Really irresponsible Guardian article today

(75 Posts)
Vermeil Thu 31-Dec-20 07:28:35

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/31/years-denial-finally-accepted-trans-woman

This really irresponsible article has appeared in today’s Guardian. Why irresponsible? This-

‘ The waiting list for the NHS’s backlogged gender identity clinics frequently exceeds three years, leaving trans people with no choice but to funnel money into private medical services, so that we can finally start living as ourselves.

This summer I did exactly that. The scheduled hour-long consultation with a psychologist was over in 15 minutes. “I have what I need,” she said. “You know who you are.” Within 24 hours I received written confirmation that I met the criteria for gender dysphoria. A prescription for oestrogen and progesterone arrived at my door two days later.’

So, an article in a mainstream UK newspaper is basically promoting the idea that after just 15mins speaking to someone online who claims to be a psychologist, you can be given prescription CSH within 24hrs.
WTAF?

OP’s posts: |
NotBadConsidering Thu 31-Dec-20 07:43:40

He picked up immediately on my reluctance to call myself a trans person. So he conducted a thought experiment. “If you could push a button,” he asked, “and wake up in a world where everyone knew you as female, would you push it?” There’s a reason gender therapists often ask this. It invites you to imagine a reality where you can be yourself consequence-free. Where you can transition without being rejected by friends, evicted by family or subjected to harassment. It helps to isolate doubts about your own identity from the fear of the repercussions of coming out. “Yes,” I said.

Does the gender therapist then help the person come to terms with the fact that this can never actually happen and they will always be male? It doesn’t say and I think it would be highly irresponsible if it doesn’t happen.

But you’re right, it’s incredibly irresponsible, not only of the Guardian but also the doctors and therapists involved. Has this person been checked, health wise? Have they been counselled that the script for oestrogen and progesterone will raise this person’s risk of male breast cancer by 46 fold? Have they been told about the significant increased risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart attacks?

SnuggyBuggy Thu 31-Dec-20 07:49:40

I wish there was more effort to look at the relationship between conservative backgrounds and cultures and gender dysphoria.

And yes I agree that pretending that you can swap sex consequence free is irresponsible and childish.

Random63638 Thu 31-Dec-20 07:56:16

This sits very uncomfortably "I am coming out into a world that sees my existence as a matter of legitimate debate"

The debate is not about existence surely but how different people's needs are met. It feels like a very disingenuous way to shut down legitimate discussion.

EdgeOfACoin Thu 31-Dec-20 07:57:15

The whole "push a button" thought experiment is irresponsible. People are not going to unquestionably accept Sophie as female. Sophie may have trouble finding a romantic partner further down the line, for instance. This isn't the same as contemplating a career change or moving country.

It also isn't clear to me why Sophie has suddenly decided that Sophie is a woman. What makes Sophie a woman?

midgeghost Thu 31-Dec-20 08:00:39

Omg, even today if there were totally no consequences i would push to be male

But that a not possible end in would be pretty miffed to be pushed towards surgery and called trans just because of that!

2Rebecca Thu 31-Dec-20 08:02:50

It looks as though the psychologist didn't ask the main question which is " why do you think life will be so much better if people think you are the opposite sex and what sort of life goals, career ambitions and hobbies could you do then that you can't do in your current gender identity?
When it comes to m to f transexuals apart from those who want to compete in women's sports and win medals there rarely seems to be any practical reasons why changing gender identity is so important to achieving what you want in life, being perceived as the other sex is seen as a goal in itself which is odd and limiting.

Advertisement

testing987654321 Thu 31-Dec-20 08:08:39

Right now I am Sophie in private and someone else in public. The way I present and the person I am have nothing to do with each other.

That sounds an extremely mentally unhealthy way to live. Especially during a pandemic when we can't socialise normally. It doesn't strike me as a good time to make massive changes.

Also this

At the beginning of 2020, I believed I wouldn’t see the end of it. I’d finished a long stint in higher education, and career plans a decade in the making refused to come to fruition. I suffered the ignominy of moving back in with my parents, while all of my peers settled into careers and homes of their own. The combined effect of depression and gender dysphoriaa** – a fundamental incongruence between the gender I was assigned at birth and the gender I actually was – meant that I stopped being able to imagine a future at all.*

This person has had a massive disappointment, their life isn't going the way they hoped, leading to depression. Have they actually dealt with that and found a new way to move forward? Or are they grasping onto being trans as a way of reinventing themselves and hoping this will solve all their problems?

