Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.

Exclusive: NHS trust stops referrals for transgender treatment

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. I still don’t get what being transgendered has got to do with being gay?

  2. This was not unexpected, all around the NHS you can see cuts happening and jobs not being filled. Many feel the ConDem government are cutting NHS budgets via the back door.

    I feel for those in Kent who are effected by this. I would not like to even think what will happen when GP’s are put in charge of commissioning.

    Sometimes the best option is to move to a more understanding area, rather than wait for a stuffy old PCT to sort itself and its budget out.

  3. “I still don’t get what being transgendered has got to do with being gay?” – gay boy

    How very Stonewall of you!

    Well for starters some trans people have a sexuality that is gay or bisexual. The relationship of Trans in the LGBT is along the lines of being a cousin. The fact for many years trans people have supported the LGB in the fight for rights shows why we belong. Remember it was a lesbian and a trans person who started the Stonewall riot.

    We have always had a connection with the LGB.

  4. OrtharRrith 1 Dec 2010, 10:01pm

    We can only hope this doesn’t lead to more PCT’s following suit.

  5. Helen Laws 1 Dec 2010, 10:02pm

    I am a post-op Transsexual woman who has for many years supported others. the cuts that are mentioned in this article are not unexpected under this government they are probably a step to far. However i have seen waiting times increase gradually at all of the GICs in recent months and a greater reluctance to prescribe hormones. and continued delays for those already on the pathway. i agree if this current trend continues we should start to challenge this in Law.

  6. It infuriates me that trans people attach themselves to the gay community. The vast majority of them are straight. This is our community and you aren’t part of it. Im not going to apologise for that; you aren’t gay.

  7. laura in oregon 1 Dec 2010, 10:09pm

    what infuriates you exactly? “infuriate” is a strong emotion. wouldn’t you think that sexual minorities might band together to stop hate crimes, change laws, be supportive to one another. i know people who are “infuriated” by bisexuals too. why can’t we be more kind to one another?

  8. OrtharRrith 1 Dec 2010, 10:14pm

    “This is our community and you aren’t part of it. Im not going to apologise for that; you aren’t gay.”

    So get lost, is that it? Many of my friends are gay and have been through similar experiences as I have. We all experiance the same kind of abuse and bigotry, and we need the same kind of protection in the law as each other.
    So, we are united, or at least I thought we were. Nice of you to make your friends and allies welcome.

    Oh and before you get all pissy with me, my being transsexual an all, I’m also bi.

  9. de Villiers 1 Dec 2010, 10:46pm

    > This was not unexpected, all around the NHS you can see cuts happening and jobs not being filled. Many feel the ConDem government are cutting NHS budgets via the back door.

    The money for the NHS is to increase every year in both cash terms and real terms.

  10. You always have stonewall Reb Kean, so if you don’t like us join them! We have always been around some of use even started out as gay and found we was also trans,

    So deal with it or get Stonewall gay and re-enter the closet.

  11. Benjamin Cohen 1 Dec 2010, 11:39pm

    Erm, as the founder of this website, I’ll explain why this story is on here.

    PinkNews.co.uk is a news resource for the LGB&T communities. We always have been. We do refer to ourselves in some of our promotional material as a gay news service but we are here to report on Trans issues as well.

    The Stonewall riots after all were started by trans activists.

  12. Paris Lees 1 Dec 2010, 11:52pm

    I am shocked at some of the comments written. ‘Gay boy’ – transgender and gay have a lot in common. For one, we are ofetn indistinguishable in the eyes of those who would bully us at school, the workplace, the street. We also break the same gender rules. Traditional heterosexual society has certain expectations of men and women, expectations which both homosexual and transgender people fail to love up to. Some would say that because you were born a boy you have to be macho and like girls. They would say the same about many trans women. The fact is we don’t conform to the gendr roles of the past – we may do it in different ways, but we still act outside the ‘mainstream’. Not only that, though our communities are indeed separate, there is much overlap. Go into any gay bar this weekend and you will be sure to find trans boys and girls dancing with their gay friends, maybe even being the entertainment. We feel quite safe there. Also, as has been noted, some trans peope are gay, lesbian or bi themselves. Trans people should be featured in all news sites, including the gay press. We also have a similar struggle in terms of our fight for our rights, a ‘coming out’ style phase and often rejection by families. We have lots in common. Finally, many trans men identify as lesbian for many years before transitioning fully, and many trans women identified as drag queens or gay men before making the final change to womanhood. That’s just a fact. Like it or not there will always be overlap between our communites – and, as quite rightly pointed out, trans people were among those in the original stonewall riots. We are pivotal to your civil rights movement. Basically we’re all just a bit queer. And I, for one, believe that’s a great thing.

  13. For one thing, gay boy, is not transphobia and homophobia (also biphobia as well) derived from the same basic principle? That is the problems and fears surrounding gender – homosexual men and women (and bisexual men and women) are often feared because they are seen as doing something that is not “right” for their gender (for some straight men, homophobia stems from a fear of being emasculated, or the belief that gay men are not “real men”, and in some senses the fact that lesbians are not attracted to men as “real women” should be). Transphobia also stems from someone defying the culturally accepted “norm” surrounding the stereotype of gender and the “correct” places of the different genders. So, essentially, the abuse and prejudices that trans people fight are the same as those which are faced by all other aspects of the LGBT community.

    It was also, as some commenters have already pointed out, members of the trans community who stood up during the Stonewall riots – and the trans community has long supported the gay aspects of the fight for rights – and they deserve some of that back.

    This notion of “we’re gay, get your own community, get lost” is the reason why I, as a bisexual teenager, was for a long time was too scared to set foot into the LGBT community. Exactly the reason why I didn’t feel like I’d be welcome, as a bisexual girl, into a world where you HAD to be gay or nothing. Luckily, I had a sudden moment of strength in the first few weeks of University and became an active member of my Universities thriving LGBT society – but how many others who don’t fit into L and G are too scared to join as a result of attitudes such as yours?

  14. OrtharRrith 2 Dec 2010, 9:10am

    “We do refer to ourselves in some of our promotional material as a gay news service but we are here to report on Trans issues as well”

    Thankyou Benjamin, with any luck that will silence the “our community not yours” commentors, at least for a while.

    Returning to the topic at hand.
    “where there is a compelling clinical need for treatment patients will not miss out. ”
    Well then there’s no problem. I don’t know about you but the need to recieve treatment was very compelling and I made sure my doctors and psychologists and psychiatrists knew that. Worth people in Kent trying to take that approach?

  15. Paris Lees 2 Dec 2010, 9:50am

    Yes thank you Ben: the trans element of the LGBT community is deeply indebted to Pink News and other queer media outlets for covering transgender issues in a way that the nationals never would, or could.

  16. Sally Outen 2 Dec 2010, 10:05am

    Yes, “a compelling clinical need for treatment” is extremely vague and unhelpful wording. I suspect that it’s only there so they can pretend they’re not imposing an (illegal) blanket ban on treatment.

    It’s much the same as what we faced in Oxford with the idea of “exceptional circumstances”:

    http://www.translondon.org.uk/documents/The%20Failure%20of%20Gender%20Dysphoria%20Treatment%20-%20Abridged.pdf

  17. theotherone 2 Dec 2010, 10:48am

    Before I begin: All that needs to be said about some of the idiots on this site has been said so let us pass on without comment apart from offering my thanks to the founder of this site for his support.

    As to the story: this has nothing to do with the Government and more to do with a reluctance to have anything to do with funding treatment for Transpeople. This (and similar blocks being put in place regarding treatment) are put in place regularly across the country and this happened before the new Government and will happen after they are out of office – we are simply a despised minority.

    If you think I am lying then I ask you to consider that other Arias have not done the same.

  18. @Benjamin Cohen Thanks for that, it’s funny how so many people forget that!

    I’m a trans-woman and a lesbian and proud of it; after all it’s only a label!

  19. Benjamin Cohen:
    > Erm, as the founder of this website, I’ll explain why this
    > story is on here.
    >
    > PinkNews.co.uk is a news resource for the LGB&T communities. We
    > always have been. We do refer to ourselves in some of our
    > promotional material as a gay news service but we are here to
    > report on Trans issues as well.
    >
    > The Stonewall riots after all were started by trans activists.

    Hmm, thank you for that Benjamin. But it is a lot more than just “some of our promotional material” that leads to such conflicts. Your writers use “gay” almost always as the umbrella term for us all, even where there really is a screaming need for clarity on just who is included in a story. Not only is that bad reporting but it is bad politics, because it invisibilises women, or women’s under-representation, bisexuals, and the different trans peoples. Often it is vital to know if there was a presence, or inclusion, or the opposite.

    It is potentially very harmful to some trans people in some circumstances too. For example, psychiatrists who deny the identities of transsexual children try to insist they are really gay, or will “become gay”, when they don’t, and then use that to deny them life-saving medical assistance at puberty. Lump such children in as “gay” and you are aiding abuse that kills. Again, women with a transsexual history whose orientation is androphilic, and identify as straight, and have straight husbands, are really harmed by being lumped as gay, yet you carry stories relevant to them, and probably don’t mean to alienate any readers.

