Remove the T

Owen Jones talks of a “reversal on LGBTQ rights,” but of course what he means is mostly the T bit, which doesn’t belong with the LGB bit in the first place. As usual this ploy enables a lot of dishonest framing.

Even more terrifying is Texas’s banning of gender-affirming healthcare for young trans people, with their parents now legally defined as child abusers if they seek it.

But of course it’s not “healthcare.” Switch the frame and it’s mutilation and/or dangerous and damaging use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. It’s not healthcare as commonly understood at all. “Gender-affirming” is not a medical term – it’s a political one. No one can change sex, and “affirming” gender is just feel-good drivel. “Young trans people” is a very squishy category, because so is “trans” itself. It’s basically just an thought-balloon. There’s an idea that there’s such a thing as “trans” and that self-reporting is 100% reliable, but both of those claims are highly debatable.

In January, the Council of Europe placed the UK in the same category as Hungary, Poland, Russia and Turkey for its position on LGBTQ rights, while for the third year running the UK has been relegated in the annual ranking of LGBTQ rights across Europe. The overriding reason is the anti-trans moral panic that grips British society, fostered by an overwhelmingly hostile media and a government that is using trans people as a prop in a “culture war” (just as Margaret Thatcher used gay people in the 1980s), and has refused to ban trans conversion practices.

Owen Jones is himself using trans people as a prop in a culture war, at the same time as he uses verbal nudges like “gender-affirming healthcare” and “trans conversion practices.” We’re supposed to think “trans conversion” is exactly comparable to gay conversion therapy, i.e. psychiatry coaxing or pushing lesbians and gays to go straight, but in fact they’re different. There’s no delusion involved in being same-sex attracted, while thinking you can become the other sex is a delusion full stop.

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