Welcome to Transtopia

NOTE: My original blog was closed down without warning by wordpress. I am currently working to restore the graphics to this new site, so you may come across missing photos and art work. Please let me know if you do! I’m still working on fixing it.

Hi. You’ve reached the blog of Lily Maynard. Welcome.

In late 2015, my teenage daughter Jessie declared she was transgender and the experience tugged us into a rabbit hole of Orwellian double-speak and general insanity. I read so much during that time and it was such a vast learning curve that I felt compelled to bring all the threads together in an article.  I was especially struck by the exponential surge in the number of teenage girls who were ‘identifying’ as boys, usually young lesbians and usually after lengthy sessions on social media. After Jessie desisted, I wanted to share what I’d read as well as what I’d learned and eventually I finished writing an article which contained over 100 links. Jessie added a short postscript of her own and I was delighted when 4thwavenow published it in December 2016 under the title ‘A Mum’s Voyage Through Transtopia – a tale of love and desistance’.

I’ve since re-published the article here on my own blog.

Before you ask me any questions; before you critcise or praise my stance on transitioning kids, or the appropriation of womanhood by men, please read that. It’s where it all began.

After Jessie re-realised she was a girl and things settled down at home,  I expected to put my time in Transtopia behind me and move on. Instead I became more fascinated- and angry- with the culture of misogyny and homophobia which underlies transgender theory.  For without stereotypes there can be no ‘brave transgender children’. Without the dolls and the pink tutus, a love of glitter, a gentle nature and a will to dance, what could possibly make girls of the little boys of ‘My Transgender Summer Camp’? What other than her love of Batman, karate and jumping around could make that short-haired, fierce little girl into a boy trapped in a female body? A feeling?  How does a boy feel? How does a girl feel? Without sexism, there can be no transgenderism. Without the idea that there is a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ way to be a boy or a girl there would be no need to beguile and medicate these kids in an attempt to make them ‘fit in’. Our current culture of blind affirmation is not doing anyone any favours.  It is nothing short of abusive to tell a child that they are ‘wrong’, that they have been ‘born in the wrong body’ or that medication and surgery can make them into the opposite sex.

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The Invisible Women- why are so many women scared to speak out about gender politics?

Why are so many women scared to speak out about gender politics? Why are so many ‘gender critical’ women scared to use their own name?

By the time I was ready to tell the story of my daughter’s trans-identification and desistence, I felt certain of one thing: our anonymity was essential. My daughter Jessie was just sixteen, newly desisted and starting college. I did not want fingers pointed at her, I did not want her identified. She was a child, not a pawn in a game of politics. If she was to remain anonymous, so must I.

I’m not sure why I chose the name Lily Maynard. It sounded sort of, well… normal, yet it rolled off the tongue easily. I didn’t really think about it much at the time. After all, I was only going to use it to sign off that one article, wasn’t I?

But that one article wasn’t enough. Jessie was out of the woods, but my indignation spread to include the hundreds of other children who were being told yes, their bodies were ‘wrong’ and they could be somehow ‘fixed’ by lying about their sex, blocking their puberty and, eventually, modifying their primary and secondary sex characteristics. In parenting groups on facebook I saw scores of parents suddenly posting about their own ‘transgender’ and ‘non-binary’ children. It was all so harmful and so bloody sexist! To accept one special child as trans or non-binary one has to block other children within the binary.  There is an immediate confusion of sex and gender which I am to this day astonished that so many people can’t see past. My indignation grew to horror and fury as I learned about the erosion of women’s safe spaces, shortlists, public toilets, changing rooms, sports teams, refuges, prisons.

In January 2017 I joined Twitter, and a few months later I started my blog, which became surprisingly popular. It was censored and then shut down by WordPress because of complaints by transactivists, but was born again here. Some of my longer articles, or records of events, take weeks of research, notes or transcription. It’s hard work and it’s unpaid. It seems to me that, of course, it is possible to be anonymous and still make a difference.

I’m also politically active ‘as myself’. I’ve been involved in IRL  Man Friday and Fair Play for Women campaigns. I’ve filled in consultations and surveys. I’ve spoken with events organisers, educational establishments and my MP (who doesn’t give a shit) about the importance of women’s spaces and the dangers of transitioning children. I am a proud compatriot of Stickerwoman; I’ve stitched banners for protests and waved an ‘Adult Human Female’ flag on women’s marches.  When I post ‘gender critical’ articles or ideas on my personal Facebook or Instagram accounts the posts are frequently met with silence, (unlike pictures of my cats, kids and travels which are met with enthusiastic ‘likes’).

On the occasions that I’ve been interviewed for newspapers or magazines, I’ve been asked- often more than once- for photos of myself or Jessie to go alongside the article, and I’ve always said ‘no’. I’ve turned down the chance to be in documentaries and to appear on television on more than a handful of occasions. I did give an interview to Sonia Poulton for her forthcoming documentary – but I kept my back to the camera.

IRL me is nowhere near as vocal as Lily, and even though my daughter is now many years out of the woods and off at university, IRL me is still a little scared to ‘come out’ as Lily. I’ve received hate mail and  threats of violence. I can see both sides of this coin.