    “Gay marriage” gets used almost compulsively when, politically, it is vital to emphasise that we need equal marriage, the same as everyone else’s marriage.

    It happens so much that I have questioned if it is a commercial directive pandering to the search engines regardless of the political harm. And just one of the side effects is that, when there’s a story just about a trans issue, we get people thinking its alien and demanding we get excluded.

  20. Erm, Sorry, I missed all those explanations. Other than the beneficent master ben cohen saying ‘because I say so, because I am the creator’. He’ll be writing a new bible next.

    And spare me the ‘there were some trans at the stonewall riots’. So what?

    Gay men have always got to be looking over their shoulders with this issue, not wanting to offend the trans. Gay rights have got nothing to do with trans rights. different issues, different agendas.

    Just look at oatc’s complaint. different issues, different group of people.

  21. The PCT’s decision is clearly illegal, but it would be a rare and brave patient who tried to challenge it with a court case. And they wouldn’t get resolution before April, when the PCT says referrals will resume.

    It is also not unusual for a PCT to run out of funds before the end of the financial year in April, but they usually keep secret what treatments have had to be put on hold.

    These local NHS decisions are not helped by people like GIRES waving around ridiculous estimates of numbers of patients likely to require treatment. There may be many hundreds of “trans people” in a PCT area, but there is no reason whatsoever to expect that cross-dressers, who would be the vast majority, will ever present to a doctor asking for any trans-related treatment. Well, not unless GIREs has taken to classing every ailment we ever get as trans-related, which wouldn’t surprise me all that much, unfortunately. After all, some hospitals would demand a psychiatric assessment be done first if a trans person arrives at A&E with a broken back, and some gender clinic psychiatrists dream of totally managing their patients’ lives until death.

    The restrictive practices and inflated fees of gender clinics don’t help when PCT budget are finite either. A clinic requiring that someone first be assessed by a local psychiatrist, who has no expertise in diagnosing gender issues, is one such. Another is clinics requiring patients only pass through their psychiatric department before they will allow access to their surgeons, when a nearer clinic that has no surgeon would be cheaper, or patients have already had a complete course of psychiatric assessment.

    Often a private psychiatrist and a private surgeon adds up to a substantially cheaper bill for a PCT than going through an NHS gender clinic, and provides a much better experience for the patient.

    But the real fact is that NHS restrictions will just increase the tendency for patients, or their GPs, to handle hormonal treatment themselves, and borrow the money to get surgery abroad. Gender clinics are not obligatory, and disappeared in some countries years ago. And transsexuality is not a mental disorder, according to the Chief Medical Officer.

  22. Sounds like gay boy is the online incarnation of Ben Summerskill. Seen Mr Summerskill say those very words while attacking trans people on facebook.

    Some people are trans get over it.

  23. gay boy:
    > Just look at oatc’s complaint. different issues, different
    > group of people.

    Some different issues. Others overlapping or the same. Some different people, some overlapping. Not so different to lesbians and bisexual people, who I also mentioned. Or do you think they shouldn’t be covered either?

  24. Sally Outen 2 Dec 2010, 1:27pm

    @ gay boy – “Erm, sorry, I missed all those explanations.”

    What do you mean? They’re clearly stated and really quite difficult to miss on this comment thread. Have you tried reading them, maybe?

  25. theotherone 2 Dec 2010, 1:54pm

    I’d ignore Gayboy – I don’t even think he’s Gay.

    As to the Illegality of these cuts: I’d agree – the seem to have been made in arias disproportionately effecting Women (or rather than are perceived to do so ie. the ‘blokes in a dress’ idea) but they won’t be challenged and things will return to normal next spring.

  26. Erm, I don’t have a problem with trans people, I don’t have anything to get over. I’m not attacking trans people, I’m just saying trans has nothing to do with being gay. Why can’t transgendered get over that?

    my question was – what has being gay got to do with being trans?

    your answers seem to say, because we’re all persecuted.

    The real answer is – nothing.

    As for saying i’m summerskill. LOL. Get a grip.

    trans and gay are two different groups, different agendas, different needs. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t see why trans can’t accept that.

    btw, I’m not asking why this story is on pinknews, i never asked that. That’s ben’s own issue of paranoia as to ‘why he thinks this story should be on here’.

    And as for theotherone not thinking I’m gay because I don’t see what being gay has to do with being trans. My point exactly. Different needs, different groups, taking one another in different directions.

  27. Sally Outen 2 Dec 2010, 4:25pm

    gay boy, we don’t accept your assertion that we have different agendas and different needs because our experience has been that this is untrue.

    Yes, there are differences in some of the issues we are confronted with, just as there are differences in some of the issues that gay men and lesbians are confronted with. But the commonality of prejudice we face is significant enough that it works better for all of us if we stand together against it.

  28. Sally, you may not accept that we have different agendas and different needs, but we do.

    Yes we all want to be accepted and given equality in the eyes of the majority, but that’s true of any minority – whatever the difference is that separates them.

    You want to change your gender. I don’t.

    If you can’t see the different agenda and needs in that one basic fact of your life, then…………….

  29. I am infuriated and depressed that this LGB vs LGBT debate is going on here of all places.

    Thanks Ben for replying, hopefully gay boy and Reb Kean will take their offensive comments elsewhere in future

  30. OrtharRrith 2 Dec 2010, 6:56pm

    So, let me guess here. You see Pink News as a purely gay news site, catering to gay men and lesbians yeah? You might let bi’s in – if they are nice perhaps. Yet the founder of the site has stated that it caters to transgender news articles as well as gay news, always has.
    So, if you really have a problem with transpeople being connected to lg&maybe b, how about you simply don;t read the trans articles and comments instead? That way I can read the news that I feel connected to without someone spouting “YOU DON’T BELONG HERE” at me, and you can live in your own little “Gays Only” world.
    How’s that for you gay boy?

  31. theotherone 2 Dec 2010, 8:15pm

    OK Gayboy you mentioned Gender, I didn’t mention Gender so I get away with this…

    Do you think for one minute that the persecution of Gay Men has anything other than Gender at it’s heart?

    If a Gay Man is walking down the street and gets attacked does he get it because he’s got his cock in someone’s Arse or because he ‘looks Gay’ ie. is not looking like a real man? Even the disgust of Gay sex is about Gender – it’s about a Man not sticking his cock where it should go.

    Different? It’s all the same thing friend.

  32. Re@ gay boy-

    Please do not feed the trolls.

  33. I think you’re right helen. Reading through, I think Paris Lees said it perfectly.

    And charley, they weren’t feeding a troll. It’s what discussions are all about, some people not understanding, and others trying to change opinion. Which they did.

  34. “Sally, you may not accept that we have different agendas and different needs, but we do.”

    From an activist stance, and certainly where education is concerned, I disagree. And this is a difference in *opinion* only – I prefer solidarity, you prefer separatism. There are separatists on all sides, and nobody is telling you not to take your position as a gay separatist. I’m just trying to explain that I advocate solidarity within the queer community because *my* experience has been that that works. Other campaigners across the queer spectrum feel the same way. If you don’t agree, nobody’s trying to force you to campaign with us instead of with people whose experience matches your own. But you asked us why we work together, and we’re explaining our reasons.

    “Yes we all want to be accepted and given equality in the eyes of the majority, but that’s true of any minority – whatever the difference is that separates them.”

    You see, I’d describe myself as an intersectionalist, and tend towards the opinion that different types of oppression are linked generally. But, as others have mentioned, when we face prejudice for being LGB, or when we face prejudice for being trans*, we’re facing very, very much the same kind of oppression. The same basic elements that feed into people’s homophobia also feed into transphobia. By fighting the one, we’re likely to be fighting the other, whether we actively work towards that or not.

    “You want to change your gender. I don’t.”

    Actually, I don’t want to change my gender either. My gender’s fine, thanks. The difficulty is that some people consider people like me to be perverse and against God or the Natural Order. They’d rather that people who behave as I do didn’t exist, and sometimes, they take steps to facilitate that. Sound familiar?

    “If you can’t see the different agenda and needs in that one basic fact of your life, then…………….”

    I refer you to my last comment. I accept that there are differences. These relate to who we are and what we do. I also recognise sigificant commonality in experience. This relates, chiefly, to how people treat us. My activism primarily focuses on how people treat us.

    In simple terms: as a queer rights campaigner, I’m not campaigning to ‘change gender’ or anything like that – I’m campaigning for my identity to be recognised as valid.

    I’m trans and I’m bi, and I get much the same problems from those who know that I’m bi but don’t know I’m trans, and vice versa. And actually, I find that people are more likely to abandon their prejudices about queer sexualities if they’re abandoning their prejudices about gender identity too. Sometimes, it takes a radical deconstruction of gender assumptions for people to come to terms with their prejudices.

