Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Take up your mouse and click!

A dear friend of mine from university is currently using all the means at her disposal to fight Oxfordshire PCT's effective blanket ban on funding gender dysphoria surgery, a ban which bears little to no resemblence to medical, financial or ethical sense. As part of this, she has created a petition on the Number Ten website in an attempt to create more weight on the PCT to address its policy, which seems to be founded on little more than outdated misconceptions and prejudices.

The more people sign, the more likely it is to receive serious attention. My friend, everyone who lovers her and all trans allies everywhere would really, really appreciate this small gesture of protest for change from any UK residents. It takes thirty seconds. Put the kettle on and you're done.

There is also a longer report explaining the background and problems, available online.

As sebastienne explains:

Gender reassignment, in the UK, is mediated through specialist clinics. For the south of England, the specialist clinc is at Charing Cross Hospital in London. In order for Charing Cross to put you forward for surgery, you have to demonstrate that you are functioning day-to-day, living in your target gender.

In order to get funding out of Oxfordshire PCT, you have to demonstrate "extreme need" - and pretty much the only way to do this is to be so depressed as to be at risk of suicide. A state of mental health which then makes you ineligible for treatment by Charing Cross.

Oxfordshire PCT will only fund your gender reassignment when your condition, through non-treatment, has made you too ill to undergo surgery.

You can read the full report here. If you are currently living in the UK - please sign this petition and propagate it. Feel free to copy and paste this text, I know I (Penny Red) have! Goooo radical queer intertubes!

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/gdoxpct/

*

ETA 29/03: The text of this post was collated from several other places where the information had been posted, including Jacinthsong's livejournal. I was in a rush at the time and thought the cause was important enough to justify it, but I know you guys deserve better than cut-and-paste, and it's not something I'm intending to make a habit of. xx PR

62 comments:

  1. The issue mentioned has always been a thorny and difficult one in the UK, which is why so many people end up forced to go abroad and pay for their surgeries privately, sometimes with dire life-threatening results, e.g., massive post-operative trauma and infection etc.

    My problem with the issue is that although the people concerned are undoubetdly tormented and suffering their situation is not, per se, actually life-threatening. (Unless you count the danger of suicide in the case of the most psychologically disturbed individuals.) With a fixed amount of money available to the NHS, gender reassignment surgery saps the ability of the health service to, for example, dialyse patients suffering from kidney failure, carry out organ transplants or give chemo/radiotherapy etc., to save or at least extend the lives of many afflicted citizens of all ages.

    While I am sympathetic to your friend's cause in a moral sense because of the foregoing reasons I cannot bring myself to sign her petition, now, as is.

    I am sorry.

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  2. What Socrates???!!!

    The suicide risk in trans people is incredibly high - and it's not because they are 'psychologically disturbed', but because if you're trans, and all you've had to do is fight and fight and fight to get any kind of support, hormones or surgery from the NHS, sometimes taking your own life seems a reasonable way out.

    Leave your privileges at the door, please!

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  3. Calm down Sal and think about the economic case dispassionately. While neither option is worthy I believe that extending the lives of, say, five renal patients balanced against the cost of one transgender suicide is, in fact, the lesser of two evils.

    The exigencies of life sometimes force decision makers to make hard choices.

    I won't drink the hemlock but suggest, respectfully, that you take an aspirin.

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  4. The cost of treating one transsexual doesn't even equate to anywhere near the expense of other health care provision (and even less than the waste on middle managers) - don't believe the figures that the likes of the Daily Mail would like you to believe.

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  5. The Rapture Cometh11 March 2009 at 11:29

    Yea, unto and forver shall ye burn in the pit with much gnashing of teeth. Trangendered human beings are an abomination in the sight of the Lord, because:

    1. God created gender, giving males and females unique, vital & distinct identities and roles.

    a. Creation of gender, Gen. 1:27.

    b. Gender differences requires for reproduction of the human race, Gen. 1:28.

    c. God blessed gender differences as unique & vital, giving identity & defining roles, Gen. 2:18-22.

    d. Nature teaches that transgender conduct is sinful, Rom. 1:26-27 (9:20-21).

    Repent your sins and plead the Lord for help and forgiveness before it is too late.

    For the sake of the grace of you immortal soul, DO NOT SIGN THE BABYLONIC ONLINE PETITION!

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  6. WTF?

