The notion that a treatment should be denied by judges

Lawyers should not be making decisions on trans issues! Except when they should!

It’s been two weeks since three High Court judges in London ruled that trans children would not be able to consent to the reversible treatment of puberty blockers, a landmark decision that sent waves of anxiety through the trans community.

It’s not reversible, and it’s not treatment. That’s the issue. Lying about the issue in the first paragraph does not bode well.

It also caused shock at the Good Law Project, a non-profit campaign group launched in 2019 with the objective of using legal scrutiny to challenge abuses of power and injustices.

“None of the lawyers that I had spoken to thought that the case had a snowflake’s chance…and no one expected it to win,” says Jolyon Maugham QC, the Good Law Project’s founder. “Because these questions that the court has decided around…are not questions in relation to which judges have any expertise, right? The notion that a treatment should be denied by judges…just seemed like madness.”

But it’s not madness for Jolyon Maugham, a lawyer, to campaign for puberty blockers?

And, to repeat, it’s not a treatment. That’s the whole point. It’s a very harmful intervention in normal puberty, purported to reduce misery from a socially-created “condition” of having a brain that doesn’t match the body. It’s experimental quack medicine that leaves teenagers infertile and with fragile bones. That’s not “treatment,” it’s quackery.

Maugham is a prominent lawyer, prolific tweeter, and sometimes unfortunate over-sharer. He acknowledges that trans rights is a slightly unusual cause to fight for as a member of what he calls “his tribe”.

“I’ve moved a long way in my conceptualisation of what privilege really means, and quite how extraordinarily stupid and thoughtless and arrogant my tribe can be,” he says over a Zoom call. “[They] always think they know better and never fucking listen.”

Says Jolyon Maugham who…always thinks he knows better and never fucking listens, especially to women.

Maugham is referring to the prevalence of transphobia amongst an affluent and loud minority of middle class women and men, something the High Court’s ruling effectively institutionalised in England and Wales.

Jolyon Maugham is middle class and loud*, and extra-loud when he’s talking to women.

“You effectively find yourself in a world where a child and a parent, both of whom want that child to have access to puberty blockers, have to go and ask some judge for permission,” says Maugham. “So if you’re a parent, the court is saying to you, some judge knows better than you what is in the interest of your child. That’s an astonishingly morally offensive and logically nonsensical position for the law to find itself in.”

Just as it’s astonishingly morally offensive and logically nonsensical for judges to overrule Jehovah’s Witness parents who refuse to get medical treatment for their critically ill children? Parents don’t always make the right choice for their children, sadly, so yes, sometimes the state has to step in to protect those children. I suspect Jolyon Maugham knows that perfectly well in other contexts.

“What’s pretty troubling to me is that those charities which I understand to be really worried about this stuff aren’t coming out and speaking,” Maugham tells me, “and they’re not coming out and speaking because they’re afraid of what a small influential vocal group of feminists will say about that stance.”

What small influential vocal group of feminists is that? I don’t know of any such group that has made people too afraid to speak.

*Updating to add: and very very affluent, much more affluent than any radical feminists I know of.

Update 2: Jolly’s digs:

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