    You do things your way, we’ll do things ours. Is that really so objectionable to you?

  35. Could I just clarify one point:

    You write “Additionally, the cost of mental health support averages around £4,000 per year – compared to the cost of gender treatment at £9,000-12,000 on the NHS”

    The cost of gender treatment is of course a one-off outlay.

  36. Jock S. Trap 3 Dec 2010, 11:53am

    Clearly some here that should bow their heads in shame. For all their focus on ‘differences’ they miss the point of things we All share, discrimination, bigotry, hate… the list goes on.

    The comments that want to divide us, if they were truely gay surely would know what homophobia is and how it feels. So why would you want to allow that for others.

    We share a lot of the same goals and it has to be better that we are all fighting for rights together.

  37. Just because I don’t have the same opinion as you doesn’t mean my comments are offensive. You don’t know anything about me, my job or indeed my professional (medical) interactions with trans people. I’m not prejudiced but you are quite simply not gay. Why should the gay community have to just except anyone that doesn’t fit gender or sexual norms. You’re just tagging along for the ride.

  38. Jock S. Trap 3 Dec 2010, 12:53pm

    And yet again the gay preaching tolerance become the most intolerant!

    Hypocrite.

  39. jock – And yet again the gay preaching tolerance become the most intolerant! Hypocrite.

    Jock, from comments I’ve seen you make elsewhere, you are as intolerant and actually incredibly hateful of other groups. And therefore an even bigger hypocrite than reb. In fact, the hate you spew about other groups you’re not that happy about is far worse than anything reb said.

    Reb – don’t worry about it – this issue is like a stuck record on this website. Just take a look next time there’s a trans story. A homo says they are not trans and don’t know what trans has to do with being homo, then the trans bully the homo into believing that there’s no difference.

  40. Sally Outen 3 Dec 2010, 1:31pm

    @ Reb Kean

    We’re not just tagging along for the ride; we’ve been here, an integral part of the queer rights movement, right from the start. This is our community just as much as it is yours.

    If you want to work purely with gay separatists instead, nobody’s stopping you; however, this is an LGBT news site, (not, as you mistakenly seem to believe, a gay-only site) and our voices are relevant here. If you want to disregard the numerous reasons for solidarity provided in previous comments, that’s your call – but either way, you have no sound foundation for whinging about the policy of inclusivity shown by Pink News.

    Nor for continuing to derail this thread.

  41. OrtharRrith 3 Dec 2010, 1:31pm

    “I’m not prejudiced but you are quite simply not gay. Why should the gay community have to just except anyone that doesn’t fit gender or sexual norms. You’re just tagging along for the ride”

    No one who is trans is claiming to be gay – unless they are also gay, lesbian or bi that is.

    So the fact thatt the founder of Pink News has come on to say that trans news and trans articles are welcome here. Not to mention the following from the bottom of every page:
    “PinkNews.co.uk covers religion, politics, entertainment, finance, and community news for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community in the UK and worldwide. Founded to produce broadsheet quality journalism for the LGBT community, we cover politics to theology in an intelligent manner. ”
    I take it none of that is good enough for you. You don’t understand transpeople, don;t feel connected to transpeople in any way, so basically we’re hangers on and should be removed from the lgb only club?
    But you’re a gay man right? How can you feel any connection to lesbians? Perhaps they’re not gay (your kind of gay) either? What about bisexuals? After all they can;t make their minds up, either they are gay or they’re not, they should make up their minds or get out?
    Think about it for a second before simply typing your responce, gay men, lesbians and bisexuals face similar problems but it’s slightly different for each of them, yet unless you are typing that you agree with my above (ludicrous) questions, then you aren’t advocating that lesbians and bisexuals are simply hangers on who should be forced out.
    Well it’s no different for transpeople. We face the same basic sort of bigotry as the lgb community, a number of the laws that protect the lgb community also cover the trans community (and visa versa). Yes there are areas where the needs differ but where they don’t the lgb AND t community pools its voice to the betterment of all.
    If you can’t grasp the 2 heads are better then 1 analogy then you must have a very lonely life.

  42. Sally Outen 3 Dec 2010, 1:40pm

    Toby, you are misrepresenting what has been said here. We are not trying to say that there’s no difference. I wonder whether it might be worth your taking some time to apply some basic written comprehension skills before posting next time?

  43. Christina 3 Dec 2010, 1:41pm

    It is good to see that Gender Trust and GIRES are already taking action on this. Oxfordshire PCT tried the same thing a couple of years ago but Sally Outen and three other trans women fought it with the help of the Gender Trust and other trans groups and the PCT changed their policy.

    Sometimes these decisions are based on prejudice or misunderstanding, but I believe that PCTs are open to persuasion and education because they ultimately do want to save lives.

    If you are a trans person in West Kent, please don’t give up – contact the Gender Trust and GIRES, contact your local trans group and organise a petition and letter-writing campaign. Try to keep it professional and fact-based though – see what worked in Oxfordshire and copy that approach.

  44. Christina 3 Dec 2010, 1:45pm

    Sally Outen has already posted this but if you are a trans person in West Kent, this document should help you build a case to challenge their decision. It is a paper put together by Sally, with lots of facts to support the continuation of gender reassignment services:
    http://www.translondon.org.uk/documents/The%20Failure%20of%20Gender%20Dysphoria%20Treatment%20-%20Abridged.pdf

  45. I think we need to acknowledge that we are LGBT communities, not a single homogeneous LGBT Community. Our bonds are ones of friendship and common interest, but we are by definition diverse within our own community from the differences between a post-op f2m man identifying as hetrosexual to a bearish gay men and radical lesbian feminists, we have common ground in our humanity. if we take time and communicate we forge the bonds of friendship. Our common interest is in the fact our enemies don’t see our difference and all of us are liable to attack for who we are physically and in other more subtle ways, our strength is in our differences we are not all the same, but take the time to know us and we have more in common than you may think, our communities strong together.

  46. OrtharRrith 3 Dec 2010, 1:50pm

    “A homo says they are not trans and don’t know what trans has to do with being homo, then the trans bully the homo into believing that there’s no difference.”

    Since when?
    Look, if you have problems with reading articles that are trans issues over gay issues then the answer is very, VERY simple…

    Don’t read them!! How complicated is that? Be adult about it, if that’s possible.
    I’m not gonna attack you because you don’t understand. I’m not going to bully you for thinking that it’s LGB& sod the T, you’re entitled to your own opinion. But don’t ram that opinion down my throat and expect me to meekly go into hidding for having shown my face around gays.

  47. Christina 3 Dec 2010, 2:07pm

    p.s. Thanks for an important and well-researched article, Paris.

  48. Sally Outen 3 Dec 2010, 2:15pm

    Following on from Christina’s guidance, I’d like to mention that I’m happy to share advice and information for anyone wishing to begin building a case.

  49. Christina:
    > It is good to see that Gender Trust and GIRES are already
    > taking action on this. Oxfordshire PCT tried the same thing a
    > couple of years ago but Sally Outen and three other trans women
    > fought it with the help of the Gender Trust and other trans
    > groups and the PCT changed their policy.
    >
    > Sometimes these decisions are based on prejudice or
    > misunderstanding, but I believe that PCTs are open to persuasion
    > and education because they ultimately do want to save lives.
    >
    > If you are a trans person in West Kent, please don’t give up –
    > contact the Gender Trust and GIRES, contact your local trans
    > group and organise a petition and letter-writing campaign. Try
    > to keep it professional and fact-based though – see what worked
    > in Oxfordshire and copy that approach.

    Oxfordshire, which had always been resistant to funding gender-related treatment, tried to blanket de-fund it. This situation is totally different in that several types of care are on funding-hold until the next financial year, when things will return to normal. And they will still fund emergencies.

    The campaigners rushing to claim they are taking action, seem just to be jumping on an opportunity to look useful. No doubt, come April, when funding is flowing again they will claim the credit.

    They may well sorely need such an opportunity, but, with PCT collapsing as staff abandon organisations market for closure, and in the looming financial situation, I would suggest the danger is in crying wolf too soon.

    And it usually seems that helping trans people negotiate the NHS is best done quietly.

  50. Sally Outen 3 Dec 2010, 3:28pm

    I appreciate your concerns, oatc, but I believe that it is useful to follow the activities of PCTs generally, and to offer people the opportunity to network in response to any potential causes for concern. And my suggestion, as I possibly ought to have made clearer, is to share ideas, not to make a lot of unnecessary noise at this stage, nor cynically to claim credit for anything.

  51. Christina 3 Dec 2010, 3:56pm

    “This situation is totally different in that several types of care are on funding-hold until the next financial year, when things will return to normal. ”

    I hope you are right Oatc.

