Over the next week or so, I’ll be putting up three articles arising out of a workshop run by the group Frontline Feminists to which I was honoured to be invited recently. I’m very grateful to all of the women participants who worked through these ideas with me, and without whom these articles wouldn’t have been written.
Needless to say, if I’ve got anything wrong in any of the articles, or in anything that follows here, that’s my own responsibility.
The first article will deal with the dramatic clarification that two recent cases – one English and one Scottish – have made of the law relating to the Equality Act, and in particular to the law relating to women’s single sex spaces. I’ll argue that the combined result of these two cases is that males who are undergoing gender reassignment, and who do not have a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), can never have a right to enter such spaces, and that males who do have a GRC may also be lawfully excluded.
The second article will deal with the effect of this on the “trans-inclusive” policy of the Scottish Government (SG) whereby, in order to receive SG funding, women’s single sex services are forced to state that they will include in those services males who are undergoing gender reassignment. I’ll argue that this policy forces women’s services to discriminate against the very group they were set up to serve – namely, females – and puts these services at risk of losing their single sex exemption under the Equality Act. I’ll also argue that women’s single sex services and individual women affected by the SG’s policies have grounds of action against the SG for this unlawful policy.
The third article will deal with the further effect of all of this on the SG’s Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament. I’ll argue that the drastic changes which the Bill proposes to the requirements for attaining the legal fiction that one has changed sex put the Bill beyond the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament and will lead inevitably to the Act, if passed, being struck down as unlawful by the courts.
(One aspect of this which I’ll deal with in the article – and which I haven’t seen raised before – is that the whole issue of “gender recognition” arises because the European Court of Human Rights in 2002 effectively ordered the whole of the United Kingdom to take action as a “contracting state” to provide a mechanism and relevant criteria for people to legally change sex. If, as the SG and its legal advisors evidently believe, it’s lawful for one part of the UK – Scotland – to now have very different criteria for legally changing sex than the rest of the UK, then it surely must be open to, say, English people who could get a GRC under the new Scottish criteria but not under the criteria still applying to the rest of the UK to complain to the European Court that the UK has unlawfully discriminated against them by not meeting its European human rights obligations in a uniform manner across the whole of the “contracting state”.)
But first, by way of introduction, something that struck me most forcefully when doing the research for the workshop giving rise to these articles is how clear judges once were about what “males” and “females” and “transsexuals” are, and about the reasons for granting the legal fiction, in exceptional cases, that human beings can change sex.
I invite you to read what follows and see if, like me, you find yourself at a loss to know how, in less than twenty years, we’ve “progressed” from the eminently sensible judicial statements set out here, and cited by the SG and others as providing the basis for their current views, to those current views themselves; that is to say, to the view that being a woman is just a feeling in your head, or that men who have that feeling in their heads are every bit as much women as those who gave birth to them, or that having “gender dysphoria” need not involve any discomfort or distress whatsoever about your body and indeed is fully consistent with requiring lesbians to suck your “girl dick” or alternatively to die.
The legal background to some nice clear definitions
Before it was replaced by the UK Supreme Court in October 2009, the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords was the highest appeal court in the UK.
On Thursday 10 April 2003, the Lords gave their decision in the case of Bellinger v Bellinger. The question before the court was whether Mrs Bellinger, a “transsexual” who had been born male, was validly married to Mr Bellinger, also a male. Among other things which proved conclusively that Mrs Bellinger was biologically male was that a chromosomal test, dated 8 April 1999, showed her to have a karyotype 46XY pattern – “an apparently normal male karyotype”, as the court observed.
In the course of her life, Mrs Bellinger had been through psychiatric assessment of her condition, hormonal treatment, a period of living as a member of the opposite sex subject to professional supervision and therapy (the “real life experience”) and then, finally, in a step recognised for suitable cases, “gender reassignment surgery”. As the court described it, this final step had involved “removal of her testes and penis” and “the creation of an orifice which can be described as an artificial vagina”. But, as again described by the court, “she was still without uterus or ovaries or any other biological characteristics of a woman”.
The court had to decide if this made her “female”, and therefore able to marry, in terms of the then extant UK law.
The legal background to their making of that decision was that the European Court of Human Rights had already decided in 2002 that the UK’s law on marriage breached the Article 8 right to privacy and the Article 12 right to marry under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and that the UK as a “contracting state” had to do something about it.
