Trans activists have enjoyed a successful decade, but on both sides of the Atlantic – in the US and its cultural lapdog, the UK – there is a deepening chill towards the movement, their “woke” cheerleaders, and the tunnel vision through which they make ever more draconian, absurd, Orwellian demands. If the electoral successes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson were to some extent a revolt against a perceived overweening political correctness, dissent from liberals is growing louder, and things don’t bode well for trans-activism as diverse groups including gay people, feminists, medical professionals and a few brave trans souls themselves have been coming forward to say the movement has gone too far.
While I could write a book on this, for the sake of brevity and short attention spans, I’ll identify four areas where the trans movement is in danger of eating itself.
The first is in the domain of language itself. The great pronoun wars have become a focal point where people who refuse to have their choice of language dictated to them have until now been falling foul of vicious backlash from trans activists and their cheerleaders. This has seen Jordan Peterson rise from relatively unknown mediocrity to internet sensation and New York Times bestselling author in the blink of an eye.
Peterson was objecting to Canada’s Bill C-16, which would purportedly have put an end to gender discrimination. Not only would it be illegal to attack individuals based on gender expression or gender identity (everything from the way they dress, wear their hair, wear makeup, speak, and more), but there would now be a form of “compelled speech” or “government mandated speech”, by forcing people to use the preferred pronouns of transgenders. Peterson rightly objected, not out of transphobia, but on the entirely solid ground of freedom of expression, causing him, to his bewilderment, to become something of a darling of the alt-right.
The Peterson story is just one of many where intolerant mobs are posing a real threat not only to freedom of expression but also, extremely worryingly, academic freedom too. Today the UK’s Telegraph newspaper reports that Selina Todd, professor of modern history at Oxford University, has been assigned security guards following threats from trans activists.
The second area is where the demands of trans activists insult, offend or harm the rights of women. As these demands have become more assertive, greater focus is being brought to concerns that trans rights are running directly counter to women’s rights as they have been understood for the past half-century.
The third is where elements of the trans argument run contrary to assertions about gay rights. Gay rights, it need hardly be said, were hard-won, and there is growing discomfort in the LGB movement about the thoroughly parasitic influence of the ‘T’ crowd who have snuck under the umbrella while often not even pretending to care about the wider movement, though they are happy to exploit the gains that movement has made.
In the UK, a number of prominent gay rights activists, including founder members of the campaigning organisation Stonewall, have publicly split from the group. There has also been the formation of the “LGB Alliance” which is “asserting the right of lesbians, bisexuals and gay men to define themselves as same-sex attracted“.
This is a demand that would not have been remotely controversial in the gay rights movements of the last half century. Indeed, it is only now, as an increasing number of gay men and women find themselves accused of “transphobia” for being attracted to members of their own sex, that such a reassertion of basic facts would have to be made.
But most seriously of all, the children, such as the seven-year-old child in Texas whose parents are in court fighting over what sex the child is. The child’s mother claims she has a girl. The father says they have a son. The mother is intent on “transitioning” the child, something the father is trying to prevent.
Since the start of the 2020 legislative session in the US, at least six states have proposed to restrict transgender minors’ access to gender reassignment treatments, including surgery and hormone therapy. Some bills would make it illegal for physicians to administer the treatments. Others would classify the act as child abuse.
In the UK, a landmark case to stop the NHS prescribing “experimental” puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children who wish to undergo gender reassignment has reached the high court.
The Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust, which runs the UK’s only gender identity development service (Gids) for children, is being sued over concerns that young people are being given “experimental treatment” without adequate assessments.
The Trust has seen 35 resignations by psychologists, including senior psychotherapists and clinicians directly involved in the diagnosis of children as transgender, since 2016.
Marcus Evans, formerly one of the Trust’s governors, resigned last year after accusing its management of having an “overvalued belief in” the expertise of the GIDS “which is used to dismiss challenge and examination”.
Meanwhile, Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, warns: “Children are not small adults; their changing body composition requires careful dosing; their physiology creates unique challenges that increase risks, and off-label use may lead to serious and life-threatening consequences. In my view, given the paucity of evidence, the off-label use of drugs that occurs in gender dysphoria largely means an unregulated live experiment on children.”
Something’s got to give here, and I sense a sea-change in attitudes towards trans activists who have burnt out the tolerance of would-be allies and whose bleating and mewling on one hand, and dictatorial policing of language on the other, have shut down the possibility of any reasonable, nuanced debate, at the expense of free speech, academic freedom, women’s and gay rights and children’s health.
It is high time they and their “woke” cheerleaders were put on notice.
What do you think?
Further reading (all material above is drawn from the following):
This year, at least six states are trying to restrict transgender kids from getting gender reassignment treatments https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/22/politics/transgender-healthcare-laws-minors-trnd/index.html
Trans activists are making life harder for trans people https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/12/trans-activists-are-making-life-harder-for-trans-people/
I supported trans ideology until I couldn’t anymore https://www.feministcurrent.com/2019/04/10/i-supported-trans-ideology-until-i-couldnt-anymore/
NHS transgender clinic accused of covering up negative impacts of puberty blockers on children by Oxford professor https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/03/07/nhs-transgender-clinic-accused-covering-negative-impacts-puberty/
Oxford University professor given security guards for lectures after threats from transgender activists https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/23/oxford-university-professor-given-security-guards-lectures-threats/