I am so going to have to stop reading newspapers, as all they seem to do is make me cry.
We-ell. In different ways, though.
Good news in the Sun
First up was a piece in today’s Sun which…well, I know one friend reckons its just the same old, same old, but I honestly think different. There’s a subtle tectonic shift going on beneath the surface, with trans moving from exotic issue to an issue with depth.
So, I had three reactions. First, I cried at this piece. It’s a beautiful story and one executed with a darn sight more sensitivity than the Sun has historically. I was sufficiently impressed to thank Kate Jackson, the journo involved.
Second, I think there is a touch more hinterland to this story than usual: it starts to allow readers to explore the emotional and, more important, to see the positive. That Hannah as boy was destined to a life of upset and disruptive behaviour: whilst as girl, Hannah fits. Beautifully.
Last – and this is one I fed into the comments on the page: as trans stuff moves centre stage, so the question of why the NHS pay for it will also become more often asked. And its not good enough for the trans community to go: “well, if you don’t treat us, we’ll kill ourselves”.
Time, I think, to start to develop some much more positive, potent narratives around the value that a well-adjusted trans woman, say, makes, as opposed to a badly-adjusted non-transitioned bloke.
Hateful stuff from CNN
Next up is a piece I wrote for Pink News, which itself was a distillation of work done by CNN. Basically, it pulls the plug on reparative therapy, with a riveting insight into the suicide of one victim of this abuse. Back in 2009, 6 years after Kirk Murphy killed himself, his “therapist”, the notorious reparative rapist – sorry, therapist – George Rekers was still citing his treatment as a “success”.
Ugh! Apparently Rekers was “only trying to help” – and besides, there was no “scientific” evidence he’d done any harm, which suggests an unusual fastidiousness about scientific principles which was oddly absent in his earlier work.
But…and for me, this is the heart of it…Rekers is not alone. Somewhere in the depths of medicine and psychology and all the rest is a bunch of people who are determined to “normalize” the rest of the world whether they like it or not. Hence the awful Dr Hakeem, who seems to think that trans people can be talked out of their need for treatment. Or Rekers, Zucker and the rest, who would do this for the gay community.
Or the bizarrely named Dr Dix Poppas (!) who was involved in dealing with intersex girls after they had undergone surgical intervention (sometimes as young as 2) to deal with their intersex condition by effectively slicing off a large part of their clitoris. Poppas’ contribution to this “normalizing” process was to try to work out, years later, whether the girls had suffered any lasting loss of sexual function – by poking at their clitorises with a cotton bud and seeing what they could still feel.
Words fail me. So I resort to tears. In this case, though, tears of anger. How dare these pompous, bigoted blokes set down what is “normal” and then inflict it on the rest of the world in the name of science. This debases science, pollutes medicine and, as the case I wrote about shows, it also kills.
Enough! This is difficult stuff and bad for my blood pressure.