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Sarah, The Bringer of Tea - Cubic Zirconia
19th July, 2007
08:35 pm

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Cubic Zirconia
I'm very bad at listening to what my body tells me, and a bit stubborn too (as the PCT seem to be finding out). The start of BBC Radio Four's "Hecklers" debate series, "Sex Change Surgery is Unnecessary Mutilation", was being recorded yesterday and Sylvia and I had booked in to be in then auidence. It also promised to be an opportunity for a bit of networking within the trans-community, so I was determined to go there, whether my body was reeling from the previous evening's surgery and wondering what the hell just hit it, or not.

So I stocked up on prescription painkillers, the same ones I was given post SRS, which my doctor continues to prescribe whenever I ask, and the two of us headed to London to meet up with some of the other people going to the debate before it opened.

On our way to the rendezvous point, a familiar voice called out behind us, "Hello there!". We turned round to see Dr Curtis out and about. He asked what we were doing in town and we said we were going to the debate, and asked if he was on his way there too. It turns out he wasn't - he was on his way running an STD clinic, I believe.

We met up with a bunch of transpeople and allies near the venue and chatted for a bit. Some I'd met before, some I hadn't, including Roz Kaveney, who seems like an absolutely fascinating person, and meeting her made me realise just how much of a neophyte I am when it comes to all this.

We arrived at the Royal Society of Medicine in plenty of time and were all ushered into their plush atrium area, where I saw lots of people whom I seem to be increasingly bumping into - I guess it's quite a small community really, but it's good that we turned out in force for this.

The debate was hosted by the BBC economics editor, Evan Davis, which I guess showed that it was Radio Four, as if it was Radio Two we'd have got his fellow Newsnight alumnus, Jeremy Vine instead.

The debate is called "Hecklers" because, as Evan Davis explained, it's "deliberately one-sided". They have someone speaking for a controversial position, and four expert panellists who are allowed to interject after a time and "Heckle". This time, the speaker for the motion was Julie Bindel, who along with David Batty seems to form the axis of transphobic reporting in The Guardian, which was responsible for some particularly trans-hostile and one-sided reporting during Russell Reid's GMC hearing. Particularly memorable is this article in which Bindel interviews someone called Claudia, a self-proclaimed trans-regretter.

Opposing were Dr Kevan Wylie, who runs the NHS GIC in Sheffield, and as far as NHS gender shrinks go seems to be one of the good guys, Professor Stephen Whittle of Press for Change and first transsexual president-elect of the HBIGDA/WPATH, Michelle Bridgman, a psychotherapist and project manager for the Gender Trust, and my boss for the voluntary work I'm doing for the Gender Trust helpline, and gay-rights activist Peter Tatchell, who has been a consistent supporter of trans rights and has managed to get some trans-positive stuff published by The Guardian.

Julie Bindell tried to paint a picture of transpeople as deluded individuals who are pushed into having "unnecessary" hormone therapy and surgery by some sort of medical industrial conspiracy. She wasn't terribly coherent to be honest, claiming to both fight against transphobia, but then simultaneously espousing a very transphobic point of view that the treatments which allow us to express our identity should not be available. I won't say too much about what was said in the debate, as it'll be on the radio on the 1st of August, but I suspect that anyone listening who isn't that familiar with the issues will proabbly just come away confused.

Towards the end, they took points from the audience. I wanted to make the point that Julie Bindel is confused about our motivations - if the medical community won't help us then we'll go and get what we need ourselves: hormones from the Internet and surgery abroad, and we'll do what it takes to pay for it. However, they didn't get to me. Most of the points taken were well made and pointed out problems with things Julie Bindel had said, as well as suggesting that there are some areas where we're not so far apart as she might imagine (disgust at the way gender roles in society oppress women - transition renders this in sharp focus, rage against a medical community that all too often seeks to control our lives and identities, etc.).

One commenter, however, came out strongly in support of Julie Bindell, and what she was saying sounded rather familiar. It was Claudia, the regretter, making an allegation that she was "pushed into surgery" after a single 45 minute appointment with Russell Reid 20 years ago, who she was sent to by a surgeon, and who she assumed she was seeing on the NHS, but was asked for money anyway. She stated that "her surgery didn't work", and that she "can't have sex".

