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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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Nia
February 23rd, 2012
4:02 AM
I came upon this article by accident, via a pic I clicked. It caught my interest so I read it all the way through. I was right there with the author all the way until the last page where she dropped the bomb of instilling HER personal ideas on the entire world. I'm a biological female and I know I was meant to be a man - If I ever decide to make that change, or if I don't, its MY choice and has nothing to do with the 'feminist' point of view. Yes, its a sticky situation with trans-men who still retain their penis to be in a female only environment, especially prison, but that is not a down fall of gender reassignment, its a down fall of the society of not yet perhaps creating a third type of jail (or fourth) that encompasses those who are in between sexes, by choice or by birth - let us not forget hermaphrodites now!! This Julie author can't get her mind around those born with both sexes... her clain cannot hold up there either! I just want to say everyone needs to evolve to the next level already. Get over your own tiny opinions and let the rest of the would be who THEY are for themselves.

Spike
January 2nd, 2012
2:01 PM
I don't understand why the author has committed so much energy to a subject that doesn't affect her. I get it, your against Gender Reassignment Surgery. But its not your body so why does it matter? If living as a woman every day truly makes me a happier human being then why should you even care? For that matter what right do YOU have to make any judgement on how other people live their lives? I find it distressing that so many people spend so much time hating things that don't even interact with their lives.

triple A
November 8th, 2011
12:11 AM
I do respect each and everyone's opinion but going back to the basic in the beginning after God created the world, He created a Man and a Woman for them to take care of what He created. why can't we accept the truth that our Creator is perfect and all that HE has done are in the right time and in the right place. ? For me, undergoing such kind of operation like changing male organ to female is like embarrassing our Creator. It means we have shamed God instead of thanking Him for giving us life in this world. As what i have read during college days, a phychologist says that a male who wanted to become a female only feels satisfaction phychologically and not emotionally. They felt that they are a complete woman but it is only on their minds. it is only but an illusion a fairytale like but if they will only decern more deeply there will never be a true happiness inside because you know the truth.

Anonymous
October 20th, 2011
7:10 PM
As someone who is transgender I must say that this article was extremely painful to read and I honestly couldn't get myself through the entire piece. It has taken me years to learn how to love myself despite ignorant statements like this, and to appreciate that often there is no malice behind what is being said. This does not make the statements any less painful. As a society we are a long way from understanding basic cisgender issues, let alone transgender issues. My suggestion for the author and anyone who finds themselves agreeing with the author is to actually talk to someone who identifies as transgender; my belief is that this would clarify a lot of misunderstanding. I do wish to address a few points from what I read: (1) Being transgender or transsexual does not inherently mean supporting stereotyped gender roles. While there is often pressure to perform gender in a certain way upon transitioning, this pressure is hardly unique to the trans experience. Most importantly, a transperson is no less capable of defying harmful gender stereotypes than someone who is cisgendered. I say this from personal experience as a transgendered person who does not conform to my expected gender role. (2) "A girl who plays football" is not "by definition" a transsexual. For starters, the term transsexual refers to someone who has transitioned. Breaking gender roles is not the same as being transgender, which entails having a gender identity that does not match one's physical sex. The author has missed an important distinction between gender identity and gender roles - the are not synonyms. (3) While I strive to respect the feminist view of transgender identities being a rejection of what that movement has striven for, I could not disagree more strongly with that view. I am not a transgender male because I hate being a woman. I am transgender because I feel I am a man. I am not rejecting womanhood because it was never something I really had. Also, I have a very deep respect and appreciation for women despite not identifying as one. Equality between men and women wouldn't make transgender or gender queer identities disappear. For me personally, the motivation to transition emerges precisely because of the simplistic binary of men and woman that allows for nothing else. How equal those two sexes are two each other would not in any way make my identity disappear. (4) My desire to transition is not a mental illness. I do not believe I was born in the wrong society. I believe I was born in the wrong time and place where it is impossible for me to live in a female body and identity as a male, and have that identity recognized and validated in my interactions with others. Consequentially, my desire to transition does not arise from hatred of my female body but from the very human and basic need to have others treat me according to who I know myself to be. Transitioning is a means to the end of being able to function in my interactions with others, and I wouldn't do it if it was possible to enter into every interaction with others knowing that those people would use the correct pronouns and accept me as a male identified person. The constant invalidation of my male identity is what I am responding to, not any dislike of women or the female body.

Anonymous
October 10th, 2011
11:10 AM
Not a great article Julie. Wee bit simplistic. However all points that need to be made. A woman is NOT a penis-less man. If you feel horrendous with the gender role they have been forcing upon you since birth, it doesn't automatically make you the opposite gender. Fight them, make them see that all gender conditioning is bull****. People can never truly accept you as the other gender, no matter how much they lie and how many laws change. You will always be outside. You will always be fighting to be seen as one of them.

