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I am Janice Turner's No 1 fan - another excellent article

(539 Posts)
Stopmakingsense Sat 23-Sep-17 07:19:23

This one picks up in particular the huge rise in women identifying as men, and the increasing inability of anyone being able to question it:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/even-asking-questions-is-now-transphobic-ztk3rlrfk?shareToken=1f64a5116171eb54a9a866590e6432ec

CaoNiMartacus Sat 23-Sep-17 07:27:10

Excellent article. I'll post the text here for anyone behind the paywall:

Even asking questions is now ‘transphobic’ - Janice Turner

Wanting to know why more people are choosing to change gender is seen as an act of aggression by trans activists

A surgeon friend told James Caspian that in one year he’d performed two reverse gender reassignment operations on patients who’d swapped gender then changed their minds. “This is new,” he said. “Someone should research it.” Caspian, a psychotherapist at a private gender clinic, discovered no one ever had. So he enrolled on an MA course at Bath Spa University with the intention of writing his thesis on “detransition”.

No one could accuse Caspian, a slight, thoughtful gay man, of being hostile to trans people. He is a trustee of the Beaumont Society, a national transgender charity, and in 16 years as a counsellor had hundreds of patients who, after working through childhood and emotional problems, concluded that “changing their gender presentation makes them more free to be themselves”.

There was another reason Caspian wanted to research detransition. A few years ago his patient profile changed from mainly adult men to younger women, many with complex mental health problems including social anxiety, self-harm, depression and undiagnosed autism. Some had been sexually abused as children. Many were lesbians, often fearful of coming out. But they saw changing gender as a panacea.

He’d read accounts by US women who, after having mastectomies and taking testosterone, had reverted to living as female. He feared that as the number of women patients increased so would regrets. “But I want to stress I didn’t know the answer: I just wanted to find out.”

He outlined his detransition thesis but was told by Bath Spa it must go before the ethics committee, which last November issued an extraordinary judgment. “Engaging in a potentially ‘politically incorrect’ piece of research carries a risk to the university,” it said. “Attacks on social media may not be confined to the researcher but may involve the university.” The report expressed concern that Caspian would suffer psychological damage. “It’s ridiculous,” he said. “I’m in my late fifties, I’m an expert in my field and I’m not even on social media. I’m not frightened at all.” Nonetheless his thesis was rejected.

So why is detransition a “politically incorrect” subject, likely to attract online attacks? Because, says Caspian, it concerns the issue of “gatekeeping” by medical professionals. In previous eras, trans people endured cruel, undignified battles before doctors permitted them treatment. Campaigners have succeeded in making this process simpler and more humane. But lately trans activists have argued that any requirement for psychological counselling is insulting. The mere fact they “self-identify” as the opposite gender is proof enough.

Detransition therefore is heresy. It suggests some “gatekeeping” is required: that it is misguided to allow ever younger people to take sterility-inducing hormones and have life-altering surgery without professional constraints. Detransition undermines the whole push towards instant, early diagnosis demanded by groups such as Mermaids and administered by Helen Webberley, the Welsh GP interviewed this week in The Times, who is under investigation for giving cross-sex hormones to 12-year-olds.

“We have to ask questions,” says Caspian. But trans activists label all academic inquiry as transphobic. An event organised by the London think tank Opus entitled “Attacks on Thinking in the Age of LGBTQWIIAP+” was, ironically, cancelled this week after an online petition and threats of disruption. Since I’ve been writing about this subject, I’ve been contacted by doctors, psychotherapists and concerned transgender people themselves, desperate to speak out on the trans phenomenon but terrified to do so for fear of abuse or even losing their jobs.

Caspian, who has left the field of gender counselling, is prepared to be the whistleblower. “We are seeing,” he says, “what Jung called a ‘collective complex’.” He compares this mass hysteria about being trapped in the wrong body to the “glass delusion”, an odd medieval phenomenon where people believed they were made of glass and might shatter. Other clinicians mention the 1990s faux scandals of satanic ritual abuse and false memory syndrome. But unlike them, gender anxiety is supercharged by the internet.

That is not to say any experts I’ve met dispute the existence of gender dysphoria or the need for better treatment and social tolerance of trans people. But they feel what they call the “trans trend” needs analysing as a cultural phenomenon as much as a medical one. “St Paul’s School suddenly has a lot of non-binary girls,” said one child gender expert, “but when I was growing up, that’s where all the anorexics went.”

There is no blood test or pathogen to diagnose you as trans; it is solely a matter of interpreting human experience. With children, the dominant interpretation that is currently shouting down all others is that, say, a boy who enjoys “female” toys or clothes must really be a girl.

And now trans activists are pushing for the American treatment strategy called “affirmation”, where doctors cannot challenge a patient who declares they are trans. Trans activists are lobbying hard to change an NHS policy document called the “memorandum of understanding”: they want to extend a ban on gay “conversion therapy” to include gender identity. In other words, a counsellor could no longer suggest that a patient’s belief they are in the “wrong body” is, for example, anxiety about being a lesbian or a reaction to sexual abuse. They would be silenced or risk malpractice suits.

James Caspian expects to receive abuse and threats. But he’s had enough of ignoring a phenomenon that is growing exponentially, may damage many lives, yet is barred from public debate and academic inquiry. “Asking questions,” he says, “is not a hate crime.”

