"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, October 08, 2018

Defining Gender

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Defining Gender

"I honestly think that you should be able to identify as anything you want and that’s, male, female, Marie Antoinette, black, white, whatever. What I worry about is a kind of tyranny that says then I have to and all public institutions have to acknowledge that and recognize it, which I think, identify what you want, but we don't have to change in relation to it. And I am nervous about a kind of walking on eggshells issue and a kind of fashion that's inciting the young to see this is the thing to do...

‘The Scottish government opposed it. That one shouldn't dispute the child's view. Now, you know children, growing up is a notoriously kind of confusing time. So when a child says, I am a robot or what have you, you don't just say Yes, you are… if a child self declares as in a different gender, do you challenge that? Is it okay to challenge that?’

‘You support it’

‘Why do you support that and not the other thing?... A young anorexic girl that I know would always say to me, ‘I'm fat. Look at me, I'm fat and I say no, you're not fat’, it’s objectively not true. So we shouldn't have to accept because a child declares that it’s true should we?’

‘No, but you support the child. It's almost a sort of Schrodinger’s support thing here. What you're actually doing is you're saying yes, we accept what you're telling us, we support you’...

‘I'm talking about a whole public institution’s now saying that things need to be reorganized around for example a child saying in a girls' school, I'm a boy, you must call me this name, and you must really re-organise around me’...

What I found was that the young women were saying that they had complex mental health problems and they felt that transition would alleviate them. So there was a lot of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, very high rates of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Actually amongst people that go to gender clinics, research does show consistently that the rate of Autistic Spectrum Disorder is approximately six times higher than in the general population, and we don't know why. Again, we need more research.

The regretters, and the people who reversed their transition felt that it did not alleviate their problems, and that they saw their gender dysphoria as a reaction to their own histories of in some cases, sexual abuse, that the position of being a girl in society and that they hated their bodies, And so I was really taken aback because I hadn't realized that anything like that was happening on this scale...

Gender dysphoria - that is unhappiness with one's gender - is the only condition for which a doctor prescribes or performs surgery for which there is no test. It is diagnosed by a self-report from the patient...

As a clinician, I've been concerned with the medical treatment and surgeries that people have gone for. And so of course, somebody may say they’re anything they want to be, they have the right to do that, but we have a duty to do no harm. And so I found a book called Blood and Visions, which was published by a group of young women in the United States who had reversed their gender transitions and they were saying that they had felt they had been really harmed because when they went to the clinics - and this was in the States where the affirmation model of treatment is practiced widely in clinics - where in some cases the teenagers could get hormones on one or two half hour appointments and surgeries a few months later without parents’ permission, and they were saying that nobody had gone into their issues with more depth with them, on their underlying mental distress and their conflict hadn't been explored...

‘Why do you think that so many young progressive liberal minded youngsters, or teenagers, or young people are buying into the transgender doctrine as you put it?’

‘Well, it's become very, it's very popular now, and it's quite, I think it's become equated with an idea that, of progressivism, liberalism and that it actually allows people to be who they genuinely are. Would be all fine principles, which I agree with, but
I just don't think that transgender doctrine actually facilitates that. I think it's rather reactionary doctrine actually’...

'We must look at this issue within a social context. I don't think it was a case that 50 years ago, boy children was saying I'm really a girl. I think what happens is socially, we have narratives around gender and children, small children pick up what these narratives are and they, gender non-conforming children have lived throughout in many centuries. Language we use to describe it now...

It's the transgender doctrine which is constraining. What actually happens is a small child is told that there is something not quite right with its body, and it's actually got the brain. Or is really the other gender. And I think that that's very difficult for children, I think we're imposing. I think it's abusive actually, and I think we are imposing restrictions on children. We should be able to be as fluid and to be who we are without making that a problem of the male body or the female body...

If a child decides that it's an astronaut, one can play along with this. One doesn't have to moralise about it, but quite clearly the child is not an astronaut. One doesn't go along with the story. In fact it's incumbent upon adults who are responsible for the welfare, psychological and social and medical of children not to go along with this story'...

'You go into the realm of post-factual madness. You can change your birth certificate when you're a man to say that you were born a girl, even though you weren't born a girl.'"
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