Review of Helen Joyce’s Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality (London: Oneworld, 2021) pp 311 RP: £16.99; and Kathleen Stock’s Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism (London: Fleet, 2021) pp 312 RP: £16.99.

by | 8 Oct 2021

Material Girls and Trans set themselves against trans rights activism and, in the process, advance broader toxic politics that embolden the Christian right, free-speech absolutism, and government attacks on higher education. In short, they amplify our culture wars. Indeed, it is precisely because right-wing political interests coincide with the interests of trans-exclusionary activists (recently laundered as ‘gender critical’) that ‘gender critical’ ideas and speech have received such uplift from The Times, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Spectator,[1] as well as from other right-wing media platforms. In this respect, the ‘gender critical’ moment is one of happenstance, if not serendipity. I make these observations in order to contextualise reception of the two books, to explain the buzz, the superlatives that have accompanied their arrival.

Stock’s book, we are informed, evinces commitment to ‘good faith debate,’[2] exhibits a ‘generous spirit’[3] and demonstrates fidelity to ‘the tradition of the Enlightenment’[4] no less, while Joyce’s book has had ‘rigorous,’[5] ‘compelling,’[6] ‘thoroughly researched,’[7] and ‘rooted in good science’[8] tossed its way. Only Gaby Hinsliff, writing for the Guardian, has brought even a degree of scrutiny to the exercise, and then only in relation to Joyce’s book.[9] One thing that seems to unite these reviewers, apart from the fact most are sympathetic to ‘gender critical’ thinking, if not card-members of the party, is the dubious notion two brave women have spoken truth to power. That is, while their styles differ – Stock, forensic, Jesuit-like; Joyce, zealous, born again – they are as one in their mission to slay ‘sacred cows.’

And the mother of divine bovines, one central to the ‘gender critical’ movement’s sense of cohesion, proves to be the ‘fiction’ of gender identity which on their accounts has led to ‘sex denialism’ and poses a serious threat to the interests of cis women and girls. It is not possible, short of writing a book length response, to address the multiplicity of misleading or otherwise problematic claims each book contains – the fictions in which each author has immersed herself. Nevertheless, I will tease out what I consider to be some of the more troubling claims. As the two books overlap considerably, I will, in order to avoid repetition, examine a different set of issues in relation to each. I will begin with Joyce’s Trans which is clearly the weaker book.


Lest the reader think I’m being unfair to Joyce, let’s turn to some of her claims. I will consider three: (i) trans women are sexual fetishists, (ii) trans kids are being harmed by health care professionals, and (iii) ‘a few wealthy people … have shaped the global (trans) agenda.’ Before considering each of these claims however, let us note the suggestion Trans is ‘rigorous,’ ‘thoroughly researched,’ and/or ‘rooted in good science’ fails to survive even cursory examination. It is poorly referenced, contains a great deal of anecdote, draws conclusions barely supported by evidence, fails to weigh evidence properly, or to consider fully or at all counter evidence even where such evidence accords with medical or other consensus. Moreover, factual errors abound. In fact, so sloppy is it that a single short paragraph contains four factual errors (p 279). Thus, in offering an account of why ‘gender critical’ activism is a peculiarly British disease, with relatively low infection rates across the Atlantic, Joyce identifies four reasons:

  1. “The idea that life’s central purpose is to search for your true self is American, not British,”
  2. “The UK never had chattel slavery on its own soil, the legacy of which has so warped American thinking about material differences between the sexes,”
  3. “Abortion is not politicised” in the UK, and
  4. “Many of the women leading the UK’s feminist resurgence were teenagers in the 1980s, the era of New Romantics and glam rockers.”

Each of these statements is wrong. Thus, in relation to (1), Joyce is obviously unfamiliar with the English Romantic movement beginning in the late 18th century. As for (2), the UK did have chattel slavery, at least between 1729 and 1772 because the Yorke-Talbot slavery opinion issued in 1729, operated as de facto if not de jure law during this period. I’ll just leave (iii) to hover! And (iv) glam rock was definitely a thing of the early 70s: Sweet, Mud, Wizzard … or, if like me, you prefer the more artistic end of the genre, Roxy, T-Rex and obviously, Bowie. Now, let’s turn to the three substantive claims identified.

