The British Medical Journal needs a new copywriter as well as a new editorial policy. In the edition of 20 November 2023 there’s a headline, ‘CBT can help with range of menopausal symptoms says NICE’.

(CBT means cognitive behavioural therapy and NICE is the awkward acronym of the smugly named National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.)

Unnecessary words
That’s good news for women suffering from menopausal symptoms, but why do they have to use so many unnecessary words? Perhaps they’re trying to say, ‘CBT can help with menopausal symptoms.’ This is just a warm-up, for then they go on to say:

CBT can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flushes (‘flashes’ if you’re American) and night sweats and the extent to which they bother women, trans men, and non-binary people registered female birth.

If CBT reduces the frequency and severity of hot flushes, it’s superfluous to say ‘and the extent to which they bother women’ as well. And why do they have to bow down to the transgender ideology by adding ‘trans men and non-binary people’? At least, perhaps due to my influence, they no longer say ‘assigned female at birth’ but have corrected this to ‘registered at birth’, though even this is unnecessary because, obviously, if you’re talking about women, they would have been registered female at birth.

Are trans men and female non-binary people stupid?
Furthermore, there’s the absurd implication that so-called trans men and female non-binary people, if such exist, are so stupid that if they suffer bothersome menopausal symptoms, which they may do since they’re biologically women, they may forget this or deny it so they won’t seek help. It seems every time we write about women we’re now expected to add ‘and trans men and non-binary people’. We’re almost back in the days of feminist militancy when even the word ‘woman’ was objected to since the second syllable is ‘man’, and we had to say ‘woperson’ instead. (I’m not making this up.)

At least, in the rest of the piece they only mention women, though other infelicities creep in. They tell us CBT ‘was also found to reduce menopause related sleep problems,’ but they cannot forbear going on, ‘such as how long it takes to fall asleep and time asleep’. Again, it’s obvious that sleep problems mean how long it takes to fall asleep and time asleep.

Empty of meaning
So much for The British Medical Journal. Now let’s take a closer look at transgenderism. The very concept is empty of meaning, as I shall explain.

The word ‘gender’ is used uncontroversially in reference to gendered languages such as Latin, where nouns are designated masculine, feminine, or neuter; and French, where nouns are either masculine or feminine. It’s also used as a euphemism for sex, for example, in the British passport application form where you’re asked to state your gender as male or female.

However, if you put the word ‘identity’ in apposition to ‘gender’, as in ‘gender identity’, then meaning flies out of the window. This is due to confusion between ‘identifying with’ and ‘identifying as’. In the usual way when children are growing up, a boy will identify with his father and a girl with her mother. This is an important part of how boys learn to become men and girls learn to become women.

But what happens if you talk about ‘identifying as’ someone or something? Normally, this never arises, because, for example, I don’t identify as an Englishman because I am an Englishman. But once we talk of identifying as, we enter the world of fantasy. Someone might identify as Jesus or Napoleon, and there are not a few who do; or as the man in the moon; or as a cat or a unicorn; or a white man might identify as a black lesbian; or I could identify as the world’s smartest and handsomest man.

Let me illustrate this with an anecdote. I was once at a party in Japan where I met the then British Ambassador, and he took the opportunity to ask my medical advice. He said he sometimes found it hard to remember people’s names when he had to introduce them at official functions. But before I could give my opinion, he supplied the answer and reassurance himself: ‘I suppose that’s just normal forgetfulness, but if I were to go around thinking I was, say, the French Ambassador instead of the British one, then that really would be a problem!’  In other words, if he suddenly started identifying as the French Ambassador, there would be something wrong with him.

A common definition of ‘gender identity’ is ‘one’s sense of whether one is male, female, both, or neither.’ In other words, it’s purely subjective. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the trouble starts when we’re expected, especially in the case of children, to take this sense literally and as a reason for trying to change their physical appearance by drugs and surgery.

We’re being encouraged or pressured to do this, especially in children, because it’s claimed that if we don’t, the child may become so depressed as to commit suicide! There is no evidence for this fear-mongering nonsense.

Another way in which ‘gender’ clouds the issue is in talk of ‘gender affirming’ care. This really means sex denying care and the word ‘care’ here is grotesquely misplaced.

In the same way, if a child declares that he or she is of the opposite sex, it doesn’t require panic measures. The reaction should be one of reassurance and, perhaps, acceptance of the the child’s fantasy life – not a rush to the nearest so-called gender clinic. Let people, especially children, imagine anything they like. They should even be encouraged to do so. But a line should be drawn at bodily alterations that attempt to align a child’s exterior appearance to his or her fantasies.

A common unfortunate sequence of events is that, say, a young girl gets it into her head that she’s not ‘comfortable’ being a girl; something must to be wrong with her body. Therefore, according to the transgender ideology, she must be ‘trans’ (short for transgender) and that’s why she’s unhappy. Never mind that she might have had a terrible childhood, with abuse, bullying, and parental strife; or that she might be suffering from other mental conditions such as being autistic or depressed; or that she might be taking drugs. The notion that she’s trans is seen as the reason underlying all her problems, and if only she could ‘transition’, then her unhappiness would be abolished.

But once she starts running with the idea that she’s trans, especially with adult acceptance and even encouragement, it’s very difficult to stop. This is especially so because referral to a gender clinic or gender specialist, implies a decision to treat accordingly. This means ‘puberty blockers’, followed by the abnormal administration of the male hormone, testosterone, and submitting to the mutilation of removal of her healthy breasts! (And mutatis mutandis for boys.) The so-called treatment of transitioning may even be made available to children as young as 9 to 12 at which age they can have no real understanding of sexuality, adult relationships, or fertility.

We can see the tragic result of this situation all too clearly in the case of Jazz Jennings, a boy who underwent pre-pubertal hormonal manipulation followed by castration and then surgical procedures to create an abnormal opening in front of his anus in imitation of a vagina. He’s now in his early 20s, and although it must be admitted that superficially he looks convincingly like a woman, he clearly has no idea how to relate as a mature person of either sex to romantic advances, because he never went through puberty. You can see how it plays out here.

Text © Gabriel Symonds

Picture credit: Timothy Dykes on Unsplash