I’m a little taken aback to find posts with absolutely classic Daily Mail views on this thread.
I’d like, if I may, to clear up some misconceptions but first, let me establish my credentials.
I am a CI. I am a recently retired airline captain of 45 years experience. I am a qualified and active flying instructor.
I was a VR(T) officer in the 1980s until I went long haul at work and could no longer commit the time.
I am transgender. I was British Airways’ Diversity Champion.
I work for or with several diversity charities including, relevantly, Trans Media Watch, the Gender Identity Research and Education Service (GIRES), Mermaids and All About Trans. I am also a member of ITV’s Diversity Panel.
My squadron and wing welcomed me with no a single qualm or hint of prejudice. They looked at what I have to OFFER the corps, not my gender history, although I am completely open about that. I am now a very proud CI with the squadron I was a cadet with from 1966-1971.
First, engagement in debate.
Many things are up for debate but many, rightly, are not. What is not up for debate is that gender variance exists. It is rooted in a deep sense of personal identity. I know who I am. So do all transgender people (Note, transgender is an adjective, not a noun. There are no ‘transgenders.’ That is a trick used to dehumanise.)
NOBODY exercises undue influence on kids to transition. Nobody uses hormones, blockers or therapy unless the person has exhibited certain criteria. They will need to have displayed a consistent, persistent and insistent sense of identity that is a mismatch for the sex they were assigned at birth.
Looking at the average transgender kid, when treatment starts, all they will be offered is talking therapies. The parents will also be offered advice in line with current medical practice. This includes, most notably, that the child is not imagining things.
If the child continues to display the three ‘ents’ (persistent, insistent and consistent but now you know the shorthand I’ll use it) they may, just after the onset of puberty, be prescribed blockers of the GnRH agonist variety. This is actually much LATER than the original use for such blockers in children. They were developed to block precocious puberty in preteens. This is a condition where 4-11yo kids experience puberty. This use has been standard endocrinological practice for many years.
At the onset of puberty, doing nothing is NOT the no risk option. The changes that happen at puberty are irreversible and very distressing if you, for instance, know you’re a boy but develop breasts and start menstruating, or know you’re a girl but start to get hairy and deep voiced and experience the development of skeletal changes to your face, notably a brow ridge. ALL of these are hormonal effects at puberty. The blockers are a pause button which allows further talking and TIME to be absolutely sure. They are also fully reversible. If the transgender young person decides to revert to their birth sex, puberty starts again.
However, the vast majority of people who go on blockers continue with the 3 ents.
At 16, they will usually then be offered cross gender hormones to allow normal pubertal development in their acquired gender. Surgery may well follow once they are transferred from the young people gender identity service to the adult service. At 18.
NONE of this is vaguely controversial, except to the scaremongers of the likes of the Daily Mail.
The current very vocal debate is because the government equalities commission has suggested amendments to the Gender RECOGNITION Act. Now this act has no bearing whatsoever on treatment. That is the purview of the medical profession and generally, in the UK, follows WPATH guidelines, albeit with a lag of a year or two. The GRC is about changing PAPERWORK. We have had the ability to change most paperwork pretty much for ever but the GRC allowed the final change; one’s birth certificate. However, the process is lengthy, costly and degrading. The proposals are to simplify that process.
What isn’t controversial at any level other than the media inspired ‘public debate’ is th medical pathway. Oh yes, it’s possible to trot out so called experts who disagree, but to a man, they’ve been discredited, not by some ‘transgender lobby’ but by their PEERS.
I haven’t read the relevant ACP but I don’t need to. I know what it has to, by law, be based upon. The Equality Act 2010.
Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic. Once the intent to transition forms, the protection becomes active. It also covers the family members of the person intending to, in process of, or after gender reassignment.
They are required, by law, to be accorded normal human dignity. In their acquired gender. That includes use of the appropriate single sex facilities, in their acquired gender. Most will start to use such facilities when they start to present in their acquired gender.
Sports teams would be subject to the individual sport’s governing body but generally, for pre-pubertal cadets, will be in their acquired gender. Depending how soon blockers were prescribed that may be able to be continuous but if significant testosterone was not blocked, the sport may require a testosterone free period before a transgender girl can play on a girls’ team.
The opinion of parents of other cadets is sublimely irrelevant. The law protects the transgender kid, not the other parents.
And as for ‘psychological damage caused by being transgender,’ yes, it happens. But not as an inherent consequence of being transgender. It happens because of bullying by others, or because the transgender kid is NOT supported.
Being transgender and transitioning is not an easy path but the alternative, to be transgender and prevented from transitioning by fear, prejudice or peer or parental pressure is deadly. Transgender kids have a 30% suicide rate. Because of society’s behaviour.
I have no idea if I’ve addressed every point as I’ve just written this without reference to the thread but I, for one, am more than willing to engage in further debate. Just don’t try to debate transgender people’s validity.
I finish school talks for the brilliant anti-bullying charity, Diversity Role Models with this:
To be the best you can be, you have to live authentically. Never stop another from being authentic.