    (The Rapture Cometh: nice bit of artistic license there, but you're still mad)

    Laurie? Is this even a women-friendly blog anymore?

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  7. *sigh* Unfortunately, from the relative levels of fuckwittery, yes it is...here they seem to restrict themselves to relatively harmless attempts to jerk our chains rather than launching actual personal attacks and tracking us down IRL.

    Yay! Progress for women on the inter tubes! Etc.

    By the way? You are really cool. Well done for kicking against the pricks, every little helps...

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  8. Also, The Rapture Cometh? Tuck your dogma back between your legs, dear, and get to fuck.

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  9. Socrates: I trust you will join my campaign to stop the NHS treating broken arms. Why spend money on expensive x-rays and casts when it could be going on cancer patients? After all, no-one ever died of a broken limb.

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  10. Where do I sign the petition to not fund gender realignment surgery?

    What a load of absolute rubbish.

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  11. Mark: you're a prick and not everything revolves around you.

    End.

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  12. tim f

    Your attempt to move the goalposts seems facile to me. People who seek gender reassignment as a freebie on the NHS are usually physically in good health. To transform someone surgically into the opposite sex is very costly considering the surgery itself, prosthetics used and ongoing hormone treatment as an outpatient afterwards. You could even argue that gender reassignment, like plastic surgery, is elective. On the other hand people with broken arms have been injured and can be restored to their former state cheaply and easily. Medical intervention like this is essentially non-elective since unless an injury like this is actually treated the patient is almost certainly likely to end up permanently disabled. You are trying (and failing) to draw a parallel between two completely different situations; I suspect you are probably very young.

    I don't know what is going on here but do Penny Red and Sal actually believe that any member of the male gender who has the temerity to challenge or disagree with them is tacitly misogynistic "anti-female"? Do you really think that any of us really mean you any harm? That sounds borderline paranoiac to me. Also how can you even know for sure the sex of anybody commenting on the postings of this blog? For example The Rapture Cometh could be a man or a woman as far as I can see. Speaking personally can you please tell me what have I written that could be construed in any way as "anti-female"? After all gender reassignment is a two way street. In which case am I now to be labelled a misogynistic woman hater and misanthropic man hater because of my objections to gender reassignment surgery?

    Get a grip girls. Don't go around insulting people for no reason and calling them a "prick".

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  13. Socrates, you're the one moving the goalposts. First the problem with treating people who need gender reassignment surgery is that their condition won't kill them, now it's that they're physically in good health (anyway I'd argue that having the wrong kind of genitals for them is not a sign of good physical health - if I woke up one morning and found I had a vagina I'd be round the doctor's like a shot).

    If I point out that the NHS treats people who have mental health complaints that don't always result in poor physical health, will you move the goalposts again?

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  14. Well Sal, me having to pay for surgery of duboius value has very little to do with my position within the solar system. I'm not convinced that surgry is the best solution for a clearly mental problem.
    Even if it is, is it even possible to distinguish between those with a genuinely gender bending brain and those who are mad?
    Even if someone hs a female brain is cutting their cock off really the best option?

    I have the brain of Brad Pitt and the body of Mr. Bean, but i'm certainly not asking anyone else to fund my surgical transformation.

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  15. tim f

    Honestly.

    Talk about muddying the waters!

    The reason that pre-operative trangender issues don't usually kill the people suffering them is because they are, predominantly, in good physical health as a general rule. I moved no goalposts. My opposition to NHS funded surgical intervention vis-a-vis the transgendered, causally, was identical in both cases. Psychological conditions these days are normally treated psychologically not surgically; lobotomies, leukotomies,severing the corpus colosseum et al are frowned upon in the twenty-first century and have been out of vogue for decades.

    You are trying to equate the psychological with the physical and the two are almost never actually synonymous. Incidentally, many people do die every year from broken arms and other fractures, usually following a fatal pulmonary embolism, so you are completely incorrect when you say that "... no one ever died of a broken limb". It happens at home, work and in hospitals every day.

    Get your facts straight lad.

    Incidentally...

    Are you sure you haven't got a vagina?

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  16. You're right that I don't separate the pyschological from the physical. People are whole beings. This idea that we have a separate consciousness, body, spirit, whatever is a theological detour based on a misunderstanding of Paul's epistles.

    To tell someone who needs gender reassignment surgery that they have a psychological condition that can be cured is incredibly patronising. How about actually listening to the patient?

