A female US Marine officer candidate, 2019. Photo: Phuchung Nguyen / Wikimedia

After more than £100,000 was reportedly spent on renovations to make the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre “more female-friendly,” only one woman signed up to their intensive commando course at Lympstone, East Devon, to win the coveted green beret. 

But the sole female recruit, former Olympic rower Philippa Birch, was, according to The Sun, “forced to suspend training in June after suffering a leg fracture while hauling a 70lb backpack and SA80 assault rifle during an exercise at Dartmoor.” No women are expected to enrol next year, but when they do, be sure that they will be given every encouragement — and hang the expense.

However, not all requests from the oppressed sex get such sympathetic treatment.  When 54-year-old Clare Dimyon wrote to the Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust asking for a written assurance that she would be attended at a mammogram by “a female-born clinician”, she found her letter highlighted in Trust guidelines on the treatment of trans patients and staff, as an example of a “unacceptable” and “highly discriminatory” atttitude to trans people. 

Ms Dimyon explained in her letter that as a young woman she had been raped, and “did not feel comfortable having her breast examination conducted by a male-born clinician.” The mammographer confirmed in writing that she was “born female”, but the Trust used the request in their guidelines without giving any context, merely saying: ‘“It is not possible to guarantee to any patient that they will only be treated by a clinician assigned to a specific gender at birth and, as an organisation that prides itself on our commitment to diversity and inclusion, nor would we wish to do so.”’  (‘Asking for female mammographer is “discriminatory”’, Telegraph, December 9, 2019).    

The Trust has now removed the letter from their guidelines and “apologised for causing offence or upset,” but the case is even more bizarre in view of the fact that although the Hospital Trust prides itself on its commitment to diversity and inclusion, Ms Dimyon is herself a lesbian, and was given an MBE for her LGBT advocacy work. Perhaps the “T” will not loom so large in her PC alphabet after being on the receiving end of discrimination, but if a member of the sexually diverse community can be discriminated against in such matters, where does that leave the vast majority?

Perhaps the NHS is hoping that by putting off enough women – and possibly men – from medical treatment, their waiting lists will go down, for as Ms Dimyon points out, patients frequently requested “a lady doctor or lady nurse”. However, it seems that in the age of all things trans, women can no longer expect any special treatment – except, of course, if they want to join the armed forces and half-kill themselves in the process. As for true equality, you can tell that to the Marines.

Ann Farmer lives in the UK. She is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign (CUAP, 2008); The Language of Life: Christians Facing the Abortion Challenge (St Pauls, 1995), and Prophets & Priests: the Hidden Face of the Birth Control Movement (St Austin Press, 2002).

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is a New Zealand journalist with a special interest in family issues. She began her working life as a secondary school teacher but always fancied the life of the scribe. Too late, she...