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Did anyone else hear Helen Webberley on R4 this morning?

(42 Posts)
QuentinSummers Thu 06-Apr-17 19:53:04

She runs some medical websites in Wales that have been taken down while they are investigated by CQC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-39520785

Helen Webberley runs a transgender advice and medical service that is renowned for giving prescriptions for cross sex hormones on the basis of an online appt and £50 prescription charge. She prescribes to children. She was very cagey about the nature of her "advice service" this morning
https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/11/transgender-nhs-doctor-prescribing-sex-hormones-children-uk

It'll be interesting to see what happens!

Datun Thu 06-Apr-17 20:02:54

As far as I know she is the one who diagnoses over the phone and has given cross sex hormones to a 12-year-old, thereby leaving them sterile.

Poppyred85 Thu 06-Apr-17 20:09:34

I heard most of it and thought the same as you. Somehow though doctors who act outside the bounds of what would be considered normal practice for the rest of us seem to escape the interest of the GMC etc so I wouldn't hold your breath.

QuentinSummers Thu 06-Apr-17 20:16:40

Clicky links www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-39520785

www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/11/transgender-nhs-doctor-prescribing-sex-hormones-children-uk

AnotherQuoll Thu 06-Apr-17 20:28:26

Can't remember the "SOURCE!!" on demand for TRAs who'd insist on "CITATIONS??!" but can say her name's familiar because I recall reading a few comments from young trans on a couple of sites (probably the usual young trans sites) telling others to..let's just say..They wanted them to know there are lots of other doctors around. They weren't happy with...umm.. What they liked, although eager to transition, was a doctor who made sure that drugs and dosage were individually appropriate for their particular body.... <trying to word this without law degree> They don't like being unwell when that doesn't happen.....

SomeDyke Thu 06-Apr-17 21:04:19

"As far as I know she is the one who diagnoses over the phone and has given cross sex hormones to a 12-year-old, thereby leaving them sterile."
And the same child has apparently been on puberty blockers since they were NINE. Cos they think they're a boy, have never worn a dress, and play only with boys...........

Just totally insane and medically and ethically wrong. NINE!!!!!!!!

Datun Thu 06-Apr-17 21:58:42

She was on a question and answer site, which I can't now find, unfortunately but she inadvertently used the word 'bigot' for people who disagreed with the ideology.

It sent alarm bells off for me.

EnidColeslaw771 Thu 06-Apr-17 22:14:50

A nice little earner, sterilising kids...

BigDeskBob Fri 07-Apr-17 00:02:14

Datun, Was this what you were thing of?sorry, if I've forgotten how to make links clicky. www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/5z4et8/science_ama_series_im_dr_helen_webberley_i_am_a/

She said some really worrying stuff. I thought she dismissed the links between autism and trans too easily. Also of the numbers of detransitioned patients. And she did call people who disagree bigots.

Datun Fri 07-Apr-17 00:57:07

That's the one bob

don't argue with the hateful bigots, I ignore them.

Some Mums tell me that they noticed something wasn't right from as early as 6 months old!

Yeah, I'm not sure she's as unbiased as one might like in a medical professional.

I've read through that link again. And again, it has struck me there is no doubt that there is a serious and painful issue going on for a lot of trans-people.

I certainly think a lot of people transition for a variety of superficial reasons, but there is no doubt that for some it is a significant issue.

It seems to me that none of these people are mentally healthy, not just with the dysphoria, but in all sorts of other ways.

But the one thing that does stand out for me that there is a chasm between someone with mental health difficulties being treated, and giving that a person rights and privileges that don't apply to them.

For me, the biggest issue would be how do I get treatment? But can't help feeling that drastic surgery will, in the future, be regarded as a ridiculously primitive way of treating this problem.

RintelsPoint Fri 07-Apr-17 01:47:07

But can't help feeling that drastic surgery will, in the future, be regarded as a ridiculously primitive way of treating this problem.

