Wed 8 May 2024 — 5 min

On 17-20 June the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) will host their 2024 International Congress at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The conference programme lists several speakers associated with anti-trans lobbying and the promotion of conversion therapy.

An anti-trans panel

On Thursday 20 June, a session will take place titled ‘Treatment of gender dysphoria in children and adolescents: a review of the evidence base’. Most of the speakers have worked with SEGM, an anti-trans pseudoscience thinktank associated with the promotion of conversion therapy.

Keynotes from Dr Hilary Cass

The RCPSych Congress will also feature a keynote address from Dr Hilary Cass, chair of the Cass Review on Tuesday 19 June. Dr Cass will also speak at a later event titled “Everything you wanted to know about transgender health but were too afraid to ask”.

While the final report of the Cass Review has been warmly received by NHS bodies and UK politicians, it has been extensively critiqued by trans healthcare experts and researchers from a range of disciplines. Critics have highlighted methodological and ethical issues including inconsistent use of evidence, the exclusion of research expertise or oversight from people with lived experience of gender services, and collaboration with proponents of conversion therapy.

Despite this preponderence of controversial figures on the speaking programme, we are not aware that any proponents of affirmative trans healthcare, let alone actual trans people, have been invited to speak to our own experiences at the RCPsych conference.

Speak out against transphobia in psychiatry

Contemporary anti-trans campaigns within medical science thrive on partial evidence, disinformation, and misleading expertise. In this context, it is easy for certain voices to be lost: specifically, people with actual lived experience of transition and gender services, and trans healthcare experts who have actually worked with and listened to trans people.

Echoing the rallying cry of the disability liberation movement, “nothing about us without us”, we encourage RCPsych conference organisers to reconsider the promotion of conversion practices and absence of trans expertise at their World Congress. We further encourage keynote speakers at the RCPsych Congress – including Dr Hilary Cass – to consider whether they wish to be associated with the dangerous ideologies and practices of groups such as SEGM and CAN-SG.

Readers wishing to lobby conference organisers and speakers may find the information in this post useful as a starting point.

Official contact details for the RCPsych International Congress 2024 are available here.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Dr Lade Smith
  • Professor John McGrath
  • Professor Arnoud Arntz
  • Dr Ramaswamy Viswanathan
  • Professor Andrew McIntosh
  • Dr Rebecca Lawrence
  • Professor Ramalingam N Chithiramohan
  • Professor Kenneth A Kaufman
  • Professor Sophie Scott
  • Professor John Strang
  • Dr Hilary Cass
  • Dr Humphrey Needham-Bennett
  • Dr Rebecca Cooney
  • Professor Dacher Keltner
  • Judge Tim Eicke
  • Professor Helen Killaspy

If you choose to contact any of these individuals, please be courteous and provide relevant evidence: they may not be aware that various event attendees are associated with anti-trans groups, or may not initially understand how or why these groups pose a real risk of harm to trans people.