Detransitioners should sue the NHS

Jun 30, 2022 by

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes, Artillery Row:

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where it slowly became apparent that you were both using the same word, but meaning something entirely different? No matter how hard you try, you’ll make no headway on what you’re discussing until you understand what the other person actually means.

I bring this up because I’ve been thinking recently about the word “harmful”. I believe that it is often “harmful” to lie to people. It is harmful to encourage people to behave in ways which leave them at greater risk. And it is certainly “harmful” to conduct invasive and irreversible medical procedures on children which aren’t absolutely necessary. To the people on the other side of the divide, it is the act of expressing these beliefs which is “harmful”.

This week a young man wrote about his experience falling down the gender rabbit hole. After years struggling with his mental health and sexuality, Ritchie Herron found a community online which pushed him towards the idea he might be trans. In his account the NHS then sped him through psychiatric assessments and onto hormone treatment before eventually referring him to surgery. He turned it down, citing doubts. When it was offered again, he turned it down a second time, only to be told that if he did so he would be discharged. Believing he would lose his therapist otherwise, he signed up.

The surgery removed his penis and testicles, shaping a simulacrum of female genitals in their place. It also took his sex drive, any genital sensation, his ability to urinate without pain, and the potential to father children of his own. He claims to have regretted it almost immediately, and is now suing the NHS.

Now, tell me: which part of the content of these paragraphs is harmful? To my mind, and possibly yours, it’s the role played in the damage done to a young man’s life by those people and institutions which had a duty to care for him. To the activists on the other side, it was the act of publishing his story in the first place. The tricky business of words, again.

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