There is a handful of radicals in the world today who have dared to challenge the diagnosis of transsexualism. Those who do are called "transphobic" and treated with staggering vitriol. There is a form of cultural relativism at play here. Defenders of female genital mutilation or forced marriage often use the argument that such practices can be justified within certain communities (i.e. non-Western cultures), despite the fact that they serve to dehumanise women, because it is the "truth" of that particular community. After I had been shortlisted for the Stonewall award, scores of blogs and message boards filled with a call to arms against me.
On one, "Genocide and Julie Bindel", a poster wrote, "What would Stonewall's reaction have been had a BME [black and minority ethnic] group nominated Ayatollah Khomeini as Politician of the Year? She is an active oppressor of trans people. I hope she dies an agonising and premature death of cancer in the very near future. It would make the world a better place."
I had some support, some from those who had also experienced a transsexual-led witchhunt. I heard from post-operative trans-sexuals who had been railroaded into surgery and now regretted it. "Do not publish my name," said one, "but if anyone questions the validity of sex-change treatment you are sent to Coventry by the ‘community' elders."
A police officer who, during the course of his duty, was unfairly accused by transsexuals of "transphobia" was driven to a breakdown by their vicious campaign. An eminent medical ethicist who had dared to defend a fellow professional who had questioned the diagnosis of GD from a scientific point of view almost lost his career and reputation. And several women from feminist organisations have been bullied and vilified for challenging the "right" of male-to-female transsexuals to work in women-only organisations.
Dr Caillean McMahon, a US-based forensic psychiatrist, defines herself not as a transsexual but as a "woman of operative history. The trans community has an unforgiving global sort of condemnation towards critical outsiders. I have to be suspicious that the insistence of many of those demanding to enter it is not for the purpose of celebrating the spirit and nature of women, but to seek an enforced validation, extracted by force in a legal or political manner." With the normalisation of transsexual surgery comes an acceptance of other forms of surgery to correct a mental disorder. In 2000, Russell Reid, a psychiatrist who has diagnosed hundreds of people with GD, was involved in controversy over the condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), where sufferers can experience a desperate urge to rid themselves of a limb. Reid referred two BDD patients to a surgeon for leg amputations. "When I first heard of people wanting amputations, it seemed bizarre in the extreme," he said in a TV documentary. "But then I thought, ‘I see transsexuals and they want healthy parts of their body removed in order to adjust to their idealised body image,' and so I think that was the connection for me. I saw that people wanted to have their limbs off with equally as much degree of obsession and need."
In a world where equality between men and women was reality, transsexualism would not exist. The diagnosis of GD needs to be questioned and challenged. We live in a society that, on the whole, respects the human rights of others. Accepting a situation where the surgeon's knife and lifelong hormonal treatment are replacing the acceptance of difference is a scandal. Sex-change surgery is unnecessary mutilation. Using human rights laws to normalise trans-sexualism has resulted in a backward step in the feminist campaign for gender equality. Perhaps we should give up and become men.
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