The audience was asked by Evan Davis to show how many were supportive of Julie Bindel's position, and how many were not. The ratio seemed to be about 80:20 against, with much of the 80% being transpeople and allies, many of whom I recognised. The other 20% I can only guess at - they seemed to be clustered into a couple of groups in the auditorium and seemed to be keeping away from the transpeople present.

Afterwards, most people hung around in the atrium for drinks, and Julie Bindel was actually prepared to talk to lots of us. a number of people also spoke to Claudia, although I didn't. I know she was asked the obvious question - why didn't she detransition if she was unhappy being a woman. I believe (and I'm reporting this second hand) that she said that she wouldn't be able to pass, as she's too curvy or something, which frankly doesn't ring true - a detransitioned MTF can generally pass as male far better than an FTM can, especially if s/he has a haircut and is on testosterone. We do, after all, have bodies which started out male. Indeed, Claudia seemed less than credible generally, and I guess the General Medical Council agreed. Her allegations against Russell Reid are very serious, and would probably get him struck off if true, yet the GMC declined to use her as a witness in the case. Bindel's own spin on this, from her article is:

Claudia was keen to be a complainant, but the GMC ruled that due to minor inconsistencies in her recollection of the consultation with Reid 20 years previously, and because they had sufficient witnesses with similar complaints, she would not be included in the disciplinary case against Reid.

One wonders how much journalistic licence is being used there. When our specialists wish to indicate, in their diagnosis and referral letters, that we're basically competent and sane they write words to the effect that we "give a good account" of ourselves. Claudia didn't seem to be giving a very good account of herself yesterday.

Speaking to Julie Bindel was very interesting, however. Her tune was completely different when she was speaking off the record, and many of us chatted with her. She was very charming, very self effacing, and apparently very keen to paint the picture that she actually really cares about the issues transpeople have and wants to be our friend really. I must say that I found her charm just a little too much, and her insistence that in her position as a journalist, nobody really pays any attention to what she says and she can't really influence peoples attitudes to be either touchingly naive, or disingenuous. She gave the impression of being far too intelligent to be that naive, however.

And as much as she expressed an interest to learn about transpeople, and "engage" with us, it seems we've been here before a few years ago, and the feeling of deja-vu is quite strong.

I guess her future writings will tell. I'm sure she'll write about trans issues again in the future, but will that writing be an honest exploration into the issues that the many thousands of ordinary transpeople face, or will it be another sensationalist rant about the same usual suspect "regretters" who strangely often remain in their transitioned gender role while pursuing the doctors who "ruined their lives" for damages?

She did at least concede that I had a "good point" when I asked her if an "establishment" of alpha male psychiatrists would really get involved in some sort of coordinated scheme to convince transwomen to have perfectly healthy penises amputated, or was it more likely that, as men, they'd find the idea of penectomy to be something they would generally want to prevent people "electing" to do.

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[User Picture]
From:radargrrl
Date:19th July, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
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Sarah, if you happen to come across a podcast of this, please let us know. I'd love to hear it. Thanks for the post!
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From:zoeimogen
Date:19th July, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
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Radio 4 have, annoyingly, stopped doing podcasts - it'll be on listen again for a week following it's initial airing on the 1st August however.
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From:radargrrl
Date:19th July, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
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OK, then I haven't missed it. Perhaps I'll be able to catch it on t'Internet.
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From:auntysarah
Date:19th July, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
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I'll get my PVR to record it.
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From:techiebabe
Date:19th July, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)

A small community?

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It's interesting; I know (or know of) 7 transsexuals. Two I've worked with. One lives in the same village as my parents. One was the bridesmaid of a friend and we met at the hen night. One I know through a body piercing social group. The other two are you and Zoe (who I know via Zoe being on the same mailing list as me) - I haven't met you two, yet, but I'd like to. The only strangeness about the 7 that I know is that all of you are male-to-female, so I guess that m-t-f is rarer, and that two of the seven have taken the name Sarah, and another two of the seven have taken the name Zoe - which I find a surprising coincidence!

