What is a trans life worth?

NHS are on the wrong track

jane fae


Illustration of the trolley problem, showing a tram approaching a fork in the track. Man next to lever must decide whether to send the tram straight on (over the trans folk) or right, over the single cis guy. Speech reads… Lever-puller: “Personally, i blame the trams…” Trans Unicorn: “Is it too late to resign as a trans icon?” Cis guy: “This just proves how being trans is bad for your health”
Adapted, with much liberty, from the Trolley problem illustration over on Wikipedia: You may share it on the same terms (CC4.0) as it is licensed over there!

I guess i could have done the usual lengthy and closely argued defence of treatments for trans kids. But that misses the point entirely.

What the NHS is doing in terms of trans kids is outrageous. Period.

So, here is my squawk of outrage.

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The NHS spec for trans kids is out. This was going to be a short thread and instant reaction. But, maybe it is worth just a little more. So, here’s my short reaction.

Quaint old biddies

There are a few folks out there eager to paint the review and the entire review process as somehow or other a neutral exercise, and attributing it to quaint old biddy (Cass) who just happens to have been led astray by bad media and even badder gender criticals.

If you believe that, I have a London-based bridge to sell you.

Hard, of course, to apportion blame to any individual, or discern individual motives. Still, it should be obvious that any bunch of people (academics, medics et al.) who take on such a commission under this most transphobic of transphobic governments is at very least ‘acceptable’ to the powers that be.

For which read ‘acceptably transphobic’. Course they won’t ever think of themselves as such. So, let’s sugar it slightly: ‘acceptably cis-centric’!

Whether a particular individual is or is not an outright bigot is beside the point. The government does not advertise in the personals for ‘anyone with an interest in trans and wants to head up a key inquiry’. Nor do they advertise for ‘anti-trans hater needed to stitch up trans healthcare’. It is all, always, far more subtle than that.

Ethical wasteland

What, then, is the key take-out from the recommendations? First that, in keeping with the values of this government, the inquiry has scant regard for ethics.

Making medical treatment conditional on joining in to medical research is seriously not on. It is likely to be challenged massively before ethics boards. And it will not have the effect that its advocates think it will.

Rather, as Jolyon Maugham argues elsewhere…



jane fae

Feminist, writer, campaigner on political and sexual liberty who also knows a bit about IT, the law and policing. Not entirely serious…