You are here:   Features > The Operation That Can Ruin Your Life

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. 

View Full Article
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!

May 7th, 2014
12:05 PM
Iran has it worked out. If your born in the wrong body it's sorted out quickly. No Transvestites shouting there rights there. Why bother to put down Gender on Birt Cift in the western world when you can change it without having a Sex change? Maybe they will just start leaving it blank. I'm thinking of opening a G.I.D. clinic in Iran for the U.K.and U.S.A. free air travel. Wonder how many clients ( Trnasgender) not Trnassexuals i would get.??

harmony joy Amidon
April 16th, 2014
6:04 PM
First off this prison has no clue what they are talking about it has now been proven that it is a real condition and it's really need quite sad that so many people won't open there eyes and see the proof that's easy to find.and I can tell you from first hand experience that the idea of it being something we choose is a lie when I was four year's old I would cry and pray every night that I would wake up and be a girl I never felt like I was a boy but because of people like this I felt like it was a bad for me to feel this way so I hid it for 30 years and lived in constant guilt and shame I did everything I could to fight my feelings and try to be normal this only led me to a life of drugs violence and depression I had attempted to kill myself numerous times and nearly succeeded on a fiew of those attempts. I knew that my friends my family and half the world where against it.but I could not change the way I felt. I felt like I was wearing a costume constantly and living a lie.there was a huge emptiness inside of me well after 30 years I was at the end of my roap literally when my best friend who is now my wife walked in and cut me down she had a long talk and convinced me to stop hiding and to be true to my self and I did. When I came out I lost all of my friends my family and my parents even told me I'm dead to them.but even with all of that I felt better then I ever have my entire life I was no longer living a lie and a costume I was more depression I quit drugs and was happy after a fiew months I went to the doctor and was tested shure enough I was born xxy I had female levels of estrogen and below male levels of testosterone and an extra female I started hormone replacement therapy now a year later I have real boobs softer skin and no male features at all.I have met a lot of post op women that have no regrets at all in fact all agree that srs was the best thing they have ever done and so you know there is therapy and doctors that half to prove I am intact in need of this now days you couldn't just be a gay man and lie enough to trick two professional psychologists and fake your lab tests be approved that's a blunt lie and just so people are aware there is a huge difference from transsexuals and crossdressers we do not do this for pleasure of fun it's not a sex thing it's who we really are and it's not something I would ever choose to be intact I wouldn't even wish it on my worst enemy it is a horrible feeling to not be complete. And as for going back to being a guy I would rather die this is not something anyone would ever choose anyhow the writer of this is very shallow and it's very evil to deny people the right to be treated like human beings stop the hate and bigotry and just let us live our life's

Mary Anne
April 12th, 2014
4:04 PM
I apologize on behalf of the person going under the pseudonym "Congrats on having the courage!" for the following statement(s): "Biological women don't want men in our bathrooms, prisons, organ offices, or any other female place." As a biological woman myself, I would like to say that I feel no discomfort with the idea of sharing facilities with another woman (biological or otherwise) and I hope the majority of women would agree with me. "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. " This is a false and potentially hurtful and discouraging statement. Of course transexual men will fit in with other men, and just last week I read an article about a little transgender girl making it into girl scouts. Ironically, I do agree with this person on a statement that is found multiple times throughout their comment: "you are who you are." If this person truly believed that, I doubt they would be harassing transexual people by telling them they may have autism, or that their brains just don't work right for their bodies, and instead accept them for who they are and the choices they make for themselves.

April 12th, 2014
3:04 PM
Why can't people just allow others to be happy and comfortable in their own lives? I don't see why every issue must be contorted into a political war. In fact, this (among many other things in our society) shouldn't even be considered an issue. If a man or a woman truly feels uncomfortable in their own body, and if there are safe procedures and compassionate doctors willing and able to preform them, then why should there be an argument? Transexuals have the same rights as any other human being. If a woman born with Poland syndrome receives corrective breast enlargement, or a man born with dwarfism seeks cosmetic surgery to improve his height, we don't condemn them as being insane or tell them that they are slaves to society, we simply accept the fact that they were uncomfortable in the body they were born in, and therefore changed themselves to make themselves feel more secure in their own bodies. Intolerance only spreads hatred.

April 6th, 2014
3:04 AM
Metareviews conducted by actual scientists, on the other hand, find that 98.5% of trans women are satisfied with their surgery and that suicide rate of trans people who have transitioned is no longer massively higher than the general population.

Congrats on having the courage!
April 2nd, 2014
4:04 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.

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

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.

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.

Post your comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.