often told that they should not use the term ‘lesbian’ since it is too ‘exclusive’. Instead they must define themselves as ‘queer,’ which means in practice that they must be open to having sexual relationships with men.

You also misrepresent the suicide statistics, claiming that young, transgender people are the most likely to attempt suicide. This is untrue: in fact young lesbians are the group most likely to attempt suicide, which is unsurprising, since they have become the most stigmatised group out of all LGB people.

According to your website, Stonewall has an income of over £7 million in 2018. You also support numerous LGBT groups and LGBT youth groups around the country. Women-only and lesbian-only space is crucially important to lesbians in the development of our lesbian lives and lesbian community. Yet as far as we are aware you have not supported a single lesbian-only youth group, or supported lesbian-only groups of any kind.

It is clear that being ‘stronger together’ in Stonewall does not include lesbians. So we urge you to stop claiming to represent us and leave the L out.

Yours
The Lesbian Rights Alliance

GetTheLOut blog:

https://getthelout.wordpress.com/

Lesbians protest Pride: GetTheLOut:

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