Online and offline  I hear women saying, ‘I’d like to speak up but I don’t dare… I’m worried I’d lose my job…  or my husband would lose his job… there’s a trans child at my kids’ school… I’m worried people will hate me…  I’m worried people will bully my kids… I’ll lose all my friends… I don’t want to be seen as transphobic…’

Some are dismissive of these women, yet people don’t always feel able to stand up for themselves and speak their truth. We are human and to a greater or lesser extent humans have a strong sense of short-term self-preservation, even if it is sometimes misguided in the long run.   For every woman willing to throw herself under the King’s horse, there are hundreds who just don’t get involved in politics, whose sphere is at home or in the workplace. Some of us are fearless, some of us are not. Some of us feel the fear and do it anyway; some of us are bound by seemingly impossible circumstances. This is human nature.

How many tyrants could have been overthrown if all the people they were oppressing had risen up en masse- at exactly the same time- with a roaring ‘no’?  How many lives could have been saved if entire armies had refused to fight unjust wars? But we are not all selfless heroes, ready to die for our cause. While there’s no doubt there can be hefty consequences to speaking out, there’s also no doubt that speaking out is what is needed.

If the analogies seem a little grandiose, consider the following.

 

Attacks on women who speak out

Since I opened my Twitter account in January 2017, saying men cannot become women and/or children should not be transitioned has resulted in women being sacked, receiving rape and death threats, having their apartment door urinated on, being punched in the face (and forced by a judge to refer to the man that did it as ‘she’). Women have been interviewed under caution by the police for criticising the castration of 16 year olds and had pictures of their children posted on line; others have had their home addresses published. The young founder of a company making bras specifically for pubescent girls was slated online for because an employee tweeted ‘we don’t feel that growing boys need bras’. ” I’m sorry.. I’m so, so sorry.. I sincerely apologise… again, I’m so sorry.” she tweeted desperately.  At least two girl guiding leaders have been expelled for saying ‘female is not a feeling’ and objecting to policies allowing boys who ‘identify as girls’ to join.  A Woman’s Place meeting venue in Hastings received a bomb threat for planning to discuss gender.  Teachers have been sacked for ‘misgendering’ female pupils who believe themselves to be boys in both the USA and the UK.  Transactivists threw smoke bombs outside the offices of a London newspaper after it published an advert from Fair Play for Women stating ‘Think about it. Choose Reality‘.

I could go on.  Remember, all these incidents have happened in the last thirty two months.

Actually, I will go on.

Lesbians have been banned from attending Pride marches for saying ‘lesbians don’t have penises‘. Transactivists wearing balaclavas and masks blocked a philosopher’s entry to a meeting in Bristol, screaming ‘Nazi’ in her face and trapping her in a stairwell.  A rape crisis centre with a ‘women-only’ policy had a dead rat nailed to the door of its offices and the slogan ‘KILL TERFS TRANS POWER’ scrawled across its windows.  The San Francisco library hosted an art exhibition consisting of barbed-wire enshrouded baseball bats, axes, and T shirts stained with fake blood bearing the legend ‘I PUNCH TERFS’. Women have been kicked out of the Labour Party for objecting to men on all-women shortlists and the Women’s Equality Party for saying ‘sex is a biological reality’.  A woman having a quiet drink was told to leave a pub for wearing a T shirt saying ‘Woman- Adult Human Female”. Two women in Canada were evicted from a homeless shelter for objecting to the presence of a man (who claimed to be a woman). A woman was arrested in front of her young children and shut in a cell for seven hours for repeatedly ‘misgendering’ someone on Twitter. Her court case is happening as I write.

This is very far from an exhaustive list.

 

The truth isn’t complicated

So maybe it isn’t so surprising that so many women are scared to say that they know jolly well that there’s no such thing as a gender fairy popping culturally gendered brains willy-nilly into human bodies.

Thirty years ago such an idea would have been met with scepticism. Not because people were more cruel, ignorant, bigoted or hateful then, but because we were starting to build a society more aware of the confines of sexism and beginning to accept that same-sex attraction was a fairly commonplace thing.

The operative word there is ‘sex’. If we replace sex with gender, there can be no same sex attraction. There can be no sexism. If we say we believe lesbians can have penises, lesbians no longer exist. The word ‘lesbian’ takes on a completely different meaning. If we decide that woman and man are feelings, that they are no longer biological descriptors, the words ‘woman‘ and ‘man‘ take on completely new meanings. The new ideology suggests that if we are truly, deeply discomforted by the oppressive gender stereotypes that enshroud our sexed bodies, we can just identify out of them. Our oppression becomes our own fault and our own responsibility. This is, of course, entirely untrue.

We are all born babies. Male babies or female babies. No long hair or short hair or pink or blue clothing, or tutus or hormones or surgery can ever, ever change that. A child cannot begin to understand the implications of this mass gaslighting. And nobody is ‘cis’. It is a ridiculous concept. Anorexics don’t demand the rest of us go round calling ourselves ‘kanonikósorexic’ (yes, my Greek is undoubtedly faulty but you get the point). ‘Cis’ demands most of us stay in a box so a special few can jump out.That is not progress.

