Why I'm sick and tired of the pro-trans fanatics
It's time sanity returned to the debate. Otherwise, campaigners are going to harm the people they're trying to help
Eleven-year-old Max (Callum Booth-Ford) likes feather boas and pink crop-tops. Max thinks he wants to be a girl, but his builder father is appalled. He slaps the boy, screams in his face, insists to Vicky, Max’s well-meaning mother (Anna Friel), that “it’s about us fixing him”. The parents separate under the strain. At school, Max is bullied for being a “freak”. His granny is an off-the-peg bigot.
The characters who question Max’s choice to become Maxine are pantomime villains. The UK drama Butterfly unashamedly supports the transgender cause and leverages viewer sympathy. There is a truly terrible scene where the boy attempts suicide. By the end of episode one, a counsellor has advocated “puberty blockers”.
Praised for its veracity, Tony Marchant’s drama worked closely with Mermaids UK, a charity that supports “gender diverse and transgender children”. In 2015, Mermaids’ CEO Susie Green told British MPs that the health service’s gender dysphoria clinic for young people was “a service where there is a 48% suicide-attempt risk”, a figure that has since been discredited.
Portraying a suicidal adolescent to prove a non-existent case is highly irresponsible (copycat attempts are a serious problem). “See, if you don’t agree to our demands, more kids will top themselves!” is little more than moral blackmail. But, hey, factual inaccuracies must not be allowed to get in the way of the trans bandwagon, which mows down dissent like Boudicca’s chariot.
I have a transgender friend and I would never underestimate the pain of someone who grows up believing they are in the wrong body. It’s a very good thing that early help is now available; according to data released this week, hate crime in the UK driven by hostility to transgender people showed a sharp increase last year, up by 32%.
Families in the future may be spared the trauma of having a parent transition in middle age. Nevertheless, the sharp rise in children being referred to gender identity clinics – the number has quadrupled in the past five years – should make us at least question whether such cases are genuine, or if the wider promotion of trans issues in schools is, as some experts claim, “sowing confusion” in young minds.
My main objection is that little girls who like stomping about in dungarees and playing with cars (as my sister did) are increasingly said to “identify as male”. Ditto boys who like pretty clothes and Madonna and may or may not turn out to be gay – but why on Earth should they “identify as a girl”? Aren’t those precisely the sexist stereotypes we’re supposed to be challenging? Labelling children as transgender when they may simply fancy being a train driver one day and Princess Eugenie the next is wrong and dangerous.
Enter the UK government which, in one of its excruciating “We’re not Tories, honest!” initiatives, decided it should be possible for adults to change their gender without a doctor’s diagnosis. Under proposed reforms to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act (GRA), all you have to do is “self-identify” as a member of the opposite sex, and Bob’s your auntie! A ludicrous and offensive proposition to most Tories, I'm sure – but that has never made Prime Minister Theresa May lose any sleep.
Feminists also find plenty to dislike in the idea that a person with a penis, merely by stating they are female, can gain access to women-only spaces. Legitimate objections from women with a lifetime of campaigning for equality have been howled down as “transphobic”. Ann Henderson, the rector of Edinburgh University, became the latest victim this week, simply for retweeting an event titled: “How will changes to the Gender Recognition Act affect women’s rights?”
The thought police at her student newspaper creepily commented that the rector “has been seen affirmatively responding to tweets by allegedly transphobic organisations”. Henderson was in trouble because “the university needs to be a place where transgender students feel supported and respected”. No, you self-righteous little fools, the university needs to be a place where people of all kinds feel able to discuss contentious subjects.
Disgracefully, Edinburgh University failed to defend free speech and its blameless rector. It issued an equivocal statement saying its position was one of “zero tolerance” towards “harassment, bullying and victimisation of any kind”. See how trans activists have silenced opposition by rebranding “debate” as bullying, and “holding a different opinion” as victimisation?
A consultation on reforming the GRA closes at the end of this week. So toxic has this topic become, however, that even powerful people are scared to speak out. According to a ComRes poll, 67% of UK MPs across all parties (and 78% of Conservative MPs) are concerned that rules allowing men to self-identify as a woman and access women-only spaces could be exploited by malicious individuals. Yet 54% of MPs feel they cannot speak freely on trans issues.
Fears about “self-identification” were more than proven last week when it was revealed that Karen White, a paedophile and rapist who now identifies as a woman, was put in a women's prison and – surprise! – went on to sexually assault inmates. Karen (born David Thompson) was jailed for life for rape. While on remand, he was transferred to HMP New Hall at his own request after a “transgender case board” decided a women’s prison was the right place.
Dear God, in what world would putting a 52-year-old rapist, still legally male and in possession of his penis, in a confined space with lots of vulnerable females, be considered a good idea?
The crazy, cowardly, craven, identity lobby-appeasing world in which we now live, ladies and gentlemen. If I'm allowed to use those binary terms.
White is far from typical of trans people. Most who choose to embark on the long, difficult journey are answering a call that lies deep within them, and which demands to be heard. But the White case does illustrate what happens when shrill claims about a minority “identity” are allowed to trump the rights of the majority. The government, which opened this Pandora’s Box in the first place by suggesting reforms to the GRA, needs to slam it shut it again.
- © Telegraph Media Group Limited (2018)