Sexual fetishism

In the first chapter of her book, Joyce sets the tone with ‘[i]t began with stockings’ (p 11). She then introduces Lili Elbe, who came to wider public attention through The Danish Girl, a film that inaccurately portrays Lili’s story.[10] Having painted a background of Weimar republican decadence (p 12), Joyce introduces the reader to the sexological and medical categories of ‘transvestism’ and ‘transsexuality.’ However, while she criticises the theories of Magnus Hirschfeld, Harry Benjamin and others, she makes no mention of the fact their theories have been extensively critiqued by feminist, queer and trans theorists for decades. Before long, and via the discredited theory of sexological outlier, Ray Blanchard (pp 37-45), we arrive at the idea trans women are erotically aroused by the thought of themselves as women and that it is through such arousal we can best understand gender dysphoria, at least in trans women. Yet, research by Julia Serano and Charles Moser shows ‘autogynephilia’ to be neither a sexual orientation nor a cause of gender dysphoria.[11] Indeed, studies have shown many cis women (as many as 93%) experience erotic arousal at the thought or image of themselves as women.[12] What the term does is enable ‘gender critical’ activists and others to embed in the public mind the idea trans women should be understood in sexual terms. It is important to recognise how sexualisation of trans women lays ground for claims to come: our gender identities should not be taken seriously; we pose a threat to cis women and girls.

Health Care Professionals and Trans Kids

Joyce presents medical professionals caring for trans kids as irresponsibly endangering their well-being. This claim has several aspects. In the first place, she argues most children experiencing gender dysphoria desist from a trans path, with most growing up to be cis gay men or cis lesbians (p 71). This suggests high rates of desistance and therefore dangers of medical interventions. Yet, the studies on which she relies include children who are gender non-conforming as well as children who are gender dysphoric. It is hardly surprising children falling into the former category do not become trans as adults because they were never trans to begin with.[13] Moreover, as Joyce notes, ‘if gender dysphoria persists well into puberty it is more likely to be permanent’ (pp 33-34). Indeed, much more likely, as evidenced by a high correlation between starting puberty blockers and progressing to cross-sex hormones.[14] While Joyce frames this correlation in terms of the overdetermining effect of puberty blockers (p 73), we might view it as evidence of good diagnostic, and given very low regret levels, prognostic medical practice.

In opposition to this medical account, Joyce immerses herself in another debunked theory: ‘Rapid Onset of Gender Dysphoria’ (ROGD) (p 96). This theory presupposes sudden onset of gender dysphoria due to social contagion. It imagines kids with no prior gender identity issues suddenly develop them through internet communities and are then medically ‘transed.’ The theory was first asserted by Lisa Littman, an American Jungian psychoanalyst.[15] Interestingly, the participants in her study were not children, but rather parents recruited through 4thwaveNow (based in the US) and TransgenderTrend (based in the UK), two groups sceptical about the very existence of trans kids. In these, and in other ways, the study’s methodology is seriously flawed.[16] Indeed, the Coalition for the Advancement & Application of Psychological Science (a group of 50 psych associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health) recently called for abandoning use of the term ROGD, ‘given the lack of rigorous empirical support for its existence.’[17] Once again, Joyce prefers outlying figures to medical consensus. Moreover, it is interesting to note how Joyce wields ‘science’ in ways that support her politics. That is, while she dismisses Magnus Hirschfeld (a man unable to ‘absorb Darwin’s insights’) (p 15) and Harry Benjamin (an ‘out-and-out quack’) (p 20), her ‘scientific rigour’ appears to evaporate when it comes to ROGD.