I feel sorry for them because at the end of this they will still have the same issues they had at the start, plus will be a lifelong medical patient.

Collidascope Thu 31-Dec-20 08:13:47

This person has had a massive disappointment, their life isn't going the way they hoped, leading to depression. Have they actually dealt with that and found a new way to move forward? Or are they grasping onto being trans as a way of reinventing themselves and hoping this will solve all their problems?

Yes, those were my thoughts too.
And this

"I am Sophie in private and someone else in public. The way I present and the person I am have nothing to do with each other."

What does that even mean? That this person doesn't feel they can act the way they want to while looking like a man? Presumably that's down to strict gender norms, perhaps imposed by the parents.

Biscuitsanddoombar Thu 31-Dec-20 08:15:14

I’m very cynical about these anon columns in the guardian that just happen to restate the official stonewall narrative of trans ppl existence being up for debate when that is not and never has been the argument.

I wouldn’t die of surprise if they were written in house

RealityNotEssentialism Thu 31-Dec-20 08:29:12

I agree totally. Why use the ‘if you could push a button’ test with something that cannot happen? It’s not transphobia that stops people from seeing Sophie as female - it’s the fact that you cannot change sex and other than in very rare circumstances, someone who is trans will appear to others as trans rather than the opposite sex. I assume Sophie is early 30s. If Sophie wants to settle down and have a good career, this path isn’t going to help him. I can’t see it alleviating any MH issues that he might have. He should be free to live his life as he chooses of course (including changing his body) but this smacks of someone with a MH issue being given false hope by a professional who hasn’t even bothered doing a proper examination.

Also, how can you ‘transition in private’? How will that realistically work? If you live with your parents and don’t feel comfortable coming out to them, how will you explain the effects of the hormone tablets when they kick in?

I think so many people with GD are sold false dreams about what they can become through transition. You can’t force people to see you as you want them to. People are able to easily distinguish male from female. Even the trans-allies who shout TWAW are largely all talk and no action. Very very few of them would date a trans person themselves for instance. Sophie is likely to find himself more isolated than ever if he does this.

BraveBananaBadge Thu 31-Dec-20 08:48:31

I read articles like this in the hope they will shed some light onto why the person feels they ‘are’ the opposite sex. Like a pp, you really have to be cynical in these cases when the writer won’t put their name to it. It says nothing to explain what it is that is actually sealing the deal for them and more about a political agenda.

That this was piece was full of language like ‘ideology’ and ‘not up for debate’ showed it was not written to enlighten people but play to a gallery and further the myth anyone with doubts is against them (including parents, obviously).

On the other hand that whole ‘what I learned in 2020’ column has been pretty poor navel-gazing dross all round, so am trying not to get too wound up...

terfinginthevoid Thu 31-Dec-20 08:51:33

If it’s true, any doctors involved are totally unethical. And the stated hormone treatment is wrong - transwomen don’t need progesterone, they use oestrogen and an anti-androgen.

zanahoria Thu 31-Dec-20 09:05:08

Why use the ‘if you could push a button’ test with something that cannot happen

It is a sales pitch for Big Pharma

The only button available is one that removes breasts and mutilates genitals but that does not sound so attractive it is not even talked about - thus the nonsense about top and bottom surgery.

sauceyorange Thu 31-Dec-20 09:06:02

I agree with @Biscuitsanddoombar

File under 'never happened'. You'd not get a competent psychologist asking leading questions like that. Nice try, stonewall

gardenbird48 Thu 31-Dec-20 09:34:06

It seems so strange that after a short conversation a person can be diagnosed with the serious condition of gender dysphoria.

Surely conditions like this that have such far reaching effects on a person’s life would take a bit more in depth discussion to diagnose? I have seen people with mental health problems be absolutely adamant that a particular issue is at the root of their problems in the moment of distress but then move away from that idea like it was never the case.

