Tavistock Clinic closes: what this means for the war on woke

The climate crisis, conservative party leadership contests, the portrayal of Tavistock Clinic’s closure in the media –  what do they all have in common? You can start digging deep into these topics and it won’t be long before you arrive at what connects them all: the ‘war on woke’. 

Most recently, the race to be our next prime minister *rolls eyes* accelerated the division between people fighting for basic human rights and the ones trying to dismantle them.

For someone close to the trans community – or if you like, part of the acronym eco-chamber, it feels like newspapers and politicians alike are running a contest on who can be the most transphobic, and who can push the anti-trans agenda further. 

Hand in hand – the anti trans rhetoric and the UK media  

Last week on the 28th of July, I thought I was having a normal boring Thursday afternoon. Moments later I find myself getting lost in the wormhole of twitter after spotting that Tavistock Clinic is trending. For someone who’s been involved in the medical transitioning process of a friend, I am familiar with the UK’s most popular gender identity clinic (GIC), so I immediately jump to find out what’s happening. Little did I know what kind of emotional rollercoaster I’ll be getting on. 

I click on the headline: “Tavistock transgender clinic shut down by NHS after review finds it is ‘not safe’ for children”. Which made me think, well it’s a sad day for trans healthcare. Then I proceed to read more where the article says the clinic will be replaced with more regional centres where trans people can access the medical attention they need. 

With the GIC struggling to deliver appointments, not to mention decades of waiting times due to referrals for medical transitioning spiked in the past few years. A new system and a better regional healthcare model is a much needed replacement and a step forward in the right direction for trans healthcare. 

Twisting the narrative

So why am I reading the myriad tweets and various headlines circulating that this is the end of medical support for trans people? Why am I reading that as the anti-trans community likes to put it ‘the transing of our kids finally end?’

The answer that I was always aware of but never really fully understood the scale of the problem all of a sudden clicked in my head, and quite frankly – it slapped me in the face: The UK media is the big and comfortable platform for the anti-trans rhetoric to live and thrive in. The UK media is an escalator for anti-trans narratives. 

Spare airtime please? 

An hour after going through the victory tweets of people celebrating what the papers positioned as a win for the anti-trans group, I am still in disbelief. I find myself debating where the problem lies? Are people so blinded by their own beliefs that they start seeing things that are not there no matter what? Or is it the fact that they don’t bother reading further than the headlines and a couple of tweets. 

The reporting of the news about Tavistock Clinic (GIC) should have been more factual focusing on the new regional model. Instead, these articles were full of crude hints about how the ‘fall of this institution’ is a step forward in destroying trans rights. The headlines implied that the closure of the clinic is a victory against the left who are working hard to ‘deconstruct gender’ as we know it. 

More Visibility

Misleading reporting isn’t the only problem. As long as it’s not pride month it’s impossible for the trans community to get airtime. 

Let’s take the trans pride that took place on the 9th of July as an example, where a record number of 20,000 people attended this year. There were no news helicopters, no flurry of headlines reporting that fact, no interviews with organisers, attendees and spokespeople on national television and broadcast. Less than 5 national UK publications published standalone articles about the parade. 

Polling shows that the public isn’t actually as opposed to trans rights as the media positions it. But sadly, the media leads the conversation. 

Under the spotlight

The anti-trans headlines, comments and articles all come down to one thing: trans medical care ruins lives, and children are the victims.

They are referring to the 3% of people who regret transitioning in some form. They are using the clout chasers of those 3% to completely destroy and dismantle the possibility for trans individuals to be able to live a fulfilled life. Using an example of the very few who decided to detransition claiming that the Tavistock GIC ruined their life for letting them transition. 

But what about the 97%? Where are the headlines that talk about the successful medical and cultural gender transition of so many people who live a happy and fulfilled life after?

Where are the headlines that talk about the true risks and dangers of trans kids who are suicidal and in some cases try to mutilate themselves in desperation? Where are the headlines and articles and tweets that talk about the extremely dangerous act of buying hormones from untrusted sources illegally and self-administering them because it’s close to impossible to access fast and effective medical care for trans individuals?

Where are the headlines about the kids who are getting physically and verbally abused in schools because of their pronouns?

Where are the headlines of the kids whose parents abandon them who run away from home because they have no other choice but to do so in order to be who they are?

The true danger to society is the virus of fake news, the lack of critical thinking and the harmful spinning and framing of stories that mislead and misinform the public.