Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Daily Mail prints lies about some of the most vulnerable people in society; trans children.

The Daily Mail’s headline article alleging that “children as young as 9 are being given sex-swap (sic) drugs” is one of a long line of headlines that the Mail has run which are purely and simply lies. There I’ve said it, lies. Let me say it again, in my opinion Sanchez Manning, Stephen Adams and Paul Dacre are liars. Their headline is a lie. The rest of the article is full of contradictions and mendacity and although it provides counter arguments, it is the headline that will do the damage. The counter argument by Susie Green of Mermaids was well put but will not repair the damage done by the headline. The headline is a lie and those three “journalists” are liars.

The hormone blocking drugs given to trans children are absolutely not “sex-swap” drugs, or in English; drugs for gender reassignment/conformation. They are drugs that put puberty on hold for that small number of  trans children who are becoming distressed and suicidal because their bodies are changing and developing into the gender with which they do not identify. They will not, no matter how many you take, for no matter what period of time, cause anyone to change their gender. I have witnessed the damage that puberty in the wrong body can do, and also how these drugs can relieve suffering in a way nothing else can.

The discovery of these drugs enables some of the most distressed, dysphoric, marginalised and vulnerable children in our society to have the time to think whether or not they really want to go through with gender reassignment surgery once they reach 18, if they decide against it at any time they simply stop taking these drugs and puberty begins in the gender they were assigned at birth. In other words the effects of these drugs are entirely reversible. 100%. Completely. Totally. Not partially, not even 99%, they are reversible 100%.

So to claim that they are being prepared for GRS at 9 is a lie. That simply does not happen. The article quotes research that suggests that the majority of trans children aged under 12 do not ultimately transition to the other gender through surgery.  This research is, in my view highly questionable at best and outright misleading at worst. My own peer-reviewed research published in 2010 and updated in 2012 provides clear evidence that undermines claims that these studies make. My more recent paper published in December last year by the British Psychiatric Association also demonstrates that these claims regarding trans children cannot be warranted by the research.

But even if the research was correct, it is still not an argument against the use of blockers, nor does it mean that blockers are “sex-swap” drugs, quite the opposite.

The article also quotes ignorant Tory MP Andrew Percy who effectively says he wants to force trans children to go through puberty in their birth assigned genders against their will. In my opinion his man is either a danger to children or profoundly ignorant, or both. The damage that his ideology could inflict on trans children is immense, and can result in self-harm, substance abuse, loss of self-esteem with consequent problems in school performance, as well as suicide.

The reason I decided to become a trans activist was because of this child, who I wrote about in 2008 in the Guardian.  I am not about to allow the Mail to harm these children by spreading ignorance and lies like this. Trans people need to take action against the Mail for this, through the PCC, through TMW and AAT, and if necessary direct action in the street, once more outside their offices. This is also a very good example of how trans people in the UK need to come together to form a larger, better funded and more united group that can respond quickly and effectively to this kind of deliberate mendacity.


  1. Thank you Natacha for this article - unfortunately not many of the bihgots who read the Daily Mail will be bothered to read your blog or your excellent paper which was published by the BPA.
    I also tried to counter this "story" in their comments section, but they failed to publish it - but proceeded with publishing more hateful and ridiculing responses by people. I had wanted to write more but had to cut it short because of their restriction on the number of characters that I was permitted to use. This was my response:-

    "A Dutch study has shown that there were no adverse effects once cross-sex hormone therapy was started or the person stopped treatment and went through their normal puberty.
    Suicide ideation amongst trans people stands at around 84% according to most current surveys of trans people and around 45% actually attempt suicide. This is a huge risk to take for your children - as one mother said "I would rather have a transgender daughter than a dead son". For those who are voting in favour of this article - which would you rather have, please think about that.
    By withholding treatment parents would be forcing their child to undergo expensive and painful treatments later on in life (facial hair removal, FFS surgery and possibly breast augmentation surgery for M2F trans people and mastectomies for F2M trans people).
    Puberty blockers have been used since the 1980's with no serious side effects on girls experiencing the onset of a very early puberty."

  2. Headlines are usually written by subeditors, so it's impossible to know what liar picked it.