Backingvocals Sat 23-Sep-17 07:44:40

She is awesome. This is incendiary but accurate

St Paul’s School suddenly has a lot of non-binary girls,” said one child gender expert, “but when I was growing up, that’s where all the anorexics went

FlaviaAlbia Sat 23-Sep-17 07:50:41

She really nails it in black and white doesn't she? She's brilliant.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Sat 23-Sep-17 07:53:17

I have posted before on this issue but as the parent of a pre teen son with asd I am especially concerned by the lack of interest in and understanding of the over lap between ASDs and gender questioning in young people. I see a real risk of hideous damage being done to an already vulnerable population. It can be very difficult if not impossible to divert a young person with asd from rigid rules and categories and the inflexibility of gender stereotypes we seem to be so keen on us really, really difficult for them, especially girls who will often be very different from stereotypical notions of what young women "should" be.
Janice if you're reading, this would be witty further investigation and more of your wonderful articles!!

ErrolTheDragon Sat 23-Sep-17 07:55:05

Here is a link to the article her comment is in response to - note that Times links with 'shareToken' in the URL are not behind the paywall, subscribers can get fully shareable links to a couple of articles, so no need to C&Psmile

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/university-of-bath-bars-research-into-transgender-surgery-regrets-ddxxlbfzh?shareToken=70783742c12799b39e2f10664c486806

KathyBeale Sat 23-Sep-17 07:57:06

This is brilliant. I love her and think we should all throw our support behind her in case she is threatened with being silenced.

CeeBeeBee Sat 23-Sep-17 08:00:16

Hopefully, with Caspian speaking out, more people will see sense. He is brave.

thecatfromjapan Sat 23-Sep-17 08:01:40

That was good.

theboud Sat 23-Sep-17 08:02:20

Another brilliant article. I'm so grateful to Janice for raising this in the mainstream media and continuing her coverage week on week.

notafish Sat 23-Sep-17 08:10:00

What is going on is truly scary. DD's school has a girl transitioning. I feel for all these parents who have no-one able to advocate for their child based on evidence and research. In what other field would this be allowed?! What have universities become?

whitehandledkitchenknife Sat 23-Sep-17 08:12:18

Thank you for posting this. I am an old school feminist (of the radical persuasion), I am having a hard time getting my head around some of the stuff that I'm reading. There are some tracts, whose logic I cannot follow. Not unwilling to read and learn and understand but trying to find some kind of sense in it all has been baffling. Much appreciated.

Igneococcus Sat 23-Sep-17 08:14:49

He outlined his detransition thesis but was told by Bath Spa it must go before the ethics committee, which last November issued an extraordinary judgment. “Engaging in a potentially ‘politically incorrect’ piece of research carries a risk to the university,” it said. “Attacks on social media may not be confined to the researcher but may involve the university.” The report expressed concern that Caspian would suffer psychological damage. “It’s ridiculous,” he said. “I’m in my late fifties, I’m an expert in my field and I’m not even on social media. I’m not frightened at all.” Nonetheless his thesis was rejected.

This is utterly disgraceful.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sat 23-Sep-17 08:22:46

The idea that Bath Spa have come out and said explicitly that they will not allow 'politically incorrect' research is astonishing. Does their conception of academic ethics place the university having an easy life over the pursuit of truth?

Terrylene Sat 23-Sep-17 08:29:49

That is a really good article to read. It is a completely different view point to what you normally read and makes you think.

I get a free copy of The Times at Waitrose with my shopping. I think a lot of people who shop there do this because the times is usually behind a paywall so it seems a good choice - It is usually a good read and has good crosswords wink . I hope it gets a good audience of people who would not normally get to read this.

Igneococcus Sat 23-Sep-17 08:31:57

This is really scary Countess isn't it. I wonder how many biologists were on that ethics committee.

TheWeeWitch Sat 23-Sep-17 08:50:48

Excellent article. Thanks for posting.

ArbitraryName Sat 23-Sep-17 08:51:18

TBH, having had university ethics review training, it's pretty clear that university management think the purpose to protect the university's reputation above and beyond everything else. That extends to: will this generate negative media (or social media) coverage that might jealorduse our income streams?

I wouldn't be surprised if my ethics committee would veto research for similar reasons. Added to that is that some reviewers (not a minority) appear to think their told is to be an enormous hurdle to anyone wanting to do research and to outright stop people even when they want to do fairly standard and uncontroversial things.

Anlaf Sat 23-Sep-17 09:05:31

Great innit- came here to post it.

Anlaf Sat 23-Sep-17 09:09:07

There is also this one from a couple of days ago, on the oddity of people determined to deny th events at Speakers corner (trying errol's shareToken approach, you should all be able to access this)

Conspiracy theories silence the brutal truth

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/conspiracy-theories-silence-thebrutal-truth-6bjpdpzmf?shareToken

Terrylene Sat 23-Sep-17 09:16:25

Didn't work for me - but I have read it elsewhere?

Janice Turner is such a clear writer, isn't she.

ErrolTheDragon Sat 23-Sep-17 09:24:26

You can't just add sharetoken, you have to get a shareable link... I started an AIBU to tell people how as hardly anyone seems to have discovered it.grin

busyboysmum Sat 23-Sep-17 09:37:04

Wow. Fabulous stuff again from Janice Turner. I'm impressed with The Times over their stance in this matter. No-one else is being so brave and speaking such truth.

CDAlady Sat 23-Sep-17 09:42:41

This article is great. Thanks for sharing. And yes of course this is a sociocultural phenomenon and really should be discussed as such.

Also, thanks to this thread I have discovered Janice Turner. A quick scroll through her article headlines and first paragraphs makes me want to read her regularly but I don't want to subscribe. Is there a particular day of the week she writes? I would buy a paper copy on that day.

TalkingintheDark Sat 23-Sep-17 09:45:47

She's brilliant, isn't she. So good to see her writing regularly on this in the mainstream media. I'm signing up for the Janice Turner Appreciation Society forthwith!!

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