As for ‘preferred pronouns’: pronouns are used when other people talk about you. Pronouns don’t describe your inner feelings and you don’t get to control the language of others. So no, you don’t have the right to choose ‘your’ pronouns or make them up: they’re about you, they don’t belong to you.

Just a little bit of analysis and this whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

As KF said on Twitter I’ve been living in a female body for 73 years and I don’t know what it means to think like a woman. I only know what it means to think like me.

 

Voices from the battlefield

I spoke to some of the women who have been vocal about speaking out on the subject of gender politics and trans-ideology. I told them I was writing a piece about speaking up and not speaking up, and attacks from transactivists, and asked would they mind ‘giving me a quote’.

These women are all based in the UK and have very different ideas and approaches. Many of them disagree on the best approach to confronting this attack on women and children, but none of them are scared to speak or be heard. Here are their replies to my request.

You can click on a name to discover more about each woman and/or the organisation she is involved with.

 

Hannah Clarke

I speak in my own name. It was a bit of an odd journey to it for me – when I started my husband asked me not to use the family name (it’s quite unusual) so I spoke out using my maiden name. I moved back to using it exclusively very shortly afterwards, as I’d always felt uncomfortable being Mrs HisName. I get a lot of flack from TRAs for using a fake name – my own name. Oddly they also have a go at women for using fake names when they use their married names. Seems that whatever we do we can’t win. I don’t work, and I don’t have children, so I have very little to protect in speaking out publicly against the might and spite of the transcult. Seeing how they mobilised themselves to find out my former name, and then publish details about where I live, about my family (one TRA followed my mother on twitter – an odd, but clear, act of harassment) and try to find out all they could about me was insane. Having a photo shared by my ski coach from a holiday in 2012 was bizarre in the extreme and pretty intimidating. It showed that they have no respect for any boundaries. Other members of the groups I’m involved with have had their employers contacted: had the schools their children attend shared online; had their addresses shared by TRAs. It’s frightening – these people are actively putting our safety at risk and doing so because we hold a different opinion from them. I completely understand why any woman uses a pseudonym. I kind of did to start with (even though it was my old name) but I reclaimed it because I wanted it back. Never feel bullied to do anything you don’t want to. Your boundaries are yours to set and for others to respect. Maybe, when the power of the transcult has diminished more women will be able to speak out in their own names without fear. Until then they must do what they can to keep themselves safe.

 

Maria Maclachlan

I never sought a public profile but, given that within hours of the assault on me, trans activists were rewriting the narrative and presenting me as the aggressor, I didn’t feel I had a choice but to speak out. I still think it’s ridiculous that I have to defend myself against a deluge of lies two years later but I will never stop. How they’ve treated me, how they treat other people and the terrible impact that trans cult ideology has had on women and children, I couldn’t in all conscience stay quiet. Doing so has taken it’s toll on me – I’ve lost income, friends and my once strong faith in humanity. It’s also had a negative impact on my health but, on the plus side, so many women have thanked me for standing up to the bullies and have been inspired to stand up alongside me. I believe there are women who are seriously at risk of losing their livelihoods if they go public in their criticisms of the cult. Look at what happened to Spinster founder M.K. Fain, who lost her job because of an article she posted on Medium. But I know – and I hate to say it – some women are staying quiet because, although agree with us, they want an easy life. They won’t lose their jobs but they don’t want to fall out with work colleagues and friends and it saddens me that they can’t find the courage to speak out when doing so could make a difference.

 

Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull aka Posie Parker

Trans activists confirm time and time again the compulsive and obsessive nature of their hatred for women by attacking us. When I was doxed or when my children’s photos were put online it just reinforced that many of these activists are just rebranded men using male violence and intimidation to frighten women.

 

Maya Forstater

Maya suggested I quote the piece attached to her ReSisters picture.

“I spoke up because I believe we all have a responsibility to use our voice in whatever way we can. We all pick our battles, but sometimes they pick us. I am fighting on because I don’t want my story to be a cautionary tale about the high personal cost to women of having the courage to speak up, but instead to try to make it a win for freedom of thought, belief and expression, and for the heart and soul of the institutions that underpin an open society.”

 

Heather Brunskell-Evans

The more I have been personally threatened, the more attempts to silence my voice, the more that public institutions and political parties -including, irony of ironies, the WEP -attempt to shut down open debate about the politics of gender identity and the impact on women, the more I realise how important it is to feel the fear but still stand firm, just as our forebear feminist sisters did.

 

Venice Allan

My life has completely changed because I have publicly questioned transgenderism. I’ve lost friends, been suspended from the Labour Party, excluded from local politics, smeared in the press, lifetime banned from Twitter and I nearly lost my job. I completely understand why people are afraid to speak up and nobody should be shamed into a position of vulnerability. There are so many ways to fight this dangerous ideology.

I understand why some regular women stay anonymous for their safety and sanity. What pisses me off are the celebrities/politicians/journalists who agree with us but are not prepared to risk their reputations. They are worse than the ones who actually believe in this nonsense.