Yes.
It's very strange, watching a batshit medical horror show in action. History in the making, in an awful way. I mean, back when they were doing lobotomies, were there people like us saying no?

dementedcommuter Fri 07-Apr-17 06:46:59

Some people argue this about sex and alcohol too. What is the point of age related laws at all, if one is obsolete due to individual maturity surely they all are. The people pushing #heartprogress would certainly agree.

Quote from mermaids on article to push for the 16 year old limit to be removed.

"“Basing it on an age is completely inappropriate,” said Susie Green, head of Mermaids, a charity that works with trans children and their families. “We believe it should be in line with the young person’s maturity and their ability to understand what’s involved and the implications of what treating and not treating are.

Datun Fri 07-Apr-17 08:11:51

The benefits of early intervention is all that the trans community think about. Many late transitioning people would give their right arm to pass better.

Which, again only underlines that it is how you are treated, rather than how you feel that is the crucial aspect.

It's such a bizarre condition. You can't treat somebody with compassion and respect because you know they have gender dysphoria and it's distressing for them. You have to be almost ignore the dysphoria, and treat them in a way they perceive to be feminine. Which gets completely shot out of the water when they start behaving aggressively and threatening.

If you want to be treated as (how I see) women, then act like one.

How can having the 'brain of a female in a male body' make one act like a raging misogynist but expect to be treated like a fairytale princess? The two concepts are poles apart.

I have no doubt that there is something wrong with people who believe they have the wrong body, but I would bet my mortgage that there is nothing going on that means they have been somehow 'feminised'.

Butterymuffin Fri 07-Apr-17 08:20:29

Apparently Webberley's action 'breaks no current guidelines or laws'. Unbelievable.

Milliepede Fri 07-Apr-17 11:14:48

Webberley is a money grubbing quack of the highest order. In a sane world she would be being investigated for malpractice.

RintelsPoint Fri 07-Apr-17 13:16:36

Demented “Basing it on an age is completely inappropriate,” said Susie Green, head of Mermaids, a charity that works with trans children and their families. “We believe it should be in line with the young person’s maturity and their ability to understand what’s involved and the implications of what treating and not treating are.

Right. So - 30ish then? grin

RintelsPoint Fri 07-Apr-17 13:23:37

... And sorry, but the name "Mermaids" is so irritating. What do mermaids have to do with trans people?* Especially trans boys - bit girly for them, surely? It's just sterotypical girlieness bleugh with the females (trans boys) tacked on.

[*I've just got it - link between mermaids and trans ideology is shipwrecks... wink]

venusinscorpio Fri 07-Apr-17 15:04:56

They're spangly and sparkly and lovely. Like unicorns.

0phelia Fri 07-Apr-17 16:06:16

The story of The Little Mermaid saw the young Mermaid, desperate for the prince to love her, dry herself out on the shore so that she transformed into a human with legs and everything.

0phelia Fri 07-Apr-17 16:18:25

So was The little Mermaid still a Mermaid after she gained her human legs, or was she now totally human, even though she lived underwater prior to drying out?

ChipsForSupper Sat 08-Apr-17 01:08:01

Completely agree with Rintels on the lobotomy analogy. I have been thinking that for a while.

SpartacusX Sat 08-Apr-17 01:37:47

I think the mermaids connection is that mermaids are always portrayed as pretty girls with pretty hair and breasts but they have no genitalia. Its another fetish thing.

Jazz Jennings swims around wearing a mermaid tail (Jazz sells them too).

user1491637398 Sat 08-Apr-17 11:32:44

Hi there,

I hope this is okay; I'm using my mum's account to respond to this thread. Normally I don't bother with forum posts- I'm quite a private person- but as this one was a little closer to home I thought it best to give the perspective of one of the people using Dr Webberley's service. It should come as no surprise to anybody that what you hear on the news is never going to be the full picture. I'll start at the beginning, just to give an idea of why I accessed Dr Webberley's service in the first place.