The real scandal here is not kids being ‘transed’ by over-eager and affirmative health care professionals, as Joyce would have it (in fact, the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), the only NHS clinic providing child gender identity services is very conservative in its approach compared to its American and European counterparts). Rather, it is the failure of the NHS to provide timely and necessary healthcare for trans youth. The reality is not the doling out of puberty blockers like smarties. As the Court of Appeal recently noted, of 2,519 referrals to GIDS in 2019, only 161 children were referred on to an NHS Trust paediatric endocrinologist for puberty blockers.[18] Moreover, many children don’t even get to see a gender identity specialist until their puberties are over.[19] In this regard, they undergo a forced puberty. Joyce is also disingenuous in emphasising without further explanation that ‘puberty blockers have never been put through clinical trials for use in gender medicine and are not licensed for this purpose’ (p 81). The implication she wants readers to draw is that doctors are experimenting on kids. Yet, as Simona Giordano, Professor of Bioethics, has explained, use of off-licence drugs is common in many areas of medicine, and in pediatrics generally, necessary because many drugs have only been tested on adults.[20]

In relation to clinical trials, it would be very difficult and unethical to complete double blind trials as it would soon become obvious to some kids that they were in the control group and therefore not deriving any benefit from the study. This is a problem because of awareness of placebo, because participating kids may then withdraw from the study, and because the control group would not be receiving relief for their severe distress. What we do know is puberty blockers reduce gender dysphoria, reduce the invasiveness of future surgeries, improve psychosocial adaptation, and reduce suicidal ideation.[21] It is true we do not know the long-term consequences of taking blockers and cross-sex hormones, but in Giordano’s view, even long-term follow up studies would not furnish us with this information because disentangling their impact, for example, on bone mineral density, from other factors (eg. dose, duration of cross-sex hormones, surgeries undertaken, physical activity through life, etc) is practically impossible.[22] Importantly, ‘watching and waiting’ as advocated by Joyce (and Stock) is not a cost-free option. It is not the grown-up thing to do. It amounts to doing nothing in the face of suffering. And, we should remember, despite Joyce’s heralding of ‘detransitioners’ (pp 99-105), detransition rates are remarkably low and they might be lower still if we lived in a less transphobic society, one sadly reinforced, in my opinion, by both books.

A ‘Few Wealthy People’

According to Joyce, ‘a few wealthy people’ (p 227), apparently ‘rich, white American males’ (p 228) have ‘shaped the global (trans) agenda’ (p 227) by which she means funded the political struggle to advance trans rights, including the right to adequate health care and gender self-declaration. This is the conspiracy theory toward which her book builds. I will come to the three billionaires Joyce identifies, but first we should recognise how she also positions ‘trans activists’ as wealthy and powerful. Thus, she considers access to bathrooms and cross-sex hormones to be ‘the desires of rich, powerful males who want to be classed as women’ (p 229). Apparently, ‘these are not the needs of people on low incomes’ (p 229). These absurd claims serve to diminish the harsh realities of being trans in Britain today, and they enable Joyce to spin a tale of ‘gender critical’ hobbits up against enormous odds: a powerful trans cabal backed by billionaires.

In relation to billionaires, she singles out three: Jewish trans woman, Jennifer Pritzker (Tawani Foundation), Jon Stryker (Arcus Foundation), and, the endpoint of all conspiracy theories, and Jew, George Soros (Open Society Foundation) (pp 227-228). In a ‘rebuttal’ designed to combat allegations of anti-semitism that have dogged her book since publication, Joyce states ‘I didn’t deliberately select three Jewish donors; it never occurred to me to think about their religions.’[23] Given her thesis of a ‘global agenda,’ and the fact this phrase is a classic anti-semitic trope, it would, at the very least, have been wiser and more balanced to have given more thought to the selection of wealthy funders. After all, gentiles are hardly absent from LGBTQ/social justice philanthropy. For example, in 2020 alone, MacKenzie Scott (formerly Bezos) donated $46 million to LGBTQ+ equity issues,[24] $2 million of which was donated to the Fund for Trans Generations (FTG), the largest single donation the organisation has ever received.[25] In any event, given the view, ‘Jewish involvement in the “transgender rights” movement [is] a form of Jewish ethnic warfare,’[26] is rampant among white supremacists in the United States and elsewhere, Joyce might have been more attentive to the potential consequences of foregrounding Jewish donors.

