Transphobia at Mad In The UK and British Psychological Society, An Open Letter

Dear Mad in the UK and the British Psychological Society,
We are writing in regards to the article ‘Prescribing Rights for UK Psychologists – Should We Be Cautious?’, written by prominent psychologists who are members of the British Psychological Society. Whilst we recognise that prescribing rights for psychologists is a complex issue, we are contacting you specifically about a passage in the article that appears to express transphobic views.


We refer to the following passage, which we also note is the only section without any references, suggesting strongly this is a work of personal opinion by the authors:

‘Gender services
The prescription of hormone blockers for people who identify as transgender is a highly controversial trend, raising profound issues, both conceptual (about the validity of a diagnostic category of ‘gender dysphoria’; about the relationship between biological sex and gender roles, and so on) and ethical (the long-term effects of these drugs is untested and unknown). We do not believe that prescribing rights should be extended to psychologists working in these areas unless and until these wider issues achieve some degree of resolution and consensus.’

Hormone blockers are a legitimate and common treatment for those who are transitioning to their identified gender. It is unclear why the authors view hormone blockers as ‘controversial’ or a ‘trend’. No references are provided to support the use of these words. Both words are value loaded, and on reading, appear to undermine the legitimacy of the process of transitioning with hormone blockers to one’s gender identity. It should be noted that taking hormone blockers does not by itself imply an irrevocable commitment to transition, but merely leaves open the option to do so with less dysphoria and potentially less exposure to societal prejudice. Undermining and describing the process of transitioning as ‘controversial’ and a ‘trend’ is transphobic.


We also note that the passage refers to the ‘profound issues’ ‘about the relationship between biological sex and gender roles etc’, again without references to support these statements. We note that the authors use the phrase ‘gender roles’ rather than ‘gender identity’, however, we read this as a veiled statement referring to the opposition by some to the very idea of transitioning, emphasizing biological determinism over trans people’s lived experience as a different gender to that they were assigned at birth. This is a transphobic view, and by including these controversies in their article, the authors legitimise these views.


To provide a context to our concerns, please see the current Stonewall definition of transphobia:
The fear or dislike of someone based on the fact they are trans, including the denial/refusal to accept their gender identity.


We are therefore, writing to you as publisher (Mad in the UK) and professional body (British Psychological Society) to request that you investigate these statements. We would also like to highlight that this is not the first time some of the authors have expressed transphobic sentiments.

Signed

Recovery In The Bin
Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts
The London Bi Pandas
Mental Health Under Capitalism
Leeds Sisters Uncut

Service User Research Enterprise (SURE) team:
Diana Rose
Stan Papoulias
Akriti Mehta
Ruth Silverleaf

Alison Faulkner
Jayasree Kalathil
Len Demetriou

CliniQ CIC
Michelle Ross (founder cliniQ CIC)
Vincent Turner (psychotherapy lead cliniQ CIC)
Martha Dunkley (director cliniQ CIC)

National Union of Students
Piers Wilkinson, NUS Disabled Students’ Officer
Eden Ladley, NUS Trans Officer
Rachel Watters, NUS Women’s Officer
Liam McCabe, NUS Scotland President
Robert Murtagh, NUS-USI President

Daira Hopwood
Shabaaz Mohammed
Dennis Queen
Mx J.M. Welch
Dr Sally Morgan, Clinical Psychologist
Ms Sali Owen, LGBT+ Group Facilitator for Forensic In-Patients
Sally-Anne Beverly (University of Leeds)
Sue Sibbald
Dr Joanne Edge, survivor
Robin Edwards, Notts Trans Hub
Stephanie Allan
Sue Phillips
Josephine Sirotkin
Edie Boon
Dr Aylwyn Walsh, Associate Professor, University of Leeds
Clare Bonetree
Dr Alexandra Richards, Clinical Psychologist
Rachel Rowan Olive, service user / survivor
Karen Pollock GRSD specialist counsellor
Dominic Davies, Pink Therapy
Jamie Draper
Sam Hope, MBACP (Accred.)
Neil Loffhagen GSRD therapist / counsellor
Esther Kaner
Nāgakuśala Frugal
Sam Feeney, Dip Coun, Dip Gender/Sexual Diversity, Reg. MBACP
Dr Mari Greenfield
Ronete Cohen, GSRD Psychotherapist, The Rainbow Couch
Debbie Helen Wood, trans and talking therapies lead with Outreach Cumbria
Rachel Yates, Counsellor
Jules Haley, GSRD Therapist / Counsellor
Hannah Ryan, Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Gary, patient and activist
Tony Roberts, Director, Fostering Change Ltd. North Yorkshire
Charlie Rodgers

If you wish to add you or your organisation’s signature to the open letter please email recoveryinthebin@gmail.com

Published by

recoveryinthebin

A critical theorist and activist collective.