The English courts had made it equally clear that it was up to the UK legislature, and not judges, to do something about it.
As a result, the House of Lords decided that Mrs Bellinger was not a female under existing UK law, and that the courts therefore had no power to validate the Bellingers’ marriage. In doing so, they again confirmed that the UK was in breach of its ECHR obligations in requiring them to come to that decision, and that legislation was necessary to bring the UK into compliance with the ruling of the European Court.
The result was the UK-wide Gender Recognition Act of 2004.
The five judges in Bellinger were unanimous in their decision and Lord Nicholls gave the leading opinion of the court. The definitions contained in that decision – the decision, remember, of the UK’s highest court – are refreshingly clear.
The court’s use of “sex” and “gender”
As I’ve pointed out elsewhere on this blog, one of the reasons the law in this area is currently in such a mess is that the terms “sex” and “gender”, which not that long ago were synonymous, have come to have very different meanings in the minds of an increasingly large group of people, and that this slippage has been skilfully exploited by “gender identity” activists.
Their technique is an obvious but very effective one that anyone who has taken a university class in “poststructuralism” will recognise : get people to agree things about “gender” that they would never agree about “sex” – for example that if you don’t conform wholly to either masculine or feminine stereotypes you are of the “non-binary gender” – and then, once you have that agreement, switch back to “sex” and “gender” being synonymous, and demand sex-based rights from the bewildered folks who have agreed with you about “gender”.
So I’m pleased to say that in Bellinger, there is no room whatsoever for that technique to be employed. Their Lordships were quite explicit that, throughout their decision, “sex” and “gender” were to be regarded as “interchangeable” and thus synonymous:
… human sex or gender (for present purposes the two terms are interchangeable)…
In everything that follows, then, it’s handy to remember that the court in Bellinger were clear that “sex” could be substituted wherever “gender” is used, and vice versa. The present-day slippage between the terms that, for example, the Scottish Government regularly exploits in order to spread confusion and cover up irrationality on these issues is simply inapplicable in this case.
The court’s definition of “inter-sexual”
This is how the court defined so-called “inter-sex” conditions:
Some people have the misfortune to be born with physiological characteristics which deviate from the normal in one or more respects, and to lesser or greater extent. These people attract the convenient shorthand description of inter-sexual.
The court’s purpose in thus defining the statistically tiny incidence of such conditions was to avoid from the outset two further terminological confusions which are routinely exploited by gender activists, namely that the condition of being “transsexual” is somehow to be equated with being “inter-sexual”, and that, because determining sex at birth is not always entirely straightforward, sex is “assigned”, and not merely observed, in all cases.
I say more about this below.
The court’s definition of “transsexual people”
This, then, is the court’s definition of “transsexual people”:
Transsexual people are to be distinguished from inter-sexual people. Transsexual is the label given, not altogether happily, to a person who has the misfortune to be born with physical characteristics which are congruent but whose self-belief is incongruent.
Note that the label is given “not altogether happily” because of course no-one actually does “trans”, or cross over, to the opposite sex. Rather, as the court makes clear, “transsexual” people – in explicit contrast to “inter-sexual” people – are people who are unambiguously of one sex but who believe themselves to be of the opposite sex.
That is their “misfortune”, and it is one which, as the court later recognises, should elicit our sympathy and compassion.
But note that there is not the slightest suggestion here – nor is there one anywhere else in the court’s decision – that our sympathy and compassion for people like Mrs Bellinger should extend to validation, let alone celebration, of their “misfortune”.
Taking legal decisions based on sympathy and compassion for “misfortune” and making them the foundation for validation and celebration of that “misfortune” is of course another technique skilfully exploited by gender activists.
By all means disagree with those of us who – like the court in Bellinger – see as a “misfortune” your unshakeable belief that your whole body is in fundamental contradiction of who you really are.
But it’s simply dishonest to pretend that this and subsequent decisions in your favour were in fact a validation, let alone a celebration, of your belief.
And of course you’re being even more dishonest if you’re one of the increasingly vocal group who don’t even have that unshakeable belief, and are actually quite happy with your male body, but just want to access women’s spaces or shout “Suck my girl dick!” at lesbians and “TERFs”.
The court’s use of “assigning” to refer to sex
As indicated above, the court’s decision may also throw some light on how the phrase “assigned at birth”, as applied to both “gender” and “sex”, has come to be in almost universal use now despite it being a straightforward fact of human biology that sex is determined in the womb, and merely observed at birth.