 

Nic Williams

Scratch the surface and gender identity politics crumbles to dust. We know this and so do transgender ideologues. Their only option is to attack the whistle-blowers, they have no other cards to play. But shaming us into silence or bullying us into submission can only work for so long. Attempts to discredit the women that do speak out eventually fail. There are simply too many of us to keep the lie going forever. And once out the truth only moves in one direction. I decided to speak up 2 years ago. This was because I could and because of the courage and actions of others who spoke up before me. My own courage and actions can now persuade and inspire others to speak up, and so it goes on. We all have our role to play, some of us will speak to thousands from from a stage and some of us will drop it into conversation with a friend, colleague or stranger. It all counts. Every time we feel the fear and do it anyway, we are doing our bit for women and the girls who follow behind us. You never know who that message will reach or who you will have inspired.

 

Kiri Tunks

There’s no question that I’ve been attacked for speaking up. I had naively assumed that my long record of fighting for equality would mean I was shown a bit of respect but I soon realised that this record counted for nothing. I have been publicly vilified and smeared (including by some people I thought were comrades and friends). I have been the subject of two petitions to have me removed from national roles in my union; there have been attempts to ‘blacklist’ me from campaigns I’ve been involved with for years; I’ve been disinvited from meetings and events. All for campaigning for women’s rights – as I have always done. Luckily, many others have been more principled in their solidarity and support. Some who started off disagreeing with me did take the time to talk to me and now understand my position. Some have changed their minds. Speaking up in the face of such hostility can be hard but it is liberating. I have never regretted the stand I have taken. I have met amazing women who have enriched my life and work. And I feel stronger than ever.

 

Stephanie-Davies-Arai

It might seem hard to speak out when you see how women are vilified, bullied and silenced even for talking about basic biology. Being called a bigot and experiencing relentless harassment is one thing, the real risk of losing your job is quite another and there are many brave women working hard behind the scenes who can’t risk that. I am in a position where I can speak out and so I do. When it gets overwhelming I remind myself that I would feel so much worse if I could see what was happening but did nothing about it.

 

Julia Long

The attempts to silence us are vicious and relentless. Trans activists tried to sabotage a conference I was coordinating back in 2012, and I was called to three meetings with senior management when I was working in academia, due to external complaints. The university was always very supportive. I was also the subject of a grievance complaint in another job, for my supposed ‘transphobia’. The grievance was not upheld. Just this year, I was physically removed from an event where I was sitting perfectly peaceably by two male security staff and seven police officers, and back in July I was part of the group that was refused service and instructed to leave a bar of the National Theatre. For me, speaking the truth is vital and I have prioritised this in my life. I am very fortunate in not having dependents or being reliant on a job that is conditional upon my silence. But of course many women are in very precarious positions, and each woman must decide for herself how, when and if she wishes to speak out. And I totally respect that. What frustrates me is when those groups and individuals who act as spokeswomen or assume positions of leadership refuse to speak the truth and seek to marginalise those of us who do. There is a lot of that in the ‘gender critical’ movement, mainly due to the baffling refusal to straightforwardly name men as men.

 

Michele Moore

I am not brave but the stories of families, detransitioners and trans people themselves from all ovef the world who are worried about the lack of evidence for safe transition of children and young people has driven me on. People are open mouthed when they understand the difficulties I’ve been undergoing are based on false accusations and malicious communications. The threats I and others have endured need time to process and heighten our sense of respect for those who are willing to speak out. When people say they admire my work I can fight another day to keep children and young people from the harm of identity politics.

 

Helen Watts

 

And finally….

This month we said farewell to the brilliant, irreverent and irrepressible Magdalen Berns.

I massively admired Magdalen. I can’t ask her for a quote, of course, because she is gone.

I admired her no nonsense approach, her committal to the truth and her blunt belief in telling men ‘you’re not a woman‘. Magdalen was the first person I heard use the phrase ‘there’s no such thing as a lesbian with a penis.

In what sort of world do those become controversial statements?

I met Magdalen just once and we shared a chat. It wasn’t very profound. Later, as a group of us walked from Westminster to a bar I offered her a piggyback and she said something sarcastic. She was tiny with a huge personality; articulate and incredibly funny.

Watching Magdalen’s videos is an education in itself.

Magdalen certainly wasn’t afraid to speak out and encouraged others to do so, towards the end of her life urging others to ‘be brave‘.

‘Because, as I’ve always said, there’s a lot more to worry about than being called silly names.’

You can read obituaries for Magdalen here, here and here.

 

“So what can I do?”

Some of us are stronger than others, some of us are in a better position to speak out, some of us have more privilege or less of a filter.  There may be limits to what you feel you can do and that’s ok, but once you understand what’s going on in the world of identity politics you will probably feel obliged to do something. You may already be doing your best, in which case well done, keep on doing it. I’m not trying to tell anybody else what they should do, but here are a few ideas.

Stealth activism

We need to make a difference where we can. If you don’t feel you can hand out leaflets in your hometown or start a YouTube channel, maybe you can leave stickers lying around, or slip postcards into books in libraries and bookshops. If you have a printer, it’s easy to make your own postcards or stickers. Or you can get a site like Moo to print your own designs. Leaving a postcard in a bookshop isn’t comparable to one of Posie’s epic billboards, but it may make ripples. It all counts.

