Readers’ Rants

Medicating women’s trauma, another referendum,
and thoughts on trans issues

Medicating women’s trauma

Jessica Taylor (“Sexy but Psycho”, Perspective March 2022) oversimplifies an extremely delicate matter. I also don’t like the term “mental illness” (it should be changed to “discomfort phase” or something similar) but if it weren’t for psychiatric medication many traumatised women would not relax enough to get the care they need. For a start, they can’t be on medication if they’re not in therapy, so it’s not that they’re medicated and sent home to rot! And diagnosis is needed for insurance companies to pay for the sessions, and for the therapist to know what would help most. But the notion that being trafficked, raped, prostituted, or subjected to domestic violence does not cause mental disturbance is rubbish. PTSD is very real for traumatised women and needs to be taken seriously and medicated appropriately. Yes, women are diagnosed with mental disorders more than men; yes, sexism is real; yes it will hurt them in courts wanting to take their kids back; and yes, they might be taken less seriously. But don’t throw the baby out with bathwater, just adjust the system. Many women would have committed suicide if they hadn’t been on calming medication while resolving the trauma arising from patriarchal abuse!

Anjell Bejanian, Online

Referendum rerun needed

Nearly six years on from the Brexit referendum and the issue hasn’t died; in fact a combination of both Brexit and non-Brexit related issues, including Northern Ireland, fisheries, covid, energy security, and now the P&O debacle, continue to trouble our trading procedures. Is this because referenda are not generally run like elections, where a simple majority decides? Simple-majority – or first past the post – elections are acceptable for two reasons. Firstly, a choice that may turn out to be regrettable is only for a few years. Secondly, elections are fought on numerous issues between multiple parties. Referenda, on the other hand, are by nature a yes/no vote on a single issue of lasting impact, and a simple majority like this won’t do. Brexit as an issue was in fact more election-like; it was far from single issue, as we only belatedly realised, and it wasn’t even argued as a single issue – there were a range of “soft” and “hard” versions proposed, but no way of voting for them. Given this, surely it should have either been run on a 60 per cent vote requirement, or the transition period should have been extended to three or even four years, with a further referendum at that stage. The first option has gone, but shouldn’t we rerun the referendum in any case? Even a repeated 52 per cent majority would lay the debate to rest, and an increased Brexit majority would totally silence Remainers. A less-than 50 per cent Brexit vote, but still large, would mean that the UK registered its considerable dissatisfaction with the EU but is open to re-entry negotiations, which the EU could reject (but at the cost of hardening the UK Brexit vote).  Maybe even rerun the referendum with more than two choices, but in the manner of the French Presidential elections where the least favoured option is dropped until we have a clear majority. We can be sure both Brexit and Remain would fight hard, and whoever wins will get the final unchallengeable mandate we all need for certainty.

Dr Hilary J Shaw,
De Montfort University,

Only human

I am really grateful for Diana Thomas’ piece in Perspective’s March issue. It’s so refreshing to hear a different point of view on trans issues. I fully transitioned to become a woman over thirty years ago, and don’t see myself as anything other than a woman. So much so that I don’t even see myself as trans. I don’t get involved in activism or in Twitter wars. I just want to get on with my life, and let others live theirs. I am married to a cis, heterosexual man with whom I was upfront about my gender change early on. It made no difference to him. He fell in love with me, the person and the woman. You might imagine that’s some stroke of good luck, or that I had it easier than other trans people. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m an only child, so you can’t imagine what it’s like having to tell your parents that their only son will soon be their only daughter, or having to deal with discrimination while I was transitioning. While I feel grateful for all the allies that have fought alongside LGBTQI communities for equality, lately I can’t help but feel that so much of the discussion has been hijacked by people who are either clueless or completely blinded by their fears. Most of us are just human beings trying to hang on to normality in an increasingly insane world and ultimately just to get along. What gender has to do with any of that is beyond me and always will be.

Claire Katzman, by email


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