Thanks to a recent repeat I was able to catch up on a 2013 BBC Horizon program. This was a fix-up show using archive footage from a number of early programs, and connected by a framing narrative provided by Alice Roberts. The subject of the program was Sex, and it is still available on iPlayer.
The first thing that struck me about the show is that Alice’s segments were clearly filmed in Cabot Circus in Bristol. Well, Alice did used to teach at Bristol University, but the idea of Bristol being the UK’s hub of knowledge about sex amused me. There was also some great archive footage of interviews with Alfred Kinsey and some of his subjects. But what interested me were the two segments on gender identity.
The first was from a show about the disastrous affair of Dr. John Money and David Reimer, which I presume you are all familiar with. What I hadn’t seen before were clips from a 2002 film featuring a trans man called Alex Toth. Alex had the dubious honor of being put through a battery of physical, psychological and medical tests before and after his testosterone treatment. The differences, even on the tests of his brain activity, were significant. Judging by the needs of program-making and the changes in Alex’s appearance in the “before” and “after” tests, I don’t think he can have been on testosterone for more than a year or two between them. Nevertheless there were major changes in his appearance, his physical skills, and the way in which his brain worked.
Nevertheless, our TERF friends continue to asset that trans women are “really” men, will always be so, and no amount of medical intervention can change that; and that “science” proves this. Maybe the hormone magic only works one way. Or maybe heads are firmly in the sand.