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A photographic exhibition at the Hammer Museum, University of California Los Angeles, shows a comparative study between teenage girls and adult male-to-female transsexuals 

Last year, I was nominated for the Stonewall Journalist of the Year award. This seemed fair enough since I write prolifically about sexuality and sexual identity. But I guessed that Stonewall would not dare give me the prize, because a powerful lobby affiliated with the lesbian and gay communities had been hounding me for five years. Six weeks later I, along with a police escort, walked past a huge demonstration of transsexuals and their supporters, shouting "Bindel the Bigot". Despite campaigning against gender discrimination, rape, child abuse and domestic violence for 30 years, I have been labelled a bigot because of a column I wrote in 2004 that questioned whether a sex change would make someone a woman or simply a man without a penis. Subsequently, I was "no platformed" by the National Union of Students Women's Campaign, a privilege previously afforded to fascist groups such as the BNP. As a leading feminist writer, I now find that a number of organisations are too frightened to ask me to speak at public events for fear of protests by transsexual lobbyists. 

The 2004 column was about a Canadian male-to-female transsexual who had taken a rape crisis centre to court over its decision not to invite her to be a counsellor for rape victims. Feminists tend to be critical of traditional gender roles because they benefit men and oppress women. Transsexualism, by its nature, promotes the idea that it is "natural" for boys to play with guns and girls to play with Barbie dolls. The idea that gender roles are biologically determined rather than socially constructed is the antithesis of feminism. 

I wrote: "Those who ‘transition' seem to become stereotypical in their appearance — f**k-me shoes and birds' nest hair for the boys; beards, muscles and tattoos for the girls. Think about a world inhabited just by transsexuals. It would look like the set of Grease."

Gender dysphoria (GD) was invented in the 1950s by reactionary male psychiatrists in an era when men were men and women were doormats. It is a term used to describe someone who feels strongly that they should belong to the opposite sex and that they were born in the wrong body. GD has no proven genetic or physiological basis. 

A review for the Guardian in 2005 of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham's Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery was clinically effective. It warned that the results of many gender reassignment studies were unsound because researchers lost track of more than half of the participants. 

The past decade has seen an increase in the number of people diagnosed as transsexual. There are now 1,500-1,600 new referrals a year to one of the handful of gender identity clinics in Britain. About 1,200 receive treatment on the NHS with the rest going private, Thailand being the main country of choice. The largest clinic, at Charing Cross Hospital in London, saw 780 new referrals last year. The NHS carried out some 150 operations in the last year (up from about  100 in 2005-2006). Apart from Thailand, the country with the highest number of sex-change operations is Iran where, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death. When sex-change surgery is performed on gay men, they become, in the eyes of the gender defenders, heterosexual women. Transsexual surgery becomes modern-day aversion therapy for gays and lesbians. 

In the West, however, supporting the diagnosis and availability of surgical intervention is seen as a view right-thinking liberals should adopt. But no oppressed group ever insisted its emotional distress was the sole basis for the establishment of a right. Indeed, transsexuals, along with those seeking IVF and cosmetic surgery, are using the NHS for the pursuit of happiness not health. 

Treatment is brutal and the results far from perfect. Male-to-female surgery involves removal of the penis and scrotum and the construction of a "vagina" using the skin from the phallus, breast implants inserted and the trachea shaved. Painful laser treatment to remove hair in the beard area and elsewhere and cosmetic surgery to "feminise" the face is increasingly common. 

For female-to-male surgery, breasts, womb and ovaries are removed. Testosterone injections, usually prescribed shortly after the initial diagnosis, result in the growth of facial hair and deepening of the voice. 

Recent legislation (the Gender Recognition Act, which allows people to change sex and be issued with a new birth certificate) will have a profoundly negative effect on the human rights of women and children. Since 2004, it has been possible for those diagnosed with GD to be assigned the sex of their choice, providing that the person has lived as the opposite sex for two years, has no plans to change back again and can provide evidence of the above. 

