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Germaine Greer shows us the tyranny of trans-mania

By John Slater - posted Monday, 2 November 2015


There is perhaps no issue in the world today more hostile to free and open discussion than transgenderism. Indeed, to talk these days about transgenderism in terms that don't lavish unqualified praise and admiration upon those who abandon their gender of birth is to basically label oneself as a mean-minded bigot.

Caitlyn Jenner's apotheosis from suffering patriarch of the Kardashian clan to the newly inaugurated Queen of the trans movement marks a new high water mark for trans-mania. At the start of April this year Caitlyn was a father, former Olympian and sordid reality TV star. Now just over eight months later, Caitlyn has been crowned 'Woman of the Year.' And should you want to offer anything other than gushing adulation for Caitlyn's putative heroism, expect to be exiled from polite society.

This is why it was so amusing when last week Germaine Greer, a (former) stalwart of the left, bluntly confront the First Commandment of transgenderism that gender is 'fluid.'

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Here's what she said:

"Just because you lop off your d- it doesn't make you a woman… a man who get his d- chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself."

"I've asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I'm going to wear a brown coat but that won't turn me into a f- cocker spaniel."

Greer's turn of phrase was perhaps gratuitously crass. But the media lynch mob now baying for her blood reveals just how narrow the bounds of reasonable discussion have become on all things trans. In achieving this iron grip on public opinion, the invention of the word 'transphobia' has been most useful. It is a convenient descriptor that discredits anyone who expresses an alternative view to the trans-worship orthodoxy as an irrational bigot.

Now at this point you might be asking why there is any need to say anything critical about people who choose to change genders. After all, it's their decision isn't it? What good is achieved by sledging such a vulnerable group in the public square?

The hard truth is that the jury is still very much out on whether undergoing complex, expensive and radical medical procedures is really the panacea for disillusionment with ones gender that trans-mania would have you believe. To start with, the suicide rate is just as high for people who have transitioned as it is for those yet to undergo treatment – a fact which of itself casts serious doubt over whether transitioning is really the 'cure' that it's made out to be.

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Moreover, hormone therapy is a publicly subsidized in Australia and prescribed to children wanting to avoid the puberty of their birth gender. And once a child has used hormones to forego puberty, going back the way you came isn't all that easy. What's more, a Monash Medical Centre Study has found that out of a cohort of children with gender identity disorder, the condition persisted into adolescence and adulthood in only 16% of cases. Children aren't deemed to have the capacity to sign a contract, vote and in many instances commit crimes before the age of 18. So why should we deem them capable of changing their gender before they're even teenagers?

And for those who think talking about these issues is nothing more than excuse for thinly veiled bigotry, it's worth noting that these misgivings are widely shared amongst the medical profession. According to eminent former Psychiatrist in Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital Paul McHugh, the desire to change genders is a type of body dysmorphic disorder, which physical change will not cure. McHugh argues that wanting to change gender is similar to that of anorexia or the desire to remove ones limbs known as apotemnophilia in the sense that they are all body integrity identity disorders that produce a powerful urge to for radical physical transformation. McHugh's colleagues agree and John Hopkins has now ceased performing gender reassignment surgery.

To be sure, there is no shortage of scientific literature and sociological encyclicals on all things trans that directly rebut the views outlined here. The point however, is that there are good reasons to believe that changing gender is more complex than simply this heroic act of bravery it is popularly conceived to be. And when there are conflicting views on a difficult subject, offense and confected outrage are without doubt the worst reasons to silence those who challenge the status quo.

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About the Author

John Slater is the Executive Director of the H R Nicholls Society.

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