    And yes, unless it's located in a very unusual place...

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  17. Tim has a point here. Personal experiences can actually change the nervous system in humans, which would indicate that they're not separate systems.
    And if gender is only a mental construction, it's part of our most basic identity, so I'd assume changing someones view of their gender would actually be harder than changing their biological one.

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  18. Also: I personally think the Rapture Cometh is a joke.
    When did anyone last see someone preaching old school Christianity?

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  19. tim f

    St Paul? Don't you mean Rene Descartes? You seem to be talking about Cartesian dualism as far as I can see. At least you've got a sense of humour, son, so there's hope for you yet.

    I don't mind wasting time surfing the internet when I'm at work, but when I head for home I've got better things to do so I'm closing the argument herewith.

    Perhaps Penny Red should moderate her blog and filter out all comments that express opinions at variance to her own or that fail to boost her ego by telling her how great she is. As far as I can see the posts on this blog and female commentators are more anti-male than male commentators are anti-female. Filtering the internet works for the governing party in China; not much dissension there I'll be bound. Why not give it a go Ms. Red?

    But why listen to anything I've got to say. I am a male by an accident of birth after all and so am by definition from the getgo despicable, dangerous, reprehensible and unredeemable.

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  20. No, Rene Descartes actually did believe in dualism. Paul didn't but has been misinterpreted thus.

    Glad to see there's hope for me yet. Perhaps when I grow up I can be as wise as you.

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  21. Fucking hell... it's incredibly patronizing to tell someone with gender-whatever that they have a mental problem?
    Why?
    Just because someone says they want something is not neccesarily any reason for the rest of us to listen.

    If i was convinced that drilling holes in my head would cure my headaches, should doctors provide that treatment just because i want it?
    How about if it was just an expensive placebo?
    I don't really have a problem with surgey for the sake of happiness, but why should the rest of us pay for it when there is no proven medical advantage?
    Fuck it, i'll agree that it's valid to pay for surgery on the basis of whims, when every one of my whims is satisfied by the state.

    So what are your thoughts on the national sex service?
    Should it include the kinky stuff or only absolutely neccesary sex?

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  22. Mark: rather than being ignorant, try and inform yourself a lot more about trans people and why they seek reassignment surgery, rather that repeating the same old and using offensive analogies - clearly others here, whether they agree or not are at least able to enter some sort of informed discussion.

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  23. I think the national sex service is an excellent analogy.

    Gender realignment surgery is surgery for the sake of happiness.

    How many sex-doctors could we employ for the price of one cock-chopping operation, and how many people would it make happy?

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  24. tim f

    You seem to be of a religious mien but just because you say something or believe something doesn't make that something true!

    Wikipedia article on Cartesian Dualism

    Now I remember why I hated teaching and lecturing. I still don't understand the opprobrium directed against men on this blog however.

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  25. The Rapture Cometh must indeed have been joking, as such epic misquoting of the bible is hard to do with a straight face.

    If you read the entirety of Romans 1 instead of quoting a small section and then extrapolating a meaning (which can be amusing), it is clear that homosexuality was not described as a sin but as a punishment for turning away from God. Yes, that is likening it to being flogged, but some people enjoy that too.

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  26. The reason that pre-operative trangender issues don't usually kill the people suffering them is because they are, predominantly, in good physical health as a general rule.

    But poor mental health. As the longer reports notes

    “Almost 14% of adult trans people have attempted to commit suicide more than twice, and 34.4%, over 1 in 3, reported having attempted suicide at least once as an adult.”

    which is a rather substantial rate.

    Also note this petition says nothing about national funding, it merely seeks to bring Oxford PCT into line with other care trusts round the country.

    Note also that the NHS funds many many non-life saving treatments - like children's glasses, dental care. It funds treatments that are proven not to work (homeopathy). It also funds the mental care treatment for transgendered individuals. And I assume you that a lifetime of mental health treatment is more expensive than surgery.

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  27. Footlong (0.30489 m)11 March 2009 at 21:27

    I think Sal is really cool too.

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  28. I don't really have an opinion one way or the other on this issue (I am fiercly undecided!), plus I don't live in the UK so within the context my opinion doesn't matter anyway.
    I'd like to point out though that the statistic-

    “Almost 14% of adult trans people have attempted to commit suicide more than twice, and 34.4%, over 1 in 3, reported having attempted suicide at least once as an adult.”