  52. Reb, seriously. I’m not offended by your comments because your opinions are different from mine. I’m not twelve. I am just so saddened that when you’re faced with stories such as this you’d rather waste your breath being ‘infuriated’ by inclusivity (boo hoo) when the rest of us are voicing our fury over injustice.

    “you (i.e. trans people) are not gay”

    Seriously? Ever heard of intersectionality?

    Nobody is claiming to be gay who isn’t, as far as I know.

  53. gay boy I totally agree- being transgendered is nothing to do with being gay, being gay is an orientation , whereas transgender is an identity.
    Trans and LGB people should work alongside each other as they are both minorities, but Trans is very different to a sexual preference.

  54. theotherone 3 Dec 2010, 8:35pm

    ‘I’m not prejudiced but you are quite simply not gay.’

    Actually mate I’m living as a Lesbian with my Lesbian Partner.

    No you’re not prejudice at all..

  55. Rachel:

    > gay boy I totally agree – being transgendered is nothing to
    > do with being gay, being gay is an orientation , whereas
    > transgender is an identity.

    And transsexuality is a medical condition; cross-dressing an interest; and drag-queen a calling. I’ll leave gender-variant and genderqueer people to describe themselves.

    And that’s without mentioning, but respecting, hundreds of other distinctive concepts, identities and beliefs native to other languages and other cultures but English that face discrimination connected with gender identity or presentation.

    > Trans and LGB people should work alongside each other as they
    > are both minorities, but Trans is very different to a sexual
    > preference.

    Sets of minorities who share some history, far too many enemies, and some common aspirations.

    And a minority of trans people are L, G, or B too.

    …without wishing to put words into your mouth.

  56. Even trans people who *are* straight have probably not exactly been hetero-presenting throughout all stages of their life….

  57. Gayboy (and anyone else wondering why T goes with LGB) watch the film on this page, entitled BULLIES:

    http://www.jasonelvis.co.uk/films.html

  58. Christine Burns 4 Dec 2010, 1:21pm

    How sad that discussion about a news topic that seriously affects many peoples’ lives gets immediately hijacked.

    Anyway.. at the risk of sounding like another campaigner making a stake for a piece of the action and credit here is some factual information on what I did straight away when I first learned of this policy about three weeks ago.

    Firstly, I drew the news to the attention of the Equality and Diversity Lead for South East Central SHA, who are responsible for compliance and assurance of this an other PCTs in the region. The manager concerned, who I know well from a project we worked on, is investigating the decision process and whether, for instance, the PCT carried out an essential Equality Impact Assessment.

    I then also passed the evidence to senior managers in the Equality and Human Rights Commission, whose lawyers are now considering using their investigatory powers.

    I would recommend people to concentrate on locating patients who are directly affected by this policy and the simultaneous decision to halt referrals from Charing Cross GIC to surgery (with even more serious clinical implications for the 3 patients immediately affected).

    Direct those patients to Stephen Lodge of Public Law Solicitors. Stephen is the most experienced solicitor in this field and a letter from him commencing action is often sufficient to shake PCTs up, especially since the cost of defending a Judicial Review far exceeds the trifling costs of referral.

    The most strategic thing that trans people can do at this time is to deliver a fast, multi-angled legal assault which will establish they are not the soft targets which some managers imagine them to be. That news will get around and ensure that managers elsewhere think hard before pulling the same ill-considered stunt again.

  59. Gayboy;

    “Gay men have always got to be looking over their shoulders with this issue, not wanting to offend the trans. Gay rights have got nothing to do with trans rights. different issues, different agendas.”

    Pull up the drawbridge lads, we’re OK, who cares about anyone else.

  60. So what the NHS is saying is basically
    “If you want to be taken seriously, you have to overdose on your sister’s contraceptive pills, cut off your dick and run into the emergency room bloody and screaming so that we can let you be yourself”.

  61. The trans people at the Stonewall riots were transvestites, gay men in drag; they were not transsexuals. As to transsexuals, there is an urgent need to look at the whole concept – the science that there is a male and a female brain is incredibly BAD science, so what we are talking about here is a cosmetic surgery. I have no doubt that transsexuals might threaten suicide if they did not get their treatment – but this is a culturally produced piece of emotional blackmail which has been increasing over the years and is not a good rationale for a public health service to provide said cosmetic surgery.

    I have no objection to anyone who wants, from their own pocket or from the pocket of a charitable giver, to undergo this surgery; but gender change should not be available on the National Health.

  62. Sally Outen 6 Dec 2010, 3:50pm

    @ Joe,

    “the science that there is a male and a female brain is incredibly BAD science, so what we are talking about here is a cosmetic surgery”

    Excuse me if I sound tetchy here, but biology is my academic specialization, and I don’t like to see it misused….

    Your argument is a straw man. When we talk about a biological basis for transsexualism, we’re not talking about “brain sex” in the pop-psychology sense; rather, we’re referring to the development of ‘gender identity’, which is by no means bad science. See the following paper:

    http://www.gires.org.uk/assets/atypical-gender-development.pdf

    While there are still many uncertainties over neurological pathways involved, the fact that gender dysphoria exists and that its treatment is not ‘cosmetic’ remains unchallenged by medical consensus.

    “I have no doubt that transsexuals might threaten suicide if they did not get their treatment – but this is a culturally produced piece of emotional blackmail…”

    If you can demonstrate that the psychological burden attached to gender dysphoria is in reality nonexistent, if you are able to refute the relevant statistics on suicidality among trans people, and if you are able to argue convincingly against the professional opinions of the specialists in this field, then the medical community will welcome your insight with open arms.

    However, I suspect that you cannot.

    Your point of view, unthinkingly propagated by those who have not researched the subject adequately, is not going to you many friends here.

  63. “If you can demonstrate that the psychological burden attached to gender dysphoria is in reality nonexistent…”

    I am not saying that, as you well know. I am saying that the psychological burden is a cultural product. Therefore, using surgery to deal with a culturally produced phenomena is entirely dubious. Gender identity is a fashionable subject area, and not an entirely scientific one. That people ascribe some behaviours and feelings to a certain gender is entirely cultural (excepting physical “behaviours” like childbearing and fertilization, of course). By encouraging persons with the psychological condition gender dysphoria to seek surgery as a “cure”, society is reinforcing its own reactionary gender basis. Transsexualism, if treated with surgery, is therefore an enemy to human sexual diversity.

    I am not, btw, looking to make friends here on this subject; I know full well how entrenched people’s views are and how science is used to enforce cultural ideology.

  64. Amber Alert 6 Dec 2010, 4:32pm

    So then Joe, are you advocating reparative therapy for someone with gender identity disorder?

  65. @Amber Alert – no, I am arguing that therapies should combine with social action to the conclusion that behaviours are not rigidly identified along gender lines, so the very idea that a man is “really” a woman and vice versa is seen as it actually is, an absurdity.

  66. Sally Outen 6 Dec 2010, 4:59pm

    “I am saying that the psychological burden is a cultural product.”

    As you know, I disagree that this is a purely cultural problem. So does the current direction of scientific thought. I’m concerned by your idea that “science is used to enforce cultural ideology” – it sounds as though you’re prepared to reject any scientific findings that are at odds with your personal ideology. I spent much of last week trying to argue the scientific perspective against creationist dogma, and I’m not prepared to waste my time over a similar clash of magisteria here.

    However, from your admission as to the existence of a psychological burden, it would seem that this line of questioning is redundant here. Regardless of whether you agree with the scientific position on this, by accepting that gender dysphoria exists, you would agree that it is necessary for people suffering from it to receive treatment? Your difficulty, I take it, concerns which sorts of treatment are appropriate.

    “Therefore, using surgery to deal with a culturally produced phenomena is entirely dubious.”

    How would you suggest dealing with it? Because counselling and hormones are, for numerous individuals, insufficient in themselves to deal with the underlying issue. Where ‘conversion therapy’ has failed, surgery has been shown to be a highly effective treatment. And there is no known substitute of equivalent efficacy.

    If, as you now seem to be, you’re trying to come at this topic from the point of view that the entrenchment of gender roles and behaviours is bad, then I agree with you, entirely. As a queer feminist, this is something I spend an awful lot of my time trying to get across.

    However, gender identity is a separate concept to gender role. I’m a gender deconstructionalist, but I’d emphasise that an acceptance of gender’s nature as a construct does not imply a purely cultural origin for *gender identity*. Social constructs can be built from one or more biologically reductive concepts (kernels) with cultural ties – deconstruction, therefore, means separating these disparate kernels from their cultural wrappings, rather than trying to dissolve such kernels themselves.

    To move from the theoretical to the observational, my experience has been that I’ve noticed a far higher level of sexual diversity and gender presentation among transsexual people than in other demographics.

    I therefore reject your idea that “Transsexualism, if treated with surgery, is… an enemy to human sexual diversity.”

    Even if you don’t agree with me on this, focussing your ire as a gender warrior on the statistically small number of vulnerable people who require genital surgery is hardly sensible. Why not target the much, much larger number of cis people who re-enforce gender roles?