The court’s use of “assigning” suggests one way in which this otherwise extraordinary locution may have gained acceptance, namely by way of reference to “inter-sexual” conditions where the determination of sex may not be immediately straightforward, as it is in the cases described by the court as “normal”.
Having listed the “indicia” by which sex is determined – including chromosomes, gonads, other internal sex organs, external genitalia and hormonal patterns – Lord Nicholls said this:
In the vast majority of cases these indicia in an individual all point in the same direction. There is no difficulty in assigning male or female gender to the individual. But nature does not draw straight lines. Some people have the misfortune to be born with physiological characteristics which deviate from the normal in one or more respects, and to lesser or greater extent. These people attract the convenient shorthand description of inter-sexual. In such cases classification of the individual as male or female is best done by having regard to all the factors I have listed.
Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed that the court’s definition of “inter-sexual” which I have already given above is taken from this larger passage.
And in this context, of course, the use of “assigning” makes perfect sense, as does the further term “classification”. Remembering that “sex” and “gender” are interchangeable terms for the court, it’s easy to see that “assigning” is being used here in the sense that observing sex is a straightforward matter in the “vast majority of cases” – the ones described by the court as “normal” – but that in the very specific and tiny minority of cases where “inter-sexual” conditions are involved, and there is a deviation from the normal, the task of observation is less straightforward.
What this boils down to for any rational person is that “assigning” sex in the vast majority of cases is a matter of straightforward observation of the “indicia” but that in a tiny minority of cases, more rigorous and detailed scrutiny of those same “indicia” may be required in order to make the “classification”.
Self-evidently, none of this has anything to do with “transsexual people” as defined by the court, and, if I’m right that “assigning” in this sense is the basis of the current usage of the term, then “assigned at birth” is yet another ingenious appropriation of a term ripped from its context by gender activists to assume a significance entirely unwarranted by its original use in context.
The court’s definition of “transvestite”
Perhaps the clearest example of what was obvious in 2003, and is now, apparently, much less so for many people in our culture, is this concise definition given by the court:
Nor should a transsexual person be confused with a transvestite. A transvestite is a person who, usually for the purpose of his or her sexual gratification, enjoys dressing in the clothes of the opposite sex.
I recently asked the First Minister’s unofficial spokesperson Mhairi Hunter whether she agreed with me (and by extension with the court in Bellinger) that Eddie Izzard, when he is in “girl mode”, remains a man.
I’m not holding my breath for an answer.
The court’s definition of “gender dysphoria”, also known as “gender identity disorder”
This is how the court defined these synonymous conditions:
Transsexual people are born with the anatomy of a person of one sex but with an unshakeable belief or feeling that they are persons of the opposite sex. They experience themselves as being of the opposite sex. Mrs Bellinger is such a person. The aetiology of this condition remains uncertain. It is now generally recognised as a psychiatric disorder, often known as gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder. It can result in acute psychological distress.
In 2003, then, and for the UK’s highest court, this was the clear and precise definition of what it was to be “transsexual”.
It was “a psychiatric disorder” which could “result in acute psychological distress”.
And having the “misfortune” to suffer from it was the self-evident prerequisite for attaining the legal fiction of changing sex.
The court further defined the disorder by way of describing the treatments for it:
The treatment of this condition depends upon its severity and the circumstances of the individual. In severe cases conventional psychiatric treatment is inadequate. Ultimately the most that medical science can do in order to alleviate the condition is, in appropriate cases, to rid the body of its intensely disliked features and make it accord, so far as possible, with the anatomy craved. This is done by means of hormonal and other treatment and major surgery, popularly known as a ‘sex change’ operation. In this regard medical science and surgical expertise have advanced much in recent years. Hormonal treatment can change a person’s secondary sexual characteristics. Irreversible surgery can adapt or remove genitalia and other organs, external and internal. By this means a normal body of one sex can be altered so as to give the appearance of a normal body of the other sex. But there are still limits to what can be done. Gonads cannot be constructed. The creation of replica genital organs is particularly difficult with female to male gender reassignment surgery. Chromosomal patterns remain unchanged. The change of body can never be complete.
Again, there is no suggestion here that the condition of being “transsexual” is something to be validated or celebrated. Rather, everything described by the court as “treatment” is designed only to “alleviate the condition” and to do so, where appropriate, by increasingly drastic steps.