    -makes no mention of what kind of an impact surgery actually has on the suicide rate. Without that this doesn't really support the argument for surgery, it just tells us that trans people are suicidal.

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  29. Sal you're very funny. Whatever the moral argument is. The economic reality is that if you decide that the NHS should spend money on this it will take money away from something else or cost tax payers more. The money supply isn't infinite.

    This is the fundamental problem with the NHS and Socialism generally. If society decide to start directing resources you will always have a positive and negative effect. That's the sad reality.

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  30. Jared is perfectly correct.

    Does any reputable statistical evidence exist indicating that the survival rates of post-operative transgendered men and women are greater than the survival rates amongst the non-operative and/or pre-operative transgendered?

    If there isn't then VK's quote is irrelevant and not germane to the matter under discussion.

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  31. Does any reputable statistical evidence exist indicating that the survival rates of post-operative transgendered men and women are greater than the survival rates amongst the non-operative and/or pre-operative transgendered

    Gosh, it's almost as though the original link didn't contain an entire section on "The Efficacy of Surgical Techniques".

    Anyhow the exact statistic you ask for would not be relevant, since what you really want to compare is transexuals who have been denied to those who haven't, across a variety of treatments. There is no single operation!

    On the other hand, the sucide rates show that this is a serious problem. Numberous studies, referenced in the document provided show that there are effective treatments.

    I suggest if you want to continue discussing this in a reasonable mannor you go and actually read the links provided.

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  32. @ VK.

    In fact I did read the documents associated with the links in Penny Red's posting. The evidence presented is NOT statistical but anecdotal; the report as such, in my view at least, is completely unsatisfactory from a mathematical point of view. Ms. Outen only cites examples gleaned from literature supportive of the conclusion she wanted to arrive at from the beginning; she ignores allied work from other sources which is antagonistic to this goal. I am willing to bet that any person versed in sociological, psychological, psychiatric and similar literature could draw up a report contradicting Ms. Outen's evidence and conclusions chapter and verse at every twist and turn.

    Outen's report is a critique or criticism of the status quo in Oxfordshire. Her report certainly doesn't include the unimpeachable raw statistics that policy decisions are (or should) normally be based on. This is why her work will cut no ice whatsoever when considered by the powers that be.

    Incidentally, while you are obviously a very intelligent young lady your spelling and your grammar sucks. Download Firefox and it will spell-check your words in real-time saving you the embarrassment of including glaring howlers like "Numberous" in your otherwise very interesting opinions.

    Get your FREE Firefox browser here!

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  33. How to assign NHS money as to save the most lives is indeed a difficult question, and I can not pretend to even begin to know how to answer it. Personally I agree with the petition, as it seems like the Right Thing to do.

    However, Jared and Socrates are right. No conclusion can be drawn from VK's quote without further data. To make the present data even more useless, it only records failed suicides, which means the problem may be much worse than it appears, unless transgender people are especially bad at killing themselves. We simply don't know. To sway their minds you will likely need to find data suggesting that gender reassignment helps, and compare it to similar statistics for other treatments. Even then it would only be suggestive and not indicative, as correlation does not imply causality.

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  34. The evidence presented is NOT statistical but anecdotal;

    Quoting from the summeries of medical research papers is anecdotal . Hilarious use of language.

    If nothing but figures will satisfy you then

    "1.9% postoperative suicide rate is confirmed"..."Dolan"

    from
    http://bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/reprint/152/4/550 (unfortunately this requires access to RCP online)

    Gosh, and I only had to look up the references given from the quotes in the original document. It like I bothered to find out what I was talking about before I tried correcting other people on their opinions.

    the embarrassment of including glaring howlers like "Numberous" in your otherwise very interesting opinions.

    My god, the embarrassment. Oh well, at least I wasn't a transphobic pedant completely lacking in compassion for others.

