by Debbie Hayton
Wednesday, 14
December 2022
Debate
14:00

Trans organisation pulls ‘biological condition’ article

Translucent performed a U-turn after a wave of online criticism
by Debbie Hayton
Translucent withdrew an article claiming that that ‘being trans is a biological condition’. Credit: Getty.

Why are some people trans? Personally, I think it is a symptom of one of possibly several different psychological disorders. There should be nothing shameful about having a disorder — these things make us human, after all — but some transgender activists are keen to find a reason that avoids that inconvenient reality.

On Sunday, a campaigning organisation called Translucent announced, with great fanfare, that on Friday it would be publishing a ground-breaking article — written by a research scientist, no less — which demonstrated that “being trans is a biological condition”. National newspapers were invited to apply for early access.


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As a transgender journalist, I didn’t bother. Attempts to find a “trans gene” or some other objective proof are old news. In 2016 an academic review, ‘Brain Structure Research in Transsexualism‘, found that “untreated [transsexuals] who […] are sexually oriented to persons of their natal sex show a distinctive brain morphology”. In summary, sexual orientation — not gender identity — shows up in the data.

But that’s not what exercised the trans community on Sunday evening. Translucent’s tweet was deluged with replies. There was uproar. If trans was a biological condition, then might there be a cure? Others complained about a return to the days of medicalisation. But most worryingly of all, it seemed, was the idea that if there was a biological condition, there might be some kind of test for it. And if there was a test, then some might pass and others might fail. We certainly would no longer need to just take trans people at their word.

The women’s campaigning organisation Keep Prisons Single Sex summed it up neatly: “This sounds awfully like an argument against self ID and awfully like an argument in favour of stricter gatekeeping.”

Alas, we may never know what Translucent was planning to reveal. Yesterday morning the organisation announced that it would not now be publishing anything, and apologised for the disappointment or distress that it had caused.

The reason this matters is that governments and policymakers have been taking lessons from these types of organisations. Translucent is a seemingly credible outfit; under a previous identity, Steph’s Place, it won the LGBT Community Organisation Award at the 2022 National Diversity Awards.

But beneath the glitz, the same tropes appear. Accepting the award, Steph Richards asserted that:

There are about four hundred and fifty thousand trans people in the UK. Around half are too frightened to leave their homes because of the fear of abuse on our streets […] and often, the other half can’t even get a job.
- Steph Richards

That’s not true — I leave my home regularly, and I have a job — but there was worse to follow:

Because of the pressures of being trans, shockingly, around 50% of my community consider suicide and over the years we have lost tens of thousands of people.
- Steph Richards

If Translucent has time to spare on Friday, it might perhaps consider publishing some evidence to support those very dubious claims.

However, it is also an insight into how these campaigners think. We hear a lot about self-identification, but it seems to me that this is about power. These groups do not want to abolish gatekeeping: they want to be the gatekeepers. The sooner everyone in government and policy-making stops listening to them, the better.

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Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 month ago

‘Others complained about a return to the days of medicalisation.’ Surely being trans is all about medicalisation apart from those who are not trans at all, just like to play dress up whilst remaining heterosexual. I was watching an episode of the Lotus Eaters podcast when one of the presenters jokingly suggested rather than using hormones to change the body to match the mind, it would be easier to use the hormones corresponding to the person’s biological sex to try and make the mind agree with the body. I thought he had a point.

Last edited 1 month ago by Aphrodite Rises
michael harris
michael harris
1 month ago

Or, as a satirist has suggested. ‘Why not get a Gender Transplant?. But, doctor, where is the gender located that we may operate on it?
Right next to the Nuciform Sac, you idiot!

