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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. 

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Congrats on having the courage!
April 2nd, 2014
5:04 PM
Congrats on writing this article and having the courage to stand up against the current medical and psychological stance that gender reassignment, which is nothing more than mutilation, is the preferred and accepted me this of treating GD. People who think they need to remove functional body parts in order to be able to live need serious psychological help, but not hormones and surgery. I know we were transexual person will come here and whine that I don't know what it is like, or the author doesn't know what it is like, "to be them". Word to the wise: surgical procedures don't fix the problem. Body dimorphism isn't curable. You can remove your penis and your breast, or even your limbs, but you'll never feel like "yes, this is me". What you need is to reevaluate your life. Consider that you may be an the autism spectrum and your brain just doesn't function in accordance with your biological gender. Then you need to retrain yourself to understand that "I am what I am" not what society and culture have defined as appropriate for a certain gender. Men, when they undergo gender reassignment, they are not women. They are still men. Biological women don't want men in our bathrooms, prisons, organ offices, or any other female place. Your DNA determines your sex and no surgery can change that. Women, when they transition to men aren't men. They won't ever fit into the boys club, be invited to the board table, make the boys softball team. Face it people, "You are what you are." You were born with the sex organs that you were born with. Rather than transitioning why can't you help your fellow GD community by challenging the gender roles that are forced upon us by society? Be female, or male as you were born, but be "other". Dress and act however you feel comfortable, assert "you" and force normals to see other. But please don't go mutilate yourself with plastic surgery and hormones, that's the medical community's trick of making money, turning a profit from your mental condition.

Sarah
March 10th, 2014
1:03 PM
Put forward for an award for incorrect rubbish!!!! Transsexuality ( I hate labels) is not about football or sewing or liking the colour pink. It is NOT about what is between your legs. IT IS about your mindset and how it conflicts with your anatomical body and how far you may need to go to resolve things This journalist is an idiot and show it buy saying 'sex change' There is NO such thing as a sex change. There is gender realignment surgeyry which in simple terms tries to bring your body as best as possible in line with what your mind says. Some people really need to learn the difference between sex, gender ans sexual preference and all that is in between There but for the grace of God go I

anonymous
March 1st, 2014
7:03 PM
I haven't read all the comments - but like others after reading this as a transsexual, I felt the need to comment. It is not about whether you cook or play football and it is not about who you want to fuck. I was never really boyish, being the silent bookworm type. And I fancy guys, so I'm not trying to explain away my "lesbianism" or whatever. It is just about my body. It's very simple: when I look into the mirror, I feel that the person in there is someone else. I feel that I have something I shouldn't have (boobs) and when I think of sex I think of my penis (which I don't have) and trying to have sex with the parts that I _do_ have only leaves me angry and frustrated. This disconnectedness is tiring and distressing in more ways than I can describe. But sometimes when I'm feeling and looking very masculine I can for a moment really _see_ myself in the mirror, and that feeling is bliss. It feels like the world makes sense for a small moment, until everything is surreal and disconnected again. So please don't tell me that we can't fix ourselves, when we know what is wrong. There might be some who do transition for the wrong reasons and that is why we need doctors to diagnose us, but there are many of us who truly need our transitioning to be able to live with ourselves. Of course we still need to realize that most of the non-trans people will never understand what this is like, and will never respect us for who we are. This is not ok, but requiring that kind of justice from rape victims is just plain wrong - however please don't try to hurt us all because of one woman going overboard in her search for justice. Sometimes the world just kicks us in the gut one too many times, and some of us might do something stupid because of that. Acting frustrated sometimes does not make our existence not valid.