This progression – the progression undergone by Mrs Bellinger – is then set out by the court:
Surgery of this nature is the last step in what are typically four steps of treatment. The four steps are psychiatric assessment, hormonal treatment, a period of living as a member of the opposite sex subject to professional supervision and therapy (the ‘real life experience’), and finally, in suitable cases, gender reassignment surgery.
Just setting out what I’m sure seemed to the court in 2003 to be a compassionate, factual and uncontroversial definition of the “disorder” of “gender dysphoria”, and the treatments by which it might be alleviated, gives the starkest illustration of how far gender activists have succeeded in moving the discussion of these issues from what was a widely shared — and legally sanctioned — understanding of them less than twenty years ago.
Indeed, I suspect that if I were to go to Glasgow Green tomorrow and read these passages aloud, I’d be reported by any passing gender activists for transphobic hate crime and, bearing in mind the “education” delivered by Stonewall and others to our current Scottish Government, prosecution service and police force in the years since 2003, I’d probably be arrested and charged.
Nonetheless, I’ll take my chances and state here that the authoritative rulings and definitions provided by the UK’s highest court less than twenty years ago concerning the disorder of gender dysphoria and the plight of transsexual people are entirely in line with my own views.
Anything that has been achieved by gender activists since then by way of undermining any of these rulings and definitions to any degree is in my view a disastrous departure from both reality and rationality.
I hope that all of the above was of interest by way of providing some of the context for how clear and sensible things were not so long ago.
Please do come back for the three articles that try to make sense of where we are now.
25 thoughts on “WITH THANKS TO THE FRONTLINE FEMINISTS”
Good to see you Gordon. Look forward to reading the articles and thank you for all you are doing.
Thanks, sadscot. Good to hear from you too, and the kind words are much appreciated.
Thank you, Gordon. Crystal-clear.
Many thanks, Joan. I strive for lucidity above all else so that’s very nice to hear.
Thank you for this very interesting article of how we got to allowing the ‘fiction’ of changing the sex marker on a birth certificate.
Basically if we’d had same sex marriage back in 2004, there would have been no ‘Bellinger Case’.
Very much looking go reward to your next articles Gordon.
Thanks, nallyanders, I’ll try and get them out a bit quicker than I have some previous ones!
Marriage was definitely one of the big issues back then but there were — and are — others too. For example the 2002 case of Goodwin v UK that I link to in the post was also about social security and employment rights, National Insurance, state pension and so on.
As the court recognised in Bellinger — and as you and I of course recognise too — these are complex and difficult problems with no easy solutions where “transsexual people” are involved. Chanting TWAW and calling everyone who refuses to join you a bigot is not one of those solutions, whatever the Scottish Government may think.
Looking forward to your articles Gordon and you are doing an amazing job of clarifying the legal side of this stuff for us. I find the whole thing bewildering and stressful, so your calm explanations of the law are, well, calming.
It does beg the question of how and why have things altered so radically in society, but haven’t in law – when did it become okay to treat psychiatric conditions with life-altering surgery and no therapy? How did we get here without anyone saying,,, hold on,,, what about safeguarding? Where is the balanced and measured thought on how women (s rights) are affected?
No one can change sex. To pretend otherwise seems fraudulent. To sell it as a fact sounds criminal. How many re-traumatised people that bought into the cult are out there now? Where are the statistics on all the factors at play to tell us the effect on society, and who it most affects?
Why on earth is the SNP pushing this agenda? It’s sickening – there is no sense to any of their policies or legislation, and yet people keep voting for them, and what? Just hope it somehow magically comes out alright in the end? But then, there is such an obscuring veil over the real issues at hand, most people are not aware of the nasty undercurrents to the snp.
Very proud to have you, Gordon, and all the true feminists that are battling on these issues, on the side of sense and calm reason.
Thanks, Contrary, that’s much appreciated.
Your questions remind me of a conversation I had recently with an old friend who gives talks to students as a visiting lecturer and who told me that he asks them to name problems in society, guaranteeing that he’ll give them the cause of the problem in every case. He then answers “Capitalism” to every one.
