This is a small summary of my views on a few issues that are typically asked in some debates I sometimes participate in, regarding treatment of transsexuality and related topics. (I am not trans myself but have an interest in the matter for some friends).
Q: “Brain sex” theory is bad, so treatment is not medically necessary etc. (Blanchard often referenced)
A: I do not need to debate the theory part, as medical necessity of treatment is not contingent on that particular theory of the cause. It is based on measurable and repeatedly shown improvement of quality of life in properly diagnosed transsexuals who are treated with hormones and eventual surgery. Blanchard, who opposes the brain sex theury and whose own theory is a beloved for “gender criticists”, SUPPORTS medical necessity of treatment.
Q: Any reference to Paul McHugh (including John Hopkins clinic), Zucker, Bradley, Fitzgibbons.
A: These people come from fundamentalist, in case of McHugh and Fitzgibbons Roman Catholic, positions that bias their “research” to the point of total ineligibility. McHugh has misinterpreted the results at Hopkins, possibly intentionally. More on that team: https://ramendik.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/the-narrow-fundie-group-of-trans-critical-doctors/
The views of these people are easy to find, but their writings (or references to them) repeatedly crop up in “gender critical” discourse, because these are the ONLY medical professionals with any credentials at all who disagree with the existing consensus on the treatment of transsexuality. And, yes, they are linked to supporters of “reparative therapy” for gays, too.
Q: some “trans-activists” engage in speech that appears to threaten violence
A: some such individuals do exist but they do not represent “the movement” as there is simply no single movement. Some “gender critical” radical feminists engage in homophobic slurs and cyber-bullying of minors – should one judge the “radical feminist movement” based on those actions?
Q: so is “trans” an illness or not? The mobvement seems to be speaking out of both sides of its mouth.
A: There is, again, no single movement. I support the position, espoused by many but not all “trans activists”, that transsexuality is a disorder and thus there is medically necessary treatment, which should therefore be funded on the same basis as other medically necessary serious treatment, and requires a strict diagnostic procedure if only because of the side effects. A mere desire to present as the other gender, on the other hand, is not a disorder but a behaviour. There is no rational basis for discrimination on that behaviour, at least when sex-segregated spaces are not concerned.
Some trans activists seek to remove medical diagnosis from the picture in the case of transsexuals, but I find that position is not only unsupportable, but throws thousands of European transsexuals under the bus – as the presence of a diagnosis means, for them, access to state-funded medical care. The acitvists who hold to such a position are probably either Americans who don’t hope for any funding (or are supporters of a fullyu private system anyway), or else unrealistic socialists who expect “service on demand” (unworkable as real socialism involves control and planning, and if you don’t trust me on that – I am an avowed anti-Communist – then ask ANY knowledgeable Marxist).
Q. Trans-activists seek to invade explicitly “born women”‘s spaces like Michfest and Radfem conferences.
A. I believe they are very wrong about that as these are provate gatherings. People can have private gatherings on AMY grounds they choose. The funniest one was the RadfemRiseup case in Toronto – protesting a private party of 30 people in a metropolis? What next, picketing someone’s birthday? This was probably not even the biggest trans-exclusionary gathering going on in the city at the time (most Roman Catholic gatherings, for example, would qualify).
Having said that, re Radfem in london specifically: there is a legitimate reason to protest any speaking engagement of Sheila Jeffreys in the UK. Because of her position, *not* because of whoever is or is not let in.
Seeking to deplatform speakers who advocate repression and removal of access is valid activism. Barging into private noncommercial spaces where on is not wanted is not.