Surely more than one interview would be required to establish persistence? I only know a little bit about it but couldn’t a bipolar condition generate similar focus and strength of feeling?

DeaconBoo Thu 31-Dec-20 09:38:50

Does the author think that transgender people who haven't had medical intervention aren't "living as themselves"? Isn't this an incredibly crass and offensive thing to say in the national press?

Vermeil Thu 31-Dec-20 09:39:21

I must say, the whole thing does just read like a list of ‘trans journey’ cliches with a pandemic twist. The only slightly novel bit is the partner being oh-so-accepting yet still climbing out of the inevitable bin fire ASAP, without criticism,
The bit with the psychologist really bothers me. Are they really able to prescribe hormones after a 15min consultation? I sometimes get the impression that outside the NHS they’re thrown around like sweeties, the negative effects of CSH are never mentioned at all, let alone glossed over. Sure, you get the whine that NHS waiting times are too long so people go elsewhere, but the way hormones are fetishised I can’t help thinking that even if they weren’t there’d still be a significant black market. Give it a few years and there will be people who took this route who will start showing serious health issues as a result, though I doubt we’ll hear much about it till it becomes to big to ignore. Wouldn’t want to disrupt the celebratory sparkles with something as inconvenient as a spike in severe mental health problems or certain cancers, for instance...

OP’s posts: |
gardenbird48 Thu 31-Dec-20 09:44:07

When the time came to tell my partner of seven years, I broke down trembling in her arms

I’ve just reread. The use of the word ‘trembling’ is unusual- not sure I’ve seen it used like that since I read a Barbara Cartland novel as a teenager.

The other thing that struck me - how did the diagnosis take just 15 mins? By the time you sit down, introduce yourself and report what seemed to be a fairly lengthy life history with recent issues of stress and turmoil of a planned career not working out and having to move in with parents - how can all that be achieved in 15 minutes?? Why would the clinician not choose to use the other allocated 45 minutes just to be sure?

I agree with pp that is a work from the Stonewall fiction stable.

TinselAngel Thu 31-Dec-20 09:50:48

Good on his partner for leaving.

Babdoc Thu 31-Dec-20 09:51:18

A pity they didn’t name the psychologist, who could then be referred to the HCPC for disciplinary action. Assuming they were actually qualified and registered in the first place, which sounds unlikely given their reckless and unprofessional prescribing habits.

TinselAngel Thu 31-Dec-20 09:52:17

Oh I think I did an accidental misgender.

I do think it's odd that the article goes out of its way to say how accepting the partner was, even though she left.

BreatheAndFocus Thu 31-Dec-20 09:53:19

Wherever I go, there I am. You can’t run away from your problems when they’re inside you. What might seem a simple answer isn’t at all.

The Press A Button test is facile. I expect most people with anorexia would press a button to be ultra-thin and allowed to starve themselves without hassle, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It’s far better to explore the reasons someone might feel and act the way they do.

Is this an ad for GenderGP?

Malahaha Thu 31-Dec-20 09:54:31

If I could have pushed a button, in my youth, and get white skin and blonde hair, I would have.
Ask a fat, plain person if they would push a button to become slim and beautiful -- most would.
Ask a poor person if they would push a button to become a millionaire overnight -- most would.
Ask a barren woman if she could press a button to become fertile -- I bet she would.

"If you could push a button" means nothing. Many if not most of us have totally unrealistic and unfulfillable desires.

Winesalot Thu 31-Dec-20 09:58:26

A GD diagnosis in 15 minutes......

And they tell us no one would go through the long long process unless they were genuine.

Ummm.... tell us again how hard it is to abuse this - now with private clinics and only affirming treatment practices allowed? Publishing this in a national newspaper is getting the word out just just how easy it is. Get that diagnosis and change a few markers on official documents and names on utilities and you are done.

When my MP told me ‘nobody is going to go through such an arduous process who isn’t genuine. So no you big phobe!! while you told me about your own sad story of the abusive teacher who would feel up the 10/11/12 year old girl’s breasts using his position of power to abuse, no one at all will use this process as another way to gain access to vulnerable people. Never. It is so arduous....

Only we are now being told it is not.....

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in