I told him that if I were doing the same for our present culture wars, I’d answer “Poststructuralism” in every case. I think I’ve given the link to Noam Chomsky’s take on this before but I make no apologies for doing so again because this irrational cult, which until fairly recently was still confined for the most part to posey academia, has now infected our entire culture with its ex cathedra dogmas and shibboleths: http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.com/2011/01/chomsky-on-poststructuralism-and.html
“yet people keep voting for them (the SNP)”
One factor is that many people want to see us progress towards independence, see the SNP as the best vehicle and don’t really know (or care) about their other agenda. I too would like to see an independent Scotland but there is no way I could vote for the party in its current state.
Thank you Gordon. After a couple of hours spent on Twitter, I read your article and felt my shoulders start to physically subside and relax. It’s crazy how this whole culture-war has erupted. Stonewall’s “no debate” stance and their methods of getting people sacked for their beliefs, is almost identical to ‘Turning Point’s’ methods of abusing and deselecting Dominic Grieve/Anna Soubry/David Gauke etc in the Tory Party… leaving only the most fascist members to run the U.K. When did bullying and coercion become an acceptable replacement for healthy debate?
Your blog is the closest thing I’ve read to explaining things to me more clearly.
Thanks, beppitroo, that’s high praise indeed, and I’m sincerely chuffed that it helped. Gender identity ideology is, as you say, an authoritarian cult, and one of the best ways of keeping our sanity is to keep reminding each other of that fact. I try to keep in mind how all-pervasive and permanent McCarthysim must have felt to those living through it and how quickly the whole house of cards collapsed once the first few finally fell…
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Yes I too thought of how similar this cult is to McCarthyism. Very glad you’re on board Gordon as I much appreciated your analysis of the Salmond trial.
Very much enjoyed your first foray into giving reasoned commentary on a matter that now bedevils our society.
There’s no accounting for folk my old Granny used to say and she was right. What is going on around us is pure madness. The concept of one’s sex or is it gender, being determined by what is in one’s head is real space cadet stuff. Your question about Eddie Izzard was a good one, but do we know what is in his head, either today, tomorrow, last week, or for the minutes or hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays when he sits down to pee.
For me, I am but a simple chap. If you can understand what chap is, which in the current climate might be difficult. I don’t want the world around me turned upside down and inside out to accommodate legislatively, and with legislative consequences if I do not accept diktats imposed as a consequence of genres or is it sexes that people, if people even be the word, acquire through the spectrum of what is in, may be in, or might have been in their head.
There Gordon, I think I managed to get that out.
And now I shall turn my waking hours to establishing whether Tuesday comes before Wednesday. Well it doesn’t does it. Tuesday come after Wednesday because there’s always a day before. Mein Gott, – I should be the Scottish Government. It’s in my head!
Good to see you back with your excellent blog. Quality, not quantity.
Thanks, Willie, that’s much appreciated.
It’s always the “educated” and “sophisticated” types who are most vulnerable to this stuff because of course it’s only plebs like us who are naive enough to believe in common sense.
It’s why they can understand — and we can’t — that a pile of bricks is really a work of art, that you really can buy shares in the weather, that a man is really a woman and — of course — that the Emperor really is wearing a magnificent suit today.
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That’s an excellent summary of the legal position less than 20 years ago Gordon – thanks for that. I look forward to reading the 3 follow-up articles.
Is there any update on the Mark Hirst case?
Thanks, Duncanio, I’m glad you asked me that!
As soon as I get these articles up, I’m going to do a proper update on Mark’s case but the short version is that the case is currently sisted (i.e. suspended) while we await the result of the appeal and cross-appeal in one of the Rangers cases. Our senior counsel Andrew Smith QC is the lead counsel in that case (and Dean of the Faculty Roddy Dunlop QC has now joined the team too) so we’ll be in prime position to use anything helpful that comes out of it for Mark’s case. It’s looking like early next year before there will be a result in that one, though, so we’ll be cooling our heels for a while, I’m afraid.
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Very illuminating, thank you.
“I’ll argue that the drastic changes which the Bill proposes to the requirements for attaining the legal fiction that one has changed sex put the Bill beyond the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament and will lead inevitably to the Act, if passed, being struck down as unlawful by the courts.”
The striking down of the act remains one hope, although with the increasingly likely prospect of Penny Mordaunt being elected prime minister it can’t be too long before Westminster introduces a bill such as this.
Thanks, Sunshine. I don’t believe a word Mordaunt says about anything but I do find it very encouraging that she’s had to backtrack so much on this issue — and that she’s now getting pelters from both sides!