It is not necessary to have undergone hormone treatment or surgery. In other words, a pre-operative man could apply for a job in a women — only rape counselling service and, if refused on grounds of his sex, could take the employer to court on the grounds that "he" is legally a "she". 

A definition of transsexualism used by a number of transsexual rights organisations reads:

Students who are gender non-conforming are those whose gender expression (or outward appearance) does not follow traditional gender roles: "feminine boys," "masculine girls" and students who are androgynous, for example. It can also include students who look the way boys and girls are expected to look but participate in activities that are gender nonconforming, like a boy who does ballet. The term "transgender youth" can be used as an umbrella term for all students whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth and/or whose gender expression is non-stereotypical. 

According to this definition, a girl who plays football is trans-sexual.

A number of transsexuals are beginning to admit that opting for surgery ruined their lives. "I was a messed-up young gay man," says Claudia McClean, a male-to-female transsexual who opted for surgery 20 years ago. "If I had been offered an alternative to a sex change, I would have jumped at the chance." A number of transsexuals I have spoken to tell me how easy it is to be referred for surgery if they trot out a cliche such as, "I felt trapped in the wrong body."

Transsexualism is becoming so normalised that increasing numbers of children are being referred to clinics by their parents. Recently, an 18-month-old baby in Denmark was diagnosed as suffering from GD. Last summer, a primary school headteacher held an assembly to explain that a nine-year-old boy would return as a girl. 

Ten years ago, there were an average of six child and adolescent referrals per year in Britain, but in 2008 numbers had increased six-fold. Although the minimum age for sex-change surgery is 18, puberty-blocking hormones can be prescribed to those as young as 16, and transsexual rights lobbyists want that age to be reduced to 13. 

James Bellringer is a surgeon at Charing Cross Hospital, which has the largest gender identity clinic in the UK. He believes that children should be allowed to self-diagnose as GD. "It is not the doctors saying, ‘You are a transsexual, let's get you on hormones,' it is the children saying, ‘I don't like my breasts, I feel like a girl'." 

There is, however, a dispute within the medical profession about whether puberty-blockers should be prescribed. Some doctors say that children need to experience puberty to know whether they are misplaced in their bodies. I would describe preventing puberty as a modern form of child abuse. Two-thirds of those claiming to be, or diagnosed as, transsexual during childhood become lesbian or gay in later life. "I would be happy living now as a gay man, comfortable in the body I was born with," says McClean. "The prejudice against me for being an effeminate boy who fancied other boys was too much to bear. Changing sex meant I could be normal."

Medical science cannot turn a biological male into a biological female — it can only alter the appearance of body parts. A trans-sexual "woman" will always be a biological male. A male-to-female transsexual serving a prison sentence for manslaughter and rape won the right to be relocated to a women's jail. Her lawyers argued that her rights were being violated by being unable to live in her role as a woman in a men's jail. Large numbers of female prisoners have experienced childhood abuse and rape and will fail to appreciate the reasons behind a biological man living among them, particularly one who still has the penis with which he raped a woman. (Some transsexuals choose to retain their genitals.) 

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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Amy Hardcastle
November 24th, 2014
2:11 PM
I have enjoyed reading pieces by Julie Bindel but on the issue of trans-women I really do feel she acts a gender fascist intent on policing her own view of gender purity and I suspect she does so less because of a concern for women's welfare and safety than her own personal sexuality and preferences. She has written elsewhere of how only a lesbian relationship can capture the purity of love and in other writing has clearly been emotionally hurt when potential or actual girlfriends have left her for men. This piece seems much more motivated by her lingering resentment towards men. None of the arguments really stack up. They are mostly just "these transwomen don't look physically perfect" - well how many women do? or "one or two trans-women used to be dangerous men" well there are dangerous, violent and abusive cis-women too (e.g. Rose West, Irma Grese - the list would be very long). The article is just mud-flinging and a self-pitying whinge about how she's rightly been called out for advancing really quite unpleasant argument.

