Early in my career for a time I worked for a doctor who was also a keen gardener, who gave me some sage advice about putting oneself in the patient’s shoes: ‘Never go to a doctor whose plants are dying!’ I’ll come back to that later.

I like to think that I am an open minded person – after all, who knows the ultimate truth about anything? There are, however, aspects of medical practice, and indeed, of life in general, where one needs to form a view based on one’s assessment of the evidence and common sense. As readers of my posts will be aware I do have views on transgenderism, one of which is that it has no objective basis and is, therefore, a delusion, though I am always open to be convinced otherwise.

With this in mind, I recently approached through a colleague a good lady working in the transgender field, Ms Laura Maria Scarrone Bonhomme. I thought we might perhaps collaborate in writing an article on this subject. This was her response:

Thank you for reaching out to me, as much as I am always open to the potential for collaboration, [but] on a quick Google search I found the work of Dr Symonds. Sadly, this is not aligned with my approach to supporting gender diverse people. For this reason, I will not be considering collaboration in this instance.

Disappointed, I thought I would likewise do a quick search on Ms Bonhomme, and came across her website. It is all about her, being adorned with her pleasant smiling face gazing out at us from the background of every page – it comes over as positively narcissistic. For example, the website sports twenty-two glowing testimonials, all anonymous and undated.

We learn that she specialises in ‘Gender, Sexual, and Relationship Diversity (LGBTQI+)’ for which her qualifications are membership of the British Association of Gender Identity Specialists and World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), among others. So she should know what she is talking about. But does she?

One of the website pages is called ‘The Book’. This refers to a forthcoming publication written by Ms Bonhomme and two other people, called Gender Affirming Therapy. There, the title tells you all, although to pay £24.99 ($51.79 in the US) for 156 pages seems a little steep.

Now I shall come back to the business about dying plants. Thanks to the helpful Amazon ‘look inside’ feature, in the preface Ms Bonhomme confesses (shortened and slightly paraphrased):

I am sitting in my west London office surrounded by half-living [sic] plants and, honestly, feeling slightly embarrassed by them. I worry about my clients inferring any meaning from their balding stems, in particular about my ‘caring abilities’. My problem is that sometimes I cannot resist overwatering them: to give them just a little bit more, just in case. The poor plants end up flooding. Only now I question if this echoes my inclinations as a therapist. It is hard to know how much to give. The emotional contortionism [sic] that is therapy I have always felt is a lot like comedy [sic]: it is all about the timing. On occasions, my body seems more engaged than my brain…intensely tilting my head, like a dog…creating this artificial womb [sic] where others can get reacquainted with their vulnerabilities.

I have always believed that to be a good therapist you need to be genuinely interested in and caring about the patients but should remain dispassionate; your aim is always to help them find their own solutions to their problems, insofar as this may be possible. Therapy is not a social relationship: one must not become emotionally involved, or, rather like overwatering plants, it will do more harm than good.

The problem with gender affirming therapy is that it is based on two unwarranted assumptions: that gender dysphoria exists in nature rather than merely being an idea in someone’s head; and secondly, that the treatment, if desired by the patient, is or should be ‘affirmative’. In other words, the diagnosis and treatment have already been decided by the patient and only need to be affirmed by a therapist working as a so-called transgender specialist. It may even extend to facilitating the provision, if not of an artificial womb, of an artificial vagina in a man who is deluded that he is a woman and is prepared to submit to castration and other surgical mutilations, to say nothing of the abnormal use of female hormone, in pursuit of his impossible goal.

Tex © Gabriel Symonds

Picture credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

First published 19 May 2023