I don't think of you as being "special" or "different" in a way that means I look for you or seek people who stand out, I think of you as regular human beings who just happen to be TS but so what?; I don't have any connection to the transgender world, and I certainly don't pursue it or take any kind of morbid interest in it - but in my day-to-day life, I can count several of you that I know, from different communities and areas. So it can't be that uncommon - is it really such a small community? Maybe it's somewhat like the disabled community where the same people come together to be vocal and to advocate for our group and to support each other - but of course, there are many silent disabled people out there.

Just curious and thinking aloud. What do you think?

Hope you're continuing to heal well.
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From:techiebabe
Date:19th July, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)

Re: A small community?

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Doh, I mean "so I guess that f-t-m is rarer".
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From:jessie_c
Date:19th July, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC)

Re: A small community?

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I think that rather than being rarer they're merely harder to spot. At the support group I no longer attend the ratio was pretty much 1:1, and I have several good FTM friends. At the trans youth group I volunteer at, the ratio is more along the lines of 6:1 in favour of the guys but that's more a result of the girls being reluctant to attend.
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From:auntysarah
Date:19th July, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)

Re: A small community?

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I haven't met you two, yet, but I'd like to

It'll have to be arranged for sure!

FTMs... there's some debate over whether they are rarer or not, or whether they're just under less pressure to transition. Different aspects of the trans community are dominated by MTFs and FTMs too, and they often seem to write about different stuff to us as well.

I know a few FTMs, who are all lovely, but most transpeople I know are MTFs. We seem more likely to go to the meetings, although there's lots of FTM activity in activism. Ironically, much of the transphobia coming from within parts of the Lesbian community currently seems to be directed at FTMs, as though there's a panic that "teh eevil trannies are stealing our buches and turning them into men!" thing. Previously the same people got all riled up about MTFs "invading women's space", but now they seem to be mostly ignoring us.

wo of the seven have taken the name Sarah, and another two of the seven have taken the name Zoe - which I find a surprising coincidence!

There are certain names which seem to crop up again and again. Sarah, Zoe, Jennifer, Jessica, variations on Catherine, very few called Myrtle or Norah. ;-)

So it can't be that uncommon - is it really such a small community? Maybe it's somewhat like the disabled community where the same people come together to be vocal and to advocate for our group and to support each other - but of course, there are many silent disabled people out there.

A lot of long term postop transwomen are stealth, and tend to avoid the "trans community". The crowd I mix in seems to mostly consist of preops, recent postops and longer term postops who are "out" to varying degrees. It does seem to be the case that more transpeople are willing to be out, or at least treat their trans nature as something they don't actively try to hide. I wouldn't wish to suggest that one way is the "true way" or anything, though.

There are an awful lot of us around though, you're right. Far more than most people realise, and I'll wager that if you walk through a city centre on any random day and pass more than a handful of people, you'll pass at least one post-transition transperson. I seem to have reasonable T-dar for MTFs, although when I spot another transwoman the etiquette is that I keep it to myself and don't draw attention to them or let on that I know. I'm terrible at spotting FTMs though - they pass stupidly well after long enough on T.

I suspect your disabled community analogy is spot on.

Hope you're continuing to heal well.

Seems to be going well - I'm painkiller free today and Sylvia says I've only been a bit grumpy :-)
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From:snakey
Date:20th July, 2007 02:10 pm (UTC)

Re: A small community?

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Your comment about names made me think of <a href="http://www.studiondr.com/comics/ttoons/ttoons09.html>this</a>!
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From:daddysambiguity
Date:19th July, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
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Wow. Thanks for posting this. It was interesting!
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From:auntysarah
Date:19th July, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! You're very welcome.
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From:scaryj
Date:19th July, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for posting this. It was well written and informative.
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From:auntysarah
Date:19th July, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
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Thanks *hug*
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From:julieisfree
Date:20th July, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
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Ditto Scaryj
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From:jessie_c
Date:19th July, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
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...and the feeling of deja-vu is quite strong.