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  35. And because I hate giving references that not everyone can read:

    http://jenellerose.com/htmlpostings/transsexual_surgery_its_pros_and_cons.htm

    "Dixen et al (1984) found that among 479 MFs and 285 FMs seen in the Palo Alto program, about 25% of the MFs and 19% of the FMs had attempted suicide prior to transition. Most studies reported a pre- transition suicide attempt rate of 20% or more, with MFs relatively more suicide-prone than FMs. Post-reassignment, Pfafflin and Junge found reports of only 16 possible suicide deaths among over 2000 cases: 14 in MFs, one in an FM, and one with gender not specified. Five of the 16 may have been accidental medication or drug overdoses rather than genuine suicides. In the remaining 11 cases, suicide was usually not thought to be related to gender problems per se."

    refering to studys:

    Pfafflin F, Junge A (1992) Sex Reassignment: Thirty Years of International Follow-Up Studies after SRS -- A Comprehensive Review, 1961-1991. English translation (1998) available on the Internet at http://209.143.139.183/ijtbooks/pfaefflin/1000.asp

    and

    Dixen J, Maddever H, van Maasdam J, Edwards P (1984) Psychosocial characteristics of applicants evaluated for surgical gender reassignment. Arch Sex Behav 13: 269-276.

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  36. @VK.

    "1.9% postoperative suicide rate is confirmed"..." Dolan

    How was the postoperative suicide rate actually confirmed and among what patients? Did pathologists doing the post mortem examination on the deceased gather the data? Or did psychologists gather the statistic via reports in respect to deaths amongst their patients? How many postoperative transgendered people were included in the sample? And who the hell is Dolan anyway?

    Why did I use the word anecdotal?

    Because, as far as I can see, most of the statistics quoted were gathered from surveys the methodology of which studies were undisclosed. How the subjects were chosen was not satisfactorily explained. Where did they come from? What was their demographic? What were their age and their racial distributions? How were they distributed geographically throughout the country? And so on and so forth. Also the actual questions asked and methods of response gathering were not explained. Did the subjects respond textually? Orally? Did they complete a questionnaire alone or in the company of others? In an office or at home? Were the questionnaires multi-choice? In which case who drew up the questions? Could they have been loaded and biased towards obtaining particular results?

    I could go on.

    I don't know the answer to any of these imponderables but what I do know is that no objective authority will accept statistical results based essentially on someone's (or some body's) word without complete disclosure of all relevant information such as the foregoing.

    Consider the following example from Outen:

    'A recent research project commissioned by the British Government’s Equalities Review13 included the largest survey ever conducted into suicidal tendencies among trans14 people. Of over 800 respondents, a high rate of attempted suicide was reported. “Almost 14% of adult trans people have attempted to commit suicide more than twice, and 34.4%, over 1 in 3, reported having attempted suicide at least once as an adult.”'

    How were the 800 people mentioned selected? Did they respond to an advertisement? Were they referred by doctors? Where did the figures for the suicide rate come from and how were they derived? If they came from the subjects directly perhaps, because the subjects thought that a high suicide rate would be helpful to their imagined cause, they exaggerated or lied when answering the associated question(s) whatever they were and however they might have been phrased. Were these supposed suicide attempts bona fide, e.g., opening a vein, or only "cries for help", e.g., swallowing a handful of aspirin, on the part of the subjects? Certainly, if true,these people seem particularly inept at ending their own lives.

    With my hand on my heart I am not transphobic (although I suppose I might be a bit of a pedant) nor am I uncompassionate towards any living thing, human or otherwise. I am stating an opinion that you will find common in certain circles that exult reason and rationality over emotion and feeling.

    Clearly you are very cross with me on several levels. I did not mean to insult you or upset you and am sorry if I did so. You really do not need to be so defensive because I can assure you that no commentator on this blog means you ill in any way; least of all me.

    I am sure that, things being as they are, whatever I say or do will only make you fulminate and fume all the more and so I'll take the liberty of closing here and wish you well. I admire you for standing up for what you believe in, even though I don't agree with it. In an ideal world I would sign the given petition in a snap but the world we live in is not ideal.

    Bye.

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  37. I love the jumping goal posts here - give me statistics to show that it is fatal (because the NHS never funds anything that is less than fatal, like say breast reconstruction for cancer survivors), no also give us statistics to show the doctors aren't just randomly deciding on this treatment.

    No give us a complete breakdown of these statistics and how they were found and justify the methodology. That's why I gave references. Annoying the first reference (based on Dolan's work) is not public, but the second is. If you want to critise the methodology, I suggest you get the funding and do a better study - these publications are peer-reviewed, they do state their limitations.

    What you need to realise is the difficultly of getting the data you require. There is not a huge sample of people to pick from, many of them do not reply. The statistics you want in the exact format you want may never be known.