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago

Now that society has mostly accepted homosexuality, and certain careers are no longer exclusively the domain of one gender or the other, where does the urge to change one’s physical biology come from? I honestly would like to know, so I can’t say I blame people for wanting to find an answer that doesn’t depend entirely on the say-so of the people themselves. After all, if my gender depends entirely on my own self-evaluation, where does it end. If I can be transgender, why can’t I also be trans-racial? If I feel like I should be Russian or Chinese instead of American, why can’t I be and who are you to tell me I’m not? For that matter, if I feel like a dog in human body, why can’t I run around on all fours naked and pee on the neighbor’s rose bushes. We need to stop humoring such utter rubbish. There have to be limits on what society will tolerate or there won’t be a society at all.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I recommend you don’t use the word gender when you mean sex. I was in the first cohort of pupils to sit a sociology O level. I was taught sex was biological and gender related to culturally determined roles assigned on the basis of sex. Gender was variable but sex was not. The word sex appeared on official forms to differentiate. That was in 1974. By 1980, the word sex had been replaced by gender on official forms. I noticed but I didn’t understand. I actually thought people had become embarrassed by the word sex. When I queried the change in language, I received no answer but had a strong sense I had asked an inappropriate question. I was a STEM student and in those days accustomed to freely expressing myself, I was aware the social sciences were not quite so free but far freer than nowadays. I guess it is a form of the slow March forward, the separation of sex and gender, initiated by feminists and hijacked by the transgender movement. In 1988, I was told I was the wrong type of woman to be invited to a women in a particular STEM subject conference. In the same way BLM and it’s supporters lay claim to the minds of those they claim to protect and call detractors adjacent white and coconuts, there were women who called themselves feminists and decided I had the wrong mindset. I had a different attitude. I enjoyed taking men on, enjoyed the competition, I did not seek special treatment or play the victim. I had too much pride.

Last edited 1 month ago by Aphrodite Rises
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 month ago

Good on yer!

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago

I’ll certainly admit to not being up to date in politically correct language. I’ve always read the words ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ as just synonyms and was unaware of the history of these words. I stand educated. That said, I’ll also admit I don’t really give a rip about politically correct language. Politically correct language may be intended to avoid causing offense, but where I live, it is more likely to serve the opposite purpose. More pointedly, if you want to start a fight in rural Kentucky (which I wouldn’t recommend because you can never tell who’s packing), walking into a bar and correcting a person’s pronouns or distinguishing between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are quite likely to do so. I don’t much like confrontation so I make a point to keep my mouth shut about other people’s language no matter how I might feel about it.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I agree. I was brought up to refer to women as ladies and men as gentlemen (whether they were or I thought they were was irrelevant) as a matter of politeness with the intention of not causing offence, especially to people you did not know. Politically correct language seems to create a situation where offence is always assumed no matter what you say (how can you possibly know how a stranger wishes to be addressed especially now, when we have seemingly infinite or ever changing (sometime daily) possibilities), and thus by it’s very nature seems to be intended as provocative and anti social. I keep to the manners I was brought up with, they have yet to let me down.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

I actively want to make woke people angry.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Can they be anymore angry? But it doesn’t hurt to try.

Kirsten Walstedt
Kirsten Walstedt
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

The “history” is that they were synonyms. It’s only the recent gender theorists who have tried to make gender an entity separate from sex.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Yes but of course that’s how the ideas of transideology have crept in and trashed women’s rights. Loads of people still believe we can change sex, and lots more think sex and gender are synonyms which they cannot be allowed to be any more! Sex=biology Gender=masculinity/femininity aka sex stereotypes! Many think a transwoman is a female…I despair tbh, and now use the more realistic term “men who say they are women”!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago

“I recommend you don’t use the word gender when you mean sex.”
I have always used “gender” to mean “sex”, and intend to continue doing so. I use phrases like “traditional gender role” to capture what stupid woke morons mean by “gender”.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

