I deliberately didn’t post on Tuesday, because Julie Bindel attended the screening of Regretters, the Swedish documentary in which two detransitioners interview each other,and the panel afterwards, which I was on. I think it likely that she will post a piece at some point which we are going to have to rebut, especially if she misrepresents anything Christina and I said, so all I will say is that 1. it was very moving 2. the way that they interviewed each other meant that no-one was putting words into their mouths and 3. it was terribly intelligent programming to couple it with the short Latecomers which made the point that some people regret not transitioning when young and leaving it to a time when their adult commitments are time-expired.

As Christina said, everyone has their journey…

On Wednesday, I did my reading at Middlesex University, and it went well, in spite of having to go on immediately after Moazzam Begg talking about being shipped off to Guantanamo. I did the Keats/Alien poem first simply because it is so intense and that worked – I did some Heine, some Sappho, Stonewall, a chunk of the novel and ended with Theroigne de Mericourt because that does seem to be a good showstopping finale…

The thirty or so people there seem to have loved me.

I’m tired now – so I will post tomorrow about the programmes of shorts and the film about trans in Iran…


About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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26 Responses to Catchup

  1. autopope says:

    Julie’s writing in praise of Iceland instead, in today’s Grauniad.

    (One for Feminists Against Censorship, I suspect: she’s especially glowing about the anti-sex trade measures.)

  2. Anonymous says:


    I agree Roz – both films were incredibly moving and I was really glad to see them.

    I will not be writing about the evening, and nor was that ever my intention. I attended because my friend Claudia, who is one of Russell Reid’s victims, asked me to go with her.She sat there open mouthed during much of the conversation between you and Christina where you claimed you would be sympathetic and understanding if a transperson dared to come out to your group as having regretted the surgery. She was treated appallingly by the community when she spoke out. Since then this brave and formidable woman has been slated by many trans people who insult her by claiming she is my ‘puppet’. Far fromit – Claudia is the reason I began to write about this topic in 2003. She asked me to give her a voice which had been denied her by the ‘community’.

    Best, Julie

    • auntysarah says:

      Re: Regretters

      For someone “denied a voice”, she’s very noisy.

    • auntysarah says:

      Re: Regretters

      It also occurs to me that you’re demonstrating a remarkable lack of knowledge about the people to whom you’re talking when it comes to surgical outcomes. Aren’t journalists supposed to, you know, do research?

    • rozkaveney says:

      Re: Regretters

      Dear Julie

      I can’t speak for the community as a whole; I am involved, as a member and occasional advocate, with a couple of bits of the community.

      All I know is that the first I knew of Claudia was your article. I felt nothing but sympathy for her, and a vague concern that, with the best overall intentions no doubt, you were in an ethically complex position. You are, at the same time, her friend and the holder of a particular feminist analysis for which you argue by any means necessary. Your giving Claudia a voice has been inextricably linked with a public campaign in which you have said, and had said to you, many hurtful things. If, as a consequence, Claudia has been hurt, or traduced, that is regrettable.

      It’s precisely so that people at all stages in transition can get the emotional support that they need that Tessa and Christina set up TransLondon a few years ago.

      You refer to Claudia as a ‘victim’ of Russell Reid – I do feel obliged to register that a lot of people in the community have very different views of Russell Reid and that the GMC hearings against him were a time of high drama for those people. If people said, or did, anything to hurt Claudia in the heat of that time, it was a time when a lot of people were unhappy.

      BTW, putting quotation marks round community – or even communities – is not entirely helpful. We are a community and we do our best to look after our own, with no funding whatever.

      As you know, my own history is not, in some respects, all that different from Claudia’s; medical mistakes were made in the course of my surgery and I was left with chronic health problems. Yet, I don’t regret a thing – I think that part of the reason for this is the emotional support that I got from my women friends, both trans and otherwise, at that time and during that process.

      In the end, we all need to be a part of communities, receiving support and giving it. I’ve always regarded Claudia as my trans sister, however much I disagree with her. And I am glad that you are her friend and that you regard her as a brave and formidable woman, because clearly she has needed you.


    • Re: Regretters

      Hi Julie,
      if Claudia was treated badly – and I do not disbelieve that even though i did not see it happen – then it is a pity and I am very glad that she found the films and panel discussion to be “a healing experience” as she said at the screening. Other people have since told me that they found it similarly healing and mind-expanding.

      It is always difficult to come out – and coming out as a regretter, ex-trans or ex-gay is extremely difficult. I can see that it would be brave for someone to sit with a whole group of transitioners and say that it was all a big mistake for themselves. If I were in that position myself, I would be worried that people would not want to hear it or that they would judge me badly. All I can say is that a couple of friends have discussed their regrets with me privately in the past and I have done my best to be sympathetic and supportive. One of them was able to come out as ‘neutrois’ or non-gendered at one of our meetings and they were supported at the time and consequently when they went in for partial-reversal surgery.