  67. Amber Alert 6 Dec 2010, 5:13pm

    But transsexualism not about ‘behaviours’, it is about core identity, which is a completely different thing.

    The view that gender identity is a social construct is now out of date, as the research has been discredited.

    Do a search for John Money and what he did to David Reimer, then come back to me and tell me that it is a social construct.

  68. @ Sally I am not convinced that treatment with surgery always and predominantly produces the positive outcome that you and others claim; I have seen surveys and accounts which suggest otherwise. As to conversion therapy, there is nothing for transsexuals to be “converted to”, it is a matter of self acceptance beyond the limits of culture (which gay people manage without surgery, I might add). There might be some argument that, as things presently stand, surgery is the least worst treatment, but that attitude (and the lucrative income for those conducting surgery) might prevent better outcomes being developed.

    Your paragraph on “kernals” needs some explanation, as it reads like obfuscation. Identity, if we are going to take a non-essentialist view on this (are we or aren’t we) is fluid and in a constant state of creation through performance. But to say that a certain mode of performance must be expressed through a certain type of gendered body is dubious in the extreme, and is to me clearly reactionary. It is no coincidence that societies which are very homophobic – for example, that in Iran, are most accommodating to the idea of transsexual surgery.

    “I’ve noticed a far higher level of sexual diversity and gender presentation among transsexual people than in other demographics.” – anecdotes rarely convince. You might have noticed this because of the company you keep. Others might have noticed otherwise. Neither noticing is convincing to anyone.

    “… focussing your ire as a gender warrior on the statistically small number of vulnerable people who require genital surgery is hardly sensible. Why not target the much, much larger number of cis people who re-enforce gender roles?”

    My “ire”? I have written a point of view, without recourse to anger in language. The only ire has come from yourself, who like many others on this issue refuse to let dissenters voice their views. It might be possible, might it not, to criticise both the surgical altering of people’s bodies in slavish accommodation of social gender roles whilst also targeting other groups? There are many hours in the day. As for the academic meme “cis” to pathologize the vast majority of people who can perform their individuality (which may take many forms) within the gender that they were bodily born into, I find the phrase quite noxious.

  69. But transsexualism not about ‘behaviours’, it is about core identity, which is a completely different thing.

    “The view that gender identity is a social construct is now out of date, as the research has been discredited.

    Do a search for John Money and what he did to David Reimer, then come back to me and tell me that it is a social construct.”

    Where have I said that “core identity” is a social product? I have said that the idea that certain feelings and behaviours have to be gendered is a social construct, nothing about “core identity”. The case of a person who feels/behaves a certain way and then is culturally inclined to gender that is quite different from the case of a boy who has been accidentally castrated and forced to become a girl (I mention this as some of the research you reference is based on such a case).

    On a side note, there are of course individuals who are born with chromosomal abnormalities and who therefore are surgically “helped” to find a definite gender (even this is problematic, but I can see why it happens). This is quite different from those men and women who simply get it into their heads that somehow they are “born the wrong sex”, reject the gendering of their body and therefore are encouraged by medicine and ideology to be mutilated as some kind of “cure.”

  70. By the way, I note that Sally Outen (gender warrior) and Amber Alert (core idealist) are coming from completely different ends of the ideological spectrum in defence of transsexual surgery.

  71. Sally Outen 6 Dec 2010, 6:01pm

    “I am not convinced that treatment with surgery always and predominantly produces the positive outcome that you and others claim; I have seen surveys and accounts which suggest otherwise.”

    Can you provide citations? I’ve done a rather extensive literature search on this, and have not come across any experimentally robust surveys that disprove the efficacy of surgery.

    “As to conversion therapy, there is nothing for transsexuals to be “converted to”, it is a matter of self acceptance beyond the limits of culture (which gay people manage without surgery, I might add).”

    The semantics of ‘conversion therapy’ is irrelevant here, and your objection derives from a simple difference between our perspectives. Whatever you want to call it, clinicians have repeatedly tried to convince trans people that their feelings of gender dysphoria can be solved without transition – and it has never worked.

    “Your paragraph on “kernals” needs some explanation, as it reads like obfuscation.”

    I apologise for any lack of clarity. My suggestion is that *gender* is a societal construct made up of gender identity, gender role, performativity, etc, tied together with cultural bindings. *Gender identity*, one of the concepts that feeds into our ideas about gender, is inherent – thus, it is the idea that Gender Identity = Gender Role = Behaviour that is constructed. I’m taking an essentialist viewpoint on gender identity but not on gender.

    “It is no coincidence that societies which are very homophobic – for example, that in Iran, are most accommodating to the idea of transsexual surgery.”

    Iran is an unusual case, and I’m as concerned by its failure to recognise the difference between sexuality and gender as you are. However, can you think of any other examples to support this supposed correlation? In reality, those countries that are intolerant of LGB people are usually just as intolerant of trans people.

    “anecdotes rarely convince.”

    I agree – however, I know of no experimental studies to provide more useful evidence. And this was, in essence, my point – there is no support for your assertion that transsexuality is an “enemy to human diversity”; your ideas to this effect are pure supposition on your part.

    “My “ire”? I have written a point of view, without recourse to anger in language.”

    I’m sorry – I’d interpret your use of the term “enemy” as an example of angry language. Either way, my phraseology here is hardly key to this debate.

    “The only ire has come from yourself, who like many others on this issue refuse to let dissenters voice their views.”

    Please remember that, for many people here, this is not a simple intellectual exercise – you’re attacking people’s sense of identity, whether you recognise that or not. And I haven’t prevented you from airing your views – I’ve simply provided arguments against them.

    “As for the academic meme “cis” to pathologize the vast majority of people who can perform their individuality (which may take many forms) within the gender that they were bodily born into, I find the phrase quite noxious.”

    I’m afraid that I find it useful as a descriptor – it helps to avoid privileging (or depicting as ‘more valid’) some gender identities over others. I don’t intend to stop using it on your account.

  72. Sally Outen 6 Dec 2010, 6:20pm

    And I disagree that Amber Alert and I are “coming from completely different ends of the ideological spectrum” – I haven’t found anything to disagree with in Amber’s comments so far.

  73. This is terrible. Trans people didn’t choose to be born a different “brain sex” from their “biological sex”. The mismatch causes a huge amount of distress, usually from a very young age.

    I am sympathetic to the problems overweight and infertile couples face; but these are not priorities. Both have alternatives (exercise+therapy and adoption respectively). Transgenderism does not.

    We LGB people should defend T rights, not just because they helped us so much, but also because an attack on the rights of a group is an attack on rights in general.

    By the same dumb arguments some gays are making here, bisexuals and lesbians face different challenges. We stick together because ultimately it’s all to do with having alternative behaviours, and trying to get the world to understand the behaviours are innate and not by choice.

    The only other example I can think of are left handed people. Surprise surprise, they have been and continue to be persecuted in some parts of the world.

    Some of the gays here are so ignorant in their prejudices. It’s a shame we haven’t developed an op for stupidity!

  74. P.S. Transsexualism is probably both genetics and biological:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_transsexualism#Genetics

    Yay for science. Forget everyone else’s opinions, they have no empirical basis.

  75. “Can you provide citations? I’ve done a rather extensive literature search on this, and have not come across any experimentally robust surveys that disprove the efficacy of surgery.”

    Nor prove it’s efficacy, that is the actual problem; the BBC reported a couple of years ago that
    ‘”little robust evidence exists” on the outcomes for patients who have sex change surgery.’ – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6923912.stm

    ‘I’m taking an essentialist viewpoint on gender identity but not on gender.’

    This sounds very much like you twisting and turning theory in order to find the outcome that you want. You seem to be claiming that babies are born with a gender identity which is core and essential but which may be at odds with the physical gender of the child; I don’t believe for a moment that this happens, and I wonder how any scientist could ‘find’ that core identity in a child BEFORE the child has been exposed to culture, especially in a child with gender dysphoria (which isn’t diagnosed until a few years at least have gone by).

    “you’re attacking people’s sense of identity” – a sense of identity isn’t sacrosanct. Everything is and must be open to question. As a gay man, I have no issue whatsoever to someone who believes that homosexuality is not inherent (I am in two minds about whether it is myself; if it is not, there is no reason to make it a taboo behaviour). I realise that transsexuals are very touchy whenever anyone questions genital reassignment surgery as the boon it is sold as. So be it.

    ‘I’m afraid that I find it useful as a descriptor – it helps to avoid privileging (or depicting as ‘more valid’) some gender identities over others. I don’t intend to stop using it on your account.’

    I don’t suppose that you will, nor do I expect you to. That doesn’t stop me thinking it very silly and, ultimately, another attempt to control people ideologically through language.

