Coronavirus – Day #83

I’m sure I accomplished some things today, but almost none of them were things I had planned to do. There was unexpected Diversity Trust email, unexpected death of a friend, and two good TV documentaries that I had expected to be an hour long and were both two hours. Oh well, I have at least finished the Wizard’s Tower accounts for the month. Now I need to get to bed so that I’m awake to record an interview and to do the thing with Dan tomorrow.

The biggest news in the outside world is that the NHS has updated its guidelines on the provision of cross-sex hormones to trans adolescents. Current regulations say that these can be prescribed at age sixteen, generally after a long period of assessment by the youth gender clinic. The new guidelines are almost laughably unscientific.

They talk about how this treatment might have irreversible effects such as breast growth (in trans girls) or the voice breaking (in trans boys). You don’t say? That’s kind of like saying that cataract surgery can have the irreversible effect of better eyesight.

They note that such treatment might lead to infertility but should not be used as a form of contraception. Really? Who on earth would use it for that? I know that oestrogen is an active ingredient in the birth control pill, but would anyone seriously think of using testosterone?

And finally they talk darkly about the lack of knowledge of the long term effects of such treatment. Well hello! 26 years and counting. And I’m not the only one. There are plenty of us about, many of whom have been on hormones for far longer. But of course no amount of actual evidence will stop these people from scaremongering.

There are two things that we can take from this. The first is that the outcome of the the judicial review into the operation of youth gender clinic has already be decided at a political level. The clinic will be found to be operating unsafely, and it will be shut down, regardless of how much evidence to the contrary is presented, and how many young lives it has improved.

The second is that it won’t stop with kids. The idea that giving trans people hormones is “unsafe” clearly doesn’t only apply to teenagers. GPs now have a carte blanche to refuse to supply them to adults as well. It won’t be long before the adult gender clinics are threatened with closure as well.

4 thoughts on “Coronavirus – Day #83

  1. Hi Cheryl – that’s awful news. *hugs*.

    Thoughts – exactly how many years were the various birth control pills in use for before they were deemed “safe”? Bet it was way less than 26 years. And each individual cocktail of birth control hormones would have to be considered in its own right. You couldn’t say folk had safely been taking THIS progesterone-only pill for 5 years and use that data to prove THAT mixed progesterone + oestrogen pill was safe.

    Ditto how long has HRT for post-menopausal women been around? That’s “violating the laws of nature”, innit? Their (and my) natural hormone production shut down. Do we know the long-term effects of artificially boosting it back up again?

    Also, it’s not as if cis-female bodies would spontaneously combust in the presence of testosterone! Testosterone is the raw material you make oestrogen out of. The biochemical pathway is along the lines of cholesterol –> progesterone –> testosterone –> the various types of oestrogen (one of which is only produced by a foetus IIRC). So until I hit the menopause, I was gaily manufacturing testosterone. It just had a short half-life in my ovaries and not much wandered off into the bloodstream.

    Has anyone ever attempted a long-term study of trans people on hormones?

    1. I don’t know of any specifically long-term studies on trans people. The medical people tend to rely on studies of the use of HRT for oestrogen, and assume that testosterone is an unalloyed good.

      It is an entertaning fact that cis women have a greater amount of testosterone in their bodies than trans women, because they have gonads that make the stuff whereas we just get our hormones from oestrgen patches.

  2. And another thought… the moment I was old enough to do so (40 years old IIRC) I specifically and deliberately charged to my GPs and demanded the variety of contraceptive pill which stops periods. Because I hated them. Because they lasted 8 days out of 26 and were an infernal pain in the bum.

    I was allowed to do this.

    I was allowed to take a contraceptive pill for 99% “lifestyle” reasons and 1% contraception reasons. And when I had finished the first batch and went back to get a re-prescription, it was 100% for lifestyle reasons, ‘cos not in a relationship then. I stayed on those pills for well over a decade.

    I was allowed to do this.

    Trans people have a far, far greater need of hormones than me and my annoying menstrual cycle ever did!

    1. It is also true that for decades cis kids have been prescribed puberty blockers if they exhibited signs of going into puberty early, but giving the same treatment to trans kids is presented as being horribly dangerous and experimental.

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