jl1973
February 6th, 2014
1:02 PM
I love the contradictions in this whole debate. On one hand, it is become more and more politically incorrect to suggest that men and women are different on many, many non-physical (i.e. genitals) levels. On the other, the biggest protagonists for "woman-ness" and "male-ness" are the candidates for sex changes (pre and post) and their supporters. You constantly read testimony along the lines of "I always felt like a woman," and, after the sex change, comments to that effect prospectively. It is these people who grossly over-simplify sex stereotypes, describing, say, women in ways that would a low-quality 1800s novelist blush with embarrassment.

cataria
December 8th, 2013
8:12 PM
that is the typical bullshit a non transsexual being will say. yeah there are problems in the issue, as we don't have full lesbian and gay and whatever acceptance and directions are often shown without alternatives to some that just aren't sure what they are, but if u are a transsexual woman (my perspective) that went through the wrong puberty u would know what real torture and prison feels like. if u don't get diagonsed children on blockers as soon as needed and let them xpress themselves u can start dig a grave for them. as they sure as hell will do anything to stop this torture and if parents and physicians won't do it, then the child will try to end this suffering. i wan't to kill the prison i'm in, because of the wrong puberty and i wouldn't think about it, if i wouldn't have the male puberty results that are unchangeable. imagine being a trans child of julie, hello nightmare. simply said, if u deny a clear diagnosed transsexual child blockers and later hormones u are killing it. there is no grey zone here. there is no life in the wrong body, there is just death.

Verysadmum!
November 7th, 2013
10:11 PM
Would you like to come and comfort my 17 year old FTM son when he is suicidal, Julie? Transsexualism was not 'invented' it's pure torment for anyone going through it. My son knew at 5 years old that he was in the wrong body, and if I and the professionals in this very 'behind' country were more educated then puberty blockers given before puberty would literally save lives. My son suffers daily, with numerous things that go with being transgender. And he is one of the lucky ones that was put on blockers at 15 and testosterone at 16. But it's still destroying his poor worn out mind having to live in the wrong body, with body parts that are alien to him. You need to seriously stop with the 'textbook' clichéd talk and LISTEN. I don't care what transphobic people have to say I would do literally anything to get my son surgery right this minute to end his suffering. You are very stereotypical and immune to humanity.

Charlie23
October 7th, 2013
8:10 AM
Well, am in the middle of it now, been living with a MTF pre op, on hormones for 8 yrs and I know what it is like. Way to many militant attitudes, the worst coming from the Gender Fluid Community. Fact- Gender has everything to do with it. My partner wears the shoes and hair whilst saying she is neither male nor female but is getting the surgery and is fast tracking it with the Phych's help.She wears female attire and wants female anatomy but yells for equality and to not be labeled one way or the other and all the while is developing what I call a groupie following who think they are liberated and fashionable because they know [?] her. Transgender is the latest thing it seems, just take a good look at what is really going on.I accept her in the body she came in but she wants it all regardless of what it takes and who gets hurt and for what at the end of the day? Its becoming fashionable, to many Drs diagnose [...put label here]...without knowing what they are doing. How do I know there is a problem? Its shouting dissenters down, silencing anyone who may question or want to discuss what is going on, even I am put through hell if I suggest anything that is not in full agreement with the Gender Party Line . I am a straight female who loves a man who wants to be a woman or is already a woman with a male body or is it more that he was born with a female brain? The whole thing is becoming a parody .

