I just got my daily PM newsletter, which informs me (and I don't think this is one of one of Eddie Mair's wind-ups, though I could be wrong) that PM and a host of other news programmes won't be available to people listening from abroad for the next two weeks, "because of Olympic rights". The whole branding mania has been widely recognized as ludicrous, but this particular dog-wagging tail seems particularly egregious. Insofar as the Olympics are meant to increase the UK's kudos in the world, just how is silencing the BBC abroad going to help?
The Department of Health has just published a draft protocol for transgender care within England. Most of it looks very good, but there's a bizarre statement stuck in the middle, where the requirements for genital surgery are listed. First comes cutting out smoking, then moderating alcohol intake and obesity, all of which are identified as medical contraindications for surgery (and yes, I know the last of these is already problematic). Then, out of the blue and without further explanation, comes this:
Although it is recommended that people are in an occupation (paid, voluntary or full-time study) this is typically a requirement for genital surgery rather than starting hormones - although individuals should be living full time in their preferred gender role. A patient could be started on hormones without fulfilling occupational criteria but if their intention is to seek genital surgery in the longer term, they need to address the issue of occupation.
How on earth does not having an occupation disqualify someone for medical treatment? It's especially outrageous given the difficulties trans people have in finding employment, and it also discriminates against those unable to work through disability, those living in deprived areas, etc - but what the hell has this got to do with medical treatment at all? The only inference I can make is that not having a job is seen as a sign that you are mentally unstable, which is ... interesting.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the Aurora shooting, the head of the NRA has made a speech calling for the sale of underpants to be banned, as a way of tackling the endemic wedgie problem in America's schoolyards. Oh no, wait, that was actually David Gauke, complaining that paying plumbers cash-in-hand has brought down the Western financial system. Must get some new reading glasses.