The unChristian Institute

One, maybe, last coda to the news of the ten-year-old starting to transition in Worcester this week. It began with a rather upset message from an organisation dedicated to helping parents and children who find themselves with gender issues.

A friend from Mermaids UK expressed sadness that some people – outwardly christian – seem to revel in such unChristian bigotry. I agree.

The Christian Institute report

The original article may be found over at the pages of the Christian Institute. I say “original”. Actually, there is rarely much original in their journalism: their critique is mostly a rehash of stuff posted over and over again ad nauseam. Large chunks of their copy seems to be lifted from other journalists (including, on one occasion, myself) with no direct attribution to source. And yes: the article is linked in the side bar, but that is not quite the same!

That’s at best pisspoor journalism: at worse, dishonest.

This time, they start with a lift from the Daily Mail. Compare and contrast their first three pars with a similar article appearing this week in the Mail: note some minor differences…though the similarities remain rather more in evidence than the changes.

Easy Outrage

Next up, under a sub-head labelled “Outraged” is a swift cut to a quote from some bigots who expressed “concern that they weren’t informed before their kids were told officially of the child’s transition. A couple of points here.

First is that lovely sub-head: there are three sub-heads in the article: “Outraged”, “Harm” and “Mistake”. Those pretty much sum up the uCI’s attitude to transition – and also put the lie to any claim that they possess any real Christian concern for those who transition.

Next up is the selectivity of the quotes. I’ve said before, severally, that it is becoming very clear to me how bigots hide behind “concern” about other people’s reaction.

Bully? Kick the shit out of some tranny? Not me, guv: but i know a man who might. So, too, here – and its a double game. The parents quoted are playing it. One is quoted as saying, of the transition or the decision to tell about the transition (its not clear which): “The parents we spoke to are absolutely outraged that they weren’t consulted about this.”

Huh? What business is it of their’s if a child decides to transition? Busybodies, as well as bigots!

And of course, by selectively quoting the most negative comments, omitting the supportive stuff from the child’s mum and headteacher, the uCI demonstrates yet again the game its playing. Even in the most anti-tranny newspaper i can imagine, were i to stupidly file a story for them, i’d be asked to get “balance”. Sure, the balance would be skewed and positive stuff played down and belittled: but at least most professional writers understand the nature of balance.

Not so the cowardly writer who couldn’t even be bothered to put his or her name to this story. Positive quotes? Nah: who needs them.

Next up, we’re into the meat of the uCI’s analysis.

Critics with psychiatric problems

“Critics of sex change operations say that gender dysphoria is a psychiatric problem”. Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they: that’s the nature of being a critic. I mean, if i wanted to have a go at the uCI, i could write “critics of the Christian Institute say they have psychiatric problems”.

Hey! Let’s take a vote on it. Do more people think the uCI management have psych probs than us trannies. Hands, please!

But again, this is lazy. Occasionally i duck into journalese, writing “critics say” or “experts write”. Usually it means i know something but can’t get someone on record to stand up what i know. So i anonymise.

Its weak. Sub-standard journalism. I don’t like doing it. Editors don’t. SOmetimes it necessary. But in this case, surely the uCI have some names they could add?

Apparently not.

Some old quotes from the Portman

In 2002, they write, doctors from the NHS Portman Clinic stated “what many patients find is that they are left with a mutilated body, but the internal conflicts remain”.

Oh yeah! THAT letter. The one in the Telegraph, including signatories by the likes of busted pop psychiatrist Az Hakeem who, we believe, has since recanted just a touch on the viciousness of the language. Need to get chapter and verse on that one (can anyone help?). But still, 2002 is OLD!

Some older stuff selectively quoted from the Home Office

But wait. They also quote a Home Office report from 2000, which said: “Many people revert to their biological sex after living for some time in the opposite sex”.

Clearly that quote impressed them, since a quick google shows it as appearing not once but 28 times on the uCI’s site.

Anyway, if you want chapter and verse on that quote, it comes from the Report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Transsexual People, April 2000.

Again old – and knowledge of what trans meant was then in its infancy, as far as officials are concerned. So its worth looking at exactly what that sentence was doing in there.

Its actually in the conclusion (s5.1) and its not being used as argument against transition. Its one of many possible paths recognised as being taken by trans individuals, or individuals who identify as trans at some point in their lives.