    To say that ‘there is no support for your assertion that transsexuality is an “enemy to human diversity”; your ideas to this effect are pure supposition on your part.’ is counter-intuitive. If some behaviours and feelings cannot exist without being gendered, then that clearly can only limit the possibilities of what it means to be male or female. It is no secret that society has become more conservative around gender than it promised to be whilst the liberation movements of the 1960s were in full flood; the transgender industry has been a way in which society has entrenched its gender divide.

  76. “Yay for science.” – You might consider, before you “yay” too loud, that respectable scientists would have, until very recently, reached a consensus that homosexuality is pathological. Science, especially the science around human feelings and behaviours, is always a part of current ideology and never apart from it.

  77. “that respectable scientists would have, until very recently, reached a consensus that homosexuality is pathological”

    Joe, science is not some set in stone dogma. Its changes as understanding changes, and moves as new evidence and knowledge is uncovered.

  78. Sally Outen 7 Dec 2010, 10:23am

    “the BBC reported a couple of years ago that
    ‘”little robust evidence exists” on the outcomes for patients who have sex change surgery.’ – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6923912.stm”

    Joe, the BBC news website is a media outlet, not a peer-reviewed scientific publication. Moreover, the article you cite is predominantly an opinion piece for journalist Julie Bindel, whose views on transsexualism are famously agenda-driven.

    The article does mention one evidential review, the 2005 Sheffield University one, but misrepresents the objectives and conclusions of this paper, which was fundamentally concerned with assessing the overall efficacy of (rather prescriptive) treatment modules used at the time. While its review identified numerous studies reporting high-percentage positive outcomes for particular categories of transsexual surgery, it highlighted the difficulty of attempting to pool these disparate studies to obtain a broad conclusion for transsexual surgeries as a whole. It has been suggested that, rather than attempting to establish a single, prescriptive ‘best practice’ approach (which cannot adequately be established from the available evidence), individual treatment pathways may be adopted on a case-by-case basis – a strategy whose success is better borne out by the data available, and which is now being adopted more readily by the NHS.

    It may also be mentioned that much of the evidence used in this review is now rather dated, and a number of important studies have come to light since its publication. “The Failure of Gender Dysphoria Treatment in Oxfordshire” highlights the weight of evidence available by 2008, and may be worth your attention.

    “This sounds very much like you twisting and turning theory in order to find the outcome that you want.”

    Good theory must be constructed in such a way that it explains the data available, and the theory I have used has been consistent throughout*. What is more, you seem to be under the impression that this theory is entirely unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. Perhaps you would consider reading the paper I linked to in my response to your first comment.

    “You seem to be claiming that babies are born with a gender identity which is core and essential but which may be at odds with the physical gender of the child; I don’t believe for a moment that this happens”

    Yes, you really ought to read that paper. Or at least to look more closely at the case Amber Alert mentioned – you appear not to have understood the implications it raises in response to your idea that gender identity is socially conditioned.

    I do not have time to continue my latest response now, but will do so when I am next at my computer.

    * By contrast, you seem unsure as to how your own theories are structured. Your opening comment attempts to posit a scientific essentialist argument, but then you choose to disregard scientific evidence as “part of current ideology” when you find that the science does not support your own, ill-informed opinions.

  79. OrtharRrith 7 Dec 2010, 1:52pm

    Wow! Spend several days away from the computer and return to discover that we’ve gone from Transgender people aren’t welcome, to Gender Reassignment Surgury being a mutilation. Gee thanks!
    As a transsexual woman who has undergone GRS this feels to me a little what it must’ve felt like years ago for gays and lesbians to be told by various people that they were an abomination (transpeople get called that too btw).
    Can I remind you Joe, that you are not discussing some theory here; you’re talking about me and every other transsexual man and woman. You may not approve, and you clearly don’t; but that doesn’t give you the right to tell transsexual people they have been mutilated. Sure you can have your own opinion, just don’t ram it down my throat.
    I’ve not questioned your identity, your right to be who you believe you are.
    For the record the VAST majority of those who have GRS go on to live happy and productive lives. Some people – such as Charles Kane – decide that they made a mistake, but if you actually look and listen to him you’ll realise that he was never transsexual in the first place, he admits lieing to his doctors and infact suffering from depression. Hardly a reliable source for GRS not working.

  80. Sally Outen 7 Dec 2010, 5:55pm

    “a sense of identity isn’t sacrosanct. Everything is and must be open to question.”

    Perhaps, but be careful here – I’ve heard the same arguments used in attempts to justify hate speech in the past. And while people’s identities may be open to question, it is important to consider the context in which you choose to do so. Attempting to question trans identities from a position of ignorance in a discussion thread on Pink News is insensitive and inflammatory, besides serving to derail the conversation. It’s also extremely unhelpful – your questioning has so far merely exposed some of your own misconceptions.

    “As a gay man, I have no issue whatsoever to someone who believes that homosexuality is not inherent”

    I wonder whether you would have issue with someone who was attempting to suggest that your experience of your own sexuality was not valid, and that being sexually attracted to men was “an absurdity”.

    “another attempt to control people ideologically through language.”

    I’m impressed at your boldness here. May I remind you that you have painted trans people as emotional blackmailers and enemies to human sexual diversity, and the treatments we undergo as ‘cosmetic’ surgery and mutilation?

    I would accept that one effect of the use of ‘cis’ is to promote a new perspective on gender for those who have unthinkingly conceptualized trans gender identities as less genuine than their own, and I believe that this is a valid objective from an equalities standpoint. In fighting prejudice, it is often necessary to develop terminology that challenges people’s original world-view.

    “To say that ‘there is no support for your assertion that transsexuality is an “enemy to human diversity”; your ideas to this effect are pure supposition on your part.’ is counter-intuitive. If some behaviours and feelings cannot exist without being gendered, then that clearly can only limit the possibilities of what it means to be male or female.”

    This, it seems, is the crux of your misunderstanding. I lose count of the number of times that it has been explained to you that *behaviours* and the concept of gender role are separate to our understanding of gender identity. You continue, however, to make appropriative assumptions about the experience of gender dysphoria, and why people undergo surgery.

    A more progressive approach to human sexual diversity would be to acknowledge non-equivalence between the concepts of sexuality, gender role, gender presentation, and gender identity, and all of the other concepts that go into our cultural understanding of gender. Rather than assuming that trans people transition because we think we need to in order to behave in a certain way, why not consider the idea that our experience of our own gender identities, and our acceptance of such identities against the flow of broad societal approval, demonstrates the separation of core identity from all the cultural conditioning we have received? By rejecting the gender assigned to us at birth, trans people *contribute* to human sexual diversity, and illustrate the constructed nature of the ties binding together cultural conceptions of gender. And it shouldn’t need saying, but we don’t oppress you, or force you to adopt a particular mode of gender expression. We are not your enemy.

    “It is no secret that society has become more conservative around gender than it promised to be whilst the liberation movements of the 1960s were in full flood; the transgender industry has been a way in which society has entrenched its gender divide.”

    And global warming is caused by a worldwide deficit of pirates – a suitable comparison, although I’d contest that an actual correlation is rather more difficult to substantiate in your suggestion.

    “scientists would have, until very recently, reached a consensus that homosexuality is pathological”

    This was the opinion of certain psychiatrists at a time when that branch of thinking was decidedly not allied to the sciences. It was informed by cultural preconceptions about sexuality, rather than by experimental study. It is deceptive to suggest an equivalence with the modern scientific study of gender development.

  81. Depressed Trans Woman 8 Dec 2010, 12:53pm

    Sally Outten – Bravo! Agree with every single word.

  82. I’m pretty shocked by the nature of these comments. Firstly, I am personally a trans man and gay so that’s why I consider myself part of LGB and T. I felt gay long before I knew I was trans, I thought I was a lesbian for some time before realising I don’t fancy women… As for all this nonsense about mutilations and how we should all just get on with life in our birth assigned sex etc. Well, heard all that before and not best pleased to see it here. I’m doing what I’m doing because it’s what’s best for me and nobody should have to live an unhappy life. We live just once and have to make the best of it.

    As for the actual article – well, it’s a cruelty. But probably won’t slow people down that much. It’s been over a year for my first gender clinic appointment! Although it does encourage people to take extreme action so they can be seen as an ‘urgent’ case which is inadvisable.

  83. Joe, it’s important to note that far from all trans people ARE acting out stereotyped ideas of gender. Personally, I have absolutely no desire to transition because it will allow me to be “feminine”. I wasn’t “feminine” living as a man, and I sure as heck am not now!

    The need to transition is ultimately based on severe PHYSICAL dysphoria. The idea that doing away with gender roles would make transsexuality go away is deeply flawed. Trans people are victims of the gender binary just as much as anyone else, and due to lack of experience in what society considers a traditional gender role, if they try to blend in socially they will often come across as clumsily “feminine” or “masculine”. This doesn’t mean that the desire to express such behaviours is the root cause of their transsexuality. It is, in most cases, a product of it.

    A completely ungendered society would still have trans people, though they’d probably be called something different. The pressing need to adjust one’s body to fit with ones sense of self would ultimately remain.