      I hope you understand that Russell Reid’s tribunal was a very emotionally-charged time for many in the trans community because he was the only private gender specialist at the time and had helped thousands of people. He was found by the General Medical Council to have made mistakes that hurt some of his patients but many people are still grateful for the help he gave them and respect him for all of the good work he did over many years. It is sad if Claudia feels that she is “one of his victims” (your words or hers?) and I hope that she is able to find happiness and resolution in her life like Orlando did in the film ‘Regretters’.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: Regretters

      You refer to Claudia with the words she, her and woman. Yet she is an MTF trans person.

      We have asked in the past if you consider transwomen to be women, to just be called a woman and you have refused to answer, allowing us to believe that you do not. Indeed I believe Christine Burns specifically asked you this with regard to herself just 18 months ago. Yet her, with regard to a transperson you call a friend, she is a woman unambiguously.

      This is not some GOTCHA point, you are moving the goalposts (again ?) and leaving us confused about your real opinions. There seems to be a disconnect between the real person whom some of us have met and felt to be a warm and sympathetic human being and Julie Bindel, old sty;ee feminist crusader who seems to have an ideologically-based disgust at our very existence. I won’t ask you to explain as I know you don’t do that sort of thing, but you should understand it’s this sort of two-faced behaviour that makes us doubt your every act.

    • jessie_c says:

      Re: Regretters

      She was treated appallingly by the community when she spoke out.

      I would feel much better about believing this if I had independant confirmation. Frankly Julie, your blatantly hostile attitude toward the entire trans community and your known proclivity to be less than truthful when you try to support your agenda renders anything you now say suspect.

      I will say nothing more about your attempt in this very thread to silence another woman than to note that for an avowed feminist you tend to use the tools of the oppressor all too frequently when they suit your purposes.

  3. Anonymous says:


    Dear Roz and Christina

    Thank you for your responses. Would you consider an informal meeting with me, in confidence, where we all undertake to not publish the details or who said what? Whether or not it moves us forward remains to be seen, but I would certainly like to try and clear some air.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Best, Julie

    • auntysarah says:

      Re: Regretters

      A disinterested observer might note that you’ve made this sort of approach to different people before, and it seldom ends well for them.

    • Re: Regretters

      Dear Julie
      Thanks for the offer of an informal meeting. The idea of clearing the air certainly is appealing and I appreciate your undertaking not to publish.

      However, I do find it difficult discussing these things with you because of the loaded language you use when writing about any issues related to the trans community – for instance (in your initial post at 11.12 am) your use of the words ‘victims’, ‘open mouthed’, ‘claimed’, ‘dared’, ‘appallingly’, ‘slated’, ‘insult’, ‘denied’ and your pointed use of quote marks around ‘community’. This approach is provocative and it takes self-restraint not to rise to your bait. I know that I can be similarly provocative if I want to, so I recognise when this tactic is being used.

      Roz and I could not possibly speak for the rest of the community in this instance and, given that Christine Burns tried on several occasions to build a mutually-respectful rapport with you and subsequently felt betrayed, I wonder whether a meeting about these issues would genuinely serve a useful purpose.

      I doubt you would or could allay my fears in this regard.

      Nevertheless, when I met you after the ‘Hecklers’ debate you were perfectly charming and certain mutual friends speak highly of you so I would be open to friendly conversation if we happened to meet socially.


      • rozkaveney says:

        Re: Regretters


        Christina pretty much speaks for me on this – I’ll certainly have a quiet drink to be sociable – but it would be just that, not any sort of summit. I’m at the Festival working, so need to be concentrating on the films I am seeing and have seen.


  4. Anonymous says:


    Dear Anonymous

    I have always said I believe in the right to self-determination. Of course I respond to transwomen as women to them and also in writing. This is basic curtesy. I have problems with the diagnosis and the medical profession. Also with the law. I totally uphold and respect the right of transwomen to define as ‘she’ etc.

    Best, Julie

    • auntysarah says:

      Re: Regretters

      I have problems with the diagnosis

      This betrays a (possibly deliberate?) fundamental misunderstanding about how medical transition is typically entered into, at least in this society. You paint a picture that involves us being sent, unsuspecting, to a doctor who “diagnoses” us with GID and proceeds to “treat” us with hormones and surgery.

      In reality, the vast majority of us end up meeting these doctors because we seek them out. Some of them may see themselves as gatekeepers, others as facilitators, but we generally see them as people who have stuff we need. While some of us may approach medical professionals because we’re troubled by our gender identity and unsure about what to do, a great many of us approach them because we know exactly what we want to do, and they offer one particular route towards getting it.

