In the United Kingdom, transgender minors are treated by the Gender Identity Development Service, a part of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. (GIDS is a part of NHS England, and its offices are all in England, but it treats trans minors from throughout the UK.) GIDS does not provide any surgical interventions, and patients under sixteen are only offered GnRH analogues, which prevent puberty. Until early this year, even this was only available to patients who were at least twelve years old, but that policy was changed to allow under-twelves who have begun puberty, and display Gillick competence (a longstanding standard for determining whether a person under the age of sixteen is able to consent to medical care), to stop it. (GIDS does not accept parental consent to prescribe GnRH analogues for patients who do not meet the Gillick standard.)
The use of GnRH analogues for puberty blocking is fairly well-studied. While the majority of research is on cis children experiencing precocious puberty, some studies have also been done on trans children (and trans adults who used GnRH analogues as children). Of course, as always, it is not totally risk-free — there is a chance of reduced bone density, as well as of episodes of physical discomfort — but this risk must be balanced against the harms of a gender-dysphoric puberty, both psychologically and in terms of later necessitating more invasive treatments to reverse its effects. Puberty blocking does not cause irreversible changes; the medication must be taken until starting hormone supplements, or puberty will simply continue as typical, though delayed.
Under the direction of Donald Trump, the NTIA has petitioned [PDF] the FCC “to clarify the provisions of section 230”. Such clarification is unnecessary. The proposed rule would not, in fact, be mere clarification, but a fundamental rewriting of §230 for nakedly political purposes.
The US Department of Education, under the direction of partisan hack Betsy DeVos, has issued a decree (not presently available via official channels) that contradicts, not just its own previous regulations, but statutory law as well. Not only, under this decree, is discrimination against trans people somehow permissible under Title IX, but the Department will now mandate discrimination and threaten the federal funding of those who dissent. Continue reading “Bad rules, partisan hacks, and transphobia”
Theresa May has resigned, effective 7 Jun. (She will then retain the position until a successor is chosen, which could take as long as six weeks.) This has seemed inevitable ever since she took the position, with every event making it seem more and more impossible to avoid. It has seemed particularly certain since her announcement of a revised Withdrawal Agreement bill that included support for a Parliamentary vote on a second referendum, prompting Andrea Leadsom’s resignation from her position as Leader of the House. Her chosen date is notable: it ensures that she beats Gordon Brown’s tenure. Continue reading “Theresa May resigns”
In a 236–173 vote, the House has passed the Equality Act (H.R. 5). Although imperfect, it could be a useful tool to ameliorate harm. The 173 “nay” voters, and the bill’s Senate and White House opposition, should be condemned for their refusal to help people.
Incidentally, I would like to give special attention to Ross Spano (R-FL15), who seems to have confused it with a porno.
I’m not going to bother spending too much time on this. The Mueller report is finally public (well, most of it, anyway). But does it change anything? Trump’s supporters will insist that Mueller’s decision not to charge Trump means Trump did absolutely nothing wrong (even though that decision was made at the outset of the investigation). Trump’s opponents just have more evidence and details for what’s already been established.
In principle, the report could be used as the basis of impeachment. Indeed, Mueller makes it quite clear that it’s intended to be the basis of an impeachment. Unfortunately, Republicans don’t want to impeach Trump, and there are maybe five Democrats who would be willing to make Republicans either join the impeachment train or reveal themselves as being that unwilling to hold Donald Trump accountable, so it’s not going to happen, especially since Nancy Pelosi isn’t one of the five. As in too many other situations, mainstream Democrats are more concerned with some amorphous qualification of “electability” than with actually doing anything to make it worth electing them. (Republicans could be subject to their own criticism, of course, but what would be the point? Democrats at least have a chance, however slim, of changing.)
Brexit is supposed to happen now. No one has any idea how to implement it, leaving the default option of a no-deal crash-out. Fortunately, the EU have granted an extension: the new crash-out date is the 12th of April, with a further extension to the 22nd of May if a deal is reached. Continue reading “Brexit options”
Just six months after taking office, in July 2017, Donald Trump declared that trans people would be banned from working for the US military.
Six months after that, in February 2018, (since resigned) Secretary of Defence James Mattis issued a memo formally defining the policy, which was adopted about a month later. This was, almost immediately, met with legal challenges, but the Supreme Court has strongly signalled that they will support the ban, and the Pentagon have announced that they will begin implementing it. Continue reading “Trump’s trans military ban”