A piece by Nicholas Hellen, Social Affairs Editor, in yesterday’s Sunday Times.
A psychotherapist who was told by a university that it could be “politically incorrect” to study people who regret changing gender has been approached by 50 people who want to reverse their transition.
James Caspian, 59, who was refused permission to research detransitioning at Bath Spa University, says rising numbers presenting with gender dysphoria have been too readily labelled as trans.
The therapist said since his case made headlines in September 2017 he had been approached by patients who said: “I’m not the other sex. I shouldn’t have done this.”
Caspian was speaking before an oral hearing in the High Court on February 19, when he will ask for a judicial review of the university’s decision. The therapist, who enrolled for a master’s degree at Bath Spa, said: “A win would be a victory for freedom of speech in academia and for people to feel they can research . . . any controversial subject without fear of being vetoed.”
The university initially approved his project but then an ethics subcommittee warned that “a potentially ‘politically incorrect’ piece of research carries a risk to the university. Attacks on social media may not be confined to the researcher but may involve the university.”
Caspian said people who wanted to detransition had undergone hormone treatment or surgery and typically regretted it two to five years later. Most were in their early twenties.
Bath Spa said: “His research proposal was not refused because of the subject matter, but because of his proposed methodological approach. The university was not satisfied this approach would guarantee the anonymity of his participants or the confidentiality of data.”
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