Gransnet forums

News & politics


(60 Posts)
thatbags Sun 24-Apr-16 09:44:44

A provocative (in a good sense: makes you fink, innit) and amusing article by Rod Liddle.

Luckygirl Sun 24-Apr-16 09:58:46

Well it has a certain slick humour. He writes well.

I have a friend who has just transitioned and had THE surgery. It makes me shudder to think about it. It will be followed by a lifetime of having to shove things up her "vagina" every day to keep it patent. To those of us who cannot begin to imagine the strength of feeling that would drive someone to such drastic measures it all tends to feel grotesque. Especially as the risks of the surgery are not inconsiderable - this person bled very heavily and needed blood transfusions and there is a risk of messing up the urinary tract. But there does seem to be some general acceptance in medical circles that this is an acceptable way to proceed. Of the few that I know, the men started out as very masculine in their size and bone structure - tall men with large feet who finish up with a hint of the pantomime dame about them - sorry that is not meant to be non-PC or dismissive, but that is the final effect.

Clearly we all need to accept individuals as they are and as who they want to be, but it is important that this is not foisted on young children who are sometimes confused abut their sexuality for a period in their lives. If they have a a need to identify as the opposite gender, then time enough in young adulthood. I have found some of the news from the USA, where in some states children are given hormone treatment to establish the gender of their choice, a bit disturbing. Perhaps I am just old-fashioned and behind the times.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 24-Apr-16 10:15:22

Unbelievable about that council doing that in s chooks! So funny that it is Brighton! How did Brighton become such a hub for the LGBT community. Why not Bournemouth? Or Bognor? confused

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 24-Apr-16 10:16:00

schools! Not s chooks! hmm

ninathenana Sun 24-Apr-16 10:40:16

D went to school with a boy who she never got on with at the time. This person has now had the psychological assessments as a pre cursor to surgery to become female. She dresses as a female but has not yet had the courage to do so at work. D say's she is so much happier in herself and a much better person now that she has made the decision and her and D are now firm friends and she is able to openly talk to D about it as well as the trivial stuff such as clothes and makeup.
I've said she because although she is pre surgery it's how she thinks of herself and wants others to think of her.

NanKate Sun 24-Apr-16 12:29:31

My cousin is transgender and has been forced to give up everything, her family, children and grandchildren because of her unshakeable need to become a woman. I am, to my knowledge, one of her only family who is still in touch.

The actual operation and procedures afterwards are horrendous. No one would ever agree to doing it I less they felt it was a compulsion.

The reason Brighton is so pro LGBT is that is where one of the major clinics that carry out the procedure.

suzied Sun 24-Apr-16 13:20:45

I am not sure about this. when I was growing up I was a tomboy and hated girlie stuff, would much prefer climbing trees to playing with dolls. I always wore trousers and had my hair cut short. This phase disappeared with puberty and I started to love clothes, make up etc. I also now have a doll collection! If I had known aged 7 or so that I could choose to be a boy I probably would have done, it just wasn't an option then, and very glad I am about that now! I am sure that there are a few individuals with lasting psychological issues, but I am probably with Germaine Greer on this one, a castrated male isn't a woman. I suppose that is why we now have a separate category - male/ female/ transgender.

Eloethan Sun 24-Apr-16 13:26:08

NanKate It's very sad that your cousin has lost so much and that you are the only person to keep in touch. I can understand a family being initially unhappy and confused when hearing such news but I can't understand a continuing total lack of empathy.

I agree that it is very unlikely someone would embark on such radical, risky and painful surgery - and risk terrible disruption to their working, social and family lives - unless they were absolutely desperate.

Eloethan Sun 24-Apr-16 13:52:19

I have never had much time for Rod Liddle's opinions and, having read the linked article, that is unlikely to change, though I accept that Brighton & Hove Council asking parents of a four year old what gender their child self-defines as seems a bit over-the-top.

On that point, I agree with Luckygirl that young children should not be given hormonal treatment until they have had several years to be sure that they are in "the wrong body". Added to that, boys should not be frowned upon for preferring to engage in activities that traditionalists see as "feminine". The same applies to girls but I think it is far more socially acceptable for a girl to be called "a tomboy" than it is for a boy to be called "a cissy". If gender roles are so rigidly applied (and they still are - as seen with boys and girls toys, clothes, etc.) some children will increasingly feel that they cannot be a boy/girl if they identify more with what are supposedly more masculine or feminine behaviours and activities.

ninathenana Sun 24-Apr-16 15:38:23

D friend that I talked about in my previous post is 28 she only declared that she felt female five years ago. Who knows what turmoil she felt growing up.
I agree that it's a mine field but I don't really think anything should be done until the person comes of age.
If a boy wants to wear a dress and play with dolls so be it but it shouldn't go any further till later.

