BBC gives opportunity to a well known trans activist to make a one-sided documentary which promotes the idea of ‘transition’ (i.e. hormone treatments) as desirable and helpful.
I watched Charlie Craggs’ BBC documentary Transitioning Teens and just five minutes into it we learn that we can go online into trans forums to learn about how to source hormone treatments illegally and that other users are able to provide advice on all aspects.
A mum Charlie speaks to, says she is funding her 17 year old daughter’s transition because she had heard about people ‘cutting off their own breasts’.
During the section in which he reads out the long term effects of hormone treatment (including that the long term consequences are unknown but definitely include permanent infertility) upbeat music plays. Charlie tells us (several times by the end of the film) that his transition was made longer and more expensive by not having had puberty blockers.
Then he interviews the disgraced Dr Helen Webberley, who is still currently awaiting the outcome of her Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service case (the documentary was broadcast by the BBC on 5 August 2021) . The documentary does mention the controversy, glossing over the details of course, and indeed Webberley herself tells us she is currently not allowed to practice, but then is allowed to say exactly what she wants to say, at one point comparing life saving heart surgery for babies to cross sex hormone treatment for teens. It’s really quite bizarre.
Why has the BBC given Webberley this platform? There is no questioning from Charlie, who nods and smiles instead of asking her how she has ended up being investigated about fitness to practice medicine. Her hearing takes place on 4 January 2022.
Fellow trans activist
Charlie meets up with Felix, a fellow trans activist, who I believe is linked to the Labour Party. Felix tells us she wants ‘top surgery’ and Charlie is eager to know what a binder is. Felix tells us that she will be having a double mastectomy privately in Poland, which will cost three thousand pounds. Felix claims she has friends who have taken their own lives. Charlie tells us that if he had had puberty blockers he wouldn’t have lost half his hair and we see him having a hair transplant.
Charlie also visits the lead clinician of TransPlus, a London sexual health clinic providing hormone treatment services. That doctor tells us she can prescribe and then the patient can pick up the drugs from the pharmacy ‘literally in the same building’.
The Fox Killer
Then can-we-believe-our-eyes Jolyon Fox KillerTM Maugham pops up to talk about a case he is helping bring against the Tavistock, because a 14 year old has waited too long to be seen by the service. Maugham wants the court to tell the NHS that this is unlawful. Maugham tells us that the basic fact of the matter is that hormone treatments prevent suicide.
In contrast Keira Bell’s case is covered. We whip through some library clips from other BBC programmes on the case. Charlie comes to the conclusion that he is worried because a hold on puberty blockers mean more younger people will start to self-medicate.
When Charlie meets a detransitioner, foreboding music plays, and he tells us that he is scared of meeting the 19 year old woman, as detransitioners are used to take trans peoples’ rights away. A disguised voice is used for the woman who wants to remain anonymous.
She tells us that she was put on puberty blockers aged 16 by the Tavistock, and then received 9 months of testosterone before she started to realise that something wasn’t right. Initially delighted with the physical changes the drugs brought on, this soon faded once she realised that her underlying psychological problems persisted. She argues that more mental health services needed to be provided and that the Bell decision will have little impact on those who are already seeking treatments privately (or illicitly).
The conversation effects Charlie and he preaches to camera at the end that more help is needed for gender non-conforming people.
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, the Royal College of General Practitioners and NHS England all wisely declined to take part in the programme. Shame the BBC, our national broadcaster, was prepared to indulge such blatant propaganda.
A reminder of the BBC’s Mission statement:
Our mission is “to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain”.https://www.bbc.com/aboutthebbc/governance/mission
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