Miss Jacqi
August 29th, 2011
8:08 AM
I agree with the title of the piece and several of Bindel's viewpoints, definitions of gender pre and post. However, while gays and lesbians have found growing acceptance in many mainstream western cultures, transgenders have not, so this still seems like brackish water. Understand that non acceptance occurs even amongst our acronym sharing sisters and brothers, of the LGBT community. Bindel's voice, and other rational voices should be respected, not battered with hate speech. Anything to bring more light will bring more voices and clarity. Hopefully. Saying 'this could ruin your life' is good. You care about my life? Odds are your psychiatrist, doctor, mom, partner etc is also thinking it, if not saying some version of it. What I was disappointed to see here were statistics that don't really seem to support any argument, and promoting the most outlandish examples as the Truth of the whole situation. Bold, flamboyant, eye-catching but not very intelligent. If I want one-liners or a funny picture of a dude in a dress, then I can log on to epicfail.com. That is what some of this journalism has amounted to. Although Bindel is an accomplished writer, you wouldn't ask your opponent to write your speech during an election. That's a missing part of the truth. From experience there seems to be a sliding scale to nearly everything. Acceptance. LGBT community. It might sound tight, with all the letters bunched up together, but within our collective four letter fringe community many Lesbians and Feminist women really feel hurt and disrespected by the idea of a transsexual. They have a right to feel that way. It's a reality worth discussing. More so then trivializing a people to a sex industry image. But hey, most people want sex, of some kind or another, and historically humans have gone to extreme lengths to obtain sexiness. And probably always will. Perhaps the worst battles are fought at home. Many gays and lesbians have migrated to city centers, congregating a niche for many obvious reasons. This is already a minute percent of the overall population. And within this minute percent, transgender people seem to have found an even smaller niche, therein. But have always been a part of the struggle. Bindel deftly hides her disgust, insulted feelings in the guise of worry and care 'this could ruin your life' but the focal point, and the point where the authors voice comes through strongest, is affronting the feminist movement against a transgender movement as though they are in complete opposition. Making us feel more like LGB and sometimes T.

andrea-M
June 23rd, 2011
2:06 AM
I would expect this kind of uninformed writing from a hack...but not from a "respected" writer. I was slightly offended and I have nothing at stake in thw whole TS arena (don't REALLY know one). There is a difference between voicing your concerns and seemingly intentionally using bad logic and uninformed arguements.... I can see why others call you a bigot...

Marie
June 23rd, 2011
1:06 AM
Is that woman is being paid for these kind of articles ? , i found this article and it was the first time to hear about the writer ,then i made some researches read othr articles she wrote , found she is a horrible mix of transphobic, xenophobic and islamophobic person , and for my surprise i knew she is famous in UK , i wonder for what ? for being Lesbian ? , the writer is not feminist , the writer remind me of the Amazons , she is simply men hater , so deep inside she hate MTF transsexuals because the came from the enemie's camp and she hate FTM transsexuals because they retreat from the battle and join the enemie's camp .

EJW
June 20th, 2011
1:06 PM
I am a Trans-gender female and quite frankly, I am appalled at the fact that you consider GD a creation of recent years, Transsexuals have been around for a lot longer than you think, and if you consider our condition to be about clothing then one thought for you, if you were born in the wrong body, what clothing would you wear and how long would it be before you tried to cut your penis off. For many years I wore clothes which were considered as Gender neutral clothing and I decided to seek help when I became out of control, I drank myself sober 7 times over a period of 48 hours and tried to cut my penis off, eventually I broke down in tears and 3 days later went to the doctors to tell him how unhappy I was, 24 hours later found myself admitted into a mental health hospital where I learned to be myself, I left the mental hospital feeling happier and went shopping where I replaced my whole wardrobe. Over the next five weeks I spent indoors where I recreated myself into the person I truly am, since that day I have lived as a woman and now am modeling, so my message to you is, that an operation may seem radical and you can see it as ruining your life, but I see the operation as a positive step forward and not only can I not wait for the operation, but am requesting that my operation be filmed, so I can keep the film to remind me of the unhappiness of years has gone forever, I would also like to pickle any of the un-necessary organs then blend them and empty them down the sink. So to finalize, is it a case of ruining a life or should you question whether you are Trans before you go for the operation, I for one do not question what I am, I know and am proud to be the woman I always dreamed of being, final thought "be proud to be yourself and never try to be the person you are not, if you want to live dressed up as an animal or a an alien or anything, then GO FOR IT! One life, so live it"

Nidaba
May 23rd, 2011
7:05 PM
I live in Montreal Canada, and I am part of the active trans community. SO I see a lot of people (LGBTQ) and we hold weekly group talk about how we feel and how we see things. 1 thing I can say is woman where are forced to be fem as men are forced to be macho. then we would have more f2m. Because it is not a problem really for a woman to be a tome boy or butch they don't feel forced to have to flip to be they way they need to be as they have more space for gender expression. as for mens well you just can't play with dolls and be fem, this as forced many in the past to have gone SRS and live to regret it. to day this is not so much as it was in the past, it is more acceptable for a men to be "pink" to be more effeminate and also it is becoming but still taboo for some trans people to not undergo the SRS. keep in mind that not all male to female are Barbie dolls, some of us are more the GI-Jane type as well as some female to male are pretty much the macho as some are the fem-gay guy. give more gender space and more gender expression freedom and you will see that you will have less people going fro the SRS, but you will always have some that do need it. Personally 10 year in transition still in line to get the surgery I know who I am and I am still debating if I should or not do it. for many case this surgery is a life saver as many would just commit suicide if they could not transition and get SRS. so Really Ms. Bindel should get out more meet some reel actual living trans (not books) and see the great diversity of gender expression that exist.

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