ITYM "deja moo": the strange feeling that you've heard this Bull before.
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From:auntysarah
Date:19th July, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
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Nice!
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From:captain_aj
Date:19th July, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
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the same usual suspect "regretters"
Having read only a few articles on the matter (mostly just the ones you link to), I don't know much more than the cursory details of these people. If they are, as you say, faking and actually in the correct body for their gender identity, what's their motivation? Financial I assume?
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From:auntysarah
Date:20th July, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)
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I only know of a few, and they all seem very ... confused at best. Most of them lived many years in their transitioned role apparently quite happily before the regret surfaced as well. Motivations seem a little varied and complex - blaming their transition on their life not going well, religious indoctrination telling them what they did was "evil and wrong", or perhaps some of them do just want money.

I won't discount the possibility that some genuinely regret what they do either. With time, the way we feel when we make that jump and transition seems to fade from memory somewhat, and I guess there can come a time when the transitioner thinks, "why did I do that?", even though they may have felt that they had no alternative at the time. There are many aspects of life as a transperson which are hard, especially if one doesn't pass, and I imagine that can get to people over decades.

But if someone made the choice between transition and suicide, and chose transition and regretted it twenty years later, is that still such a bad thing when it could be said that their transition bought them another 20 years?
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From:julieisfree
Date:20th July, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
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she said that she wouldn't be able to pass, as she's too curvy or something

*Shakes head* "Hogwash"

She was very charming, very self effacing, and apparently very keen to paint the picture that she actually really cares about the issues transpeople have and wants to be our friend really. I must say that I found her charm just a little too much, and her insistence that in her position as a journalist, nobody really pays any attention to what she says and she can't really influence peoples attitudes to be either touchingly naive, or disingenuous. She gave the impression of being far too intelligent to be that naive, however.

Lets just say she's not the sort I'd invite to Christmas dinner...
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From:auntysarah
Date:20th July, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
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Lets just say she's not the sort I'd invite to Christmas dinner...

She seemed about as genuine as a six pound note. I suspect she'd be charming to the last, all the while sharpening a knife behind her back.
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From:1ngi
Date:20th July, 2007 10:13 am (UTC)
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You may already know this, but Roz is on LJ: rozk
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From:auntysarah
Date:20th July, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
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Ta! I didn't previously know that, but events have caught up with me (see below)...
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From:bittercat
Date:20th July, 2007 01:19 pm (UTC)

I saw your post in FEMINIST.

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Good reporting on your part.

What I think it comes down to is Claudia went through with it without really thinking it through and preparing, and Bindel, IMO, is just a bad journalist.

Just my 2 cents.
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From:auntysarah
Date:20th July, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)

Re: I saw your post in FEMINIST.

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Good reporting on your part.

Thank you!

What I think it comes down to is Claudia went through with it without really thinking it through and preparing, and Bindel, IMO, is just a bad journalist.

Claudia has problems that run deeper than those that a surgeon can fix, I suspect. Bindel seems to be wilfully ignorant, and that really winds me up. It's doubly worse that she's wilfully ignorant and yet speaks with the pretence of authority on the subject, and it's triply worse that she's clearly intelligent enough to know better. She's also a member of a pesecuted minority who has apparently jumped at the opportunity to apply the same kind of persecution to another minority when she achieved a position of power, and to me that shows that her character has been tested, and she failed. She's become what she hates.
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From:bittercat
Date:20th July, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)

Re: I saw your post in FEMINIST.

