THERE is only one response to Tory MP Jamie Wallis’s recent announcement that he is trans: compassion. Blackmail, a rape, a car crash, post-traumatic stress disorder and now diagnosed gender dysphoria. Poor chap.
So let us picture him happily in a few years’ time, looking not unlike a jolly lady from a Beryl Cook painting, wrapped in a Union Jack cardigan and tucking into a piece of cake.
Wallis’s 3am announcement of his ‘being’ or ‘wanting to be’ trans has an echo from another, simpler time: when New Labour was in charge and politicians went around punching the electorate rather than locking them up for nearly two years.
Recall, if you will, Wallis lookalike John Prescott’s 2008 confession that he had been a bulimic for two decades. He used to ‘stuff his face’ with M&S trifle and cans of condensed milk and, rather ominously, ‘signs in the toilet’ led his wife Pauline to recognise what was going on.
Prescott, once Deputy Prime Minister, received praise from eating disorder experts for his bravery in talking about his bulimia. While it’s impossible to confirm a causal link, I would suggest that his indeed courageous admission had a startling effect on bulimia: it declined rapidly.
Those vulnerable people with unhealthy relationships with food quietly moved on from bulimia to ‘clean eating’ or ‘veganism’. Prescott was not the pin-up for eating disorders that teenagers rush to admire.
Similarly, if Jamie Wallis creates an ongoing media story charting his journey to ladyhood, I suspect the number of trans teenagers will likewise plummet. For every photograph of him we see flying the trans flag and wearing a pronouns badge, a few more teenagers will consider if being trans really is for them.
As his hair grows long and he posts pictures of himself on Instagram in a Union Jack dress, another group of trans teenagers will quietly assert their biological sex.
Once fully transitioned, Jamie Wallis may look around for fellow trans folk and find himself standing alone in his size 10 high heels.
Image courtesy of https://members.parliament.uk/member/4766/portrait. CC Licence.