Anonymous
November 13th, 2014
4:11 PM
The problem is simply that one does not get what one is paying for. It doesn't matter how intensely one defends the procedure, in the end one gets nothing more than an elaborate, surgically created costume--much like those who point their ears or have horns inserted. They are still not elves or demons. And that is the crux of the disappointment.

Anonymous
October 14th, 2014
4:10 PM
So, there are edge cases: There are those who mistake mtf for an excuse to feel normal, or for something that will change who they are inside (it won't) or solve their personal and social issues outside (it won't do that either). There are also those who use their new position to put other people in a difficult spot (such as the biological male rapist going in a women's prison). Congratulations! You have just discovered the obvious. The one thing you never even go close to mention in this article though, are those mtf post-op who are mentally stable, perfectly happy with their new life, don't dress up like prostitutes (and what's wrong with that anyway? Last I checked it was neither illegal nor immoral), and still feel like they needed the surgery because they didn't identify as men. The reason why you fail to mention even one of these successful examples is to be found in your stern, superficial and upsetting conclusions, which you know you would't be allowed to reach should you show these obvious truths.

Anonymous
October 3rd, 2014
9:10 AM
The last statement is just nerve wrecking. 'Perhaps we should just give up and become men.' I mostly feel the urge to wear a dress, to kiss a boy on the cheek as a sign of affection and sometimes my younger sister says that I'm a better 'mommy' than our mom because I have a natural maternal instinct to protect and guide her. If only could have I been a mom with a fucking beard would have been lovely. But I can't, and this is the reason why I want & need to make a change. Yes, equality between men and women plays the most important role in our need for change, because we are 'supposed' to behave in a stereotypical manner: shake hands, dress in a specific manner a.s.o I can't bare to live as a man and I simply won't. In the present moment there is no palpable alternative to MTF gender reassignment, so I simply refute even thinking to give up on it, no matter what the consequences are.

Anonymous
September 18th, 2014
4:09 PM
" One" organ doesn't define your sex but you entire reproductive system. Human beings exist today because just like other life forms on planet earth we mate and reproduce. This is fact. Through modern medicine we as a species have discovered many ways of helping this process along ie IVF however sperm and a uterus is still required. Feminism religion politics and society all have an opinion on LGBT community which isn't necessary because nature has already spoken. Here on planet Earth healthy reproduction is required from all species in order to keep our world beautiful and thriving. Unfortunately there are going to be clef palates, deformed or missing limbs, non-functioning ovaries and other situations that are not ideal but this is the exception to the rule not the norm. The sun rises and sets the snow is cold boy bunnies and girl bunnies make baby bunnies these are facts because they are true and correct this is the right way. If the sun decided to be the moon then what?!?! We argue over this today that are painfully obvious. If we all cut of our penises and ripped out our ovaries then what ? Clearly this is NOT what nature intended Clearly this is not rational or logical. Clearly

Anonymous
September 6th, 2014
1:09 PM
What the author fails to say is that while he's right that the ones who protest and make stories tend to look "typical" and maybe strange....the goal is to fit in. So the ones (like myself) who are mentally healthy and there is no real decision to be made.....you don't even notice. Has anyone ever thought of that??? The ones that construct a "stereotype", by definition, are doing a poor job. They are the ONLY ones you notice. The ones doing well (again, by definition) are never noticed....they do not go into your mind as transsexual. And as for the comment about "it's like saying you're an alien or polar bear". You can have your opinion, but I'll ask you this..."is someone born with a cleft pallet supposed to be ugly and will never be anything else? Is someone with webbed feet a freak and should not be corrected? Is a person born with any number of "imperfections" supposed to be defined by them? Sadly....people always say "you are what you are on the INSIDE". Yet if the birth condition occurs with one particular organ....that defines you. It's simply wrong. Everyone is entitled to their views...but I would ask all to be objective......and again, judging by only the noticeable "ones" is "by definition" to judge by the ones that are having a difficult time. You simply don't notice the ones who are fitting in. Makes perfect sense, right? Of course....unless you're biased.