You use gender to mean sex – sounds like kowtowing to me. Generally I will bend over backwards to accommodate people but I refuse to kowtow. The major difference between sex and gender is that sex is fixed (in biology) and gender is not. Gender roles traditionally included clothing or costume, so the idea a change of clothing is equivalent to a change of gender/sex is a natural consequence (unintended for some) of conflating the two words. This is an illustration of how much words do matter. The Cambridge dictionary now defines the word woman as an adult who lives and identifies as a woman (or who dresses and behaves like a stereotypical woman of a bygone era, or who dresses and behaves as a parody of a woman). It results in the claim gender is assigned at birth despite the newborn being naked and the only observable behaviour is that of a baby. The Cambridge dictionary definition of girl is female child or young woman. Female is defined as belonging or relating to women. It is circular and consequently undefined. Interestingly, the Cambridge dictionary definition of man is not anyone who lives and identifies as a man, but as an adult male. The circularity of the definition of male is the same. Is this the first stage of a dictionary writing itself out of existence, leaving it incumbent on the individual to define or lay claim to words? The abandonment of an objective world? The rejection of science?

Last edited 1 month ago by Aphrodite Rises
tintin lechien
tintin lechien
1 month ago

Well said. One day our language will be to be just a journal of words (ab)used by anyone who has a feeling or an idea of what that word means. Rape may become an act of kindness to a stranger. Paedophilia has already been redefined by some a-hole! Gilead is coming to rule our world when we are all sleeping!

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 month ago
Reply to  tintin lechien

Indeed, sexual harassment now includes unwanted sexual attention, so it is completely up to the recipient to decide whether it is harassment or not.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 month ago

I concur with your conclusions.
Interestingly, female as gender also appears in the recent Haldane ruling.
As I understand it, her ruling means that biological sex and legal sex are to be considered equivalent when it comes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010.
I think that nullifies discrimination on grounds of sex when it comes to single sex spaces, such that a male with a GRC stating their gender is female, can access female only spaces.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 month ago

Interestingly, The World Health Organisation does not conflate sex and gender –
Gender refers to the characteristics of women, men, girls and boys that are socially constructed. This includes norms, behaviours and roles associated with being a woman, man, girl or boy, as well as relationships with each other. As a social construct, gender varies from society to society and can change over time.
This definition is the same was the one I as taught in the seventies minus the reference to social constructivism.

Last edited 1 month ago by Aphrodite Rises
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 month ago

(This is a repeat of several identical posts I tried to make)
Unbelievably, Unherd censored my perfectly asinine comment about agreeing with your conclusions and pointing out the Haldane ruling from the Court of Sessions touches upon this topic when it says IIRC, the legal and biological meanings of s-x are to be viewed as equivalent when they are interpreted within the GR Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010.
As such, the single s-x provisions are nullified if an individual male has a GRC that says their legal gender is female.

Last edited 1 month ago by michael stanwick
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago

Sometimes it takes a few minutes for a reply to a comment to actually appear client side. It’s not that they’re censoring or even reading the comments. At most, they might be run through some sort of filter to check for profanity or racial slurs or whatever else might be illegal or at least against the terms of service. What usually happens is that the server is busy or there’s a lot of network traffic and the comment gets queued up with whatever other jobs have to be done on the server and/or whatever other higher priority data has to be sent over the Internet along the way. Most ‘double posting’ situations on comment or message boards are caused when impatience meets the realities of a busy internet. Email has this problem as well, to the point it can take several minutes, depending on the email address, for a sent message to arrive.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 month ago

Unbelievably, Unherd censored my perfectly asinine comment twice, about agreeing with your conclusions and pointing out the Haldane ruling from the Court of Sessions touches upon this topic when it says IIRC, the legal and biological meanings of –x are to be viewed as equivalent when they are interpreted within the GR Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010.
As such, the single –x provisions are nullified if an individual male has a GRC that says their legal gender is female.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 month ago

Unbelievably, Unherd censored my perfectly asinine comment about agreeing with your conclusions and pointing out the Haldane ruling from the Court of Sessions touches upon this topic when it says IIRC, the legal and biological meanings of sex are to be viewed as equivalent when they are interpreted within the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 month ago

