A major international conference is getting underway in Killarney today, seeking to examine and challenge the gender affirmation care model, which has been criticised for placing young people, including children, on a medical pathway leading to hormone treatment and surgery.
“The Bigger Picture” conference says it will “challenge the narrow, medicalised model of gender care currently in vogue” and is hosting some renowned experts and authors – and also giving voice to detransitioners: people who have undergone treatment to change sex and who have then realised they made a mistake.
For some of those people, the changes, especially some surgeries, are irreversible – and they argue that ‘gender-affirming care’ is, in fact, rushing young people in particular towards making life-changing decisions without due consideration.
One of the most important things @genspect #GenspectBiggerPicture conference will be hearing the voices of detransitioners, something unlikely to be happening at #EPATH2023 around the corner https://t.co/e8WVO0qHLB
— Maya Forstater (@MForstater) April 26, 2023
Genspect, which says it is “an international organisation providing support for individuals and families impacted by gender distress” says that they chose Killarney to hold the conference as a counter to the European Professional Association for Transgender Health (EPATH) which is holding its own annual conference in the town at the same time.
“Genspect intends this to be the first of a series of counter-conferences to EPATH/WPATH, as they continue to confront EPATH, an organisation that brooks no debate and incorrectly insists that the ‘science is settled’,” they said.
The WPATH guidelines for transgender healthcare have been a matter of concern for medical professionals, and last year their guidelines were updated to no longer include minimum age thresholds for “gender-affirming surgery” such as double mastectomies and removal of genitals.
Their Standards of Care were amended to remove recommended age thresholds for the administration of cross-sex hormones, “chest masculinisation” (mastectomies), for metoidioplasty (a type of penis creation), orchidectomy (the removal of the testicles), vaginoplasty (the construction of a vagina) and hysterectomy (the removal of the womb), the Irish Times reported.
Dr Paul Moran, a psychiatrist with the adult national gender service, told The Irish Times he and his colleagues had for years been urging the HSE and the Department of Health to drop their support for the WPATH model, which they believe is unsafe and which they do not implement in the adult service.
He said a significant number of the patients he sees who have graduated from the youth to the adult gender service for age reasons were autistic, with “unclear gender identity”.
“Whereas a few years ago most patients presenting were suitable and ready for gender-affirming medical interventions, now it’s the opposite.”
Dr Moran is not a member of WPATH, which he said was heavily influenced by gender activists as against healthcare professionals. In submissions to the Department of Health in 2018, when a briefing was being prepared for the then taoiseach, Dr Moran said the WPATH type of approach had in the past in Ireland been associated with “severe adverse clinical outcomes for patients”.
Genspect argues that it is advocating “a healthy approach to sex and gender” and “disputes the claim that EPATH promotes safe, well-evidenced, and effective care for those who struggle with gender distress”.
“Just the opposite,” says Stella O’Malley, psychotherapist and director of Genspect. “It’s not appropriate to push puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery on vulnerable kids. The EPATH programme promotes heavy medical interventions while Genspect favours the least invasive approach first.”
“The Bigger Picture” conference says it is “bringing together leading lights from across the gender space.”
That includes “eminent scientists, researchers, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, sociologists, educators, feminists” it said, while “some well-known detransitioners will challenge the evidence base for gender medicine and describe the widespread damage that gender identity ideology has wrought.”
“Presentations, panel discussions, debates and a live-streaming of the podcast Gender: A Wider Lens will ensure that all sides of this complex issue will be addressed.”
“The Keynote will be delivered by Helen Joyce, a former journalist at The Economist and author of the ground-breaking Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality,” organisers said.
“Other featured speakers include Prof. Michael Biggs of Oxford University, who doggedly pursued the concealed truth about failed trials for puberty blockers and the myth of high suicide rates among gender-distressed children at the Tavistock; Ken Zucker who has decades of experience working with gender-distressed children; Lisa Littman, who first put the spotlight on social contagion and coined the term Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria; and O’Malley herself, who will argue for the need to protect ethical psychotherapy from proposed conversion therapy bans advocated by EPATH and its allies.”
Transgender activists have previously forced cancellation of speakers who caution that the gender affirmation approach can be harmful for children and argue that women are endangered by intrusion into previously safe spaces such as domestic violence shelters.
Gorgeous portraits of detransitioners by @SarahVaci are on display at our Bigger Picture conference, going on now in Killarney, Ireland. #GenspectBiggerPicture #BeyondWPATH @TimesUpWPATH #detrans #detransition https://t.co/guBed6b2Tk
— Genspect (@genspect) April 27, 2023