Tuesday 9 November 2010

The Mail Attacks Trans' Right to Exist

Normally known for its frothing headlines, The Daily Mail does a nice sideline in sugar-coated bigotry in its 'Femail' pages. Femail concentrates on personal stories, relationships, cosmetics, fashion, celebrity, bunny rabbits and other sexist staples you can expect from "women's" magazines. If the paper proper uses a blunderbuss to blast out its rancid agenda, Femail prefers the quiet drip of conservative arsenic. And yesterday it was trans women who were subject to its subtle poison.

This piece, called 'A Very Peculiar Engagement' is the story of how Charles Kane, a man who transitioned from male to female and back again is now getting married. Ostensibly a story of his and his fiance's complex body image issues (she's a recovering anorexic) Kane uses it as a platform for his opinions about transgenderism. He says:
People who think they are a woman trapped in a male body are, in my opinion, completely deluded. I certainly was. I needed counselling, not a sex-change operation.
And on surgery itself:
Based on my own experiences, I believe sex-change operations should not be allowed, and certainly not on the NHS ... In many ways I see myself a victim of the medical profession.
One word comes to my mind: idiot. Kane is seriously arguing that because he thought transitioning to a woman was a bad mistake therefore everyone else should be denied that opportunity. It seems the desire to change your sex is something akin to a mental illness. Forget the tens of thousands of trans men and women who've transitioned and found it a life-saver (in some cases, literally) - this self-indulgent crap is grist to the mill of bigots, some radical feminists and "anti-essentialists" for whom the idea of fluid and unfixed gender identities are anathema.

Long time readers of
The Mail might recognise Kane. Two years ago he appeared in the paper bemoaning his single status. And before then too: I have a clear memory of reading his story around 2004 in the work's canteen. That The Mail have had to use one guy on at least three occasions to call for bans on trans surgery (even if it's "his opinion") just shows how representative he is of trans people at large. A useful antidote to Femail's venom can be found here.


Jenny Walks-Riise said...

Absolutely disgusting. Everyone has a right to be whoever they are.

I would, however, tend to agree that sexual realignment surgery ought not be funded on the NHS. However, I do not know roughly how many are funded each year, so cannot comment on the economics

James Bloodworth said...

Hear hear.

Phil said...

Why shouldn't surgery be available on the NHS? Its availability now means safeguards are in place and why people like Charles Kane are very much the exception.

Anonymous said...

I think the medical profession is un-ethical in offering radical surgery as a solution to what is a psychiatric problem, treatment should focus upon re-introducing the patient to the reality that they are male, or female not indulging a delusion.
You dont treat a paranoid schizophrenics problems by entering into their deluded world, and make real the people who are out to get them by hiring them stalker.

So why do it with this form of mental illness? because they can?

Unlike the People Front of Judea i can not support Stan's right to be Loretta.

Phil said...

No wonder you're hiding behind anonymity -mental illness my arse.

Beyond a few cranks the psychiatric consensus is that the desire to transition to another gender is *not* a mental illness. So justify yourself: why do you think it's a problem?

Joffer said...

Indulging a delusion?! If there is one sure-fire way to make the mental illness rates of intersex individual skyrocket, it would be to force them into this simply false black and white binary of male or female you have suggested. The nature of intersex is most often a discrepancy between one's genitals and one's 'Core Gender Identity' - by discrepancy, I mean this relatively, as in generally, most individual with a penis have an almost inborn sense of themselves as male and vice versa. The very heart of intersex is the incoherence between sense of gendered self and genital sex - your suggestion Anonymous, although you clearly have just spouted off and haven't really a clue about it so shouldn't be taken overseriously, is bound only to harm people.