My ex-husband and I were together in total for 12 years, and married for 7. Whilst I knew that he had one brief gay relationship before we met, I was his first girlfriend and female partner. He had difficulty forging relationships and he acknowledged that his gay relationship was because he was desperate for human contact.
His social awkwardness had stemmed from severe bullying whilst he was growing up, but was exacerbated by his upbringing. He was the first child to a couple in their 40’s who had been born in the 1920’s and lived through the war. Austerity, making do and mending, and keeping up appearances dominated their lives. His father was head of household and what he said, went. His mother didn’t work, didn’t socialise, wasn’t allowed to make decisions, and was anxious. The family dynamic was strained, and his younger sister suffered from severe depression for most of the time I knew her. I had assumed my ex-husband was the “normal” one of the family; I was wrong.
Our sex life was disappointing and limited by his libido I thought (but subsequently found out that he masturbated daily to BDSM fantasies), but he gave every indication that he was only interested in women. There was absolutely no indication given throughout the time I was with him that he was anything other than a man with heterosexual interests and gender conforming hobbies (weightlifting, metalwork and DIY), till he announced he wanted to be a woman. He was having a bath and I walked in to find him shaving his legs. I asked why and that was what he told me
I believe it would have been easier for me to bear if he had died because he changed completely after making this declaration. He went to numerous doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and counsellors in the 9 months till I filed for divorce and, throughout that time, his only thoughts were for himself. He became consumed. He was not prepared to rest until he had gained the necessary agreement to have his penis removed and my feelings were never given any consideration.
His narrative about his feelings started with him wanting to become a woman, it morphed into him wanting to be sexless, and then veered towards wanting to swing with me and other couples, or have BDSM sex. On one memorable Sunday morning, he went through all of those options in the space of an hour before returning to stating he wanted to become a woman. He rejected any suggestion that his upbringing had repressed him sexually and was, perhaps, the basis of his belief that his penis had to be removed.
He was encouraged by healthcare professionals to meet with other transsexuals at the local TV/TS group. His social life expanded as he started to be egged on to go out dressed as a woman. He bought many outfits which could only be classed as overly revealing and would generally not be acceptable on a woman of his age, nearing 40. He was aroused by wearing women’s clothing, and masturbated in changing rooms when trying it on. He was “coached” by his new friends about what he had to say to have medical professionals believe him and treat him. He threatened suicide on a daily basis. He made a guillotine and rigged it up to an anvil in the garage and attempted to cut his penis off. He wanted me to stop pleading with him not to self-harm “but to take me to the hospital when I do it again”. He had no concern for what this was doing to my mental health whatsoever; he just wanted to have the operation, take the hormones, and ultimately live with me as a lesbian. He couldn’t understand why I couldn’t accept this.
Through his TV/TS group, he was put in touch with a psychiatrist, Dr Russell Reid, whom he saw privately (after he had rejected the diagnosis of an NHS psychiatrist). He was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and permission was given for him to proceed with the removal of his penis as a private patient by his second appointment, which was within a year of his coming out as “transsexual”, and without any period of living as a woman. I sent written protestations which were rejected by Dr Reid then decided that I could no longer live with the person he had become so I started divorce proceedings. It should be noted that Dr Reid was subsequently found guilty of misconduct. The operation went ahead and a few months later, I received a letter from my ex-husband blaming me for forcing him to go ahead with it because he had now discovered that he had just wanted to have wild sex and had been repressing those urges. Looking at his behaviour through the lens of time, I believe he was an autogynaephile.
If I had stayed with him, there is no question that I would have had a complete nervous breakdown. As it was, it took 4 years of counselling to come to terms with what had happened, and many more years before I felt it no longer defined me. I chose to be secretive about it because I was humiliated that I found myself in that position; I did not want people to gossip about me behind my back, I didn’t want to be seen as somebody who had been so misguided to have married a man who wanted to become a woman – or worse, that I had driven him to it. Today, I still have those feelings of guilt and shame, but I’m also angry that if he had those feelings from childhood, as he claimed, then he lived with and married me purporting to be something else and his actions were fraudulent.
The proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to self-identify cause me grave concern in relation to men self-identifying as women. I am aware that my ex-husband’s motivation was sexual and there were other men who attended his TV/TS group who were aroused by dressing as women – they were completely acknowledged as heterosexual, just with a kink.
Transvestites don’t believe they are women, and they are not women by any stretch of the imagination, but under the Trans umbrella described by Stonewall, they are women and, it would appear Stonewall propose transwomen should be entitled to every sex based right that has been granted to women. However, sex based rights have been granted for a reason. Women require safety, privacy and dignity. That will not be possible where their segregated spaces have to be shared with men who claim to be women, even those who may have had gender reassignment surgery. Figures suggest that over 80% of transwomen retain their penises, and many identify as lesbians, so it is fair to assume that a large number don’t have gender dysphoria, will never have sex reassignment surgery, and should not ever be considered to be women.