Attend meetings. Watch some of Posie’s YouTube videos. There’s lot of good gender-critical stuff on YouTube, although you may need to dig a bit. Read and read some more. My friend Lesley swears by gender critical Reddit. There’s some good stuff on Mumsnet. Follow some of the people above or join facebook groups (remember many aren’t secure) to find out what’s going on in your area. If you don’t feel you can protest on marches, maybe you can write to your MP.   Anyone can fill in a consultation or a survey. If you don’t feel you can write to your child’s school, maybe you can still cross out ‘gender’ on a form and write in ‘sex’.

Check out the Transgender Trend website. Afterwards, you may want to write to your kids’ schools and clubs after all, referring them to the Transgender Trend schools resource packs.

Prepare yourself for conversation.

At your child’s gymnastics competition, someone expresses support for girls in sport. Ask them casually what they think about boys taking places on girls’ teams and winning. Read Dr Emma Hilton’s speech here so you have facts at your fingertips if the conversation takes off. Check out the Fair play for Women website for loads of information about men in women’s sports.

In response to ‘transwomen are women‘ you can raise the subject of rapists in women’s prisons, penises in women’s refuges. Most people don’t know that 70%+ of transwomen keep their penis.  Having concerns about this doesn’t mean you think all trans people are sex offenders any more than being concerned about rape means you think all men are rapists!

If LGBTQ+ rights are discussed, find out what people think about lesbians with penises. Tell them about the cotton ceiling. Ask them what they think the word lesbian means when lesbians are expected to embrace penises. Is this fair on lesbians? Ask them what ‘same-sex attracted’ means if transwomen are really women. Should gay men be expected to have sex with transmen? Is it transphobic if they don’t want to? These are important questions.

You don’t have to jump up on a table and bang a drum. All these things can be asked with calm curiosity and expressed as a desire to be educated.

If the subject of trans children is raised, you can ask what people think about 14 year old girls having their breasts removed in Canada. If someone says surgery doesn’t happen to British kids, you can mention what happened to CEO of Mermaids Susie Green’s child. If they say kids can’t get hormones easily, mention Helen Webberley prescribing them to 12 year olds. If we didn’t have sexist stereotypes, how could a child be trans? What about the psychological effects of social transition on a child? What about the right of girls to have bodily privacy when changing or using toilets at school?

 

I was being tactless when I blurted out ‘Non-binary is bollocks’ to a teacher in a London college last month (for clarity we were not in a class at the time). It was not tactful but it was true, and yes, it was just a little bit brave. I’ve let a little time pass: next week I’m going to email her some articles backing up what I said.

Rebecca Reilly-Cooper’s article ‘Gender is not a Spectrum‘ is a great article for emailing friends who are starting to question.

 

Commenting, ‘gosh, isn’t that awfully sexist?’ when someone tells you her friend’s sister’s husband says he has ‘always felt he’s a woman‘ isn’t going to change the world, but it might help your friend consider the issue a little more deeply.

 

 

If we don’t communicate, how do we expect others to know what we’re thinking?  If we don’t communicate, how do we expect to challenge our own ideas and those of others?

I’m hoping to speak at a public event later this year. Openly.

Maybe we can all try to be a little bit braver.

 

 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

– Margaret Mead

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#GenderCare – Dr Lorimer brings all the ‘transboys’ to the yard

You can visit the GenderCare website here.  You will learn that Gendercare is a ‘network of individual healthcare practitioners’ who ‘share a general commitment to providing friendly, accessible private services, tailored to individual needs and timescales, in a variety of comfortable London settings.’

Tailored timescales

It is the tailored timescales that appear to be the biggest draw for those who seek the services of GenderCare. Many are disturbed by the long NHS waiting lists and drawn by the knowledge that, in the words of one young patient, “obviously Gendercare is renowned for getting people on hormones very quickly.”

While the speed of service is of greatest importance, the lure of Stuart Lorimer, the father figure of the organisation, is not to be underestimated. Lorimer is an incredibly charismatic man in the eyes of those who seek his services. I spent an afternoon watching YouTube videos about first appointments with GenderCare and not a bad word was said about him. He is described by those who flock to his surgery as:

“amazing…

so nice, he understood me…

he’s actually very validating…

the fucking nicest guy I’ve ever met, it’s like talking to a mate…

as soon as you meet him you feel warm…

He was super lovely, I had a nice time…

He’s a really nice bearded man. He’s really cute.”

 

Lorimer, a flamboyant gay bloke who is ‘particularly interested in engagement with the wider binary and non-binary trans community’ (whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean) knows how to flatter the young women who sing his praises on YouTube. After all, he too nestles beneath the ever-expanding LGBTQIA+ umbrella. He gets them. And they love him. This patient has even got a tattoo of Lorimer’s face, as featured on his super-cool business card, on their neck:

 

Lorimer’s pronouns are in his bio. He listens to his patients and they feel he validates their feelings and desires.  “He called me Mr,” they say. “He didn’t misgender me’ or ‘He said my voice was really masculine’.