Unbelievably, Unherd censored my perfectly asinine comment about agreeing with your conclusions and pointing out the Ruling from the Court of Sessions touches upon this topic when it says IIRC, the legal and biological meanings of sex are to be viewed as equivalent when they are interpreted within the GR Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010.
As such, the single sex provisions are nullified if an individual male has a GRC that says their legal gender is female.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 month ago

I agree with your conclusions and pointing out the Haldane ruling from the Court of Sessions touches upon this topic

Janet G
Janet G
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Richard you must have been born after the 1950s. Before the 1950s the word “gender” was used only as a grammatical term and English speakers encountered the word when they learned a language in which all nouns were gendered. For example, in German the word for girl is neuter gender, the word for tree is masculine. The word “gender” has come into common usage in English only in recent years.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 month ago

The revolution eventually always eats its own.

Darlene Craig
Darlene Craig
1 month ago

I remember my sixth grade teacher telling us “sex is what you are, not what you do”, in response to our snickers over the very word. Yes why did “gender” replace the word? It reminds me of when my 3 year old granddaughter thought our puppy was male because he had a blue collar! Dress as a woman if you want, but until you deal with the biological realities of being a woman, you are not a woman. I don’t mean that to sound uncaring, but does it help anyone to deny reality to suit another’s distress? In my experience it does not.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 month ago
Reply to  Darlene Craig

x

Last edited 1 month ago by Huw Parker
Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 month ago
Reply to  Darlene Craig

Yes why did “gender” replace the word?

It’s part of a conscious strategy to take over the language: It goes like this:
1) Gently install the use of ‘gender’ instead of sex.
2) Insist that ‘woman’ / ‘man’ describe gender, not sex.
3) Insist that ‘vagina’ / ‘p***s’ relate to gender not sex.
4) Insist that ‘male’ / ‘female’ describe gender not sex.
5) Insist that ‘sex’ is now a meaningless term, dating from an unenlightened past, and that anybody still using it is therefore a bigot.
But why? Well, as George Orwell had it:

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”

Or, rather more pithily:

“The revolution will be complete when the language is perfect.”

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 month ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

You nailed it quite well! This debate goes back to redefining words to have new meanings to force a thought pattern.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 month ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

According to W.H.O. It hasn’t – Gender refers to the characteristics of women, men, girls and boys that are socially constructed. This includes norms, behaviours and roles associated with being a woman, man, girl or boy, as well as relationships with each other. As a social construct, gender varies from society to society and can change over time.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 month ago

Real scientific papers are peer reviewed and published in journals. What was the name of the journal and who was the “research scientist?” Whoever he or she was they couldn’t have been much of a “research scientist” if the paper was withdrawn because groups with an agenda didn’t like the conclusions.

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 month ago

“around 50% of my community consider suicide”. That’s probably no different than the entire community. Most people, in my experience, consider throwing in the towel at some point or other

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Yes it is very commonly considered, and rather depressingly, frequently acted upon. I wonder how many failed suicides (not those done, often repeatedly, for attention) regret their action afterwards, since we cannot survey the successful ones, unless we believe psychics!

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 month ago

In summary, sexual orientation — not gender identity — shows up in the data.
Fine. But regardless of what trans-identifying individuals put forward regarding brain structures or differences or whatever, that does not equate to the claim they are the opposite sex.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 month ago

Just another indication that even the trans community itself can’t parse what it wants to believe and what it wants us to believe about the phenomenon. It’s a labyrinth of contradiction in which there is no correct point of view because it’s all being made up on the fly. In this it has much in common with woke Progressivism generally.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 month ago

We have a National Diversity Awards? Bet that’s a barrel of laughs.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago

that’s because the policy

We Don’t Serve Their Kind Here”Star Wars Episode IV

and you are ‘their kind’, so not invited.

Carol Moore
Carol Moore
1 month ago

Interestingly article, Thankyou

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 month ago

If the physical existence of a p***s is not a guide to a person’s sex/gender why should the physical existence of skin colour be a guide to race/ethnicity? Why not a white protester, claiming to be a trans-black person, demanding that a black police constable ‘take the knee’ to him as a representative of BLM.