Moreover, while Joyce attempts to link the three foundations with significant contributions to trans rights activism, what we have generally is sums of money donated to broader LGBT (eg. GLAAD) human rights (eg. HRC) and/or civil rights organisations (eg. ACLU) without any clear specification as to how much went toward advancing trans rights. In any event, none of this actually matters. That is, no apology needs to be made by any of the foundations. Funding trans rights is a progressive and necessary thing to do. Unless, of course, the reason funders support trans rights is more sinister. After all, a global conspiracy to do good would be novel. Joyce hints at ‘sinister’ through linking trans activism to ‘big pharma’ (p 233) and ‘transhumanism’ (p 59), a philosophical movement advocating enhancement and radical transformation of the human condition through technology.[27] But the truth is, trans people (or at least most of us) don’t want to be uploaded to the internet, and there is no reason to think Jennifer Pritzker, Jon Stryker and/or George Soros have this as a goal for us or anybody else.

Material Girls

Sex and Gender Identity

Early in her book, Stock distances herself from ‘the liberal intelligentsia’ (p 20) the chattering classes, outing herself as a ‘heretic.’ (p 19) Her supposed ‘heresy’ lies in saying, ‘biological sex is real’ and gender identity is not, or at least less so. However, her adversary, at least in relation to sex, is an imaginary foe for nobody holds the view biological sex is not real. It is true some trans activists and academics argue biological sex is not binary and even that sex exists on a spectrum. Indeed, it is clear, even on Stock’s account, that sex is not strictly binary. That is, even she recognises at least some intersex people defy sex binarism. Moreover, scientists are increasingly recognising how complex sex actually is. Thus, ‘DNA sequencing and cell biology are revealing that almost everyone is, to varying degrees, a patchwork of genetically distinct cells, some with a sex that might not match the rest of the body.’[28] In any event, Stock appears less exercised by its scientific complexity than she does by those she imagines have attempted to do away with biological sex. In her sights stands Judith Butler, Stock’s ‘Harry Potter of Philosophy’ (p 63). Except, Butler, a distinguished philosopher and gender theorist, does not deny biology, and to suggest they do reveals a rather unnuanced reading of their work, and of social constructionism more generally. At this point, Stock is shadow boxing.

Thus, for example, when Butler talks about there being no pre-discursive sex, they do not literally mean before language bodies did not exist. Equally, when historian, Thomas Laqueur, states, ‘before the enlightenment the female skeleton didn’t exist’ he does not think human females were invertebrates prior to this historical moment. Rather, both Butler and Laqueur are drawing attention to the fact bodies are socially constructed (in terms of human skeletons, attention is being drawn to a particular medical taxonomy in which the idea of a female skeleton as distinct from a male one did not exist). It is not as Stock would have it, that Butler thinks bodies don’t exist prior to culture, but rather that our understanding of bodies, ours and those of others, is mediated by culture. That is, and in important ways, the meanings they possess arise through a language game in which we are all necessarily (though unequally) participants. However, failing to understand these distinctions or at least to render them clear, Stock ploughs on to the point of absurdity, claiming, according to Butler’s worldview, ‘[t]here is no climate change … no molecules, atoms or quarks … no viruses … no bacteria’ (p 63).

Having failed to land a blow on Butler, but still itching for a fight, Stock alights on French historian and philosopher, Michel Foucault, and on queer scholarship in the humanities and social sciences informed by his work (p 90). Once again, her beef is with social constructionism, though now it is sexuality rather than sex that draws her fire. What frustrates Stock is what she sees as Foucault’s denial of homosexuality, his erasure of same-sex desire, which she sees as constitutional in some sense. Yet, Foucault does not deny the fact of same-sex desire, nor is he interested in (politically dangerous) questions of causality. Indeed, when asked about whether he thought homosexuality to be innate or socially conditioned, he stated: “I have absolutely nothing to say’ on the matter.[29] He explained such questions ‘are not really the object of my work.’[30] Rather, what Foucault was interested in and sought to tease out is how we make sense of same-sex desire across time (history) and space (culture) – how we come to understand it as a set of sexual acts, a gay sensibility or art of living, a (political) identity, and so forth – and whether naming and/or confessing to it should be viewed as liberatory or a mechanism of power.