 

 

 

 

Two thirds of Lorimer’s patients are transmen. These (modified) pictures are taken from their YouTube videos:

Founding a dream

With his past experience working at the Charing Cross Clinic, Lorimer founded Gendercare in 2010. He estimates he has seen more than 4000 patients over a period of fifteen years. The business is highly successful. He sees the main issue facing him at the moment as ‘coping with increasing numbers while maintaining quality.’

GenderCare only deals with adults- although the young women in the videos I watched all looked astonishingly young. Lorimer admits to having had at least one patient as young as seventeen, tweeting in 2017: ‘My youngest patient is 17, my oldest 96’.

He seems to believe he brings humour and bonhomie to the transition process, as can be seen by these tweets from 2016/17.

It’s not possibly to view what Lorimer is currently tweeting, as his tweets are now protected.

While his milkshake may indeed ‘bring all the boys to the yard’ the GenderCare website’s handy guide to choosing your clinician makes it clear that Lorimer’s primary interest does not lie in discussing his patients’ feelings in depth but in diagnosis, prescribing hormones and referring for surgery.

Time for Tumblr

In 2016 Lorimer arrived on Tumblr, an area of the net frequented primarily by teenagers. ‘Tumblr, like lycra is probably not for anyone over 30 –yet here I am’ announced Lorimer chirpily, posting his trendy business cards while making it clear that he didn’t represent his ‘NHS employers or my GenderCare colleagues’. Oh and adding that he may post pictures of cute animals.

‘Don’t worry, young person about your first trip to get T. You will meet a cuddly gender doc wearing a pink suit.’ observes SunMum wryly in her article for 4thWaveNow, ‘GenderCare: London private clinic with a winning business model’

“After all, this is all a game, a joke. Fun. Isn’t it? Well I for one don’t think it is. My son, you see, became seriously depressed in his second year at university and developed sudden onset gender dysphoria… Urged on by a counsellor, I, in my naivety, paid out for an assessment at GenderCare…  I was astounded when my son came back telling me that he would be starting hormones in a few weeks.”

GenderCare Tumblr has not posted since September 2016.

Hashtag #gendercare

Instagram posts with the hashtag #gendercare contain pictures like this one, a prescription for testosterone prescribed by Lorimer, accompanied by cheers of ‘well done bro’ and ‘yay congrats’.

Another patient tags a #gendercare picture with ‘Dr Lorimer and I, Bro-ing out 😎😎 He give me the go ahead for testosterone.’

Recently a young woman used the hashtag to pose with two packets of ‘testogel’.

‘Happy one month on T to me’ posts another.

‘Finally got my private prescription for testosterone gel!!… can’t wait!’ another announces, #gendercare accompanied by a letter with Lorimer’s letterhead.

“Dr Lorimer is fantastic! Absolutely loved him, made me feel so comfortable.”

‘I see Lorimer at ChX sometimes and he’s the best :)’

Another photo of a prescription is accompanied by the words “I filed this prescription today. So surreal. Its finally happening. 😭’ #gendercare

‘After a few days of no sleep, filled with excitement we went to London on Tuesday to meet Dr Lorimer at Gender Care!’ posts another, with a photo of a couple standing by Big Ben.

‘Guess what… 🙊😃😃 know it’s unreal!! 😃🎉’‘ accompanies a picture of an unopened GenderCare letter.

“Exciting! Congratulations bro!

Have you noticed what I’ve noticed?  Do these people sound like adults embarking on serious, life altering processes? No, of course they don’t. From a sociological perspective I would say they use the language and emoticons most commonly used by excited teenage girls, and there’s probably a very good reason for that.

“It’s not an adventure if you know what is going to happen” posts one young client after a ‘gofundme’ paid for an appointment with GenderCare.

This isn’t a fucking gap year in Thailand.

 

YouTube

I type ‘gendercare lorimer first appointment’ into YouTube. Scores of videos come up. Consultations are expensive. Many of the young women using GenderCare have donation options linked to their vlogs. Others have parents who pay for the appointments; some hold down an extra job.

Don’t take my word for this. You too can while away several never-to-be-regained hours of your short life by watching these diverse yet strangely homogeneous young women talk about their experiences with GenderCare. They have put their experiences on YouTube; they want their transition videos to be seen. Views are important. Some of them slip in footage of tube station signs and mainline railway stations, as the trip to London to visit GenderCare is documented for their YouTube channels. Often they apologise to their followers for not posting enough. References are made to how bad the lighting in the video is, how awful they look today; self harm and mental health services are mentioned, as are helpful and unhelpful parents (note that even the most unhelpful ones seem to provide transportation to appointments). It’s all part of ‘my transition journey’.

Here are some of the things they say:

I had my first GenderCare appointment last Friday with Dr. Lorimer, it went amazing and I’m starting testosterone soon and I ALSO HAVE A DATE FOR SURGERY”

After a first GenderCare appointment: “It went really well… there were two people (outside) that were FTM trans so I was oh ok, I’m in the right place. He asked “when did you know this was yourself?”… “I saw a video of a person transitioning and I was like yeah that’s me, that’s the moment I knew I was trans… when I was a kid I never felt dysphoric.. I can like dresses and a lot of people say that makes me less trans… I can dress up as a woman for silly skits…” If my blood tests are ok he says he’ll make sure I can get testosterone within a month, or maybe a month and a bit.”

