Transformation Street

Series One, Episode One of Transformation Street aired last night on ITV is the latest in the media’s current fixation with normalising sex-change for a new generation. The plinky plonky music and the playing of ‘Natural Woman’ during vaginoplasty surgery for a man set the cheerful tone of a documentary which follows several patients through gender reassignment surgery, described here as ‘medical intervention to change their identity.’

We heard that the number of adults seeking medical transition in the UK has doubled in the past five years to 130,000. Absent any critical analysis, the documentary is essentially one long promotional video for the services of the private clinic ‘London Transgender Surgery’ where over 1,000 surgical and non-surgical treatments are performed every year. At £20,000 for a vaginoplasty, business is booming.

This is presented as the new cosmetic surgery of choice, but with less caution or questioning than you might expect from a similar documentary on the plastic surgery industry. We may question whether surgery has the power to transform insecurity into confidence, but we cannot question that it can transform a male into a female. A vaginoplasty is described as “the ultimate surgery to become a woman.” One of the many illogicalities of the transgender doctrine is that it defines ‘woman’ as an inner feeling unrelated to female biology, and yet to ‘become a woman’ takes only the surgical creation of a neo-vagina.

Although presenting no ‘angle’ or judgment, the documentary is revealing of who is transitioning and at what age. The older age-group is exclusively male, some of whom are married or mention previous marriage, all of whom have been employed in stereotypically ‘macho’ jobs: a truck driver, a track engineer, an army commando. One is a part-time dominatrix. Then we have a twenty year-old female who has been ‘living as a man’ since the age of eighteen, the only young person portrayed. This represents a reflection of today’s pattern of transition. Who is doing it? Predominantly teenage lesbians and older heterosexual males transitioning after a lifetime of cross-dressing.

The only thing that links these two groups is a new one-size-fits-all interpretation of their feelings and behaviour: the biologically impossible idea that they were literally ‘born in the wrong body.’ This explanation conveniently displaces diagnostic exploration and covers up the wildly differing motivations for taking this pathway. The older autogynephilic male who grasps the new socially-acceptable status of ‘trans’ to finally live out his fantasy, and the young lesbian who finds out on Tumblr that there is now a socially-condoned way to feel sexual attraction towards women, have nothing in common.

The idea itself is not challenged. Lauren (who is now Lucas) describes hitting puberty as ‘the worst point of my life’ and we hear of the agony caused when Mum buys her her first bra, as if this is an uncommon experience for girls. Lauren presents her completely normal reaction to female puberty as proof of being a boy: an interpretation which has been created by a society which teaches young children that being a boy in a girl’s body is a possibility. Now that ‘conversion therapy’ is outlawed, who is there to tell young women that their feelings of being ‘wrong’ are unfortunately very common?

As with all the cases we hear of children and young people, their thinking, and the thinking of the people around them, seems to be informed by an unshakable belief in gender stereotypes as immutable reality. Lucas empathises with Mum: “For you to give birth to a little girl after having two boys, picturing going shopping together, doing make-up together, getting your hair cut together and everything like that and to know it’s never going to happen…” Did no-one ever tell Lucas that some girls are not like that and that some mothers don’t expect it? Is it really so impossible today to imagine that a daughter does not have to fulfill a stereotyped role of girly companionship for a mother? Does Lucas genuinely believe that the only way to escape that role is by becoming a boy?

We are told that for Lucas ‘everything was girly up to primary school’ at which time she began to reject dresses and insist on wearing trousers, behaviour which is typical of pre-lesbian girls as well as any girl with two older brothers. We don’t know the impact of the death of her father three years ago, but trauma can be a factor in the development of gender dysphoria. However, the possibility that a trans identity may be used as a cover for deeper, more painful issues can no longer be entertained; the idea that a girl may really be a boy has become so sacrosanct that we are not allowed to question it. This documentary certainly doesn’t.

What came across so clearly was the grief experienced by family members, including the wife who had been married for only five months before finding out that her new husband was ‘really a woman.’ This was not a programme to explore issues of deception though, nor to question the idea that a man is literally a woman if he says so. The devastation to other people’s lives appeared to be irrelevant compared to the heartwarming journey of people becoming ‘who they really are.’

Double mastectomies for twenty year-olds is not a subject to present with breathless enthusiasm, no matter how ecstatic Lucas was at the results of the surgery. This documentary series continues next week with Lucas considering a skin graft in order to create a ‘phallus.’ The FtM transitioners who are documenting their surgical transitions on YouTube and influencing young girls into thinking that this is completely normal and cool, have been joined by a mainstream TV channel who are taking it to a whole new audience.

