Talk

Advanced search

Transgender expert's comments - at odds with much of the trans narrative?

(9 Posts)
Obsessivenamechanger Fri 24-Nov-17 11:26:53

An ex-colleagues just sent me a copy of paper from a conference that took place in 2013, about treating and supporting transgender patients.

I though it was interesting from a number of perspectives; not least how things seem to have changed so much over the past 4 years.

One of the speakers was Dr James Barrett who is a psychiatrist, the Lead Clinician at the Gender Identity Clinic Imperial College and the President of the British Association of Gender Identity Specialists.

This man has seen hundreds, probably thousand of people presenting as trans. I've copied below some of what he said at this conference. I thought it was really interesting, particularly in light of arguments regarding access to women's spaces for anyone who rocks up in a dress and lipstick; the frequently trotted out 'trans people have unique mental health problems and are likely to commit suicide'; and also the rather sinister push towards insisting people believe that trans women are women. Here's what he said:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*"The 'trans' umbrella includes people who cross-dress, transsexuals, and other gender variant people, including individuals who are androgynous and those who identify themselves as non-gendered.

He stated that people with gender identity are not more likely to be afflicted with mental health issues than the general population. However, there is a tendency to forget that they are highly likely to be afflicted with physical health problems just like the general population. . .

Dr Barrett discussed characteristics of the cases seen at the clinic. The majority of the male patients have also had history of transvestism, sometimes briefly fetishistic but usually evolving into dual role transvestism. They are usually sexually interested in women and remain so. Many have had apparently successful lives in a male role, sometimes for many years. A smaller proportion of male patients give a history of viewing themselves or having been viewed by others as rather feminine gay men, who have over time developed a growing sense of their femininity.

The women seen at the clinic tend to present earlier in life, almost always present with an earlier self or social identity as a gay woman. This is sometimes uncomfortably worn for many years, and many give a history of childhood tomboyishiness.

A quite small proportion of patients of either sex seem to have had a sense of being physically opposite sex from their earliest years. A hugely greater number of patients make this claim, only for interviews with parents to subsequently refute it or cause it to be modified to a history of childhood cross dressing – which does not amount to a GID.

Hormonal and surgical treatment
Dr Barrett identified that most people want to be treated with hormones and surgery so that they might as closely as possible resemble the other biological sex. The guiding principle is that reversible changes should precede irreversible. This should only occur under the supervision of a GIC. Advice given includes;
Patients must change their social gender role entirely before they are commenced on hormone treatment. Patients sometimes argue that the latter is needed for the former to be possible, but clinical experience strongly suggests that if this rationale is followed, change of role does not result but demands for ever ‘stronger’ hormones do.

Patients who demonstrate brief episodes of reverting to original role for ‘special occasions’ or ‘no special occasion’ carry a poor prognosis and preclude the initiation of hormone treatment.

Living in another gender role:
Dr Barrett defined what living in another gender role was as “an acceptance in that role by others around the patient”. It does not necessarily equate to others actually believing that the patient is that sex, simply that they are accepted as a member of that sex.

Facts to consider:
Suicides and homicides get alerted to the GIC, and are rare."*
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also interesting to hear what Dr Barrett says about the self-report of many trans people that they have a sense of being 'physically the opposite sex' from a young age, but that then isn't supported by family members.

Any thoughts?

nauticant Fri 24-Nov-17 11:48:33

At first, none of the groups look like the noisiest (and aggressive) young people we see on social media. However, I have a feeling they would be filtered out in this way:

A quite small proportion of patients of either sex seem to have had a sense of being physically opposite sex from their earliest years. A hugely greater number of patients make this claim, only for interviews with parents to subsequently refute it or cause it to be modified to a history of childhood cross dressing – which does not amount to a GID.

But then how many trans people these days are able identify as their target gender without needing to risk meeting "opposition" like that? Also, "opposition" like that looks like the kind of thing that could get people the sack.

Obsessivenamechanger Fri 24-Nov-17 11:56:17

As discussed widely on this forum, we've reached a point where objective evidence and research is deemed to be 'opposition'.

I get the impression this Dr has been a huge supporter of trans people's rights (I recall seeing him being interviewed about the shoddy level of care trans people receive for general physical health problems).

I doubt he would feel safe enough to say any of the above in 2017. At least not if he values his job.

FizzyWaterAndElderflower Fri 24-Nov-17 11:58:53

Dr Barrett defined what living in another gender role was as “an acceptance in that role by others around the patient”

That's interesting - so rather than wait for this acceptance - which absolutely comes with time, the modern way is to bully people into feigning this acceptance under pain of social exile.

ShowMeTheElf Fri 24-Nov-17 12:02:32

Name changer, please could you provide the reference for the paper?
Thanks

Stopmakingsense Fri 24-Nov-17 12:09:49

Yes that does sound like the "paternalistic" (for want of a better word) model of care where the practitioner is deemed to have some knowledge and experience and could know what is best for the client, completely verboten now.

Obsessivenamechanger Fri 24-Nov-17 12:19:27

Elf, I don't have the reference for the paper but I'll check with my colleague.

I've also just see the website below, which is interesting. Dr Barrett reiterated position in 2015 regarding lived experience & that insistence re chosen gender is linked to poor outcomes. Seems he's yet another health professional, with a wealth of expertise, who has been labelled as transphobic.

Hope the link works . .

ruthpearce.net/tag/charing-cross/

There are other references to his stated position on that site if you google.

Obsessivenamechanger Fri 24-Nov-17 12:27:02

Fizzy - I interpreted 'acceptance' in that context as others being kind enough to use chosen pronouns, chosen name etc. I might be wrong though.

There's a link to a video on that Ruth Pearce website of ministers giving evidence about transgender equality (though I haven't watched it all). Maria Miller et al.

OlennasWimple Fri 24-Nov-17 12:32:52

A quite small proportion of patients of either sex seem to have had a sense of being physically opposite sex from their earliest years. A hugely greater number of patients make this claim, only for interviews with parents to subsequently refute it or cause it to be modified to a history of childhood cross dressing

This is interesting. I've been thinking a bit about children's perceptions of themselves and their childhoods at the moment (both my DC feel that they are being treated unfairly, I think that I treat them both fairly but am consciously considering whether this is indeed the case). I think most children would give a different account of their childhood to their parents. Eg my mum insists I hated primary school, but I don't recall this at all - but I have no reason to doubt her recollection.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now