There, now I’ve got your attention. No, that wasn’t an expletive although it could well be – Roger Helmer is a Tory MEP who is in the new recently for his Tweet:
Why is it OK for a surgeon to perform a sex-change operation, but not OK for a psychiatrist to try to “turn” a consenting homosexual?
I wasn’t going to blog about this as although it’s annoyed me, it’s been handled elsewhere, by several people.
But two things have made me change my mind. Firstly, the mainstream coverage such as the BBC and the Guardian is reporting heavily on the homophobic angle complete with quotes from Stonewall but completely ignoring the Transphobia. (Yes, this is one of those instances where it is an LGB and T issue)
And for some commenters on other sites who have the wrong end of the stick (I’ve seen this in a couple of places) – Trans surgery is not just a society/body image issue. Fixing society isn’t going to mean surgery isn’t required, as having the wrong kind of sex hormone causes depression. Our fate as a group will be entwined with the medical profession for the foreseeable future, at least until some Iain-M-Banksian utopic future where one can change physical sex by just thinking about it. (It still takes about a year!)
But back on topic, it appears that having stuck his foot in it in a way that one might generously claim could have been misinterpreted, Roger is keen to make his position clear in a very “I’m not Homophobic/Transphobic, but…” way with the following wonderful quote:
I am making a comparison between a lifestyle choice of a homosexual who would prefer not to be a homosexual and a lifestyle choice of a woman who would prefer to be a man …
It seems to me that in both cases it is what they call a valid lifestyle choice.
Foot meet mouth. But he does seem to be confused:
I am not a medical person. I know that there is a number of practitioners, admittedly a minority, who think [reparative therapy] does work.
Yes, and there are many people who think that an exorcism will cure all sorts of things. But you don’t go to your GP and expect them to be able to provide an exorcism as they’d quite rightly get hauled up in front of the GMC for offering treatment with no provable benefit. Registered psychologists are held to the same standards, so if they offer a discredited treatment they can expect to be censured.
But the subtleties of this seem to be lost of poor Roger.
On the plus side the Conservative party themselves seem pretty wound up with him, particularly LGBTory. I’d hope he’s in for a nice chat with his Whips real soon now with strict instructions to sit down, shut up and do the right thing for once.