  84. poetic license 10 Dec 2010, 5:40pm

    Oh my god, and to think GP’s will be responsable for funding soon under this government’s new proposals. Remember that survey of GP’s in 2007/8 80% said gender reassignment should not be funded on the NHS, who is up for the fight, I am for one and I am post op.

  85. I couldnt care a less whether trans gender people are gay, straight, or bisexual… as a non trans gay man I welcome you into our community, support you when you’re in other communities, and back you when any community lets you down!

    And my advice following this story is:
    Please do not realise youre a man or a woman trapped in the wrong body until at least April 2011!!! (thats said very tongue in cheek – just a joke) ;-)

  86. “The pressing need to adjust one’s body to fit with ones sense of self would ultimately remain.”

    There you go, it’s cosmetic then, akin to having a tattoo or piercing or plastic surgery. Hence it shouldn’t be on the NHS.

  87. Sally Outen 13 Dec 2010, 10:00am

    …or corrective, akin to having a cleft palate sorted out. Corrective surgeries are on the NHS.

  88. “…or corrective, akin to having a cleft palate sorted out. Corrective surgeries are on the NHS.”

    Although that is a visible, not an imagined, disfigurement. You know, I’ve been thinking a little about this idea you are pushing re core identity, and the more I do the more I see that it’s absolute drivel. You claim no biological basis for this identity, neither genetic nor hormonal nor in the make-up of the brain, therefore you are suggesting something metaphysical, like a soul or a some invisible homunculus that perches in the mind whispering to consciousness about gender.

  89. “…or corrective, akin to having a cleft palate sorted out. Corrective surgeries are on the NHS.”

    Btw, there is no suggestion with a cleft palate (except for perhaps from our New Age friends) that it gets fixed because “Really” the person is someone without a cleft palate and the surgery is there to bring their face into alignment with their “core being” which is uncleft. The cleft palate is fixed to allow the person to go about their business without people gawping at their appalling disfigurement. The gawping is more likely to begin, for a trans person, after they’ve begun wearing clothes designed for the sex their body isn’t.

  90. Sally Outen 13 Dec 2010, 12:17pm

    Your last comment demonstrates that you still haven’t read and understood the links I supplied for your reference. I suggest that you stop trolling and go educate yourself.

  91. “Your last comment demonstrates that you still haven’t read and understood the links I supplied for your reference”

    I have read the links, and I simply do not agree with your findings.

    “I suggest that you stop trolling and go educate yourself.”

    That’s right, someone doesn’t sign up to your worldview and so you offer insults. You haven’t answered my point about the core self because you cannot. You know you are talking arrant nonsense. I have read various paragraphs from your posts to a variety of people and not one has said that you make any rational sense whatsoever with your ramblings about core identity vs gender role, kernals, etc. You want to be careful you don’t find yourself in Pseuds’ corner.

  92. OrtharRrith 13 Dec 2010, 12:58pm

    “Although that is a visible, not an imagined, disfigurement.”

    Oh for crying out loud! Why the hell are you simply trolling this topic Joe? What gives you the right to question the identity of transpeople and our needs? Why are you questioning what the medical world recognise as a genuine medical condition, for which the only recognised course of action is GRS?

    “Hence it shouldn’t be on the NHS”

    You are wrong. The medical profession agree you are wrong. The government agree you are wrong and of-course transsexual people KNOW you are wrong.
    Being a transsexual person is not about cosmetic appearance, it’s not about what the public see or think. It’s about being who you are (and that’s not what bigots think you should be). It’s not imagined – despite what you think – and there is a genuine medical need. The end result is that transsexual people can get on with our lives, and we are far happier and far more productive.
    Get over it or go pester someone else with your closed mind, infact do both.

  93. Sally Outen 13 Dec 2010, 1:05pm

    “I have read the links, and I simply do not agree with your findings.”

    *My* findings? Perhaps you can be more specific (and more accurate in attributing those findings to me). What is it about, say, Zhou et al. that you find scientifically problematic?

    I have answered your question about ‘core self’ (I prefer ‘gender identity’) several times so far. I have explained *all* the ideas used here several times. I really don’t know how to make this any easier for you. Perhaps you might try reading “Whipping Girl” by Julia Serano, a biologist who has personal experience with gender dysphoria.

    I assumed that your unwillingness to quibble any of the points I raised at the end of last week signified an acceptance of my position, but it seems that you’ve decided to initiate the same argument from its beginning. For that reason, I think I’m fair in assuming that you’re trolling.

  94. “What gives you the right to question the identity of transpeople and our needs?”

    It’s not about rights, although of course all subjects are open to public debate in a democracy. You are entitled to refute me, and I am happy that you do. That you, instead, want to shout at me to “shut up” says rather more about your position, which you clearly can’t stand being openly scrutinized.

  95. “I have answered your question about ‘core self’ (I prefer ‘gender identity’) several times so far. I have explained *all* the ideas used here several times. I really don’t know how to make this any easier for you. Perhaps you might try reading “Whipping Girl” by Julia Serano, a biologist who has personal experience with gender dysphoria.”

    I would be happy to read it, if i had the time. My issue with the links you provided is that I am not convinced that the points used by science to identify “Gender Dysphoria” add up to a cogent argument for so-called sex-change surgery. The maths does not add up for me and no matter how often people scream it at me (or others, for example many feminists including that Ms Bindel that your lobby loves to demonize for daring to speak rationally), it is not acceptable to us. That is our decision based on our reason.

    “I assumed that your unwillingness to quibble any of the points I raised at the end of last week signified an acceptance of my position, but it seems that you’ve decided to initiate the same argument from its beginning.”

    This is monstrous arrogance. Just because someone doesn’t spend all their time refuting, you presume they must now agree?! My “unwillingness to quibble” was due to my not wishing to carry on an argument in which I had already stated my beliefs and to which you have contributed nothing of intellectual validity to back-up yours; I was happy to give you the infantile last word. I only came back when some other silliness was posted. But as I have said repeatedly, your nonsense about core identities is sheer mysticism and doesn’t pull the wool over my eyes.

    Just because you have not convinced me, it doesn’t make me a “troll”. I, unlike you and other trans-gender posters, have contributed no personal abuse. The subject is referring to the way taxpayer monies are spend on the NHS, a subject which must be open to public debate in a democratic society.

    No doubt that you will seize the last word again, like a child in argument. Don’t presume merely because I let you, that I now have magically been convinced by your blithering balderdash.

  96. OrtharRrith 13 Dec 2010, 5:40pm

    “It’s not about rights, although of course all subjects are open to public debate in a democracy. You are entitled to refute me, and I am happy that you do. That you, instead, want to shout at me to “shut up” says rather more about your position, which you clearly can’t stand being openly scrutinized.”

    You’re not debating you are simply stating that you don’t believe. A debate means there is the option to pursuade people that their point of view is wrong and to educate them, yet you refuse to accept any of the information presented to you. People tell you these things and yet time and again you call transsexualism imaginary and/or cosmetic surgery, and reffer to those of us who are transsexual people as dellusional. I say again that is not a debate.
    You are simply here attacking something you don’t understand and clearly don’t want to understand. I accept that it is dofficult for cis-gender people to fully grasp what it means to be transsexual and that leads to all sorts of questions and missunderstandings, but people who are really interested, people who want to comprehend what transpeople go through and why, accept what we tell them about why we are what we are,
    And you wonder why I’m a little pissed off with you!

  97. Sally Outen 13 Dec 2010, 5:55pm

    I don’t intend to be dissuaded from commenting by your suggestion that doing so would make me “like a child in argument”.

    I take issue with your continued failure to show the working behind your argument from “reason”, other than your adoption of such vagaries as “the maths does not add up for me”. You invoked science to open this debate. Do you therefore intend to offer a scientific critique of the evidence?

    “Just because someone doesn’t spend all their time refuting, you presume they must now agree?!”

    Please note my wording. I suggested an *acceptance of*, not an *agreement with*, my position. It is possible to acknowledge another person’s position as valid (and even empirically supported) without necessarily agreeing with it.

    “I had already stated my beliefs…
    you have contributed nothing of intellectual validity to back-up yours”.

    I have provided numerous citations that present a scientific basis for my position. You have provided only a link to a BBC opinion piece in support of what you honestly refer to as “beliefs” on your part.

    “as I have said repeatedly, your nonsense about core identities is sheer mysticism and doesn’t pull the wool over my eyes.”

    And, as I have said repeatedly, please read the first paper I directed you to, or at least the Wikipedia page that Paul linked to. These ideas aren’t “pure mysticism”, however vehemently you attempt to characterize them as such.

    “Just because you have not convinced me, it doesn’t make me a “troll”.”

    I agree. I was referring to your habit of steering arguments round in a circle rather than engaging with them directly, and your unabated derailing of this thread.

    “I, unlike you and other trans-gender posters, have contributed no personal abuse.”