Anonymous
September 2nd, 2014
7:09 PM
Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.00168... Somebody posted that the suicide rates are down that was FALSE. In fact suicide rates drug use prostitution and physical and sexual abuse are all still very very high over 5x higher than the general population. Longitudinal studies show that in gerneral most are not happy and that it is not a valid cure for their condition. A person who says they feel like a women but is in fact a boy has a delusion. They are a boy or a girl it is completely impobably for them to feel like something they are not. They express a desire for a alien feeling for which they are incapable. The very idea of that thought is madness plain and simple. It would be as if you claimed to feel like a polar bear or a alien from another planet. You may empathize or desire these feelings but you cannot have them. These are personal identity problems based on notions of what women feel like wear do etc. Those are witnessed externally the person claiming to desire or have them cannot as a matter of fact have that knowledge. They are viewing being a woman from the outside in the case of a man and assuming they too feel the same way or should. There is a very simple test from isolation of the issue. Would this person have this feeling if they were born raised and lived alone without knowing other persons or sexes. The answer is no they neither would not or would they think anything of it. They may have attributes that are different than other men they may dress different or talk different but they could not nor would they attempt to emulate the other sex. The concept is based on logical fallacy and the belief of what is "man" or a "woman" in terms of roles organs and facts that can only be viewed externally. No person can have the knowledge or feeling of what it is to be another person sex identity or other defining characteristics. I like the person who says they woke up hoping to become a boy. Why ? What is a boy or what is intrinsic to a boy that you are envious of ? There can be no transsexualism without deep seated envy and delusion and projection based externalities.

Anonymous
August 9th, 2014
9:08 AM
I'm a female that spent most of my early life wanting to be a boy - I loved playing sports and climbing trees and playing with toy guns and swords.I couldn't imagine anything more horrible than growing breasts. Starting adolescence I hated having periods. I got mocked in school when I wore my first bra with a girlie t-shirt. Until then I'd wore very baggy mens t-shirt. I work in a male-dominated profession, never being "afraid" of getting stuck in to electronics etc. Do I wish I'd transitioned into a female during the first half of my life? No no no unequivocally no. I really just suffered from a mild body dysmorphic disorder and a bit of jealousy because growing the rest of my family was made of males and they got do all those things while I got in trouble for not being more feminine. When I reached a point where I'd lost weight and was a size 8 and wearing t-shirt bras gave me a really nice chest-to-stomach size ratio, etc., I suddenly liked being a woman! I can't comment on anyone else's experience, but personally I agree that so much of gender dysphoria is based on a mismatch of societal expectations and constructs and both men and women, boys and girls, being allowed to be anywhere that suits them on a femininity-masculine gamut.

Anonymous
July 27th, 2014
3:07 PM
This article seems typical of a feminist lol. Its made up of even more misinformation than the so called trans lobby could even muster. And of course all of it pulled from her ass lol no sources or anything. It sounds like she uses the same ploys right wing Christian nut jobs use and we all know how much they love science lol. This chicks got as much credibility as a creationist or a scientologist on the subject. Hope she's not holding her breath for a pullitzer prize hahaha

Pollyanna
July 19th, 2014
9:07 AM
I can understand that Julie Bindel thinks all this and thinks the information she offers is all fact but it does seem a little biased. Also, as someone who has "suffered" from gender dysphoria since five years old, well before the 1950s, I can state as a fact that it was not "invented" in the 1950s. That is a ridiculous statement, rather like saying that electricity was "invented". Just as with electricity, a name was put to something that was already there. Whether or not it is a good name is another matter. Also, about the 1950s, sure some women were cowed by a form of male dominance but to sound as though women's liberation was also "Invented" in the 1950 or 60s is also wrong -- again, it was simply a matter of a word being put to an activity that became a movement. I have fought and often won (since about 1960) for the equal rights of women on an equal basis of capability. I have never been able to understand the concept of "male superiority". Enough of that, what about the idea that a male-to-female sex change operation with appropriate other treatment, simply makes a man into a man without a penis? That kind of puts the many thousands of women in UK who were/are sadly born without the full vaginal to uterus equipment into the same boat as a "man without a penis". Hmmm!

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