    And the same is true for a lot of other medication. For example, we don't know what the best doses of radiation for cancer treatment are. There there are limitations on how much we can study without giving the patients inferior care (i.e. we'd like to know if people survive just as well on half the dose, to minimise the side-effects, but is it ethical to give someone half a dose when we have no evidence it will be better and they will die without proper treatment)

    So what we do is go on medical recommendations, based on the evidence we have. The evidence we have says treat, it's the best outcome, it's the cheapest outcome. And for nearly every other medical problem, that's exactly what happens - the PCT funds based on the doctors decision of need. Except for transsexuals in Oxford.

    At which point it is fairly easy to see the discrimination. As it is fairly easy to see the prejudice in your constant calls for better information. You don't want more information, you want an excuse to discriminate.

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  38. Oh, come on VK.

    Now you're twisting my words and trying to undermine my perfectly valid case by sophistry - like some kind of logical sleight of hand. You know perfectly well that, all along, all I asked for was impartial and properly analysed statistical evidence supportive of the case you champion before personally agreeing that the NHS should fund the ongoing treatment in respect to gender reassignment for all transexuals who demand it.

    Unless I know what methodology is used in a particular study and how the data was interpreted how can I form an opinion in respect to its validity. In the past I have seen psychologists, brilliant in their own field but GCSE level in mathematics, make terrible errors when undertaking quantitative research with real subjects, viz., poorly selected samples; badly designed surveys and questionnaires; inept data gathering; incredibly naive, inaccurate and misleading analysis of whatever poor quality data is extant; incongruous and ridiculous conclusions drawn as a result by well meaning people who are too inexpert mathematically to know what they are talking about.

    You can't trust medical practitioners to come to correct conclusions or trust them make balanced decisions either. Some doctors believe in ludicrous things, e.g., fringe therapies and complimentary medicine which has no scientific basis whatsoever like homoeopathy, aromatherapy, colour therapy, dowsing and radiesthesia, chiropractic, even faith healing which borders on shamanism, occultism and magic as far as I am concerned. Medical practitioners in my experience are just as capable of believing all kinds of nonsense as credulously as the most unenlightened layman.

    All I'm saying is that I could not personally accept statistical evidence unless I know who gathered it, how they gathered it, where they gathered it, over what time frame they gathered it and how they interpreted it. That's my general rule in all cases not just the transexual one.

    "If you want to critise the methodology, I suggest you get the funding and do a better study..."

    Really, VK! Have a word with yourself!

    Isn't saying something like that rather silly? Go on, admit it! I've left university and academia behind me; I'm in the real world now, have to earn a living, and so obviously am not in any position to bid for funding for your suggested project.

    (I'm wasting too much time here.... I really, really am!)

    I am not discriminating against nor am I phobically disposed towards any human being whatever his/her race, creed, colour, class, sexuality, shoe size, intelligence quotient, length of hair, age... (insert any sequence of human attributes here)... might be. You could not be more wrong when you accuse me of being thus bigoted. All I'm asking for is evidence I can trust based on reason not on faith.

    Can't we please just let the matter drop now? I've got so many other things that I'm neglecting and that deserve my undivided attention. We are unlikely ever to come to an accommodation on this matter so, please, let's just call it quits.

    If this goes on I will be supping from the hemlock cup to put you out of my misery!

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  39. If you really do have better things to do, you could always just let someone else have the last word...

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  40. When they refuse to pay for cancer drugs why the hell should they pay for cock chopping.

    It's surgry for the sake of happiness and our collective pocket won't stand it.

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  41. I wanna live in a country where men are men and women are glad of it! Boy bands are bad enough but ladyboy bands? Give us a break! What a load of shit.

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  42. tim f

    If only you hadn't decided to try to exercise your wit your dream might have actually become a reality...

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  43. You can't trust medical practitioners to come to correct conclusions or trust them make balanced decisions either.

    So we can't trust medical practisioners.

    just as capable of believing all kinds of nonsense as credulously as the most unenlightened layman.

    And we can't trust non-medical practisioners.

    So who do we trust to decide? If we can't trust medical studies, or the governement panals set up to discuss this, or the legal judgements in the test cases that have gone forward, or the opinions of the people whose care is in question and the doctors who have been treating each patient for over two years, or Charing Cross which has decades of experience dealing with Gender dismorphia?