When I finally admitted that I was unhappy with my gender, I went through CAMHS and was referred to the Tavistock and Portman Gender Identity Clinic for children in London. I was around 15 at this point. It was a long and tiring journey getting to the clinic, and honestly talking to the people there felt like banging your head against a brick wall. Contrary to what a lot of people here seem to think, not every person who goes through this is desperate to become the most outrageously stereotypical caricature of the other sex. I didn't have a desire to wear dresses all the time or wear lots of makeup, which I think the psychologists in London had a hard time understanding. There were months and months of waiting in between each hour-long appointment, which took up an entire day to get to, and nothing seemed to be moving. I was struggling more and more with school, and wanted desperately to go on to puberty blockers (whose effects are completely reversible).

At the age of 16 this would seem silly, as puberty is mostly done at this age. However I never really had any masculine features, which I later found out was because I had lower levels of testosterone and higher levels of oestrogen, but I didn't know that at the time. I was terrified that things would change, that one day I would wake up with hair on my face and a deep voice and feel even more alienated by my own body. Still, the people at London were reluctant as ever to do anything; they just wanted to talk about it.

On the one hand, I think that's understandable, given how much backlash there would be if the individual changed their mind. Most people would agree that there needs to be some kind of process which ensures they make the right decision for the patient. Unfortunately, because of how specialist this area is and the demands on the NHS already, this process can be dangerously lengthy. The time between each appointment can be months! We eventually realised we were getting nowhere, and I would soon be discharged from the service when I turned 18, and so we stopped going and I got on to the waiting list for the adult gender clinic in Northamptonshire.

In August of last year, I was in a very bad place. I was 17, and had already dropped out of sixth form after the first day. I felt freakish, and I just wasn't coping. I've never been one for seeking out support groups, or charities to do with gender issues. Part of this is because I'm adamant that I won't let these issues define me, but mainly I had an incredibly supportive family anyway, and I didn't feel like I needed to be part of another "community" - I don't relate to the extroverted, out and proud people we see on screen, and who most people think represent everyone else. I'm quite a normal, everyday, vanilla person really, and so I fit in perfectly fine with everybody, in one big community. I don't like to differentiate myself from everybody else, which is why I don't refer to myself as a transgender woman, but as a woman.

Anyway, I digress; I don't usually seek out charities, but out of desperation I had a look on the Mermaids website around this time in August. It was here that I found a link to Dr Webberley's GenderGP service, and I got in touch. At this point I was ready to seek out hormones.

30 seconds later, I had the prescription in my hands, and I was off to the pharmacy.... Not! That would be absurd.

Over email, I explained to Dr Webberley how I was feeling, and my past history with the NHS gender clinic. and CAMHS. She explained to me that because I was under 18, she had an even greater duty of care to me. She asked me to fill in a detailed medical history form, and to arrange a face-to-face appointment with one of her counsellors, Avril, in a few weeks time. I spoke with her for a little over an hour, and I was completely honest with how I was feeling; that I don't have a desire to wear pink frilly dresses, that something inside me feels innately mismatched with the outside, and even if I can never entirely overcome that feeling, I need to do all that I can to feel like I am living genuinely. She said that if there was any doubt in her mind that this was the right decision, she would not recommend me for hormones, but as this was not the case she agreed that hormones would be the best thing for me.

I got back in touch with Dr Webberley a few days later, and she said that due to my age she wanted to have a face-to-face appointment herself with me in Abergavenny. During this she explained how the hormones would work, the risks, and she asked me to take an extensive blood test to check my liver function, full blood count, hormone levels and all sorts, to ensure I was safe to take the medication. She also gave me an informed consent form to sign, which was pages and pages long, and explained the risks, side effects, and everything to do with the hormones in a great amount of detail. Once I had read that, and my bloods were fine, she began communicating with my local GP. They agreed to work together to provide my care; as the specialist, Dr Webberley would monitor my hormone levels, and get them to a point where they are medically safe, and my GP would prescribe the medication Dr Webberley recommended, and send me for blood tests on a regular basis to get the correct dosage. In September 2016, I began taking my hormones. By this point I had been out of education and had practically isolated myself socially for almost 3 years. Last month I started my first part-time job, and 2 weeks ago I enrolled to restart my A-Levels at college in September, and am aiming for the Education course at Cambridge Uni. Though I still have a long way to go as far as my confidence is concerned, there is no comparing where I am now to how I was before I met Dr Webberley.

