All entries by this author

Any genuine disquiet

Nov 3rd, 2022 3:22 pm | By

David Bell replied to Bernadette Wren’s LRB piece; he paints a drastically different picture of GIDS from the conscientious, thoughtful, torn in many directions one that Wren painted.

As the author of the ‘damning internal report’ referred to by Bernadette Wren, I was one of several people to draw attention to concerns about the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (LRB, 2 December [2021]). In 2018, between a quarter and a third of the staff working in GIDS sought me out in my role as academic and clinical staff representative on the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust’s council of governors.

They didn’t seek him out to ask about his holiday snaps, they sought him out because they were … Read the rest

What your contemporaries let you get away with

Nov 3rd, 2022 12:06 pm | By

Michael Biggs responded to Bernadette Wren’s long piece in the LRB defending the GIDS.

Richard Rorty is a favourite philosopher of Bernadette Wren, and her Diary (‘Epistemic Injustice’, London Review of Books, 2 December 2021) brings to mind his definition of truth as ‘what your contemporaries let you get away with saying’.

Wren blames the disarray in her Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) on the increasing number of referrals starting in 2016. She must know that a whistle-blower, Sue Evans, had already raised concerns over a decade before. The ensuing internal review in 2006 highlighted all the problems that have become familiar: the failure to collect basic data on patients (the unit did not bother to count the number

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A justice project as well as a therapeutic project

Nov 3rd, 2022 11:21 am | By

I’m reading a 5k word piece by Bernadette Wren in the LRB last year. In the first part, at least, she comes across as highly aware of the questionable nature of and risks attached to the gender ideology. Around halfway she gets to the controversies.

I will offer only a few brief reflections on some of the issues over which GIDS has been most vociferously attacked. The first contention is that there wasn’t enough research evidence to enable GIDS to offer medical therapies to young people with confidence. This is an important challenge, but it relies on an idealised conception of medicine as offering effective and safe interventions, based on a wide range of randomised-control studies with extended evaluation.

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Guest post: Time to break out the decoder ring

Nov 3rd, 2022 9:06 am | By

Originally a comment by Your Name’s not Bruce? on Specialists.

In the therapy room, therapist and client draw on these different vocabularies and matrices of meaning, and our task is always to resist speaking one dimensionally; this is the reflexive work of therapy. The decision to recommend physical treatment for young people is then a genuinely shared but imperfect decision, involving the client, family, other professionals in the context of a wider cultural world, in which the meaning of trans is constantly shaped and re-shaped, but which rests on no foundation of truth. The therapist is not burdened with needing to be right or certain, but to offer a reflexive and thoughtful space to help clients explore the architecture

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Female athletes face bigger issues

Nov 3rd, 2022 5:32 am | By

Narcissism continues its march through the institutions:

transgender mountain biker dominating the women’s competition has said it’s ‘horrifying’ that critics think people like her are ruining the sport.

People like HIM. Of course people like him will, if allowed, ruin women’s sport.

Kate Weatherly, 20, who began taking hormone blockers when she was 17, said a proposed open competition for transgender athletes would ‘limit their abilities’.

It will “limit their abilities” only in the sense of limiting their ability to cheat by competing against women and thus ruining the women’s sport.

The New Zealand athlete was considered an average rider when she formerly competed in the men’s open division, where she usually finished about mid-pack.

But competing against women … Read the rest

Willz knowingly creates the mood

Nov 2nd, 2022 5:23 pm | By

Is that right?

In case you can’t read it, it’s “India” Willoughby replying to a tweet about stochastic terror and the violence against Pelosi:

Stochastic Terrorism is when an individual, website or movement doesn’t physically attack you themselves – but knowingly creates the mood so that others do. Think Donald Trump, the British Gov, the GC movement, Kiwi Farms or Twitter trolls like Alex Belfield.

Yes, Donald Trump, Kiwi Farms, gender … Read the rest

Towel pushed slightly toward destination

Nov 2nd, 2022 12:38 pm | By

Bolsonaro manages what Trump never has and probably never will:

Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly thrown in the towel after his presidential election defeat in Brazil on Sunday, telling members of the supreme court: “It’s over.”

