Comment: Trans people need kindness, not endorsement
Thu, 14 Jan 2016
By Simon Calvert
Deputy Director, The Christian Institute
A new report from MPs on the Women and Equalities Committee calls for a move towards “self-declaration” of gender, an ‘X’ option for passports and 16 and 17-year-olds to be allowed to apply for gender recognition.
This report is morally and scientifically illiterate.
Transsexual people are absolutely entitled to the same dignity as anyone else. But MPs must stop trying to force people to agree with transsexualism itself.
A man cannot become a woman. A woman cannot become a man. We are not talking here about the very tiny number of people with genuine intersex conditions. For transsexual people, like the rest of us, their sex is a fixed reality, proved by their biology and declared by every cell in their bodies. No amount of political force or Hollywood propaganda can change that.
If politicians believe we can redefine our own gender at will, it’s no wonder others are following this to its (il)logical conclusion and advocating transracialism and even transageism. It’s time for a reality check. Some things can’t be changed.
Politicians have already backed Ofsted inspectors asking young girls whether they feel ‘trapped in the wrong body’, and current laws allow a birth certificate to be legally amended to show that, say, a 50-year-old father of four was born a girl.
Now MPs want to elevate the principle of ‘gender self-declaration’ and make official records ‘non-gender’.
A man cannot become a woman. A woman cannot become a man.
But what about the great bulk of people for whom being truly, biologically male or female, is important to their own identity?
Must all record of our biological sex be abolished to suit political fashion?
People who believe they are trapped in the wrong body should have our respect and our friendship. But politicians want their choices to be backed by the rest of society.
This is not an endorsement that anyone should be forced to give – least of all by having to surrender legal recognition of their own genuine, birth sex.
Transsexual people need patient help to come to terms with reality. The law must stop forcing people to lie about other people’s gender.
MPs are rightly sympathetic towards transsexual people who face gratuitous insults. We all know how that feels. Christians face insults too. But being insulted doesn’t make you right.
Many disagree with the transsexual movement, including well-known feminists and gay rights campaigners. They – and we – must be allowed to debate these issues without being falsely accused of ‘stirring up hatred’ or threatened with the criminal law.
Sex change surgery doesn’t resolve the underlying conflicts felt by people with gender dysphoria.
The law must stop forcing people to lie about other people’s gender.
It is cruel to make them believe that surgery, or ‘non-gendering’ of official records, will solve all their problems. It won’t. This is borne out by the tragically high suicide rate for people who have had a sex-change operation.
We must also be extremely careful about transsexualism among children especially when there is disagreement about the best way of handling the issue.
Many people are highly uncomfortable with parents and medical professionals using puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormone treatments to prevent children’s natural development.
A child is far too young to make such a life-changing decision.
Should therapy be aimed at changing bodies, using hormones and radical surgery, to match a person’s wishes, or should it rather be aimed at helping people to mentally adjust to accepting the bodies they were born with?
The Women and Equalities Committee’s report implies we should only care about the rights and feelings of transsexual activists.
Is it right and safe to put a biological female who claims to be male into a male prison?
Is it right and safe for a biological male who claims to be female to get changed alongside girls in the changing rooms at a school?
These are important questions that are ignored by this kind of one-sided discussion of transsexual issues.