A couple of years ago I underwent a course of CBT, provided by my local NHS trust, just before I started my degree. I was sliding into a period of bad mental health and I knew that if I was going to stand a chance of getting through university, I needed help.
I should probably write about this in the third person, hide it behind a wall of neutral language and apologies. Writing about experiences of sexual abuse is never comfortable, no matter what language you soften it with. I also know that there are people who laugh about accounts like this, who mock survivors that talk about their experiences. I've seen other trans people do it. To mock the idea that someone can know they are transgender as a child. I think that kind of mockery is more about their own insecurities about coming to this thing called transgender later in life. I don't mind, if you want to be that person, I can't stop you. I lived my life without understanding the effect these events had on me. If I hide them to make other people comfortable then I am taking on the work of being their emotional caretaker, and I don't want that role.
In July a court in France ordered Twitter to provide details of how it handles hate speech on it's site, to six French equalities groups. Twitter have now lodged an appeal against the ruling, effectively openly opposing the equalities groups who brought the case. We know that Twitter has thus far been terrible at dealing with hate speech, but the decision to appeal suggests something is wrong at a much deeper level. Twitter as a private for profit enterprise are effectively positioning themselves above the scrutiny of civic groups whose daily job is dealing with hate speech and extremists. We can only speculate why they have chosen to do this, among the possibilities the fact that for commercial reasons Twitter executives believe banning extremists is bad for business. In some ways this is always the end-game for companies when they are permitted to set their own equalities laws. Permitting extremism becomes an exercise in profit and loss economics.
Last year around April a study from Italy, into cis men recieving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer, suggested for some reason they had significantly lower rates of Covid infection than healthy cis men. I wondered what, if anything, that meant for trans women.
In the UK, transgender people engage with health services at a lower rate than the non transgender population. This includes lower levels of engagement with important health screening services such as breast, cervical and prostate cancer screening programs.
Why does this matter? In global terms LGBT people have significantly poorer determinants of health than the general population, and new research is revealing that the consequences of anti LGBT discrimination, including in relation to healthcare access, has a significant economic impact globally. Anti-LGBT discrimination is estimated to cost countries where it is an accepted cultural norm, in the region of 1% of their gdp annually. 
I think this book may actually be one of those rare ground breaking texts, and if you care remotely about global LGBT rights, this is worth reading. It is about so much more than economics. It’s about the psychological and social harm that LGBT inequality creates, on large and small scales.
As part of my course we’re studying public health, and the social determinants of health. That is the social, cultural and economic factors that influence people’s health choices and behaviours. This includes an examination of how our early life circumstances can shape our health as adults. With emphasis on the role of ACEs —Adverse Childhood Experiences, or early trauma, which can be everything from abuse and bullying, to the loss of a parent when we are children.
This is a post from my old blog, I wrote this in May 2019, just after the release of the HBO series Chernobyl. I'm gathering my various posts into one place, in a vain effort to look organized, and not sketchy.
Now that Chernobyl has been turned into an English language drama in the form of the new and acclaimed series by HBO I thought I'd take the opportunity to recommend the book Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich. Also published as Voices from Chernobyl, this is a book that delivers a profoundly emotional and human take on the effects of the catastrophe. First published in 1997, a decade after the initial disaster it's composed of mainly verbatim eyewitness accounts.