Neither Butler nor Foucault deny biology or same-sex desire, though Butler does (and Foucault would) view the categories of ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ as capable of including trans people. This is because the categories ‘man’ and ‘woman’ do not follow simply from an understanding of sex as dimorphic. They are also, and importantly, socially, culturally and politically constituted categories and (excepting non-binary people) it is, at least in part, through these categories cis and trans people make sense of and live their lives. Curiously, having framed homosexuality as mutual desire between two biological men or women, Stock concedes a cis woman in a relationship with ‘a gorgeous, feminine, post-surg[ical] trans woman’ or a man ‘in lust with a hot ripped trans man, post-surgery and hormones’ might count as a lesbian and a gay man respectively (p 94). In other words, and somewhat contradictorily, Stock also appears to see the categories ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ as capable of escaping a biological mooring. But for the body fascism implicit in these potentially acceptable forms of gay and lesbian desire, one might think she too has been seduced by Butler?

Ultimately, definitions of sex and sexuality, while a ‘gender critical’ obsession, are distractions from more important political and ethical questions we face concerning how to organise societies given the reality millions of people globally identify as trans (in the UK there are approximately 600,000 trans people).[31] While Stock views gender identity as a ‘fiction,’ it is a ‘fiction’ remarkably persistent not only in trans people, but in all of us. That is, we all have a sense of gender (binary or otherwise), a way of enacting or performing it, as well as psychological investments in it. Despite ‘gender critical’ disavowals, it helps orient us in the world. However, it is only those who experience dissonance between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth who need to assert their gender identities. We should not embrace a politics committed to contesting trans people’s existential realities. Rather, we should recognise acceptance as an ethical norm and political practice. It ought to be our default position, displaced only by a powerful counter argument based on evidence of harm.

The Case for Harm

We now turn from theoretical questions concerning sex and gender identity to empirical questions about potential harms that may arise if we continue to organise our society in ways less tethered to biological sex. In other words, we move from the fiction people are denying biology, or the materiality of bodies, to the fiction trans women pose a significant danger to cis women and girls. In relation to the claim of harm, Stock points to several contexts in which harms may arise. These include medical (pp 79-83) and sporting (pp 83-89) contexts, as well as her absurd claim, affirming trans kids’ gender identities constitutes ‘conversion therapy’ (pp 95-96), one she develops more fully elsewhere.[32] However, I will focus on trans women’s access to women-only spaces as it is, perhaps, the ‘gender critical’ take on this issue that has contributed most to the moral panic around trans people in the UK. Stock begins by highlighting the fact women are considerably more vulnerable to sexual violence in our society (check), that men represent the majority of perpetrators of such crimes (check), and there exists a social norm that spaces where women undress or sleep (bathrooms, gyms, prisons …) should be free of men (check, though her claim this norm is grounded in concerns over safety rather than a ‘separate spheres ideology’ is more debateable) (pp 102-103).[33] Of course, none of this takes us very far because trans women are not men.

Stock has previously sought to defend a claim of harm, not by providing credible evidence of harm, but by pointing to different patterns of offending between cis men and cis women and assuming trans women’s offending patterns are likely to mirror those of cis men. Thus, she states, there is ‘no evidence that self-declared trans women deviate from male statistical norms in relevant ways.’[34] In other words, in the absence of any significant evidence of harm, a highly marginalised community are put on the back foot, assumed to be a risk on the basis, presumably, of gendered forms of socialisation and biological drives. Yet, we might think being trans is a highly relevant factor in disrupting the very pattern upon which Stock bases her argument.

