Why this event is happening
Early this year (2011), news spread within the trans community about a meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Lesbian and Gay Special Interest Group, with the title Transgender: Time to Change on May 20th. As a highly medicalised community, ongoing discussions amongst clinicians and academics who deal with us on a professional basis without the trans community having any significant say in the discussions are quite a regular occurrence. However, of particular concern to many members of the trans community was the inclusion of Julie Bindel and Dr. Az Hakeem as key speakers.
Julie Bindel’s record is neither as a clinician nor an academic on trans issues, but she is well known for a history of vitriolic opinion pieces in the press attacking trans people as upholders of rigid gender roles and arguing that if trans people just saw the light and shook off gender, there would be no need to transition. Dr. Az Hakeem is known for making statements advocating “curative” talking therapies for trans patients as an alternative to gender reassignment.
With these two speakers present, it seemed clear that one major theme for the conference would be discussing whether current gender reassignment services should be dissolved in favour of some form of counselling. Also with Julie Bindel (supposedly) representing objections to transsexuality from within the Feminist movement, but no representative from the Trans People’s movement, many of the trans community felt there was a lack of balance and (following attempts to engage with the event organisers themselves) accountability in the event.
So several people decided to organise a community teach-in event in protest, an alternative event on the same day open to everyone to discuss the issues involved.
On 19th April, some of the speakers pulled out their presence at the main event, citing concerns about the theme and within hours the main event itself was called off. Feeling that there was still a need for a gathering to hold open discussions to take place around trans community research, academia, and psychiatric practice, it was decided that the teach-in shall be still going ahead.
Organisation for this event is still under way and some details may be subject to change.
When: Friday 20th May 2011 – 11am-6pm (tbc)
Where: Room S-1.27, Strand Building, Kings College London.
Warning, there is believed to be a Tube strike happening between midday and 9pm on the day of the event. Strike cancelled!
Accessibility: The venue is believed to be wheelchair-accessible and we are chasing up further access information from the venue. Please contact our enquiries e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have other access needs or require further information about access provision.
Provisional list of talks/discussions
- Ruth Pearce – Will talk about her research on diversity within trans communities, and how vast parts of the trans spectrum are “missing” from mainstream accounts that feed into health policy.
- Dr Lyndsey Moon – Lyndsey is a researcher at the University of Warwick and a senior lecturer in psychological counselling at the University of Roehampton, and a practising counsellor. She will speak about her research on trans people within counselling and how queer and non-binary identities are sidelined by current psychological and psychiatric practice.
- Natacha Kennedy – A critique of “talking therapies”.
- Jane Fae – writer and journalist specialising in issues of sex, sexuality and relationships, will talk about psychiatry and a critique of the methodology of current psychiatrists.
- How to derail the derailer.
- Community workshop.