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Cass Report

New trans pushback discards reality and science

29 April 2024


Consultant paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass.

The publication of the Cass Report into the failings of the Tavistock Clinic and its treatment of children with gender dysphoria has led to a storm of protest from those who promote trans identity.  Much of it is familiar; threats to Cass and her supporters, cancel culture and so on. The physical threats are accompanied by an ideological assault; Cass included faulty evidence and ruled out sound evidence.  Essentially the case here is that the former chief paediatrician is a conspirator, out to crush trans rights.  Finally, there is a renewed, and very disturbing assertion that science itself is at fault and the only acceptable discussion is one where trans ideology is accepted in advance.

Now it is true that science is never neutral.  Cass dodges the central issues of gender ideology to focus on formal research procedures, but these have the advantage of being based on evidence around which political debate can take place.  This highlights suggestions that trans ideology has a strong quasi-religious component.  Debate begins by accepting that it is possible to change biological sex and those who disagree are heretics.   The rise of this popular, and largely unquestioned religion represents a great danger for working class.

To some extent the background to the Cass Report was a right-wing backlash against trans ideology which made correct points but was founded in a desire to return women to the kitchen.   The proximate cause for the report was panic in government and medical authorities at the chaos at the Tavistock Clinic, the exponential rise in the number of children being transitioned and the threat posed by detransitioners alleging medical neglect and harm to themselves.

The context of the trans movement is more complex. The background is a growing level of anxiety and depression amongst youth. This is perfectly understandable.  For the majority their future is much darker than their parentsí lives were. This intersects with a long retreat by the socialist movement.  Rather than the language of class, postmodernism is proposed. The language of debate becomes medicalised, for example "trigger warnings", once reserved for the mentally ill, become a standard way of silencing debate, as also is Allyship, which calls for silent agreement with any statement from the oppressed. The feminist and gay movements adopt a philosophy of essentialism. Their suffering is internal and no-one outside can understand or express that internal reality.

However, all philosophical movements have a material base.  In this case it was the defeat of resistance movements and their replacement with state initiatives.  The ideas of solidarity and unity of the working class were replaced with ideas of identity, diversity and inclusion that fragment the workers movement.  Governments and companies were able to recruit based on equity and create a tick box approach that creates the appearance of fairness while leaving the mass of workers without support.  For example, in the aftermath of the defeat of the civil rights struggle in the US, token middle class blacks appeared everywhere in the media and corporate America while in the ghettos around ? of young black men were sent to jail on minor charges.

A major element of the movement is the NGOs.  Funded by government, they quickly adopt and impose the new ideology. Many trade unions, which would have previously advocated a united approach, are now themselves absorbed in NGO land.

Why is the identity movement dangerous?  As explained above, it fragments the working class. Instead of identifying a common oppression it encourages a search for a unique identity that will automatically give sectional rights.  New crimes of disagreement and identity questioning are invented, along with new punishments of isolation and cancel culture. As one commentator remarked, the trans rights movement advanced, not through debate, but through HR departments and government committees, threatening opponents at every step.

Capitalism is not slow to seize on this tendency.  The idea of hate speech covers real currents of oppression and makes room for the suppression of protest and thought control laws.  The situation in Scotland is a good example of the contradictions within government and the supposed left. The SNP government is in crisis and First Minister Humza Yousaf has resigned.  The main issue is that the SNP have repudiated the government's climate action programme and expelled the Greens from the Government. However, a secondary issue is the fervent trans ideology within the Greens. They gave unqualified support for the NGO lgbteducation.scot (https://lgbteducation.scot)and gave them unconditional access to Scottish schools and to an affirmation approach that encouraged children to transition. The group has rejected the Cass report and the SNP has dodged the issue by referring it for further investigation.

In Ireland the issue is resolved in committee and in the NGOs.  The medical establishment have a long history of following the British, ignoring their own child psychologists and referring to the Tavistock Clinic in London.  The closure of the London clinic has not led to a rethink but instead cases of gender dysphoria are referred to ideological centres in Belgium.

Many left groups have largely collapsed into gender identity.  As a result, they are enmeshed in magical thinking, believing that people have an inner soul that truly proclaims their sex rather than any biological reality.

These ideas weaken the intellectual authority of the left, but they also leave the way open to physical defeat. Attempts by the Irish government to change the definition of the family in the constitution were roundly defeated. Workers opposed the removal of the word woman and were even more opposed to what was seen as privatisation of family support. The left was unable to take advantage of a stunning defeat for the government because they had, by and large, supported the changes.

In Scotland there are now hate speech laws aimed at those who question gender identity.   The Irish government has postponed an attempt to bring in these laws, but they will resurface. Who will be the target of thought crimes? The growing far-right? Or those who oppose them?

The identitarian movement has passed its peak.  Internal incoherence, opposition from feminists, from a government wary of litigation and from the right have caused a setback.

However, many trans activists are now doubling down.  No debate can take place unless assertions of gender identity are accepted.  This tendency to assert belief over fact is spreading to many areas such as anti-war activity and will fatally cripple the resistance until it produces policy founded in reality.


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