After a first GenderCare appointment: “He (Lorimer) said ‘don’t worry, I want to try to get you on testosterone without having to get more bloods done’.. at the end he said he was formally diagnosing me with gender dysphoria which means I’m officially trans which is pretty cool… at 10pm he emailed me saying all I needed to do was call my doctor (to get a test result) and he could give me the go ahead for testosterone. It doesn’t even feel real. I’m gonna have started testosterone by Christmas and that’s a really scary thought.”

After a first GenderCare appointment: “He (Lorimer) knows what he’s talking about.. he was so nice, he understood me, he got it. He said there’s people out there who’d advise him to advise me I shouldn’t be filling myself up with hormones… he asked what I’d say to him if he said that.. I quite like the person I’ve turned out to be now but… I don’t like the fact that my fat stores on my bum and my hips… my voice is like a 12 year old boy’s… I’m not comfortable in my body… I’m not seen the way I should be seen in my head.” He said ‘based on these questions I’d say you definitely fit the category of gender dysphoria’… he can see me getting testosterone by the end of January.” (the video was posted in December)

After a first GenderCare appointment: “I’d been waiting two years through the NHS and I was done with waiting… he does passport letters for free… he (Lorimer) asked where I would like to go with my transition, what are you looking forward to with testosterone?.. he’s actually very validating, he said you have quite a masculine voice… it’s nice to hear. I said I didn’t want a receding hairline he said yeah thats what most people say they don’t want. He laughed because he has a receding hairline, so I felt a bit awkward saying that. He said I was more than ready for testosterone.”

After a first GenderCare appointment: “This is the biggest mission to manliness I’ve had so far. Both my mum and dad came with me which is awkward because they’re divorced… they like each other now because they both don’t want me to be trans. My mum seems to ruin every exciting thing about my transition. I’m sure you’ve heard this before if this isn’t the first gendercare video you’re watching but Dr Lorimer is the fucking nicest guy I’ve ever met… it’s like talking to a mate, he didn’t misgender me. He asked if I had a cold, I said no I’ve just been crying. He sorta laughed that off. He asked about mental health services I’ve actually been referred to CAMHS (for self-harming) but I ended up not going to that. (I said) ’I’m not doing it any more mum, I’m fine.’ My mum’s one of those people who wants to believe it’s true so badly that she’ll just believe me… At the end of the appointment I have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria!… He said he would have been happy to prescribe me testosterone within the next few weeks if it wasn’t for my parents.

After a first GenderCare appointment: ‘We had a chat about my history, how I’ve been presenting, pronouns I’ve used in the past, pronouns I use now… reaffirming that I am trans.. even though I didn’t know it in my head… he’s a really nice guy… and came to the conclusion that yes I should be on testosterone… I should be on testosterone in about a month.”

I chose to go with Dr Dundas (at GenderCare) because he has the shortest waiting list.. got an email a week later saying tell me what you want and I’ll see what I can do.

After a first GenderCare appointment: “It went really well and smoothly. We didn’t have to go really deeply into any topics that were uncomfortable… One result was missing from my blood test results so I have to get that sorted out… and I still need to find a GP practise that is ok with ‘shared care’ but hopefully… I should be able to start testosterone maybe right at the end of September or in October.. . I’m really not good with months or the order they come in. ” (video was posted end of August)

After a first GenderCare appointment: “NHS was no longer an option for me… so I paid to go and see Dr Seal to assess me and diagnose me with gender dysphoria… if you’re like me and you didn’t know you were trans at the age of six don’t worry, he’s not there to judge you. I was so nervous, I had butterflies, I felt sick… but super-excited… after it I felt so happy, he diagnosed me with gender dysphoria, he said I could start T and I had to wait 2 weeks to start it. I was over the moon. I felt my life was finally going to start…”

After a first GenderCare appointment: “If you’re like me and want to pay in cash there’s a cashpoint two minutes walk from the clinic… Dr Lorimer is one of those people as soon as you meet him you feel warm… he asks what you want from GenderCare and why you’re there… then you get more into childhood, your family, coming out… if you want to freeze your eggs, that one took me aback a little bit… it felt like an hour wasn’t enough but we finished on time… he has a really cool cute little business card. He diagnosed me with gender dysphoria; it didn’t cross my mind I’d come out with a diagnosis. To me it’s not a mental health problem. Last thing was to look at my bloods and check if he feels I’m ready for hormones… he had a quick little skim read and said he’ll send Dr Seal an email. He concluded he’d be happy to provide me hormones but I’d have to wait a few weeks. Overall really, really exciting! It’s so cool.”