I'm still on the waiting list for the NHS adult gender clinic in Northampton, who will take over my hormone monitoring from Dr Webberley once I see them. It was supposed to be a 10 month wait, and it has been exactly 10 months, and I probably wont be seen for another 6, due to increasing pressures on the service. If I was waiting for them to prescribe me hormones, I'm not sure where I would be today. I absolutely credit Dr Webberley with getting my life back on track; she fills a void the NHS is failing to - providing timely care for vulnerable people who desperately need it. I don't believe she's in it for the money. We pay her less than the cost of a family takeaway a month for her specialist knowledge, and she will answer any worry, question or concern anybody has within 48 hours free of charge. I'm not sure I know of any private medical care which is that reasonably priced!

Ultimately, I can only describe how I have found Dr Webberley, and that is an extremely caring and compassionate woman who recognises the shortcomings of the NHS in this area and is doing her best to address them. She was always going to be controversial, and in providing this service she puts her neck on the line time and time again. I can't speak for anybody else, but at least in my experience she was definitely not reckless in her care for me; in fact, she seemed more pragmatic and sensible than just about anybody else I have come in to contact with.

I disagree that people who don't understand, or for religious or moral reasons don't wish to accept, issues people can have with their gender, are immediately bigots. We all see the world in different ways; I would always welcome any questions that are not hateful or invasive, as I think that discussing these things is the best way for people to get on with each other. I don't have an agenda, I'm just an ordinary person born with a condition that I wish I could understand, but I don't. I certainly didn't choose it, and I'm not mentally deranged or deluded. If there are any more insights in to my experience with Dr Webberley's service that I can give, then I would be happy to - just let me know.

Thanks smile

Datun Sat 08-Apr-17 12:24:15

Hi user1491637398, thanks for your story. And I'm sorry you have had a distressing time, but equally glad that you have found some form of treatment that suits you.

I don't think anyone on this forum has any negative feelings towards people with gender dysphoria. It's plain for everyone to see that it is a very distressing condition and should be treated in any way possible.

The problem has arisen because of all the other people who are included under the trans umbrella. It being feted as a lifestyle choice and something to celebrate - just about as far from gender dysphoria as it could get.

For example, ten girls, little older than you, coming out at St Paul's school simultaneously as trans.

Vulnerable kids looking for a tribe or to find someone where they fit, getting involved online, being told how to access blackmarket hormones, etc. They are also told, quite explicitly, how to kid a doctor.

Because there is no diagnosis for trans-, other than what the patient tells you, this is obviously going to give rise to diagnoses being made purely on an opinion, not any objective facts.

Coupled with the statistics that show most children grow out of gender dysphoria, I am of the firm opinion that gatekeeping should be as stringent as possible.

The trans-activists' view is that if it helps the 20% who have genuine dysphoria, it's worth the collateral damage. Whereas I have the opposite view.

You have been very candid, which is appreciated. I do have a question, but please feel free not to answer it if it is too private.

As I understand it, gender dysphoria is a feeling that your genitals are wrong. You say you don't necessarily want to present as a female. Is the desire to appear female a means to 'disguise' your maleness, rather than a yearn to be female? For instance, if there was such a thing as a third, fourth or even fifth sex, would anyone of them do, as long as it wasn't male?

That's probably a very loaded question, but I hope, if you do answer it, you can be as candid as you have already been.

Either way, I wish you well in your studies. And thanks for posting.

DonkeySkin Sat 08-Apr-17 12:45:56

user1491637398 absolutely sounds like a teenager who has accessed his/her mother's account, and not at all like Dr Webberley herself posting a long, immaculately detailed defence of Webberley's clinic in an effort at damage control.

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