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No, Davina, men can’t get the menopause

We do not need a more ‘trans inclusive’ conversation about women’s health.

Maria Curran

Topics Identity Politics UK

TV presenter Davina McCall has re-entered the gender wars. Last June, she came under attack from trans activists for daring to call The Witch Trials of JK Rowling podcast ‘balanced and interesting’. After that, she appeared to avoid the trans issue like the plague. That was until the start of this year.

In January, she published a video on her Instagram in which she discussed the problems facing menopausal women. This in itself wasn’t unusual. She has been campaigning to raise awareness of the many issues surrounding the menopause for a while. But this time, McCall was discussing the menopause with Kenny Jones, a transgender man and ‘period campaigner’. Jones claims to be ‘living as a man’ and has undergone various medical procedures, but is still biologically a woman.

It wasn’t clear why McCall decided to talk to Jones. Did McCall’s publicist think that the menopause discussion needed to be more trans-inclusive? If so, that doesn’t make sense for one simple reason. Trans men are already ‘included’ in the conversation about the menopause – because they are actually female.

Of course, acknowledging a trans person’s biological sex is akin to a hate crime to trans activists, even in a medical setting. This leads to an absurd situation where trans men, who are essentially just women, demand to be accounted for in the menopause conversation in a different, more ‘inclusive’ way.

This ridiculousness isn’t confined to Davina McCall’s social-media output, of course. NHS guidance on the menopause is similarly ‘trans inclusive’, no doubt under the influence of LGBT charity Stonewall. It addresses ‘cisgender women’, certain ‘nonbinary’ people and ‘trans men’, while refusing to admit that what all these people have in common is their female sex.

Much of the conversation between McCall and Jones was mind-bogglingly bizarre. Jones claimed that plants can change sex, which supposedly makes them ‘queer’. She referenced Native Americans’ idea of a ‘third sex’ as dubious proof of trans people’s centuries-long existence. Throughout all this, Davina can be seen clapping like a seal.

Jones also made a series of incorrect statements about so-called gender-affirming care, which failed to acknowledge its serious consequences. For instance, Jones celebrated puberty blockers as ‘life changing’ and ‘totally reversible’, despite official NHS guidance stating otherwise.

One fact that might have genuinely been useful for trans men to know is that the hormone therapy that’s used to transition can actually induce early menopause. In some cases, it can leave trans men completely infertile. But such risks are always downplayed or skirted over by the trans lobby, who tend to present every aspect of medical transitioning as unquestionably life-affirming.

Perhaps the biggest elephant in the room during McCall and Jones’s conversation was the fact that trans people are gaining ever easier access to hormone treatment, while menopausal women are finding it increasingly difficult.

As McCall herself acknowledges in the video, it is a real struggle for menopausal women to get even a miniscule amount of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on the NHS. Women have to see a specialist menopause doctor, just so they can get prescribed a tiny amount of testosterone that can last just weeks. Yet, at the same time as menopausal women are kept away from a life-changing treatment, trans people are entitled to huge doses of hormones each and every month.

There is now an acknowledged shortage of HRT available on the NHS, something the Menopause Charity states ‘continues to be a distress for women’. It doesn’t take a genius to spot the connection between this shortage and the NHS’s embrace of trans ideology. More and more trans-identified people are being given hormones to alleviate so-called gender dysphoria. While at the same time, there is less and less hormone treatment available for women to alleviate actual physical symptoms.

As is so often the case, so-called trans inclusion is coming at the direct expense of women. Davina McCall’s failure to notice this has done a real disservice to her campaigning.

Maria Curran is a writer.

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Topics Identity Politics UK

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