The Irish Times’ agony aunt column regularly plays host to a range of eyebrow raising questions from perplexed readers, but the one I am about to describe has taken the biscuit, indeed it has taken the last biscuit in the tin. What I mean to say is that there are now no biscuits left in the tin at all.
In the letter a mother of two small children who says she is married to a “gorgeous” man, claims that despite all that she is a “a gay man in a woman’s body”.
This week Gript’s editor John McGuirk wrote an opinion piece about how the far left are trolling people by deliberately trying to cause uproar and consternation among the more conservatively-minded among us.
Perhaps this ‘letter’ is no more than an attempt by the IT at trolling, but for the purposes of this piece let’s take it at face value.
The woman gives details of a difficult adolescence saying she had made an attempt on her own life, had received psychiatric care, and had “hated” her body shape, in particular her breasts.
I can’t help but feel that these sentiments, although tragic, are somewhat normal. Not so long ago it was pretty much known and accepted that growing up is difficult and indeed messy emotionally.
In the case of young women the rather sudden shift from being a prepubescent girl to things changing and happening to your body that you might not be happy about or ready for is for many rather upsetting. It was for me at least.
The woman goes on to say that she “never felt at peace” with herself, but that things improved as she got older.
She says that during her last period of maternity leave she spent a lot of time with a ‘transgender woman’ whose story seemed very “natural” to her.
It was through lengthy conversations with this person, she says. that she came to realise that the reason for her lack of peace with herself was that she is a gay man living in a straight woman’s body.
“I love my husband and my family, and I would not want to lose them for anything, but I am a gay man in a straight woman’s body.” she says
Continuing , “I have told my new friend about how I feel, and she has introduced me to other people in the trans community”.
The woman concludes the letter by saying that “each person I have met has encouraged me to start the transition process, which I know takes years.”
Now, I have no idea how someone ‘realises’ they are a ‘gay man in a straight women’s body’. I also thought according to ‘trans’ ideology, that gender is fluid so how could such distinctions even exist by that logic?
My only point of reference here is the conversation between Father Ted and producer Charles Hedges backstage at the fictional ‘Song for Europe’ contest.
Perhaps the happily married mother of two toddlers was seeing, in the words of Father Ted the seeming “fun” of the “nightclubs and the whole rough and tumble of homosexual activity”.
The Irish Times’ answer is even more ridiculous. Instead of encouraging the woman to seek help or to approach a mental health care professional who could help her see if she is ‘really’ trans, the Times simply tells her to live her truth and that her husband and kids would have to get with it.
Her “past teen trauma can now be much better understood as we now have a language and a deeper understanding of gender identity than was not really available at the time” it says.
“It sounds as though you are comfortable and clear about the direction your life must take,” the IT adds.
This assurance apparently was extracted from one short letter.
Cole testified that physicians in her home state of California could be accused of ‘conversion therapy’ if they questioned a child presenting as trans.
The IT doesn’t mention to this woman what transition actually looks like. Cole had a double mastectomy which she says she deeply regrets.
The woman writing to the Irish Times says she has received treatment from mental health care services in the past and yet the paper simply tells her to get started on transitioning as if nothing could go wrong.
This, to my mind, is the equivalent of a psychiatrist telling a suicidal client to ‘just do it.’
The advice continues with, “There is no way of protecting your husband from the truth you have uncovered about yourself and so you must allow him the honour of knowing where you have arrived at.”
Very little consideration at all is given to this poor man or the little children who are about to potentially have their lives turned upside down. The man is about to lose his wife, who I bet he assumed would be identifying as female for the duration of their marriage, not to mention the children whose mother is to be no more.
It is simply advised that he receive counselling, and that the family access support from TENI.
“Your children”, she is assured, “will be among many attending schools who come from non-traditional families and young people have quickly adapted to the idea of a range of genders and orientations, so they are not likely to feel excluded on that count.”
Nothing to worry about so. It would seem like having a mother who identifies as a gay man is as usual as butter on potatoes.
The advice, which has been simply unimpeachable thus far, concludes with this,
“You cannot predict the effect this will have on your husband, but you can truthfully attest to the continuing love and devotion you have for your family and your determination that love will win.”
What the Irish Times needs is a healthy dose of reality. Sometimes ‘love’, in the context they mean it, isn’t enough. Often love means sacrificing your wants, and what you think might make you happy for the good of other people. Especially, I should think, your husband and children.