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Ha! Seems our Anne Coulter has a British sister, then, in Bindel. Nice. *eye roll*

We can only hope people like this will get exposed for what they are. Then again, hate seems to rake in cash, so...
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From:rozk
Date:20th July, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
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It was great to meet you and I have added your scarily intelligent lj to my friend's list. I'd love to hook up some time.
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From:auntysarah
Date:20th July, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! Flattery will get you everywhere, ma'am, and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet and speak with you. Hooking up sounds like a splendid idea - I'm in London often...
From:onemoreargument
Date:20th July, 2007 05:41 pm (UTC)
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i remember watching the whole technodyke explosion (and whooping when jenny roberts, even though she's written an article that irritates me too, got involved) so, yes. i figure, if she is as willing to understand as she purports herself to be, the problem is that she is still using early 1980's feminist vitriol as the basis for her arguments (whether she likes it or not) and, quite understandably, the trans community react like we've had salt rubbed into a wound whenever we hear them. but, in print, it's pretty much all she seems to say or imply. i don't think she's that hot on issues surrounding pornography or sex work either. and, yes, people do listen to her, because while she is the predominant theoretical voice espousing opinion on trans-people in the guardian, well, people who don't know any better won't have anything other to assume. gnash. argh. bah.

somebody else has probably made the joke, but i'd love a psychiatrist to push me into surgery right now. especially if they paid for it. here is my hand, please apply canula. goodnight.

okay, this is a personal question so please feel free to ignore it, and normally i probably wouldn't ask it but tonight i'm feeling gnarly, but what do you mean when you refer to yourself as being a neophyte in 'all this'?
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From:auntysarah
Date:21st July, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
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somebody else has probably made the joke, but i'd love a psychiatrist to push me into surgery right now. especially if they paid for it. here is my hand, please apply canula. goodnight.

Quite so.

okay, this is a personal question so please feel free to ignore it, and normally i probably wouldn't ask it but tonight i'm feeling gnarly, but what do you mean when you refer to yourself as being a neophyte in 'all this'?

I just feel very humbled when I meet someone who has been active in the trans community and in society as a visible transperson for decades, especially when they're sensible and grounded, especially when I think that two years ago I hadn't even transitioned.
From:onemoreargument
Date:22nd July, 2007 08:47 am (UTC)
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cool. although, i actually think it's probably more difficult to be sensible and grounded and active and visible when you haven't been transitioned for very long. and i think you're doing a grand job.

so there.
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From:auntysarah
Date:22nd July, 2007 10:27 am (UTC)
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That's really kind of you, thank you.

I must say, the pragmatism you've displayed when dealing with the ba^H^H ... staff of HCW is commendable too. It's difficult not to be bitter about this sort of thing.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:21st July, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)

debate write up

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Hey, Thought i could rely on you for a good write-up on the Hecklers Debate, and i was right! Wish i could have stayed for the drinks afterwards, sounds like it was interesting.... oh well, next time! Take care,
Erica (girl you sat next to!) xx
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From:auntysarah
Date:21st July, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)

Re: debate write up

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Hiya. Guess you had a bit of a train ride afterwards!

What were your thoughts on how it went?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:31st July, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC)

Re: debate write up

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Hey! No I work in London actually, so it was all local for me. As for my thoughts on the debate.... well, i found it really interesting and emotive, i had never been to anything like it before and had no idea what to expect. I felt that Julie Bindel said some truly ridiculous, ignorant and hurtful things and that perhaps this occurred because she hadn't really talked to a lot of people about her topic, or done much research away from the radical theory books. There was a massively deliberate omission of the successes that come from sex change surgery, and such reluctance to admit any positivity meant that, to me, her argument sounded just a little immature. I was wondering whether we were about to get a Janice Raymond style onslaught.. luckily it fell short of that! Hope you are having a lovely holiday! x
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From:auntysarah
Date:31st July, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)

Re: debate write up

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I felt that Julie Bindel said some truly ridiculous, ignorant and hurtful things and that perhaps this occurred because she hadn't really talked to a lot of people about her topic, or done much research away from the radical theory books.

The bit where she really seemed to lose it for me was when she was going on about "the transphobes". Er, Julie... That's you.

Holiday was very nice indeed (we got back yesterday - it was just a city break). Seems to have definitely improved my mood, and we saw some really fantastic things.
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From:slightlyfoxed
Date:27th July, 2007 08:17 am (UTC)
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Hello, I was the tie-wearer with the flyers. Lovely to meet you. Fantastic write-up - I couldn't face the bile and sloped off for quiche.