“My first appointment was in August 2016… a last minute cancellation… I was having panic attacks… I wasn’t in a good place that day… obviously GenderCare is renowned for getting people on hormones very quickly… I was like, I’m gonna get hormones! At the time I was 19. It doesn’t look like a clinic, it’s very bright. His office is not like an office at all, there’s an old rug in there. He’s a really nice bearded man. He’s really cute. A few weeks later I got this 6 page letter and a passport letter and my T letter saying ‘there are no contradictions to his beginning testosterone, I’d be grateful if you could start him on the following…’ The difference between NHS and private is the waiting time. I’d recommend anyone to go private if they can.

I’m non binary. I had an appointment with Dr Lorimer.. he was lovely.. asked quite a few gatekeeping questions.. you kind of lay on this whole thing, like, yeah when I was a kid I was a tomboy; I didn’t like girl things, never wore dresses.. it’s kind of ridiculous that you have to but it just feels a lot easier if you go with the narrative. He was super lovely, I had a really nice time. My second appointment was with Dr Lenihan, I found her very intimidating, she doesn’t seem very up on non-binary. I did lay on the narrative again, a bit more than is necessarily true for me. She didn’t seem comfortable with me going for top surgery. She said if I had top surgery everyone would think I was a man. At the moment people either think I’m a guy or think I’m a woman but I hope to one day live in a society that’s a little bit more open minded than that. (laughs) In the end I left very upset. I didn’t think she was going to approve me. My course leader and former employer emailed her to say I was non binary. (Then) very quickly she was very efficient in getting that approval sent off to the surgeon of my choice. Wow, I’m having top surgery soon!…  Lorimer said I was a standard case of ‘Yup, top surgery.” so that was quite straight forward. Lorimer charged £200 and Lenihan £250. Those prices have recently gone up.”

Most people get prescribed T after two appointments, which I’m now on. Whoo! Lorimer asked questions about social transition, Dr Seal asked more medical things’ like ‘did you have a normal birth?’ Both doctors are really there to nudge you in the right position. They want to get you to where you want. I’m sure, like myself, there are a lot of trans guys out there who first identified as lesbian and were quite uncomfortable with it and later on progressed to realising they had a much more masculine identity and that ‘lesbian’ didn’t really fit. He (Lorimer) didn’t ask too many questions about that which I was pleased about… Dr Seal took my height, weight and blood pressure and that’s it. That’s the physical examination. It’s very basic stuff. He talks really fucking quick. I had to ask him several times ‘what was that? What did you say?’ and get him to repeat the question… he’s a busy guy. It is pricey, but positives with GenderCare; the reason the fees have gone up with Lorimer is you can now get a bridging prescription. (Ask for this) because if there’s a 6 month wait between you seeing him and seeing Dr Seal, that’s six months you could be on testosterone!”

What did I learn?

What did I learn from my day of watching these videos? Well, as customers they invariably seem to be dealt with remarkably quickly by GenderCare, receiving prescriptions for testosterone following first and second appointments.

We are living in a world where diagnosing a suicidal, depressed or self-harming young woman with gender dysphoria seems to be synonymous with offering her irreversible drugs and double mastectomy.

I can still find nothing to suggest that previous generations of young women have believed themselves to be men. There have been women who ‘lived like men’ and women who ‘dressed like men’, certainly, but women who actually believed themselves to be men, or believed that they could actually become men? There is no precedent for that.

Suddenly a generation of young women (and men, but this article is focused on the women) have been told that this is a reasonable thing to believe. Furthermore they have been told that this is a reasonable thing to attempt, and that with the right money and support it is something they can achieve.

 

 

Letters, containing ‘passport letters’ and testosterone prescriptions, marked with the GenderCare stamp, are waved at the camera with the enthusiasm of Hogwarts students anticipating a new life in a magical world of fantasy and wonder. Concerns for careful medical care do not appear to be of high concern among patients. Expectation of desired results is high. Immediate gratification is expected. One GenderCare client speaks angrily of being expected to attend further appointments at a cost of an extra £300 before receiving more testosterone, but seems  less concerned by the medical cause of the delay (which included returning periods) than being expected to ‘’pull all this money out of my ass’, concluding ‘you can’t just take something away from me that is my reason to live.’

The terrible predicament faced by those of us who choose to acknowledge this crisis in mental health among young women is that if we question it, if we refuse to speak the lie and say they are actually men, then we are accused of pushing them towards suicide. We are told that if we speak out, it will be our fault if someone is triggered by hearing our words.  We will be blamed. That we are literally erasing people. The Samaritans tell us that one in five people has suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives, yet in no other demographic is the threat of suicide seen as an acceptable reason for silencing people who disagree with you.

In the meantime, doctors, clinicians, therapists and a few high profile individuals are making fortunes out of perpetuating the myth. This industry needs to be analysed and examined and it needs to happen now. We need to question this treatment of young people, however uncomfortable it makes us. We need to listen to the ever-louder voices of desisters and detransitioners.

Lorimer himself seems to have adopted a lower profile these days, but the girls keep flocking to the GenderCare yard. Have the affirmative clinics become trapped in their own webs? Are they stuck in this lucrative cycle of giving young women what they ask for because it’s too late to back away from all that affirmation and consider that just possibly they have been a little free with the prescriptions?

Or is it just entirely convenient to keep feeding the cycle of dysphoria that keeps them comfortable?

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