Beyond this, ‘gender critical’ activists refer to a handful of cases worldwide where trans women have committed crimes against cis women. In her book, Stock references two: the now infamous, Karen White, who committed sexual assaults against cis women while housed in a women’s prison and Katie Dolatowski, who assaulted a ten-year-old girl in a supermarket toilet (p 106). Obviously, such cases should be and are rightly condemned by all concerned. However, what we need to grasp is how rare these cases are, and in the case of Karen White, how the risk she posed to cis women could have been dealt with had the prison applied properly its own policy on prison allocation of trans women prisoners.[35] Fortunately, unlike Stock, we don’t need to speculate. We can consider actual empirical evidence. Thus, one recent study in the US compared localities in Massachusetts with and without gender identity inclusive public accommodation nondiscrimination ordinances. Crucially, it found ‘the passage of such laws not related to the number or frequency of criminal incidents in these spaces’[36] and ‘reports of privacy and safety violations in public restrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms [to be] exceedingly rare.’[37] This chimes with the findings of institutional actors on the ground such as police departments and human rights bodies: ‘no problems since passage of 2011 [non-discrimination] law’ (Las Vegas Police Department); ‘no factual basis for sexual assault fears’ (Maine Human Rights Commission); sexual assaults stemming from non-discrimination law ‘not even remotely’ a problem (Minneapolis Police Department); ‘zero allegations’ of bathroom sexual assault (Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries).[38]

In the UK, such studies are yet to emerge. However, evidence presents itself concerning different locales, and in particular, the rape crisis centre and domestic violence refuge. Indeed, for ‘gender critical’ activists these women-only spaces are the most important to regulate as they are imagined to be places where mixing will produce particular harms. Yet, the evidence suggests the contrary. Thus, a recent report commissioned by Stonewall which interviewed representatives of fifteen of the largest national and regional women’s organisations in the UK (including IDAS, LAWA, Oasis, RISE, Women’s Aid, and Rape Crisis Scotland) found no evidence of problems associated with providing access to and catering for trans women.[39] Moreover, this proved to be the case even though many service providers operate, and have operated for some time, on the basis of gender self-identification.

Indeed, this last point is particularly pertinent because Stock and others like to encourage us to engage in a kind of thought experiment concerning what might happen if we were to allow trans women access to women-only spaces. In other words, they perpetuate the idea reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to allow for gender self-declaration (which would simplify the legal process and dispense with medical gatekeeping) will lead to a situation where there is a significant increase in trans women using these spaces. Yet, this is a fallacy because trans women have been using these spaces for decades, and since the Equality Act 2010, our right to do so has been enshrined in law, subject only to situations where service providers can show exclusion to be ‘a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.’ In other words, the default position is access, a fact recently reiterated by the High Court in a failed ‘gender critical’ crowdfunded case brought by former LGB Alliance co-founder, Ann Sinnott. The idea trans women can be excluded other than in exceptional circumstances was found by Mr Justice Henshaw to be simply ‘wrong in law.’ He added, ‘it is in my view clear beyond argument that parliament has chosen to place transsexuals in a different position to persons of their birth sex.’[40] However, more important than our right to be in these spaces (at least for the purposes of my present argument) is the fact we have been in these spaces and in large numbers for decades. We might contrast this reality with the rarity of incidents in women-only spaces and conclude the claim trans women pose a serious risk to cis women and girls, one that ought to register in public policy terms, is both bogus and irresponsible.

In my view, both books fall considerably short of claims made on their behalf. Rather, they contribute to the toxicity surrounding trans people and they make it more difficult for us to live our lives. Moreover, they provide comfort to right-wing political forces who both solicit and deploy their rhetoric in ways antithetical to the interests of women and LGBQ, and especially T people. For readers who would like to read books written by trans people and which contest the narratives peddled by Joyce and Stock, I recommend Trans Britain edited by Christine Burns, Understanding Trans Health by Ruth Pearce,Trans Like Me by CN Lester, and The Transgender Issue, by Shon Faye. These books deal, not in ‘gender critical’ fictions, but in hard realities. These include the crisis in trans healthcare, the intersection of trans and economic disadvantage, social stigma and family rejection, and the treatment of trans asylum seekers and prisoners.