M0nica Sun 24-Apr-16 15:52:16

I am at one with suzied. I was a tomboy in exactly the same way and wished I was a boy, indeed as the eldest of three sisters I was the 'boy' in the family. But like suzied I happily embraced make-up and dressing smartly at puberty. But then boys also start to prank and preen themselves to attract female attention at the same age. However my 'tomboyishness' did extend beyond puberty.

Nevertheless I am very glad that nobody ever asked me or my parents at a young age what gender I identified with because I think there is big difference between the girls like me, and probably suzied who were not 'feminine' girls and liked racing around and the rough and tumble and competitiveness associated with boys and was generally accepted by boys into their gangs and the person or child who feels physically that they are in the wrong body. I do not think a young child would or could understand or know the difference. At 4 or 5, I would definitely have thought being a boy was a good idea, but I am definitely not transgender. I have never been unhappy in my female gendered body, it is just my mind that is out of sync.

Deedaa Sun 24-Apr-16 16:09:04

I was another tomboy. I've got photos of myself as a toddler and you'd never think I was a girl. In the summer I would spend the weekends in shorts and T shirts ( There didn't seem to be trousers for girls much then) But when the hormones kicked in I became very definitely female! I still don't like frilly girly clothes, I prefer more masculine tailoring.

A friend's brother decided he was transgender. He left his wife and dressed as a woman. I don't know how far he went with it physically, but after some years he changed his mind. Hopefully he hadn't done anything too irreversible. None of it went down very well with his family who were very traditional country people.

JessM Thu 28-Apr-16 20:48:20

There would seem to be a difference between being a tomboy and feeling that you are in the wrong kind of body, which is how transgender individuals tend to describe themselves.
Puberty is a confusing time and it happens younger these days. My DGD is just beginning to grow breasts and is not very pleased about it. At the moment she does not even want to walk through the bra department. I'm pretty sure she's happy being a girl though. She just doesn't particularly want to be a woman yet. sad
I suspect if a child is truly transgender, and has not been pressured about clothes, activities etc it is probably fairly obvious by 11-12 that it is not just a phase.

M0nica Fri 29-Apr-16 17:02:55

But there is not a cut-off line between one or the other. but a long line along which people are spaced, which is why I think young children should not be quizzed about it, but left to develop the way their nature is inclined. If any one had asked me at 4 or 5 or 6 whether I wanted to be treated as a boy and allowed to dress like one, I would have jumped at the opportunity. But I am emphatically not transgender.

Part of the problem is the way society still reacts to individuals who do not quite fit the gender role they are meant to be in. If we could accept that boys will not always be boys and some may prefer to play with dolls, hate football, and be fussy how they dress and that similarly girls may prefer the rough and tumble of boys games and jockeying for position. and that is absolutely normal and doesn't mean they are gay, or transgender or different in any nd people would so accept this that no-one would think to comment on it. It would be much easier for these children and many adults like them.

radicalnan Sat 30-Apr-16 09:33:59

I do worry that just because we can perform radical surgeries, we do. There is quite a percentage of people who having undergone the whole thing, wish they hadn't or even want to reverse their choice.

I wonder why we still pursue the either or options for gender in a world where we know there are more than 2 options, forcing people to make choices of any sort is a bit weird. Gender is a societal thing as much as a biological one.

I know a couple of people whoo have had the surgery and still feel uncomfortable in their own bodies, which must be hell.

lizzypopbottle Sat 30-Apr-16 12:14:47

It's a miracle, apparently, that there are still enough heterosexual men and women to populate the country! Mind you, we are top heavy with 'seniors' so maybe it's gender confusion that's causing the birth rate to drop? Perhaps it's time to do some research in countries where there are pockets of people who have never been exposed to the media to see what the natural level of gender perception is...

I'm not saying that transgender is necessarily caused by a figment of the imagination but political correctness and the media have a part to play in what seems like a sudden surge. I know someone who was born a girl but is now a slightly built man with hairy chest and balding pate. He is one of the most pleasant people I know and has been through a lot of surgery very bravely indeed.

Pamish Sat 30-Apr-16 12:17:22

There is a very organised industry that is hard to avoid especially for young people. Anyone questioning gender roles - and isn't that everybody - can get onto the conveyor belt far far too easily. If they go online - and who doesnt?- they will quickly find encouragement that all their problems can be solved by transitioning. It is terrifying. And parents go along with it. Instead of going, yes dear, that's nice that you like pink, of course all children can like pink, they start looking for 'help' online.

Have a read of this

I feel slightly easier since realising that 'transgender' is now an all-embracing term for all who act against conventional gender roles. It's not the same as transexual ie someone who wants to 'change sex' which of course no-one can do, they can only change their gender presentation. It's fashion.