Considering self-ID also opens the doors for predatory men who will take advantage of this change in boundaries and cause women distress with no recourse since self-id would allow any man to say they are a woman without any real ability to challenge the declaration, whether this is in a toilet, changing room or prison.
Whilst the people I told at the time were supportive of my position and horrified on my behalf, transwidows now face the prospect of being considered transphobic bigots for not accepting their partner’s “true identity” or wanting to remain in a sexual relationship with them when the goalposts of their relationship haven’t just been moved, they have been taken away and put up on a completely different pitch.
Scottish Gender Recognition reforms – deadline for responses to the consultation is Tuesday 17th March 2020
On 19th December 2019 the Scottish Government published its proposals – which we hoped they had ditched – for reforms to the process of gender recognition in Scotland. The outcome of the consultation on the Bill will have an effect on proposals for similar English legislation.
Despite strenuous protests from feminists, mothers and fair-minded people, the proposals include “gender self-ID”.
The Bill for consultation is here.
The Scottish Gov’s consultation questionnaire is here.
Fair Play For Women has produced suggested responses to reject firmly any notion that gender self-ID is acceptable to women. Anyone can submit a response to the Scottish consultation.
Action: Please print out and complete with your details page 1 of the Scot Gov’s paper form. Then print out page 2. Then send them together in an envelope to: Gender Recognition Reform, Room GW-15, St Andrew’s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG.
Deadline for submitting responses is Tuesday 17th March. I have completed mine.
by Steven Swinford, Deputy Political Editor – The Times
At present NHS rules enable children to start gender transition treatment before puberty without their parents’ support.
Ministers are expected to drop plans to make it easier for people to change their gender [in England and Wales] amid concerns about the impact on children.
The government will formally respond to a public consultation on updating the Gender Recognition Act by the summer. The consultation, which was launched in 2018 by Theresa May, proposed to change the law so that people would be able to officialy transition simply by making a declaration of their gender.
At present they have to receive a medical diagnosis, appear before a specialist panel, and wait for two years for legal recognition of their new gender. They also have to pay a £140 fee.
The proposals to change the Gender Recognition Act have met with criticism from some feminist groups, whose members are concerned about the prospect of trans people being able to use single-sex spaces.
Ministers are also concerned about the impact the proposals could have on children, who are being helped to transition while still developing their “decision-making capabilities”.
At present NHS rules enable children to start gender transition treatment before puberty without their parents’ support. Children unhappy with their birth gender can begin treatment after as few as three therapeutic assessments. They can discuss treatments separately from their parents and are encouraged to self-define their status and to develop “autonomy” in decision-making. Interventions include hormone blockers to suppress puberty and, later, cross-sex hormone therapy. The average age at which children begin such treatments is 14, but some are as young as 12.
NHS England has ordered an independent review into the use of puberty suppressant drugs and cross-sex hormones. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which is responsible for clinical practice guidelines in England and Wales, has also been asked to develop guidance for the first time about referring children to gender identity services.
Existing NHS treatment draws heavily on international guidelines that recommend approaches in care for gender dysphoria.
An NHS contract with the Tavistock & Portman Trust, issued in 2016, says that it will “conform” or “broadly conform” to standards of care issued by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) in 2012. These say that they reflect the best available science and “professional consensus”. The Tavistock Trust works with children and young people with gender identity issues.
However, Gene Feder, professor of primary care at the University of Bristol and an expert in clinical guidelines, said that these fall far below the benchmark for British healthcare guidelines used by Nice and that he would not recommend their use.
Fair Cop judgment gives partial court win and victory for free speech
BBC 14th Feb 2020 : Harry Miller: Police probe into ‘transphobic’ tweets unlawful
On 14th February 2020, the judgement in the case of Harry Miller (“Fair Cop”) was delivered. The judge found that Mr Miller’s allegedly “transphobic” tweets were lawful and that the conduct of Humberside Police in visiting him at his place of work and warning him was disproportionate. The police had wrongly interfered with his right to freedom of speech.
But the more substantial action, a wider challenge to the legality of the College of Policing’s guidelines on “hate crimes”, was rejected.
These define a hate incident as “any non-crime incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender”.
Mr Justice Julian Knowles rejected Mr Miller’s challenge against the guidelines, ruling they “serve legitimate purposes and [are] not disproportionate”.
The guidelines are problematic because the complainant does not have to provide evidence of any actual harm nor is there a test of “reasonableness” – what a reasonable independent person would understand about the action that is complained of. The guidelines assume that a “hate incident” has been committed on the sole allegation of a complainant, not a “victim“. The use of the word “victim” implies that a “hate incident” has occurred. Thus the guidelines are defective and the bar to proof of a “hate incident” is set far too low.
Mr Miller has appealed against the ruling about the College of Policing guidance and permission has been granted for the case to go straight to the Supreme Court.