Mia
September 19th, 2013
1:09 AM
Sigh. I don't even know where to begin, but the author of this article clearly does not understand what it is to be transsexual. Let me dissect some examples: --"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." Julie Bindel: how did you come by this conclusion? Transexualism is about gender, not gender roles. The two are separate. If anything transsexuals highlight the differences between gender and gender roles, forcing people to question their pre-conceptions of gender. That could only help feminists, who are on a similar mission to force society to look inward about gender preconceptions. -- "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." The above statement is ironic is so many ways. A feminist fighting against an overly simplified view of women is professing an overly simplified view of transsexuals! As a transsexual woman I can say the author has no idea who I really am. I never go for birds nest hair, and I avoid heels as a rule in general. The above quote exhibits a very narrow view of transsexuals, one into which I and many other transsexuals do not fall. Does the author judge acceptability based on appearance? If so, then she would never ever guess that I am transsexual. Perhaps it has never occurred to her that we, as transsexual women, not only face social issues toward transsexuals, but we ALSO face social issues against women! Yes, Julie Bindel, I am transsexual AND I also face gender discrimination. I am as aware of it as you are. No, I am more aware because I have spent time on both sides of the social spectrum. I've seen and experienced a drop in authority as a woman. It sucks! Mrs. Bindel , you have lots learn about us. If anything we are allies. -- "Gender dysphoria (GD) was invented in the 1950s by reactionary male psychiatrists in an era when men were men and women were doormats. …. GD has no proven genetic or physiological basis." Firstly, scientific understanding of transsexualism is in its infancy. In fact genetics is still in its infancy. We will see, eventually, what genetic traits causes many human conditions. As a scientist I believe transsexualism will be found to have a physiological cause, but that is just my opinion. I, however, will not draw a conclusion based on a lack of research. Secondly, gender dysphoria is not an invention of man; if anything you might say it was recognised by psychiatrists (not invented). -- "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." The above is pure speculation, and uses sensational wording to draw a fear-based blanket statement. Julie, do the human rights of the transgendered simply not factor into your thinking? Do our rights count? Finally, how do you know the effect will be profoundly negative? It could very well be positive by, once again, causing society to question its norms and leading to increased tolerance across the board. -- "According to this definition, a girl who plays football is trans-sexual." The author clearly misread the definition. If she’d understood it, then she’d have seen the definition (and the entire nlcrights.org article from which it was quoted ) is actually about two things: 1. “gender non-conforming youth”, and 2. “transgender youth”. If she'd accurately applied the concepts described in the article, then her statement would have read, “According to this definition, a girl who plays football is gender non-comforming, “ (NOT transsexual, as she wrote). Some of the author’s points were valid; however I found this article to be a mostly ignorant editorial view of transsexuality. I am not sure why the author fails to see the parallels between women’s rights and transgendered rights, but we are both fighting for the same ideals. Finally, the author should understand that her expressed views are to transsexuals as the resistant views of some men were to the women’s suffrage movement, and later the feminist movement. It would be nice to see a person like this come around and finally see past their preconceptions, but it would involve a lot of insight on her part.

Anonymous
September 15th, 2013
7:09 PM
I am glad I am not the only person who thinks this phenomenon of transsexualism is anti-feminist and anti-queer. I think a large reason it has become so quickly normalized is that it both reinforces gender stereotypes and is profitable to a lot people.

Inserinna
September 8th, 2013
12:09 PM
Your article shows some horror at the idea of losing a "perfectly functioning penis" and you see transgendered as dressing like drag queens. Transgenderism is not about wanting to be allowed to join the sewing club, or the football team, if we really want that we can break the gender stereotypes even at the cost of being seen as "Genderqueer", but most about the person and their perception of themselves. Personally I have not liked myself (my body and gender) deeply since around 10 years old, but I am a patient person and this has manifested in an indifference to life. Life has not been unkind to me, but truly while I normally do not want to die I don't really fear it and sometimes I get a real black depression for days on end when I do think of suicide. The problem is I do not feel I have something to live for with my life as it is, for that reason I would seek counselling and hopefully get good honest advice. In the end, while more impulsive people will suicide or change to fix what they perceive is wrong with them, eventually everyone has to face that they have one life and they have to make the most of it. For this reason I believe gender reassignment is a very good treatment (after all when 6000 30-44 year olds commit suicide every year we really want to be bring that number DOWN and not up!) The counselling is designed to try to weed out those who want SRS for the ultimate thrill of being the opposite gender, some people will always bluff their way through and truly make an awful mistake. But that should not be held as a reason to deny treatment to those that it will benefit.

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