So what of Julie Bindel’s claim that gay men and lesbians may be pressured into transition and “sex changes”, to mimic straight people? Yes, it happens in Iran, but does it happen here? Apparently it does. She made the claim on this Radio 4 programme in 2013.
In Standpoint, she quoted one. “I was a messed-up young gay man,” says Claudia McClean, a male-to-female transsexual who opted for surgery 20 years ago. “If I had been offered an alternative to a sex change, I would have jumped at the chance.” Bindel does not suggest what alternative was available, but the obvious ones are reverting, not transitioning, or expressing female while retaining her penis. Claudia would have spent a year or two presenting female before surgery, longer if on the NHS. Those who regret, who blame the doctors, make transition more difficult for the rest of us. In 1990 there was a great deal of normalised homophobia- on the TV, in the papers, on the streets- but presenting female was hardly easier for a gay male than being out gay.
I believe a certain androphile trans woman told my friend Andy that she was “a gay man trapped in a woman’s body”, though she did not revert, and though Andy should not have named her to me. Again, where did the suggestion that she should transition come from?
A gay man born in Italy in the 1970s told me that in his teenage years he had considered transition. Italy has a macho culture; yet he did not.
I could have been straight. A lot of trans women are gynephile. We clearly are not transitioning to conform to a straight female stereotype enforced by patriarchy. The blog self-called “Silly” still carries on, claiming that the evidence for genetic and brain differences in trans women from cis men are all in the androphiles, and the gynephiles are all autogynephiliac perverts. Don’t go there, it is hate speech: in one page she advises the wives of trans women that “in a very real sense” their husband has died. But if there is all that evidence of difference in the androphile trans women, it is not merely that gay men are pressured into transition.
Clearly, not all trans women are gay men pressured into transition, and not all androphile trans women revert, or regret the operation, even if some do. Then, who is the person needing protection? Not the gay man who falsely imagines he has gender dysphoria, and foolishly transitions, then has his penis and testicles removed, willingly- for he only has to say “No, thanks” and the operation will not happen. And most people in Britain can find gay-accepting sub-cultures, especially now, but increasingly since 1967. Conservative Evangelicals and Catholics hate trans people, as well as gay people: you will not find Christians who would reject you as gay but welcome you as trans, though that is a myth other TERFs have peddled.
To protect that notional gay man at the expense of real trans women, who must jump through hoops, and wait, and wait, for hormones and the operation, is transphobic.