Under new gender recognition legislation proposed by the Scottish government, a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria will no longer be required for those wishing to change gender. Instead, under the new proposals, those aged 16 and over will be eligible to apply for legal recognition after living for a period of three months in their acquired gender. Trans people will, in other words, be allowed to self-identify, regardless of any medical assessment and without the obligation to have undergone any form of treatment to change their sex.
This, it must be understood, is a major change from the current position, governed at the moment by the Gender Recognition Act 2004, which says that trans people seeking a gender recognition certificate must have a formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria and have lived in their “acquired gender” for two years.
The move is strongly supported by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who, in an interview in February this year, told the BBC, “Gender recognition reform is about changing an existing process to make it less degrading, intrusive and traumatic for one of the most stigmatised minorities in our society” (https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/19955525.nicola-sturgeon-facing-revolt-gender-bill-rebels-seek-free-vote/).
Given recent criticism directed towards the imposition of so-called inclusion policies, her position might be felt a shade perverse. From the ever-growing number of complaints and legal cases now pending, it would seem that support for trans people is already regarded by some as over-weighted in that particular ‘minority’s’ favour, unfairly discriminating against those who disagree or express concern – even if it be entirely legitimately on the grounds of faith, health, or safety.
The recent High Court ruling in the case brought by Nigel and Sally Rowe against the Department for Education over its unfair and highly discriminatory trans-affirming policies, for example, has led to an urgent review of guidelines for how schools should deal with gender identity (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/parents-force-review-of-school-trans-guidance-m35dvvf8p). In similar vein, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, England’s only dedicated clinic offering treatment to gender dysphoric children, has now been forced to close, following allegations of children being rushed inappropriately into life-changing treatments – the result, it was alleged, of enormous pressure from trans campaign groups such as Mermaids (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jul/28/nhs-closing-down-london-gender-identity-clinic-for-children; https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/07/28/long-battle-change-transgender-clinic-shut-not-safe-children/).
Indeed, many, from all walks of life, have lost their jobs for daring to uphold the Biblical position that men and women are fearfully and wonderfully made, male and female, in the image of God. So, perhaps it is time for Ms Sturgeon to reassess her views of ‘stigmatised minorities’, and consider who it is in society who really needs protection.
Be that as it may, entirely understandably, both the proposals and Ms Sturgeon’s comments have provoked fierce debate, not least from women’s rights groups, who say that self-identification is demeaning and undermines the status of women, while posing a significant threat to female-only spaces, such as public lavatories, changing rooms and female prisons. It is wrong, feminists say, to allow sexually functioning male predators, self-identifying as women, free access to places where women have a right to expect privacy and protection. In support of their protest, hundreds recently gathered against the Bill outside the Scottish Parliament, with many – including author J K Rowling – wearing t-shirts labelling Nicola Sturgeon, ‘Destroyer of women’s rights’ (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-63162533).
Their courage is to be applauded. Yet more significantly, in so cavalierly dismissing the template and conditions for our creation, the Scottish government is setting itself in opposition to God, who, as set down in the Bible, created us male and female, in His own image.
Brave or foolish? Ms Sturgeon and her ministers should take warning.