Alex Sharpe is a Professor of Law at the University of Warwick. She is the author of Transgender Jurisprudence (Cavendish, 2002), Foucault’s Monsters and the Challenge of Law, (Routledge, 2010), and Sexual Intimacy and Gender Identity ‘Fraud’ (Routledge, 2018). Her forthcoming book with Routledge, David Bowie Outlaw: Essays on Difference, Authenticity, Ethics, Art & Love is available from 26 November 2021 and can be pre-ordered now.

This article was amended on 10/10/21 to include an additional recommended work in the final paragraph.

[1] During the period 19/10/17 – 5/8/21, The Times and Daily Mail have each published 1000+ (mainly negative) trans-related articles, while the figures for the The Telegraph and Spectator are, respectively, 592 and 246. A list of all 2,925 articles are held on file by the author.

[2] Mary Harrington, UnHerd 6/5/21.

[3] Sarah Ditum, Daily Mail 15/5/21

[4] Mary Harrington, UnHerd 6/5/21.

[5] David Aaronovitch, The Times 16/7/21

[6] Jesse Singal, New York Times 7/9/21

[7] Richard Dawkins, book jacket.

[8] Jenni Murray, book jacket.

[9] The Guardian 18/7/21

[10] Clare Tebbutt, ‘The Danish Girl: all skirt and no substance,’ The Conversation 1/1/16

[11] Julia Serano, ‘The Case Against Autogynephilia’ (2010) 12(3) International Journal of Transgenderism 176-187; Charles Moser, ‘Blanchard’s Autogynephilia Theory: A Critique’ (2010) 57(6) Journal of Homosexuality 790-809.

[12] Charles Moser, ‘Autogynephilia in Women’ (2009) 56)5) Journal of Homosexuality 539-547. See also Jamie F. Veale, Dave E. Clarke and Terri C. Lomax, ‘Sexuality of Male to Female Transsexuals’ (2008) 37 Archives of Sexual Behavior 586-597.

[13] Julia Temple Newhook, et al, ‘A Critical Commentary on Follow-up Studies and “Desistance” Theories about Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Children’ (2018) 19(2) International Journal of Transgenderism 212-224. It should also be noted follow-up studies are often unable to track at least some participants for a variety of reasons. We cannot assume these children ‘desisted.’

[14] Polly Carmichael et al, ‘Short-Term Outcomes of Pubertal Suppression in a Selected Cohort of 12 to 15 Year Old Young People with Persistent Gender Dysphoria in the UK’ PLOS ONE 2/2/21

[15] ‘Parent Reports of Adolescents and Young Adults Perceived to Show Signs of a Rapid Onset of Gender Dysphoria’ PLOS ONE 16/8/18

[16] Florence Ashley, ‘A Critical Commentary on ‘Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria’ (2020) 68(4) The Sociological Review 779-799. 


[18] Bell v Tavistock [2021] EWCA Civ 1363 [para 20].

[19] The Tavistock is currently making appointments for children who have been on the waiting list since September 2017

[20] ‘Is Puberty Delaying Treatment “Experimental Treatment?’” (2020) 21(2) International Journal of Transgender Health 113-121

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Jon Stryker is not Jewish, though Joyce was apparently unaware of this fact. For all she knew, all three funders could have been Jewish, a possibility that did not lead her to calibrate her assertions of ‘global conspiracy.’

[24] David Artavia, ‘MacKenzie Scott Donates $1.7 Billion to LGBTG+, Gender, Racial Equity’ Advocate 29/7/20

[25]‘Resourcing Transformative Change in a Year Like No Other,’ Borealis Philanthropy Annual Report (2020)

[26] Brenton Sanderson, ‘Jill Soloway and the “Transgender” Agenda, Part 2’ The Occidental Observer 11/10/15 

[27] Whether transhumanism should be viewed in dystopic or utopic terms is a more open question and it is one long considered within feminism, for example, in the work of Donna Haraway and Rosi Braidotti.

