Stop the bus, I want to get off…

22, December 2022

As Holyrood passes its irrational gender self-ID Bill into law, we must recognise this is only one stop on a long and bumpy bus ride.

Passing this new law was always going to be a bad move. But it is especially so given both public and professional opinion has turned decisively against the extreme ideology driving it.

Apparently that matters little to those who voted the Bill through, for whom putting unpopular and illogical ideas onto the statute book is something to be celebrated. But to those who have witnessed angry trans ideologues in action, giving them the ability to bypass reasonable safeguards is deeply troubling.

Consider the case of Robyn Woof – whose bizarre antics last week forced the cancellation of a feminist film due to be shown at Edinburgh University. Those attending were prevented from seeing the film ‘Adult Human Female’ because of Woof screaming that he was an ‘adult human female’. Woof says he is “really upset and angry” that his University employs academics “who are vocal terfs”.

Obviously Woof – a ‘liberation’ officer for the University students union and former Director of short-lived transport company Woofbus – has a right to speak out against films he thinks are detestable. But his involvement in the discussion was to trample on others’ freedoms, not enhance them. That is exactly what new laws from Holyrood do too.

And we mustn’t let the politicians get away with telling us this is about making life easier for struggling or marginalised people. This new law does the opposite. Those who are incredibly vulnerable and in need of protection are being thrown under the bus by virtue-signalling MSPs.

Confused children are now even more likely to have their wrong self-diagnoses affirmed. 16 and 17 year-olds will get a certificate stating they really are another gender before the doctor even has the chance to say hello. And their parents’ desperate attempts to get them to hold on to reality are even more likely to be dismissed.

The new law reduces the minimum age for gender recognition to just 16 – although the paltry six-month ‘make-sure-you’re-certain’ wait time can begin before that. This is far too young to be making these sorts of life-changing decisions, especially without the help of clinicians.

But this is only the bus’s first stop. Green MSP, Maggie Chapman, has already made it clear that she plans to put in place a “process for those under 16”. She claims “…we know many trans people know who they are, sometimes as young as 6 or 7 years old”.

That is actually conservative compared to Victor Madrigal-Borloz, a UN ‘expert’ who advised the Scottish Government on the present Bill. He claims children as young as two or three years are able to self-identify their gender. And then there was that time Stonewall, so beloved by the Scottish Government, suggested that nursery schools should teach gender ideology.

But before we get to Maggie Chapman’s self-ID for those who can barely spell their own name, our bus will stop at a perhaps even more depressing destination – a criminal ban on conversion therapy.

Yes, I know, that doesn’t sound so bad. We all want to see an end to abuse and coercion. Bullying gay or trans people has no place in our society. But the simple fact is that what you or I would consider ‘conversion therapy’ is already illegal in Scotland. What this new law will seek to criminalise is something completely different.

You see ‘conversion therapy’ has come to mean ‘any attempt to suppress a person’s identity’, and ‘suppress’ has come to mean ’disagreeing’. So discouraging a young person from presenting as the opposite sex – even just inviting them to ‘wait and see’ – could become illegal ‘conversion therapy’.  

A recent poll showed that two-thirds of the Scottish public disagrees with gender self-ID. That means the vast majority of Scottish adults have reservations about automatic affirmation of transgenderism. But voicing those reservations to a trans person – no matter how tactfully - could be outlawed under the new Bill if those advising the Scottish Government get their way.

If that seems farfetched look at the conversion therapy ban in Victoria, Australia, which is viewed by the Scottish Government’s ‘experts’ as a great model to follow. There, the Equalities watchdog responsible for enforcing the Bill says “not affirming someone’s gender identity” is an illegal practice. It also says that parents refusing to consent to their child going on puberty blockers are breaking the law.

We mustn’t be naive. The Scottish Government claims a conversion therapy law is needed to protect LGBT people. But in truth it is a way of stamping out opinions some politicians don’t like.

Just look at the accusation made against the SNP’s Ash Regan for dissenting on self-ID. She told the Scottish Parliament the story of a loving mother whose autistic child is struggling with their gender. Blair Anderson of the Scottish Greens claims the mother’s advocacy of ‘watchful waiting’ is “trying to suppress the gender of her own child” and demanded: “GRA reform needs to be quickly followed by a conversion therapy ban to protect all of the queer kids out there from abusive parents”.

Christians have been attacked for years for disagreeing with LGBT ideology. But society is filled with people who hold differing views on sexuality and gender. Most, indeed, are at odds with the new Holyrood orthodoxy. The Scottish Government has chosen sides and looks set to help activists punish their ideological opponents.

It is disastrous that Scotland could even contemplate a law which declares the ideology of these angry protesters right and the rest of society wrong. It is repressive and thoroughly illiberal. It is also outwith the powers of the Scottish Parliament, according to a top KC. Bringing in a law like this could cost the taxpayer dearly in legal fees.

Perhaps the way MSPs have backed the unpopular and damaging gender self-ID bill will be the wake-up call needed by us all to speak out publicly against this madness.

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