    You know perfectly well that, all along, all I asked for was impartial and properly analysed statistical evidence supportive of the case you champion before personally agreeing that the NHS should fund the ongoing treatment in respect to gender reassignment for all transexuals who demand it.

    Really? Your initial comment on this blog just asked to show it was a life-threating condition.

    "My problem with the issue is that although the people concerned are undoubetdly tormented and suffering their situation is not, per se, actually life-threatening."

    Since then every contradcition of your opinions has led to a new goal that the world must demonstrate to you before you will treat transsexuals as equals.

    In the past I have seen psychologists, brilliant in their own field but GCSE level in mathematics, make terrible errors when undertaking quantitative research with real subjects, viz., poorly selected samples; badly designed surveys and questionnaires; inept data gathering; incredibly naive, inaccurate and misleading analysis of whatever poor quality data is extant; incongruous and ridiculous conclusions drawn as a result by well meaning people who are too inexpert mathematically to know what they are talking about.

    Yes, individual studies frequently make errors. But when the studies in question have been peer-reveiwed, pulled apart by other scientists, repeated numerous times, reveiwed again by scientists and government panals in making these decisions - do you really think there are errors that you will notice and they won't? Isn't that a bit arrogant?

    No study is flawless. All out medical treatments are currently decided by flawed individuals based on flawed studies. All we ask is the Oxford PCT (because the NHS has already comdemmed a blanket ban on SRS) fall in line with the other PCTs and treat everyone in line with NHS guidelines.

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  44. Okay, VK, maybe I have been too hard on you. Annoyingly, I have felt compelled to review some of the literature allied to the subject under scrutiny and am prepared to offer you a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    If you personally ask me to sign the petition and admit that I was hasty in my judgement I will. Ah! But will your pride and dislike for me personally allow you to do something like that? Now you know how Eve must have felt when tempted in the Garden by the Serpent.

    I should warn you that even if you don't eat from the apple on the tree of knowledge I'm going to evict you from the Eden anyway on the grounds of your God-awful spelling!

    Now, obstreperous one, what'cha goin' to do?

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  45. Hold the phone!

    Why wasn't the last post by VK made using her Google/Blogger identity?

    I've got a feeling that some third party has chosen to masquerade under another person's guise, under which circumstances I revoke my earlier offer to sign the on-line petition.

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  46. If you personally ask me to sign the petition and admit that I was hasty in my judgement I will. Ah! But will your pride and dislike for me personally allow you to do something like that?

    I would love for you to sign the petition, but only if you agree with it.

    Why wasn't the last post by VK made using her Google/Blogger identity?

    I have no idea. That was indeed me and I don't think I clicked anything different.

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  47. Slice of humble pie, sir?

    After reflection I admit that I was hasty and misguided in my objections to the online petition mentioned in Red's blog, and, after corroborating that several studies were meticulous and reputable, I have now signed the petition.

    Ugh! That dish wasn't much to my taste; hemlock makes the feet grow colder.

    Chalk up a victory for VK.

    Finis

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  48. Thanks. Wow, it's not often you see someone actually change their mind on the internet. :)

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  53. Also, VK and Socrates: this has made fascinating reading, thanks both of you.

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  60. Any person with the slightest compassion and any understanding would not accept a blanket ban on the treatment of transsexual people.

    Should we place a blanket ban on such treatments as cleft palate? After all, it is not immediately life threatening and many untreated children live long lives with cleft palates.

    Of course, no one would consider that acceptable because we can easily empathise with their situation. If those same people could appreciate the situation of an untreated transsexual, they would reject a ban on their treatment with equal ferocity.

    It is only lack of understanding that permits people to dismiss the treatment of transsexuals and since there is nothing comparable that the average cis-gendered person can compare it too, it is very easy for the vast majority of people to dismiss transsexual peoples' suffering.

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  61. As a post op who has gone through the system and lived for a number of years but who funded her own surgery I have to say how ignorant and patronising I find of those who use the I am mentally ill syndrome. You are not me - It's your problem not mine who are you to judge someone like me.

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  62. China Mieville for the Socialist review three years ago. Never say I'm not good to you. And that's it from me, I'm now going to go and gorge myself on booze and chocolate in the best British fashion. Merry non-denominational festivities to all, and bollocks to all that. china manufacturing

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