I haven't got a friend's list but will definitely drop in and read your journal which looks fab.
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From:auntysarah
Date:28th July, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
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Hi there! Thanks for thge kind words. You looked absolutely fab on the day - very nice to have met you, although I think we may have bumped into each other at Pride a few weeks ago?
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From:sheppeyescapee
Date:1st August, 2007 09:19 pm (UTC)
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I'm listening to it now, her argument seems rather weak.
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From:auntysarah
Date:3rd August, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)
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It does somewhat come over as an incoherent rant, doesn't it?
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From:sheppeyescapee
Date:3rd August, 2007 12:48 pm (UTC)
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Pretty much. It also feels like she is stuck in the 70s, going over the same ol thing over and over again.
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From:fox_in_sand
Date:2nd August, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)

I came here via the feminist community

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I listened to this last night, I'm very ignorant about transsexuality (partly because I don't know any transsexual people), but Bindel just blew me away with her bigotry and incoherence. I saw that you'd commented on a different article about the Guardian on the feminist community, saying that you don't buy it because of the transphobia, and I meant to ask you what you meant as I hadn't noticed. Now I understand completely.

I've always been offended by most of Bindel's viewpoints (and all of her articles) on other feminist issues, especially as she consistently does little/no research before voicing her strident, incoherent opinion on the matter in a national newspaper, and on Hecklers she was no different. Her end speech struck me as partly nonsensical-she said she didn't have a problem with transsexuals but with the industry then in the same sentence launched into how wanting to change your sex was pointless etc-talk about slippery.

What I think is particularly sad is that, as I said before, I know virtually nothing about transsexuality except what I read on the feminist community. I could go and specifically find and read a book/books about it, but realistically I probably won't get round to it, along with all those books about certain periods of history, certain countries around the world, political books, biographies etc etc. But the difference is that on all these other topics I can know a little about the subject from tv programmes or newspaper articles-I can spare that amount of time. But the first programme I've heard about transsexuality, and it has to be someone attacking it, and it has to be defended. Surely the fact that she had to use the same regretter, Claudia, twice (in the article, then as her only? supporter in the audience who was actually transsexual), shows that the situation, though regrettable for Claudia, is really rare. And I can't exactly imagine that people, including the medical profession, are so accepting of transsexuality that it's very easy to get medical treatment. Also, her only regretter had the ops etc over twenty years ago wasn't it, hardly recent valid evidence.
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From:auntysarah
Date:3rd August, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)

Re: I came here via the feminist community

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I'm very ignorant about transsexuality, but Bindel just blew me away with her bigotry and incoherence.

It's interesting and useful to hear what someone who doesn't have a direct interest in the topic made of it, and encouraging to hear that you thought Bindel came over badly. Thank you!

I've always been offended by most of Bindel's viewpoints (and all of her articles) on other feminist issues, especially as she consistently does little/no research before voicing her strident, incoherent opinion

She is a bit "blokes in a pub, putting the world to rights" in her approach, isn't she?

As for Claudia, she had other supporters in the audience, but none of them trans, as far as I could tell. A transman friend of mine recognised some of them as lesbian separatists that he knew from the Greenham Common days when he was a lesbian separatist, and had a chat with one of them afterwards. I wonder how that affected her perspective? It's all well and good being ideologically pure, until it's someone you know, then what was black and white has a habit of suddenly becoming a bit grey...

Claudia herself seems ... less than entirely reliable in her account of herself, and some of what she was saying afterwards to those who spoke to her (I didn't myself) seemed to just not make sense. I'm not at all sure what she means by "the operation didn't work and I can't have sex" either. It seems she still has unaddressed issues which aren't related to her gender identity. It's very unfortunate, but it doesn't really imply much for the way transpeople should be treated by the medical profession.

And I can't exactly imagine that people, including the medical profession, are so accepting of transsexuality that it's very easy to get medical treatment.

