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Debunked: No evidence of Graham Linehan’s claims about crowdfunding and ‘top surgery’

A replication of Linehan’s web search yielded only 38 matching results.

A CLAIM MADE by comedy writer Graham Linehan that there were “nearly 38,000 girls who are raising money” to remove breast tissue on the British crowdfunding site JustGiving has no basis. 

During a nearly 40-minute-long interview on Newstalk on 16 November, Linehan, who helped create Father Ted, The IT Crowd, and Black Books, said he has struggled to find work due to his active opposition to the trans rights movement, which began after an episode of the IT Crowd that featured a fist fight with a trans character was criticised.

Linehan has received police warnings and bans from social media over his opposition to the movement, though he claims that trans activists have also harassed him.

Speaking on Newstalk, Linehan said: “To boil it down to the most important aspect of this: I believe that transitioning children is a gigantic medical scandal that is just now coming to light and I think it has ruined a lot of kids lives.

“Just out of curiosity, before we got on, I went on to JustGiving, the fundraising crowdfunding site in the UK. And I put in the words ‘top surgery’,” Linehan said, using a term used referring to surgeries to increase or remove breast tissue, usually in reference to trans people who wish to reshape their chest to create a more masculine or feminine appearance.

“The results for top surgery, for people crowdfunding a top surgery is 37,788 results,” Linehan said.

“That’s nearly 38,000 girls who are raising money to cut their breasts off.”

However, this does not appear to be the case based on figures based on the website. When The Journal tried to replicate this search, the results showed something different.

Although about 38,000 results came back for the query “top surgery”, very few of these results were relevant to trans people removing breast tissue.

Just 38 results in “fundraisers” and “crowdfunders” do appear to match Linehan’s description. However, the vast majority (if not all) the results in “campaigns” do not.

(It is unclear what formal difference exists between these three categories on the site).   

Instead, many of the top results were for scholarship funds, animal welfare charities, or building restoration projects. These pages had no explicit connection with trans or other LGBTQ+ issues. 

Top surgery Search results for top surgery, which all appear to be irrelevant.

It is unclear why these campaigns appeared in the results for “top surgery”. That phrase did not appear in the descriptions for these campaigns, nor did either the words “top” or “surgery” appear at all in some of them.


Top surgery is a regular procedure among those who are looking to masculinise their chests, and involves the removal or augmentation of breast tissue to re-shape the chest.

“Achieving a flat, masculine-looking chest helps many transgender individuals feel better about themselves and can help alleviate gender dysphoria,” according to the Cleveland Clinic, a US nonprofit that is regularly ranked as one of the world’s top hospitals. 

Such surgeries might also “prevent complications related to chest binding”, the clinic said, referring to the practice of flattening a chest using garments or tapes by people who find having female breasts disturbing. 

JustGiving has not responded to The Journal’s request for clarification on those seeking to fundraise to undergo top surgery.

“If that’s the case, I’m relieved that the number is lower than I thought,” Linehan said in response to an email by The Journal that outlined our inability to replicate his findings. 

“But I note that under ‘gender-affirming care’- another euphemism for the mutilation of distressed young people -the number is 79,366,” he said.

While there are tens of thousands of results for “gender-affirming care” on JustGiving,  the vast majority of them have no connection with trans people removing breast tissue. These results include the same fundraisers for scholarships, children’s medical costs, and building restoration projects that appear under the “top surgery” search.

In the top few pages of results, only three have any connection with trans issues; and two were explicitly for individuals in their 30s.

“Gender-affirming healthcare is healthcare that holistically attends to trans people’s physical, mental, and social health needs and well-being while respectfully affirming their gender identity,” a spokesperson with LGBT Ireland told The Journal.

“Medical transition involves taking hormones and/or having surgery that helps align a trans person’s body to their gender identity.

“For individuals who need access to medical transition as part of their health and wellbeing access to this form of care has been demonstrated to dramatically improve quality of life, mental health and resilience.

“The existing health services that facilitate medical transition in Ireland are inaccessible as a result of the extensive wait times and operate through a pathologising model of care.”


False. A claim that “nearly 38,000” young trans people were raising money for surgery to remove breast tissue on the site Just Giving appears to be based on unrelated results appearing under searches on the site.

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