    I apologize for any personal abuse I have directed at you – I was not aware of having done so.

  98. @OrtharRrith – I do not accept that a person’s identity is simply a matter of self-definition. That is the crux of my unwillingness to accept what people here and elsewhere are claiming. You also seem to think that a debate MUST end up with someone coming round to your point of view, agreeing with you. Have you never head the phrase “agree to differ.” I have listened and seriously considered everything you and others have said on this thread; none of it convinces me. Just because someone says that their “core identity” (a useless term, to me) is of a particular gender seems to me to be no reason for me to accept it is or, more importantly, for the law to enshrine it as such. I do ‘fully grasp” what is being said here; I simply don’t accept it as valid.

  99. @outen – “derailing of this thread”

    There you go. What “rail” is the thread supposed to travel on? You write as if this is your thread to propagate your agenda and anyone who doesn’t agree is a deviant from orthodoxy and must therefore hold their piece.

    I have read all of the pieces you have directed me to. I grasp that you believe that there is such a thing as a “core identity” which is self-defined. I understand that scientists grab in all kinds of directions to understand the phenomena but there is no scientific consensus as to cause, especially biological causes.

    I do, for the record, accept that you agree with your position. I have never suggested otherwise as to imagine that you didn’t would be absurd. You, however, seem to have a great deal of trouble accepting that many people do not accept this core identity obfuscation that you and others offer.

    There is some issue as to binary gender labels; they are doubtless unhelpful but as procreational descriptors. Yet I do not see the transsexual community rejecting gender descriptors. I myself have never been hung up on whether my “core identify” is male or female, it is not an issue either way; and perhaps those who see that it is do so as a way of attention seeking whilst the rest of us simply get on with doing those things which contribute to our social, rather than egotistically core, identity.

  100. Sally Outen 13 Dec 2010, 7:53pm

    “What “rail” is the thread supposed to travel on?”

    One that doesn’t just keep going round in circles, perhaps? I would not have initially described your comments as a derail – I’ve identified them in those terms more recently, from the pattern that has emerged.

    “I understand that scientists grab in all kinds of directions to understand the phenomena but there is no scientific consensus as to cause, especially biological causes.”

    If you mean that we haven’t yet worked out all the developmental pathways involved, then I agree with you. However, the reductive specifics of the biology aren’t directly relevant to the question – you might consider that the circadian clock was identified some time before we had a complete picture of the metabolic pathways governing it. Similarly, we treat cancers through means that have been shown to be effective, even though the exact root causes of such cancers largely remain a mystery.

    At heart, you and I are simply arguing in broader terms, over whether gender identity has a biological, rather than a sociological, basis. This *can* be argued from the available evidence. To quote Besser et al. (2003):

    “gender identity, whether consistent or inconsistent with other sex
    characteristics, may be understood to be “much less a matter of choice and much
    more a matter of biology” (Coolidge et al., 2000). The scientific evidence supports
    the paradigm that transsexualism is strongly associated with the neurodevelopment of
    the brain (Zhou et al., 1995; Kruijver et al., 2000).”

    There is also all the evidence for the efficacy of medical procedures in helping transsexual people overcome gender dysphoria, which is, perhaps, even more relevant to the matter at hand. While I follow the underlying science with interest, I believe that our highest priority here must be to promote the wellbeing of those who will benefit from treatment.

    “I do, for the record, accept that you agree with your position. I have never suggested otherwise as to imagine that you didn’t would be absurd”.

    Thank you. Although I’m now unsure what to make of your previous allegation that “You know you are talking arrant nonsense.”

    I’d like to accept your offer, extended initially to OrtharRrith, to “agree to differ”. Please don’t be offended, however, by my continuing to highlight anything that I take to be scientifically unsupported in your comments in future.

  101. Male-to-female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids. by Berglund et al Cerebral Cortex 2008 18(8):1900-1908;

    …the data implicate that transsexuality may be associated with sex-atypical physiological responses in specific hypothalamic circuits, possibly as a consequence of a variant neuronal differentiation.

    Male–to–female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus. Kruiver et al J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2000) 85:2034–2041

    The present findings of somatostatin neuronal sex differences in the BSTc and its sex reversal in the transsexual brain clearly support the paradigm that in transsexuals sexual differentiation of the brain and genitals may go into opposite directions and point to a neurobiological basis of gender identity disorder.

    Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation. Swaab Gynecol Endocrinol (2004) 19:301–312.

    Solid evidence for the importance of postnatal social factors is lacking. In the human brain, structural diferences have been described that seem to be related to gender identity and sexual orientation.

    A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality. by Zhou et al Nature (1995) 378:68–70.

    Our study is the first to show a female brain structure in genetically male transsexuals and supports the hypothesis that gender identity develops as a result of an interaction between the developing brain and sex hormones

    A sex difference in the hypothalamic uncinate nucleus: relationship to gender identity. by Garcia-Falgueras et al Brain. 2008 Dec;131(Pt 12):3132-46.

    We propose that the sex reversal of the INAH3 in transsexual people is at least partly a marker of an early atypical sexual differentiation of the brain and that the changes in INAH3 and the BSTc may belong to a complex network that may structurally and functionally be related to gender identity.

    White matter microstructure in female to male transsexuals before cross-sex hormonal treatment. A diffusion tensor imaging study. – Rametti et al, J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Jun 8.

    CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that the white matter microstructure pattern in untreated FtM transsexuals is closer to the pattern of subjects who share their gender identity (males) than those who share their biological sex (females). Our results provide evidence for an inherent difference in the brain structure of FtM transsexuals.

    Regional cerebral blood flow changes in female to male gender identity disorder. – Tanaka et al, Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2010 Apr 1;64(2):157-61.

    RESULTS: GID subjects had a significant decrease in rCBF in the left anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and a significant increase in the right insula compared to control subjects.
    CONCLUSIONS: The ACC and insula are regions that have been noted as being related to human sexual behavior and consciousness. From these findings, useful insights into the biological basis of GID were suggested.

    Sexual Hormones and the Brain: An Essential Alliance for Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation Garcia-Falgueras A, Swaab DF Endocr Dev. 2010;17:22-35

    The fetal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hormone surge. In this way, our gender identity (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and sexual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. However, since sexual differentiation of the genitals takes place in the first two months of pregnancy and sexual differentiation of the brain starts in the second half of pregnancy, these two processes can be influenced independently, which may result in extreme cases in trans-sexuality. This also means that in the event of ambiguous sex at birth, the degree of masculinization of the genitals may not reflect the degree of masculinization of the brain. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation.

  102. Re effectiveness of surgery:

    Pfafflin F and Junge A. “Sex Reassignment. Thirty Years of International Follow-Up Studies after Sex Reassignment Surgery: A Comprehensive Review, 1961-1991.” IJT Electronic Books

    A bit out of date now, later surgeries show a higher success rate (98%). Some of the surgeries in the 60′s for example made no attempt at providing sensate genitalia, a clitoris etc.

    To say there is no data is an ideological view, not a scientific one.

    Oh and BTW – I’m not Trans, I’m Intersexed. The invisible “I” in GLBT.

    We have a certain commonality of interest with Transsexual groups (and to a lesser extent, Queer, as some of us identify as neither male nor female). Because of meddling paediatric surgeons.

    Discordant Sexual Identity in Some Genetic Males with Cloacal Exstrophy Assigned to Female Sex at Birth by Reiner and Gearhart, N Engl J Med. 2004 January 22; 350(4): 333–341.

    RESULTS Eight of the 14 subjects assigned to female sex declared themselves male during the course of this study, whereas the 2 raised as males remained male. Subjects could be grouped according to their stated sexual identity. Five subjects were living as females; three were living with unclear sexual identity, although two of the three had declared themselves male; and eight were living as males, six of whom had reassigned themselves to male sex. All 16 subjects had moderate-to-marked interests and attitudes that were considered typical of males. Follow-up ranged from 34 to 98 months.
    CONCLUSIONS Routine neonatal assignment of genetic males to female sex because of severe phallic inadequacy can result in unpredictable sexual identification. Clinical interventions in such children should be reexamined in the light of these findings.

    Transsexuals have a congenital brain/body mismatch. For some IS people, the mismatch was surgically created shortly after birth.

    Unfortunately, the Gender Recognition Act requires a diagnosis of “Gender Dysphoria”, and having an Intersex condition precludes that according to the WHO’s ICD-10.. So we’re not covered by it, even if we transition. But that’s another story.

  103. Not-So-Depressed-Anymore Trans Woman 30 Dec 2010, 3:01pm

    Zoe Brain – thank you for all these fascinating studies, I think this sort of detailed scientific research is exactly what is lacking in the majority of these arguments with people who just don’t ‘believe in so-called sex-change surgery’ – whatever that is. Certain posters on here have demonstrated nothing but their ignorance. Joe, you have proven that beyond doubt if nothing else. Congratulations.

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews.co.uk. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.

Top commenters this week

Latest stories

See all