THE Left continues to eat its own. Delegates tucked into each other at the recent Labour Party conference in Brighton. Meanwhile along the road at Sussex University, Professor Kathleen Stock was the latest intended victim of woke cancel-culture. She dared to challenge transgender orthodoxy, hence the recrudescent cry of ‘Burn the witch’. Radical feminist academic versus ‘queer’ fanatics – okay, they probably deserve each other. However, the spectre of a P45 should never have been raised.
But what, asks this staidly heterosexual male, is all this transgender business? Why this vicious new theatre in SJW internecine warfare? Only a few short years ago it was a non-subject. Sure, one occasionally saw a transsexual (the former term) about town, an object of quiet toleration, compassion and, at worst, minor intrigue.
Some folk, one had always known, felt trapped inside their biological bodies, hence their coming out as the opposite sex. On rare occasions this was facilitated by surgery – the intriguing bit. But that was it; one wished them well, etc. (Forgive me for being a tad miffed with ‘Jennifer’, a blind date whose large hands and 5 o’clock shadow, absent from her photo, portended a somewhat awkward coffee meet-up.)
The ante has been upped, and with dire consequences. A bold new book, Irreversible Damage: Teenage Girls and the Transgender Craze, assesses them. Adolescent females are a capricious breed, and American author Abigail Shrier assumed that teachers, medical professionals and other influencers acted accordingly. Alas, she found that many of them take the path of least resistance. Affirmation and indulgence abound; the girls’ own feelings are sovereign.
Online hucksters are especially influential. The reader is led into an eye-opening world of transgender YouTube sensations such as Canadian Chase Ross, a gender-bending hip hero to impressionable, self-absorbed youth. ‘Discovering online trans gurus’, observes Shrier, ‘is equal parts thrilling and disconcerting to curious teens – like pornography they are curious about but not quite ready to see.’ Here’s the core problem: trans is portrayed as an identity to celebrate, not a mental disorder to treat. Small wonder there’s a peer-contagion of what’s being called rapid-onset gender dysphoria.
Shrier dissects the slyly normalising trans mantras, cueing meltdown among her woke critics: if you think you might be transgender, you are (no, it’s often just a phase); trying out breast flatteners is a great way to experiment (they can cause lasting damage); testosterone is amazing, it will solve all your problems (and end your fertility); if your parents loved you, they would support your trans identity (firm objection is often more effective); if you’re not supported on your trans journey, you’ll probably kill yourself (nice try, but the causal link is unproven).
Warning: Irreversible Damage isn’t for the squeamish. For female-to-male transition, ‘top surgery’, as the young breezily call it, includes rebuilding the clitoris, partly for penetration purposes, into the size of a small carrot. Trouble is, if the patient gets buyer’s regret there’s no reverse process, and the potential side-effects are numerous. Ditto the increasingly popular double mastectomy.
As for schools, they’re now places of social justice, not learning. Hence pupils are encouraged – coerced – to consider where they sit on the ever-widening gender spectrum. In California, girls as young as 12 are free to walk out of class to receive hormone treatment, unbeknownst to their parents. Kids know themselves best, you see. The bogus us and them divide confected by our so-called educators pits gender-fluid children against phobic mum and dad.
Trans enjoy special status in the victim hierarchy. Hence biological males identifying as female are at liberty to break women’s sports records, to share their toilets, dorms and even prison cells. Surprise, surprise: sexual assaults have proliferated. Thus in this ‘progressive’ new paradigm women’s achievements are besmirched, their privacy violated. It’s on such terrain that Leftie old-school feminists such as Professor Stock do bitter battle with trans advocates. No friend of conservatives she may be, but she deserves our support. As does this book.