ITV needs to take some responsibility and do their homework on the subject of rapid-onset gender dysphoria in teenage girls before including them in celebratory documentaries which make it all look so normal and easy. If ITV knew the facts of the worrying and unprecedented increase in the number of teenage girls identifying as ‘transgender’ they would be more cautious in broadcasting documentaries which cheerfully promote amputation of healthy body parts as a way to become your ‘authentic self.’

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Miep

    You cannot be born in the wrong body unless you exist independently of your body. That means souls, sexed souls. This is a religion.

    1. Brigidwild

      Yes! It is totally a religion. And if one does not believe in their personal god then they are a heretic, set on the pyre of transphobia. Fuck I’m sick of that word, transfuckingphobia. And fuck this religious cult of identity. I quit religion when I was 13 and I fucking hate having it force fed to me by this culture. It seems to me in the vacuum of receding Christianity (for the left) they have made a religion of identity. With no outer authority of priests or shamans, something to help keep peoples minds from entirely unraveling, or steer us to something more important outside ourselves, we have made new gods in every individual navel.

      Or maybe everyone has just gone bat shit crazy. Or maybe this is what happens when we have lived in brutal countries for so long that terrorize every “lesser” country, and there is nothing left but our own minds to cannibalize.

      Or maybe its just plain old fucking mysogny/colonialism, with a new, pretty, lipsticked face.

      1. Brigidwild

        And probably also its the cult of positivity. Everything is fucking love and positivity. Rather than just telling these kids its ok to not feel good, and help them find a way to get better. (But then adults would have to get better!) The total disconnect between the world we live in, full of beauty for sure, but look at what we’re doing to it. There are many terrors we as a species are inflicting, while we walk around saying “love and light”. “I’m woke, I’m lit,” etc. Its no wonder people are totally splitting from their bodies.

        I get that some people suffer from severe dysmorphia, but *everyone* does to a greater or lesser degree. Everyone at some point is full of terror over inhabiting a slowly decaying body that will someday rot and disappear forever. Or the terror of what someone else could do to it.

      2. Lee

        I think you have a little too much of a personal agenda rather than valid reasoning…

        1. Brendan

          I agree Lee, I am seeing a lot of heated prejudices and sweeping generalisations

  2. polly

    Excellent summary. I keep seeing trailers for the programme and knew I wouldn’t be able to stomach watching it. It is just very low brow entertainment – hence the pun on the name of Coronation Street to Transformation Street. One of the big problems is that people love to see transformations – they just don’t care that potentially people are ruining their health, their bodies and their minds. Really sad.

    1. Scout

      Totally with you on not being able to watch this type of thing, a program which unquestioningly jumps on the salacious bandwagon of the so called LBGTalphabety community.
      The choice of unicorn as their symbol is so apt. Unicorns aren’t real and are not horses just like transwomen aren’t real and are not women.

      1. Rob

        a transwoman is not real? so if thats the case are they an apparition, a mirage? it does not matter what box you try to force a transwoman into, the bottom line is that they ARE real, like anyone else, the bottom line is they are HUMAN BEINGS, with feelings like anyone else

  3. Jessica

    I give up, evidently I fell asleep and woke up in a parallel universe where nothing makes sense anymore

  4. Brigidwild

    It makes me so fucking angry that people are ok with teenage girls cutting off their breasts, let alone on prime t.v.
    It is fucking teenage self mutilation.
    If adults want to cut their body parts off and take hormones to “present” as another sex, whatever, good for them. Its when they actually *believe* that they *are* the other sex, and then they tell children that they are in the wrong body and actually block their fucking puberty…and then watch 18 year old young women cut their breasts off, well, I dont even know where to begin. Its criminal. Its fucking wrong.

    1. Majenta

      Agreed, but the girl was 20, and had lived as a man for two years as an adult.

      1. Transgender Trend

        Thank you for pointing that out. Corrected.

        1. Brigidwild

          I guess it was written as 18 at first? Well, it would have been her perogative as a legal adult, regardless. But it’s still highly distressing that some teenage girls are being led/encouraged down the path of masectomies, some younger than 18.