Indeed. There's already a thriving black market in transgender drugs as a result, and there are surgeons who perhaps won't ask the sort of questions about your medical history that the respectable ones will operating in some parts of the world (although their surgical prowess often matches their level of patient scrutiny. Caveat emptor). If Bindel got her way, this would only increase. In the drinks reception afterwards I managed to make this point to her, saying that we will do what it takes to get our treatment, and she might perhaps want to consider the analogy to back street abortions. Given she's since expressed (in another Guardian article) the view that she hasn't changed her mind as a result of talking to us, I guess her ideology really is more important to her than human suffering - if people with gender dysphoria have to die from black market medical treatment, and/or turn to prostitution to fund the one thing that's proven effective in stopping our pain, then so be it.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:4th August, 2007 07:57 am (UTC)

Re: I came here via the feminist community

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It's a terrible thought about the black market medical treatment. I was wondering actually, do americans have to pay for all their stuff? I think I heard it's not available on their insurance, what do they do if they can't afford it? Because I imagine that leads to similar situations.

Another thing about Claudia is that, even if she didn't seem to have other issues as well, if her op 'didn't work', then of course she's going to be dissatisfied? Hardly a useful example for Bindel, but that's the best she can come up with.

Bindel couldn't even decide which angle she was going from. She kept saying that her issue wasn't with transsexuals it was with the industry, then straight afterwards started talking about gender being completely socially constructed-well make up your mind!

Another thing I completely disagreed with was her analogy with anorexia-the fundamental difference is that even if you were to give an anorexic extreme liposuction they STILL wouldn't be happy with their body, as it's a mental not a physical problem.

I'm glad I listened to this; I feel that by seeing all the holes in Bindel's arguement, I began to understand transsexuality more than I did before.
[User Picture]
From:auntysarah
Date:4th August, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC)

Re: I came here via the feminist community

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It's a terrible thought about the black market medical treatment. I was wondering actually, do americans have to pay for all their stuff?

Pretty much, I think, but then so did I because my PCt were being cretins. I could have got it eventually, if I didn't mind waiting years and putting up with it being treated as a pathological mental condition by paternalistic psychiatrists.

what do they do if they can't afford it?

Prostitution, debt, become long term psychiatric patients, suicide, I guess...

She kept saying that her issue wasn't with transsexuals it was with the industry, then straight afterwards started talking about gender being completely socially constructed-well make up your mind!

*teehee* Yeah, consistency doesn't seem to be her strong point!

Another thing I completely disagreed with was her analogy with anorexia-the fundamental difference is that even if you were to give an anorexic extreme liposuction they STILL wouldn't be happy with their body, as it's a mental not a physical problem.

Indeed, whereas we do tend to be happy with the outcome - the treatment makes the dysphoria dramatically lessen or even go away. We also don't desire an unhealthy or pathological endpoint (OK, we end up sterile, but that's a side effect of the limits of medical science rather than the goal
) - we want healthy bodies and organs, just the opposite ones to the ones we were born with.
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From:millicent_h
Date:2nd August, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
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Just listening to this now and I have yelled at Julie Bindel several times. Her whole argument offends me as a natal woman. I don't get her opression argument. It smacks of Monty Python! You can't say you want a genderless society and then say women are opressed, women are opressed - it's just double standards. Heck, she's lucky - lesbianism has never been illegal - Queen Victoria stated that "women wouldn't do such things". Of course a lot of trans people have dropped off the radar - they're getting on with their lives now they are finally able to do so. I must say Hilary has a beautiful voice!

I think overall Julie Bindel is arguing for a very small minority which can be applauded in some respects but to make life hell for a majority is wrong.
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From:auntysarah
Date:3rd August, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
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Just listening to this now and I have yelled at Julie Bindel several times.

Wanting to punch the wall seems to have been quite a common reaction to this one...
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From:cheshire_bitten
Date:13th October, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
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sounds "fun"

good luck.
From:igiveyoumylife
Date:8th November, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
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I know this is well over a year later, but thanks for writing this - I'm adding it to my memories to refer back to it... I'm planning to forward it to a few people as well if you don't mind. Thank you
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From:auntysarah
Date:8th November, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
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Good job I read my email carefully ;-)

Anyway, you're very welcome, and I don't mind you forwarding it to a few people.
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