Updated: Jun 9, 2020
It has been a year since the WHO declassified gender dysphoria as a disease, but, as Jamie Wareham writes, trans rights are facing a recession.
Countries, including the United Kingdom are taking advantage of the smog of COVID-19 in order to pass exclusionary bills, and in Hungary, trans people have been excluded altogether - voting to stop the legal recognition of trans people all together. In Conneticut, it's now legal to discriminate against trans women and girls by not allowing them to compete in sport. There are no safeguards to protect trans women and girls who are ostracised, no view as to how trans women and girls are expected to compete, or how they would be protected by being outed by their obvious exclusion from the teams of the same gender. A new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health also shows that 78 per cent of trans and non-binary young people have experienced discrimination because of their gender identity, and one third have attempted suicide. It's commonly assumed that younger people have a kinder and more inclusive perspective to trans, ts and non-binary people in their communities, so this figure is particularly worrying.
I would argue that this is not entirely unexpected. It certianly follows a similar trajectory when compared with "homosexuality", which was declassified as a mental health disorder in ICD-10 in 1990. In the United Kingdom, the government implemented the infamous section 28 - preventing talking about homosexuality in schools, which came into force under the conservative goernment at the time. It took 15 years for it to be repealed. In the same way that pressure came from religious and far rights groups, so trans people face the same oppression from the same groups of people. The arguments made against trans people are often recycled from 1980's homophobia. Take this example from the 1980's against Martina Navratinova, who later called for the exlusion of trans women from sports:
Today we hear from trans eradicationists that by teaching about being trans, children are "being transed" and told that they can "change sex", which is heralded, as it was in the 1980's against gay people, as "child abuse".
The truth is far from that. Trans people who are adults know how hard it is to grow up as a trans child, where people project gendered assumptions about you, but also, for TS children, how bodily dysphoria affects trans people, especially those going through puberty. Liz Truss aims to take the bodily autonomy of such trans children away, and force them to undergo an unwanted puberty with irreversable effects on trans children - resulting in the need for risky surgical interventions, and causing grave psychological and, indeed, psychiatric morbidity.
Baroness Nicholson, who frames trans women and girls as predators has commenced a concerted campaign of hate including supporting this tweet - which suggests that trans people should carry identification - much like the atrocities of Nazi Germany.
Such villianisation and dehumanisation is now commonplace in the UK, and comes from people from all walks of life. Such is the anti trans propaganda, that compelling evidence that there is no increase on attacks on people in trans friendly toilets and spaces gains little media attention. We are yet to see what plans conservative government have to segregate trans people from cisgender people in the current push for an apartheid in the UK.