[28] Claire Ainsworth, ‘Sex Redefined: The Idea of 2 Sexes Is Overly Simplistic,’ Scientific American 22/10/18

[29] Michel Foucault, ‘Sexual Choice, Sexual Act’ in Ethics: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984 vol 1 (ed) Paul Rabinow (London: Penguin, 1997) pp. 141-156.

[30] Ibid.


[32] Kathleen Stock, ‘Stonewall’s New Definiton of “Conversion Therapy” Raises a Few Questions’ The Article 15/11/18

[33] Terry S. Kogan, ‘How did Bathrooms get to be Separated by Gender in the First Place?’ The Guardian 11/6/16

[34] ‘Changing the Concept of “Woman” Will Cause Unintended Harms’ The Economist 6/7/18

[35] Alex Sharpe, ‘Foxes in the Henhouse: Putting the Trans Women Prison Debate in Perspective’ Inherently Human 11/9/18

[36] A. Hasenbush, A. R. Flores and J. L. Herman, ‘Gender identity nondiscrimination laws in public accommodations: a review of evidence regarding safety and privacy in public restrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms’ (2018) Sexuality Research and Social Policy 1-14.

[37] Ibid.

[38] German Lopez, ‘Myth 3: Letting Trans People Use the Bathroom or Locker Room Matching their Gender Identity is Dangerous’ Vox 14/11/18

[39] Stonewall, ‘Supporting Trans Women in Domestic and Sexual Violence Services: Interviews with Professionals in the Sector’ (2018)

[40] Vic Parsons, ‘Judge Throws Out LGB Alliance Founder’s Fight to Ban Trans Women from Women’s Single-Sex Spaces’ Pink News 6/5/21


  1. The author of this article also thinks that men can be lesbians. As a lesbian I find this homophobic so I don’t assume that Alex is very critical in thought. Rather continues to write WPATH guidelines and lobby for changes that actively harms women.

    • @A rather miffed lesbian

      Imagine presenting an argument that completely disregards every single point made in the article you’re replying to.

      • This sounds hilarious given the critique of Stock’s book (I haven’t read the other) indeed disregards points she made and misrepresents her arguments. For example, with respect to the bathrooms, she said the problem is not letting trans women in as is stated above (a whole long paragraph) but how easy it is for men to misuse a gender identity -yardstick for instance for exhibitionism and voyeurism. Her main view is that social norms do not change easily and thus we do not yet see consequences.

  2. You said “card-member of the party”. You meant “card-holding member” of the party.

  3. Pointing out the problem that medical treatments have not yet been validated by reliable research is an ethical imperative. That some extremists might find “comfort” in that information is not a consideration. Using unvalidated treatments in clinical practice rather than under experimental conditions is unethical. It is a violation of the Nuremberg Code.

    How many times have I heard proponents of puberty-blockers tell the public that they are “totally safe.” But no medication is “totally safe.” And it’s highly unlikely that messing around with hormones doesn’t create some unwanted effects, some serious.

  4. I was curious as a researcher and a scientist about reference number 12 that you cite here. As a woman I was impressed that a study observed autogynaiphilia in women. I had to check.
    Do you realise that the “study” referenced pertains to a questionnaire given to just 29 participants at a single hospital, across all ages?? That is not a paper one references. That is hardly a study. In fact the replicas here are so small for a study of this nature that the author of the paper didn’t have a single lesbian amongst these 29 women. This is laughable! The author of the paper is incredibly biased as well, very obvious from the introduction and discussion sections, with an obvious agenda behind their hypothesis. This is an offence to research. I don’t have the time but I hope the rest of the papers you reference here are not as laughable.

  5. I didn’t get past the first couple of paragraphs. I am researching this subject and find George Soros open society (political), the Pritzger family (pharma), fully engipulfed – for starters.

  6. Alex Sharpe hates nature that says “No.” Weirdly enough, science has revealed to us that “XX” and “XY” chromosomes exist — And in ALL mammals. Following Socrates, Alex is a mammal, therefore Alex is either XX or XY. Elementary logic lay bare these lies.


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