For whatever it’s worth, I think “reform” of the GRA is now dead at Westminster even if Mordaunt were to be elected as leader, and for as long as the Tories remain in power, so it’s all the more important that we stop the insanity in Scotland by any means possible.
Very many thanks for this superbly clear and utterly rational explication of these complex matters. The legal profession is to be congratulated for this supremely clear explanation of some complex biological problems – because problems are what they are.
I write as an academic biologist whose PhD subject was Pathology – the science of the causes and effects of disease. The clarity provided by the legal definitions of the various conditions makes it abundantly clear that all of these matters fall under the definition of that science.
Each of these conditions is characterised by some form of physical, paragenetic, developmental, anatomical, physiological, or psychological disorder.
It is wholly unsurprising that the one latched onto by the pathological zealots is ‘Inter-sexual’. This is a range of naturally occurring ‘mistakes’ in the complex developmental process (I have a first degree in developmental biology) by which the ‘neutral’ (actually a proto-female) body pattern acquires the described indicia of either male or female – the former by a process of masculinisation driven by the possession of the y chromosome and subsequently largely by testosterone. The relative lack of testosterone and the double x chromosomal possession drives development towards further feminisation of the already proto-female form (males are a relatively late arrival in evolutionary terms). Unfortunately – as with all biological processes – stochastic events can result in things going wrong, and mixed features may result. These are pathological conditions of developmental biology.
As you so clearly explain, these biological accidents provide the opportunity for the zealots wrongly to assert that all ascribed sex/gender at birth is nothing more than an assignation process. This is nonsense.
There is nothing more fundamental in biology than sex – because the ultimate (and in biological terms the only) purpose of having a body is to use it to transmit genes. All mammals reproduce sexually. All require clearly dimorphic male and female forms. To fulfil their biological function males and females must be able to recognise, be attracted to, and be able to mate with the opposite sex. All other situations are – in biological terms – “pathological”. That is : Objectively disordered.
The remaining conditions – trans-sexual (gender dysphoria) and transvestism are disorders of psychology. I have no expertise in psychological pathology, so will make no comment other than that these conditions are in biological terms, disordered – that is pathological – in that they bring about the defeat of the sexually reproductive imperative of biological existence.
A final word on homosexuality – where so much of these controversies began. This was formerly defined as a psychological disorder, but I believe it no longer is so (there are fashions in medicine as in other fields).
But in purely biological terms it too may be regarded as ‘objectively disordered’ in defeating the biological ends of existence – namely reproduction. However, there is substantial evidence that it exists in other mammals, and has been observed to have some biological utility, particularly in situations where the male-female ratios of a given species have fallen out of kilter (they are not always approximately 1:1 as in humans).
This is particularly the case in social species where ancillary activities supporting the reproductive activities of others in the social group may be assisted by sexually heterodox or neutral individuals.
Finally, I would comment only that it is neither normal nor natural to regard pathological conditions to be either ‘normal’ or ‘natural’. They are generally the sources of pain, dysfunction and distress. It is normal for civilised human beings to treat the victims of pathology with sympathy, respect and care.
The idea that pathological conditions should be celebrated – let alone promoted or indeed ‘normalised’ is both absurd and dangerous. Particularly so where vulnerable immature individuals may be persuaded along the more ‘drastic’ treatment pathways used to alleviate the psychological distress of body (gender) dysphoria/ gender identity disorder.
There is surely something profoundly sinister in recent efforts to undermine the human experiences of all human existence hitherto.
Many thanks to you too, Scientist. I’m very proud of the high quality of comments that the blog attracts, and yours are a perfect example.
Your point about the way in which the arguments of the gay rights movement — which I and every “gender critical” feminist I know supported, and support, unequivocally — have been misapplied to so-called “trans rights” is an important one, and your scientific perspective is very welcome. All that same-sex attracted people ever wanted was to have the same rights as everyone else in the same reality as everyone else. “Trans” activists demand “rights” that no-one else has in a “reality” that does not exist and to which they insist we must all conform.
As a matter of interest, the court in Bellinger also distinguished “homosexual” from “transsexual” thus:
“For completeness I should mention in passing that a transsexual person is to be distinguished from a homosexual person. A homosexual is a person who is attracted sexually to persons of the same sex.”
Thank you Gordon, for your kind comments. Thank you also for your emphasis on human rights – particularly in respect of the sex-based rights, especilaly of women (gay or straight) and the vitally important distinction between homosexual persons and trans people. (I happen to be a heterosexual male).