      Abolish “the diagnosis” and the medical model, and we’ll find other ways to get what we want, involving Internet pharmacies and less than entirely scrupulous surgeons, and people will die as a result.

      You absolutely cannot, and will never argue or legislate us out of existence. You may think that’s what you’re doing, saving us from ourselves and/or the evils of the medical community, but from our point of view if you are ultimately successful, all you will have achieved is to make our lives more desperate, miserable and dangerous. We’ll still do this, because all too often the only alternative is death.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: Regretters

      You proffer it (merely?) as a basic courtesy of respect to self-determination. That’s .. um.. nice of you. Yet I’m sure it was a courtesy you withheld from Christine Burns 18 months ago when she pressed you on this.

      The distinction being that when you use it conversationally or in print you are simply being polite in calling us women. However, from that the presumption you are happy that we develop is that you share this view. Yet when Christine asked her more direct question; “Do you consider me to be a woman ?”, your prevarication suggests that, instead, you consider this view to be conceit & self-deception. You shouldn’t be surprised if we develop a view that you are disingenuous at best and sometimes downright dishonest.

      You are perhaps too enamored of the cleverness of your words to recognize the power that they have. These deceptions hurt us and we think that you know that and you don’t care.

      I am glad that Claudia feels respected by you. But when you call her woman, I wonder the extent to which you really believe that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: Regretters

      I have problems with the diagnosis and the medical profession.

      Perhaps you’d like to articulate your problems further? As a member of the medical profession who understands and interprets the diagnosis, I’d like to know why it’s problematic to you. I attended the Manchester meeting so I know that members of the audience postulated research and anecdotal evidence to you, Julie. I’d like you to extend the favour to me.

      There is a wealth of research suggesting a biological basis for transsexualism, especially male-to-female transsexualism. In Manchester, members of the audience asked whether you were familiar with that research and, as I recall, you fudged the answer. You said you weren’t convinced but you didn’t engage with the evidence itself; you didn’t tell us why you weren’t convinced. Now is your opportunity to avoid fudging and give us a clear response: Julie, upon what research do you base your particular viewpoint? Those of us in the scientific community would love to know. References, please.

      If you have particular problems with the medical profession, I, as a member of the medical profession, would be interested to hear about them. Again, I’d be interested in accessing the evidence upon which you base your claim that the medical profession in this area is problematic. Please frame your objections clearly and back them up with evidence. I look forward to hearing from you.

      Dr Stuart Lorimer

      • cmcmck says:

        Re: Regretters

        Thank you for this Stuart.

        I have a problem with privileged, arrogant, opinionated journalists, but I don’t spout these views through the columns of a national newspaper or in public meetings. As a research historian I am constantly asked for my evidence and for my references and am constantly subject to peer review as I’m sure you are yourself.

        Academic discourse, while it is often forthright, generally retains a modicum of dignity and respect for the opinions of others. Ms Bindel seems to lack these.

        Of course, journalists can spout any garbage they choose and assume they won’t be challenged on it……….

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sarah do go away please! I am not speaking to you and am uninterested in your opinion.

    • auntysarah says:

      A cynic, no, that’s unkind, someone with a healthy scepticism might form the opinion that you’re engaging in “divide and rule” tactics here. I appreciate that one of the few areas of consistency regarding your stance on trans issues is that we’re all a bit suggestible, and therefore easy to talk into being “mutilated”, but it might serve you better if you credited us with a little less credulity, at least in private.

      I’d also note the irony of a self-proclaimed feminist telling another woman to go away because she’s not interested in her opinion.

    • rozkaveney says:

      Um, Julie, this is my space and Sarah is at least as welcome here as you are. Just saying…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Dear Roz

    Forgive me – I did not intend my words, aimed at Sarah Brown, to be read as ‘go away’ from this thread, but rather ‘I do not wish to engage with you’.

    Thank you to you and Christina for your responses to my request to meet.

    Very best, Julie

    • jessie_c says:

      Yes you did, until you were called on it. Then you backpeadalled. Just like you did over the infamous “cast of Grease” quote.

      • Anonymous says:

        No. I meant ‘get away from me’. I can’t abide the person.

      • jessie_c says:

        No, you meant to shut her up, to oppress her, to chase her away from you because she annoys you when she points out your lies. Don’t weasel Juile, it’s not flattering and you’ve been caught far too often.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oppress her! Don’t make me laugh…

    • jessie_c says:

      It’s just like you to change the goalposts isn’t it, Julie? When you can’t win you change the rules. Yes, I said oppress and I mean oppress. You with your cis privilege and your audience have been calling for our total eradication. Don’t tell me you don’t know this is oppression. Even for you that lie would be far too blatant.

      For someone who claims to be a feminist, your actions have been extremely anti-feminist around this entire issue. But of course you’re going to ignore this because you haven’t got a satisfactory answer.

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