London transgender conference cancelled after trans complaints

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

A conference on transgender issues has been cancelled by the Royal College of Psychiatrists after a leading gender identity clinic pulled out.

The May 20th event in London, titled ‘Transgender: time to change’, angered trans campaigners who said it was one-sided and questioned speakers’ credentials.

They argued that some of the speakers, who included feminist writer Julie Bindel, held “offensive” and “outdated” views on trans issues.

This morning, Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic pulled out of the event, citing concerns about other speakers and “disquiet” in the trans community.

The RCPsych has now cancelled the event, although it says that not enough tickets were bought.

A spokesman said: “The event has been cancelled. In this particular instance, it was down to the numbers of people attending.”

Trans campaigners objected to the conference for a number of reasons, including the fact that lesbian activist Julie Bindel was listed as a speaker. Ms Bindel once called gender reassignment surgery “modern-day aversion therapy for gays and lesbians”.

They also complained about the fact that the conference was organised by the RCPsych’s Lesbian and Gay Special Interest Group, which they said had no expertise on trans issues.

Another speaker, Dr Az Hakeem, has been accused of “pathologising” trans people.

The Gender Identity Clinic at Charing Cross Hospital, which is the UK’s oldest and most respected trans treatment centre, explained why it had pulled out.

A spokeswoman said: “Although we were somewhat wary of engaging in what is essentially a clinical discussion with a predominantly non-trans panel, which, moreover, features a non-clinician whose personal opinion is already well known, we agreed to do so in order that discussion might focus on evidence rather than anecdote.

“The Royal College should be aware that there is a great deal of disquiet around this event within the trans community. Interested parties should also note that the discussion as it now stands will be one-sided at best.”

Trans writer and activist Jane Fae, speaking for the organisers of the trans protest, said: “The only people to blame for this are the Royal College. They could have had a very successful event if they had talked to the trans community and included people.”