Paths enumerated include living in opposite sex roles without any treatment, hormones and surgery. The language of this sentence is clumsy: we wouldn’t really talk about reverting to “biological sex” nowadays. But this was one of the very first official attempts to educate government about trans issues. Little wonder if it wasn’t perfect.

Bu-ut…what’s the issue? How is this a critique of re-assignment, as the uCI seem to think it is? Its actually part of the process. People live in their “opposite” sex role: they decide transition is not for them. They revert. That’s at least partly why the real-life experience bit is there: to weed out the wannabe’s from the serious.

Its also, incidentally, what is being proposed for the child in this case. Obtain real-life experience of the gender you identify with BEFORE taking any irrevocable steps.

Still, maybe the subtlety of actually testing a proposition by evidence is lost on the uCI.

Two big mistakes

Then we’re into the section headed “Mistake”. Two stories are retold. First off is the man who spent £100k on “looking like a woman” and then changed back. It wouldn’t be…couldn’t be…oh, yes, it is: arch sexist and bigot in his own right, Charles Kane.

A Kaning from Charles

I’ll get back to him another day, but its a mistake (hmmm…methinks the word is catching) to view Mr K as a failed trans woman, so much as a good old-fashioned male chauvinist p*g. Unfair? For full chapter and verse on Mr Kane, the Mail is helpful.

But i’d say that one quote above all others sums up the shallowness of the man – let alone the woman. He is quoted as saying:

“I found being a woman rather shallow and limiting. So much depends on your appearance, at the expense of everything else. I wasn’t interested in shopping.”

Oh my gosh! He didn’t like shopping. So he couldn’t be a woman.

However, in terms of the uCI’s case, he isn’t especially helpful. Mr K slammed past all safeguards in respect of treatment, using his fortune to buy up potential obstacles. He presumably hadn’t thought stuff thru. And he now makes money out of retelling his “tragic” story in print and in other media.

Oh. And he did all this – the initial transition, that is, in 1997. Wait up, guys…give the uCI its head and we’ll be back to the days of Methuselah before long!

However, his views are current, apparently, because he went public last year with an utterly selfish call for the NHS to halt all re-assignment surgery.

Like: “hey folks! I acted like a complete dick: and rather than own up to my own responsibility, now i’d like to make life shit for everyone else”. Nice one Charles!

The Money Shot

Last up – and i haven’t a clue why they included this story, the uCI quote the case of alleged paedophile Dr John Money (in 2000, it was alleged that he had taken numerous naked photos of twin boys under his treatment and had forced them to engage in “sexual play” at age 7). The question of whether he actually abused his patients sexually remains an open one – although he is on record (googled 16/9/11) as stating that:

“If i were to see the case of a boy aged 10 or 11 who’s intensely erotically attracted toward a man in his twenties or thirties, if the relationship is totally mutual, and the bonding is genuinely totally mutual… then i would not call it pathological in any way.”

Go, Money, go!

And right on, unChristian Institute! You just know that a boy aged ten can’t know the world well enough to decide to transition at that age (which in fact is not what’s happening): but you’re perfectly happy to quote an “expert” who reckons a ten-year-old is competent to decide to have sex with an adult.

I’ll pass, for now, on the unhealthy nexus that seems to exist between some sections of the Christian church, experts like John Money, and covered up child abuse. That is for a later day.

Will somebody PLEASE shoot the Money!

Still, to get back to this case that the uCI thinks is so important. What happened? Oh yes: Dr Money had some theories (back in 1966) about gender development being wholly social (and therefore totally capable of being moulded by “experts” like himself).

He took a normal non-trans boy who had suffered some penile damage through a botched circumcision and forced him through a non-consensual partial transition (orchidectomy and hormones). The boy never properly socialised as female (which is exactly what current day trans clinicians would predict), reverted to male in his adult life and later committed suicide.

Modern day thinking (again) would see this as exactly the wrong thing to do – and as evidence that transition needs to be carefully thought out, listen to the needs of the patient and be accompanied by procedures like real-life experience. Again, exactly what is happening in the case that the uCI seems to have such a bee in its bonnet about.

The need for Christian values

Apologies to my regular readers for going on at such length. But i think its worth occasionally doing so, if only to provide an antidote to those upset by the negative spin that these non-Christians put on other people’s lives.