I am grateful for your recognition that to give these rights effect, we must rely on a science-based understanding of what drives the behaviours of those involved, and your fine descriptions of the fallacies invoked, and the sleights of hand.employed, by a crazed minority in order to undermine these rights.
In every respect, the behaviour of trans-women is only fully understandable in terms of male-bahaviour and its drivers – particularly the role of testosterone in the masculinisation of the body and of course the brain – the organ of behaviour.
That biological males can believe for even a nanosecond that they are women, betokens of itself the nature of the underlying pathology involved in such delusion. As my granny would have said: “thur no richt in the heid”.
Nevertheless, these human beings have rights like all other human beings. It’s just that these rights must be weighed against the competing rights of biological women (straight or gay) and indeed, homosexual men.
The mirror issue of women who think they are men appears not be quite so sociopathic (at least to me in my very limited experience – others will know more).
Therefore, any rational framework of law under which these rights may be asserted and guaranteed, must have a clear understanding of the underlying scientific facts that determine the behaviours around which these human rights must be exercised.
It is reassuring indeed, that by virtue of such clear legal thinking as that expressed in Bellinger v Bellinger, and your admirably clear exposition of that case, we all have some very useful and very clear information upon which to base our understanding – and indeed our common duty to defend the rights of everyone concerned.
Joaanna Cherry likewise does so in her excellent article in today’s National (15th July).
Excellent article can’t wait for the next 3.
“… then it surely must be open to, say, English people who could get a GRC under the new Scottish criteria but not under the criteria still applying to the rest of the UK to complain to the European Court that the UK has unlawfully discriminated against them by not meeting its European human rights obligations in a uniform manner across the whole of the “contracting state”.
This seems to me to be another very good reason for UKgov to challenge any legislation passed by SG. We know UKgov have decided not to implement Self ID so they would not want to be forced to reverse this decision by the European Court. Having pushed through BREXIT, & taking back control, the last thing they will want is to look like they are not in control of their own laws.
It is a also worth nothing that, with the reduced timetable for obtaining a GRC in a Self ID system, we could see Gender Tourists from rUK (especially students) to obtain GRC if UKgov decide to recognise new Scottish GRCs. I suspect UKgov will not recognise Scottish GRCs & will challenge the legislation on this basis as it will effectively bring in Self ID on rUK via the back door of Scottish legisation. The Tories will hate this but Labour & others will like it as it gives them the excuse of changing their own GRA should they ever get back into power.
So it is probably safe to say that if Holyrood changes the Scottish GRA while the Tories are in power they will be challenged by UKgov.
Firstly, an apology Gordon. I saw that your article had been posted but deliberately delayed reading it until today. This is because my ageing brain is struggling with trying to make sense of the events in Ukraine and the world generally. In the face of the threat of a nuclear conflagration, of the total inversion of facts i.e. that the Collective West is fighting for freedom, democracy and global peace despite having, for over 300 years, subjected the rest of the world to war, imperialism, an imposed “rules based system” that tramples human rights and liberties underfoot, I couldn’t face the necessary disciplined analysis, required to fully understand this so-called “transphobic debate”.
Whilst I have no doubts that the UK judiciary ultimately serves the class issues it serves, i.e. Capital, It does contain some of the finest analytical minds capable of logical and dispassionate reasoning. This is clearly demonstrated in the Bellinger case which you so clearly discuss. I do not dissent from any part of this excellent judgment.
Your article succeeds, where so many articles fail; in getting across what are in fact simple concepts to comprehend once stripped of the false, imposed political twisting and illogical assertions.
I can hardly wait for the next instalment. It should be required reading for anyone seriously entering the debate or, like me, just wanting a reasoned explanation of the inversion of scientific, established facts and the hijacking of meanings of everyday words.
Thank you so much!
Great to hear from you Ingwe, and please accept my own very sincere apologies for the delay in replying. You know about the case I’m working on, and it does tend to eat up the available hours, as you’ll also have seen from my failing to obtemper my cheerful predictions about when further posts on this topic would appear!
And of course I agree with you about the utter hypocrisy we’re seeing from our masters and their media poodles over what is happening in Ukraine. Among the many things being concealed from us is surely the true extent of the loss of life on the Ukrainian side, because if it were known, surely even the most enthusiastic armchair warriors would be sickened and demand an end to the proxy war.