Today I find myself, surprisingly, agreeing with Germaine Greer. She is no stranger to finding herself in trouble for saying what she thinks. She stated that in her opinion post-operative transsexuals switching from male to female were not actually women. Obviously, she is right, but judging by the storm that followed, it would appear that is not ok to say that. What she should be saying, to stay on the right side of the tidal wave of popular opinion, is that, of course this person is a woman and should be treated as such. They should be referred to as a woman, should take a woman’s first name and should be allowed to use public toilets assigned to women, and their choice to be a woman should be celebrated. In an interview with Kirsty Lang for the BBC, Germaine Greer, in her irascible and somewhat profane style, was expressing a level of exasperation with the false logic to which our Twenty-first Century Western society is being strong-armed into giving assent.
A man who has surgery to make him look like a woman (or vice-versa) remains in a modified, or one could say, mutilated version of his or her original body. In the case of a man, his body will continue to behave like that of a man—the body will age like that of a man, likewise for an individual who began life as a woman. Taking prosthetic hormones will not complete the transformation, but will potentially put him at increased risk of heart disease, cancer and other unknown side effects. This is not to minimise the psychological difficulty experienced by the person who feels trapped in the “wrong” body, but the question has to be asked, what we really are expecting of our surgeons. It appears we are requiring them to use their scientific and surgical brilliance to deny biology in order to create a convincing, but infertile facsimile of a member of the opposite sex. This surely presents a minefield of future issues for the individual concerned, or anyone who may wish to pursue an intimate relationship with that person.
The rainbow-coloured surge is driving forward an argument of which one side only is permitted to be publicly expressed. Dr Michelle Cretella, President of the American College of Paediatricians was censored by YouTube when she criticised the thinking behind gender reassignment surgery. She describes how in the USA, a girl of 16 may now be prescribed a double mastectomy as a treatment for gender dysphoria, if she insists that she is a male and has taken testosterone for 12 months, whilst the same paediatricians are urged to make warnings to teenagers that tattoos are irreversible. This expert in the care of young people condemns the practice as child abuse and warns against the untested use of prosthetic hormones on young people, as they are known to have adverse side effects when used to treat conditions such as prostate cancer in adults.
The mantra of tolerance and acceptance of diversity fails to honour the beautiful diversity that has always existed between a man and a woman. Surely it is insulting to women to be told that this person who was born a man can now be considered a woman because he looks a lot like one. He will never suffer the agony of period pains, or the embarrassment of a period suddenly starting at the most inconvenient moment possible. His will never be the hormonal fluctuations of a woman’s normal month, neither can he ever experience the roller coaster ride of pregnancy or the cruel blow of the menopause. Where are the voices of the feminists who fought tooth and nail for the dignity of women?
Children are born to parents who will take on the sacred trust of raising young human beings. This is massive! Parents teach a child to feed themselves, how to crawl, then walk, how to interact with siblings, build relationships with peers, eat a healthy diet, use the toilet, take exercise and learn right from wrong. They teach them to do their homework, how to deal with bullying and cope with exam pressure. They support them as they begin to face all the challenges of puberty and the desire to build a romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex. This is what parents are for. In this age of, you can be whatever you want to be, parents are as important as ever. It is a lazy abdication of true parental love to allow a child to self-destruct by abandoning him or her to the futile empty logic of the rainbow-unicorn, leading a generation of young people over the precipice. True parenting requires great courage teamed with visceral love, undying commitment working with monumental tenderness and patience—with a large dose of good humour.