As you will know, i remain Christian and committed. I have been overwhelmed, over the last year or so, by the amazingly positive, caring, supportive stance of my local church congregation. And for that reason, it pains me to read the garbage churned out by a bunch of bigots claiming the Christian badge for their own.

They are not so much christians, motivated by the values of the gospels, as pharisees, binding themselves to a narrow, rule-bound, unloving view of the world

If this piece helps anyone who has been upset by the likes of the uCI, then i am glad. On the whole, i am a firm believer in the doctrine of “say something nice – or don’t say anythign at all”.

Its not, it seems, a doctrine that the uCI know much about: and on this occasion, i think it worth making a special exception for them.

A few more Christian values in this world really would not go amiss. Sadly, if you’re looking for them to come from the uCI, you could be waiting a LONG time.


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Shirley Anne said,

    It appears to me that these people who call themselves Christian are not really Christian at all. It is one thing to profess and another to live it but of course they are preaching their stance on the faith and not accepting another’s stance. When will they realise that there are no Christians on the planet who are perfect. Show me a perfect Christian and I will show you a liar. I am a Christian who is totally aware of my shortcomings and try not to pass judgement on others whether they are of the faith or not. It is no business of mine what other people do, that is between themselves and their consciences or God. I have no time for these self-appointed crusaders who are dressed in filthy clothes brandishing a poor copy of the Gospel.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  2. 2

    kathz said,

    I think a little reference to Matthew 7, verses 1-5 is in order. I give the Authorised Version because it’s the one I like best:

    1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
    3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
    4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
    5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

    but if anyone wants to query it, here’s the original:

    1 Μὴ κρίνετε, ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε. 2 ἐν ᾧ γὰρ κρίματι κρίνετε κριθήσεσθε, καὶ ἐν ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε μετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν. 3 τί δὲ βλέπεις τὸ κάρφος τὸ ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου, τὴν δὲ ἐν τῷ σῷ ὀφθαλμῷ δοκὸν οὐ κατανοεῖς; 4 ἢ πῶς ἐρεῖς τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου, ἄφες ἐκβάλω τὸ κάρφος ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σου, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἡ δοκὸς ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ σοῦ; 5 ὑποκριτά, ἔκβαλε πρῶτον ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σοῦ τὴν δοκόν, καὶ τότε διαβλέψεις ἐκβαλεῖν τὸ κάρφος ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου.

    and it seem perfectly clear to me. The verb used for judging is also the root of the word “critic”.

  3. 3

    Sarah Wilson said,

    Mmm… So glad I’m a Quaker and not a Christian (the distinction becomes clearer the more I see of Christianity). I’m training as a primary school teacher and we were discussing inclusion yesterday. Quite a few of us will end up teaching in inner London schools, where some parents’ view may be antipathetic towards queer and trans people. The discussion was veering towards taking a tactful, non-confrontational line to parents if such an issue as this little girl arose. Understandable, if you’re a teacher trying to do the best for your kids. Except, as I pointed out, if you’re the kid who has to put up with transphobic bullying or to suppress yourself until after puberty, that’s a bit shit. All I could do was to exhort my fellow students – if they should ever find themselves in the position of teaching and caring for a trans child – to put that child’s interests first. That seemed to get a majority of nods. These situations are thankfully rare, I suppose, though I hope (to my god) that I am one day able to help just such a child be just who she or he is.

  4. 4

    A little background for you here on that quote from the report of the interdepartmental working group.

    The civil servant who chaired that group, Gay Catto, said that she had received these claims from the evangelical christian groups (principally the Evangelical Alliance) who made submissions to the working group during the period when they were taking evidence.

    The evidence we submitted was in the public domain. In fact I’ve recently made it available again for historical interest, as the PFC web site where it used to live is now dead. It’s here:

    By comparison, the Evangelical Alliance refused to make their submission available and demanded that the Home Office (hosting the IWG) should treat it as confidential. So, we are unable to know what the Christians actually claimed or what evidence they claimed to have that would back it up.

    What you have here, however, is a beautifully circular reference. The Evangelical Alliance makes a claim which they always refused to back with evidence (and which we know now to be definitely untrue); the working group quote it (probably just to avoid the inevitable criticism if they didn’t); and then the CI and other evangelical groups quote that as an authoritative source.

    What larks.

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