Blinko Sat 30-Apr-16 12:51:37

I heard a discussion on this topic on R4 not so long ago. An eminent speaker (sorry, I can't recall the name) felt that in many cases this was primarily a psychological issue and not a physiological one. It does seem that there are far more LGBT people around now than one ever suspected. Can it simply because it's become more acceptable, not to say fashionable?

Pamish Sat 30-Apr-16 13:54:23

There are more LGB people visibly around because we have got past the earlier prejudice and after decades of campaigning and running support services, it's easier for, especially, young people to accept that they may desire people of the same sex. This has got lumped in with the T, though often T is not to do with desire but with the common factor of sex roles, of what's allowed to women and men. Sadly questioning gender has not included what feminists in particular have tried picking apart since the year dot, which is that gender roles are constructed, there's very little that's 'natural' about masculine or feminine behaviours. The prevalence of people identifying as T is like a backlash against that earlier feminist questioning of gender roles, and in fact seems to accept them as real. Sex - male and female (and rarely, intersex) - is real. Gender is not.

It does make you wonder whether the keen-ness to encourage people to transition may have more to do with anti-gay prejudice than with a deep identity disorder. Especially in the USA, there's a lot of parents who seem more prepared to put their sons (in particular) onto the trans conveyor belt, even at the age of five, that to accept that their tiny child is not performing the traditional male roles and may even turn out to be gay. Goddess help us.

BRedhead59 Sat 30-Apr-16 16:29:19

Read the Danish Girl by David Ebershoff - It's a beautiful book on the subject and describes the life of a real person in the 1930's.

Luckygirl Sat 30-Apr-16 16:57:52

Because the surgery is so irrevocable, it is so very important that the person undergoing this has explored all other options. I agree that in a sense the surgeries happen because they can. I ear for my friend - she is younger than me and I know how much I have changed over the years. The person she has chosen to be now may not be the person she is or wants to be in 20 years time - but the vital organ will be in the incinerator.

Pamish Sat 30-Apr-16 17:10:51

Many who identify as transgender don't go for surgery. They don't all take cross-homones either. It gets confusing. The Equality Act 2010 even accepts this - someone just has to have changed their 'identity', it's illegal to discriminate against them. It's illegal to have a women-only gathering without transwomen being allowed. This can lead to clashes...

Women have been eliminated as a legal category.

jeberdes83 Sat 30-Apr-16 18:01:18

On a lighter note, years ago when my children were very young we went on holiday to my in-laws--- my son & daughter dressed much the same ,(we lived in ZA) they both wore shorts & T shirts. I laughingly said to my MiL this is the girl & this is the boy, (there is only a year between them) & she replied "oh, don't worry, I know the difference between the ball bearing one & the child bearing one!"

MaryXYX Sat 30-Apr-16 18:56:25

This article is on a level with the use of programs like the Black And White Minstrels to mock niggers (as the people who do so call people of colour).

Luckygirl: check your facts, or perhaps you are one of the group who have no intention of doing so. I agree with your comment that you have no understanding of the strength of feeling that requires such procedures. I also note your confusion of gender and sexual orientation.

Like any surgical procedure there is a risk of complications. About a 0.5% chance of complications that will require further surgery to correct. It is a lot safer than completely unnecessary procedures like liposuction and breast enhancement for example, and in terms of quality of life it is one of the highest return on investment procedures.

This morning I met a young woman, and although it was in the context of cross dressers and transgender people I didn't realise she was trans until she said so. There are of course transpeople (and 'people' includes men and women) who are obvious, and obviously at high risk of violence. Such violence is encouraged by articles like this.

Why would anybody embark on a course that in nearly all cases causes the loss of their families, homes, friends and often jobs? If you actually think about it, because the alternative is worse. Being forced to live in a body and role that you know is false leads nearly half of us to make at least one suicide attempt. That tends to happen when the person concerned has parents who think more of their social standing than the wellbeing of the young person.

I have had vaginoplasty, and like anyone who has had similar corrective work I needed to use dilators every day for several weeks. I'm down to once a week now and may be able to reduce to once a month before long.

As to "children are given hormone treatment to establish the gender of their choice" - again check your facts.

Lilyflower Sat 30-Apr-16 20:33:59

Interesting how transgendering (if that's the verb) is all about self image and sexuality. I don't recall anyone who wanted a woman's body desiring to be selfless, earn less, clean up babies' and cats' sick while a man gets to opt out, suffer monthly hormonal mood swings and agonising pains while working at a 100% rate and pretending everything is normal, doing 98% of the housework, supporting friends in their (almost constant) low patches without any help or interest in return and telling the men of the house what to wear, eat, do and think.

To be honest I don't mind or even care if people want to cross the gender divide but they should pay for it themselves.