He went silent for nearly two days after being beaten by the leftwing former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the vote. When Bolsonaro finally appeared before the cameras on Tuesday afternoon, he failed to explicitly concede defeat or congratulate his vanquisher.

However, shortly after that appearance, he made his way to the supreme court where he met seven of its judges, including Edson Fachin, who later told journalists that Bolsonaro had indicated to them that he understood the writing was on the wall.

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Nov 2nd, 2022 11:43 am | By

When headlines manipulate the readers:

Gender identity specialists accuse psychology body of ‘contributing to fear’

What are gender identity specialists? What is gender identity? What kind of thing is gender identity? How are specialists in gender identity trained? What do they know? Why can’t they make it make sense?

Some of the most senior gender identity specialists in the UK have accused their professional body of “contributing to an atmosphere of fear” around young people receiving gender-related healthcare.

What is “gender-related healthcare”? In what sense is it health care? In what sense is it not experimentation on children and adolescents?

More than 40 clinical psychologists have signed an open letter to the Association of Clinical Psychologists UK in protest at

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Not everybody

Nov 2nd, 2022 10:43 am | By

Daniel Radcliffe Says Speaking Out Against J.K. Rowling Was ‘Important’: ‘Not Everybody in the Franchise’ Shares Her Beliefs

Yes very important to bite the hand that made him famous and rich, because some people In The Franchise (by which he means some people who have profited hugely from Rowling’s novels) believe in magic fantasy gender.

In a new interview with IndieWire, Radcliffe opened up about why he decided to speak out publicly against the author who essentially gave him his acting career.

We know why he did it. He did it because he believes in a stupid new religion of gender, and he believes that open disbelief in that religion is heretical and evil and should be punished.


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False flag ops

Nov 2nd, 2022 10:26 am | By

Citizen journalism in action:

It didn’t take long for the news of the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, to get wrapped up in conspiracy theories.

Once the police identified the suspect in custody as David DePape, journalists quickly identified blog posts that appeared to be written by him. The writer of those posts embraced far-right views, including antisemitic tropes, false claims about the 2020 election and conspiracies about COVID vaccines. DePape’s daughter told The Los Angeles Times that her father wrote the posts.

So, naturally, people who embrace antisemitic tropes, false claims about the 2020 election, and conspiracies about COVID vaccines are going to rush to embrace fantasy-based accounts of the attack on Paul Pelosi. … Read the rest

With a hammer

Nov 1st, 2022 11:48 am | By

A lot of lies being pushed about the Pelosi attack:

False claims are being spread online about the assailant who broke into the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacked her husband with a hammer on October 28. Authorities have stated that the suspect, David DePape, broke a glass door of the home and entered with a hammer, zip ties and other supplies, intending to kidnap the Democratic lawmaker, who was not present. DePape instead confronted Paul Pelosi and struck him with a hammer before he was tackled by officers and arrested.

Authorities have indeed stated that. The Department of Justice for instance has stated it:

A California man was charged today with assault and attempted kidnapping

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Some background

Nov 1st, 2022 11:16 am | By

Pips & Andy respond (except not really):

I haven’t been able to find another source for the statement so that I could just quote it, so it will have to be images via Stoat.

Helen Joyce points out what’s missing:

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Wrong kind of history buff

Nov 1st, 2022 10:59 am | By

A sequel we can all do without:

The Republican nominee for Congress in Texas’ 7th district is a self-proclaimed history buff, but his take on Anne Frank is not one that most historians would endorse.

Johnny Teague, an evangelical pastor and business owner who won the district’s primary in March, in 2020 published “The Lost Diary of Anne Frank,” a novel imagining the famous Jewish Holocaust victim’s final days in the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps as she might have written them in her diary. 

The kicker: In Teague’s telling, Frank seems to embrace Christianity just before she is murdered by the Nazis.