    2. Alison evans

      Couldn’t agree more

    3. Lee

      People are allowed to get bigger boobs but not smaller? I know a couple of women who aren’t trans but if they had the money and were sure of surgery they would also pay to get rid of them. Obviously if you have low self esteem you need to learn to love yourself the way you are. bullshit. look at all the girl who get cosmetic surgery to be ‘beautiful’. nobody can be left alone for being ugly and noone can be left alone for being beautiful. If someone isn’t really trans then they need to get the right help. however some poeple do want a different body. some poeple are stereotypicial ‘ i wanted dolls not cars’. everyone is different and you dont have a good enough arguement. Honestly i think we need to stop obsessing over this crap and move onto the important global problems.

  5. Jill

    “The devastation to other people’s lives appeared to be irrelevant compared to the heartwarming journey of people becoming ‘who they really are’.”

    Yes. I have read a great many accounts by so-called trans widows and it seems to me that there is a correlation between AGP and domestic abuse. These men often utilise coercive control to separate partners and wives from their support networks, so that they can pursue AGP to the detriment of family life and finances. And what of children, who are being required to re-formulate the most fundamental relationships in their lives at important points in their development? #notalltrans and all that, I’m sure, but why do we never hear of the many downsides for others?

    1. Joe S

      The surgeon’s sales pitch (19:25 min mark) to Ezri (Daniel) was interesting – saying “… my vision is that you have to be in a position where you get dressed; you look at yourself in the mirror and say “Jesus, I’m hot”” To which Ezri replies, “Yeah I like that”.

      It’s as if he understands what AGP stands for.

    2. rob

      Jill, your comment, ” it seems to me that there is a correlation between AGP and domestic abuse.” Does this mean you are a medical professional who has done accredited studies on this subject? I rather think it more likely that you have a opinion about trans issues that are formulated through assumption on your part, rather than informed information.

      1. nel

        You dont have to be a medical professional to know what coercive control and abuse is or to hear the stories of those who have lived it. Lots of women who find themselves married to predatory autogynephiles know only too well what that abuse involves and the damage it can inflict on others.
        Too many times for it to be coincidence, Agp’s observably exhibit recognisable and obvious personality disorders, pathological narcissism, psychiatric co-morbidity and multiple paraphilias, and i can assure you, are more than capable of behaving despicably toward their family and actively and deliberately causing harm to others. Women’s descriptions of their experience of abusive Agp husbands behaviours share striking similarities and sexual themes, almost as if these men are all using the same porno…
        Every ‘transwidow’ knows damn well she married a man, the kids can’t help knowing their dad is not a woman, and all of them know what will happen if they don’t indulge his fantasy/remember his new pronouns/ keep his secrets etc. These women know exactly why its important to maintain girls and womens rights to privacy, dignity and safety away from men like their trans-identified exes.

        1. Rob

          Nel i think you misinterpreted my post. While i commented on Jill’s sweeping assumption which seems to infer that all MTF trans people are AGP and abusive, i was attempting to make the point that she was wrong in making that assumption. There are many facets and different types of trans people, many live with it and on the surface cope, and so do their immediate families. To imply that trans people are all, or predominantly AGP is a sweeping assumption, and entirely wrong, and quite possibly transphobic.

    3. Lee

      I think we have to wait for that one to be covered. With the way society is now being trans will mean you’ll have to be selfish at some point, even more if its at a later stage in life. This documentary was made to show the actual trans poeple and surgery itself as we already see transgender people put in a dark light in the media.

  6. Alison evans

    This is an absolutely brilliant piece which accurately sums up all I think and feel about this subject. I will making a complaint to itv about this shockingly under researched programme

    1. Rob

      is your comment Alison an endorsement for the programme or not? i am confused by your post

  7. Lee

    This writer is free to have an opinion however just as if someone had a name change you should refer to the poeple with their current name. Its not a matter of accepting them being trans its just being respectful and thats what divides these blogs into hateful garbage and genuine arguements. ‘born in the wrong body’ is normally the easiest way to describe the mental state of the person. These people aren’t specialists. they cant describe every single thought going on behind the scenes. I agree alot of people who have an internalized homophobia can feel transitioning is the only way. but then they should have been brought up in an enviroment where they didn’t have to feel that way. Only time will tell with these things. the world still has racist people. but when sexuality has toned down a bit we can then see the difference as people can be openly gay or trans and not mixed up. And if it is homophobia then it can be helped. but how can anyone not going through this understand? I still have many things I question but its best to look at both sides of the arguement. Also looking at the comments, why are mtf seen as perverts but everyone feels bad for ftm. sexism from people who preach :/

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