Why stop there? Why not have her embrace Nazism too? It would make as much sense. … Read the rest

The identities of others

Nov 1st, 2022 10:03 am | By

Varsity did an interview with Arif Ahmed last May…on the subject of free speech.

In an interview with Varsity, Arif Ahmed, an outspoken philosophy lecturer at Gonville & Caius College, said that “free speech is deeply radical and progressive”, but is currently under threat in Cambridge.

He believes such training is necessary because “it is a very natural impulse to try and suppress the views of people you don’t agree with.”

The philosopher is no stranger to defending free speech in Cambridge.

In 2020, he led the charge against the University’s plans for a new “free speech” policy which Ahmed wrote would have “required all of us to ‘respect’ the opinions and ‘identities’ of others” – plans which

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Report for basic training

Nov 1st, 2022 9:50 am | By

Cambridge students will get some training in not trying to suppress every opinion they dislike.

Students at the University of Cambridge will be given free-speech training in an effort to tackle so-called “cancel culture” against guest speakers.

The sessions by two academics will aim to teach undergraduates to tolerate views that they disagree with and could be rolled out to more universities if successful.

Note that what’s meant here by “tolerate views” is not agree with them or accept them or even try to understand them, it’s just allow them to be heard. That’s not asking all that much. Cambridge isn’t likely to invite professional racists to spew racist abuse for half an hour, so maybe the students can actually … Read the rest

Of course he does

Nov 1st, 2022 9:20 am | By

Wait a little longer.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. temporarily halted the release of former President Donald Trump’s tax records to a congressional committee, and called for more briefing in the case by Thursday.

Without the Supreme Court’s intervention, the records were set to be turned over to the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

And we can’t have that, can we. Trump must be protected. Not that this has anything to do with partisanship at all.… Read the rest

Pence pretends to be shocked shocked

Nov 1st, 2022 6:52 am | By

Mike Pence has written a memoir.

A post-election meeting at which advisers led by Rudy Giuliani attacked campaign lawyers and urged Donald Trump not to accept his election defeat was “a new low” for a president “well acquainted with rough-and-tumble debates”, Mike Pence writes in a forthcoming memoir.

That is, a president who is a notorious crook and cheat and bully, whose every act is a new low because everything he does and says is low so each new item is automatically a new low. Mike Pence was part of the crook’s team, so it’s way too late for him to be talking about new lows.

Of the meeting in November 2020, the former vice-president writes: “In the end,

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Many happy returns

Oct 31st, 2022 3:58 pm | By

Ah the ol’ tax returns – you know, the ones he couldn’t release because he was being audited, even though being audited doesn’t in any way prevent the release of tax returns.

Former President Trump on Monday filed an emergency application asking the Supreme Court to temporarily block a House committee from obtaining his tax returns.

The ones he could have released back in 2015 if he hadn’t been such a crook. It’s not required, but presidential candidates have been doing it for years, and he was the first to refuse in all those years. Why would he do that? Same reason he’d take the 5th, probably, but in this case we get to draw conclusions from the refusal. My … Read the rest

Close partnership also shut up

Oct 31st, 2022 11:15 am | By

New boss just like the old boss. Again.

But what is he calling “trans rights”? What are the rights that are specific to trans people? Do they conflict with other people’s rights? Do they conflict with women’s rights? If they do, why does he refuse to discuss the issue?

Same old same old same old. We have to assume that all demands by all people who call themselves trans have to be met without question and … Read the rest

How dangerous his new toy can be

Oct 31st, 2022 10:35 am | By

Siva Vaidhyanathan is underwhelmed by Elon Musk.

It took less than 48 hours for Elon Musk to reveal just how dangerous his new toy can be to this world. Replying to a tweet from former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the man worth more than $210bn with more than 112 million Twitter followers spread a dangerous conspiracy theory intended to distract people from an attempted political assassination just one week before a major US election.

Clinton had warned that “the Republican party and its mouthpieces now regularly spread hate and deranged conspiracy theories”, in response not just to the attack on home and spouse of Nancy Pelosi but a slew of attempted kidnappings and threats against elected officials

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