Trans-Gender, Non-Binary and Related Issues 205

Today I thought I might blog on a subject I understand nothing about. (Cries of “no change there then” echo around the internet). For the life of me, I have not been able to absorb what the controversies around transgender and non-binary actually are. I can think of no vaguely sensible reason why people ought not to be allowed to be what they wish to be. I am astonished there should be arguments about public bathrooms, and cannot understand why people cannot use whichever of these they wish to use too. There must be more to it than this, or people wouldn’t keep writing newspaper articles about it or asking POTUS. But the nature of the controversy is to me entirely mysterious.

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205 thoughts on “Trans-Gender, Non-Binary and Related Issues

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  • Jamie

    I am a trans person (I’ve had all the surgeries & ‘pass’ 100%) and I don’t understand why there are suddenly articles about us all over the media either – we’re really not that fascinating. I much preferred it when we were under the radar.

    • craig Post author

      Thank you Jamie,

      As it happens, the mother of one of our most regular commenters is one of the leading psychiatric authorities in the world on the subject and plays a role in authorising NHS operations. We attended her (80th?) birthday party a few years ago at which the large majority of guests were transgender. It was a very pleasant party indeed, and to someone with a workaday sexual identity myself, it was not only non-threatening (see Tom’s comment below), it was just entirely normal.

      • nevermind

        I have mentioned it, but my mother in law, Barbara Ross OBE, has passed away peacefully a year ago, she was a safe harbour for each and everyone who came for counsel and her work has started to make inroads into the usually fickle media landscape.

        I understand Jamie when she says that its more comfortable and safer under the radar, but in a way its good to talk about transgender.

        The issues in the press are more relevant of people’s prejudices than the general common sense that prevails in the general public.
        Barbara Ross held bi-annual Conferences relating to gender disphoria and transgender issues. She is widely missed by the trans community locally, as well as by many in Manchester and London. Rest assured her work will carry on.

      • Charles Edward Frith

        You don’t understand media agenda. Anything that stresses traditional family/society models is explored, pushed and taken apart while exploring, pushing and taking apart whatever stresses the right to be whoever you wish to be.

        I’ve known more transgender people than the average transsexual or gender dysphoria person. Hundreds. I’m sympathetic to transgender but I understand agenda and which themes are pushed.

        Transhumanism another one to look out for if you understand who runs things. PS. Israel the main architects of 9/11.
        Sorry about the truth.

      • Kate (hetero)

        Dear Craig,

        There are two main reasons transgender is in the media right now:
        1. the media is cyclical. Topics trend. Gays were trendy yesterday, transgender are today. Ukraine was trendy yesterday, Syria is today. Soon enough the media will find a new toy to play with;
        2. one of the Kadritschian/Karputchian(?) people had a sex change. There is a reality show on TV and she is every day everywhere on the gossip columns. The media is piggypacking and making the most of it. It is a circus and, sadly, transgender people come out as clowns thanks to the inadequate and opportunistic media coverage.

        Because of the two reasons above, everyone is suddenly “an expert” on the transgender issues. It is shameful how transgender people are treated by the media “experts”, but soon enough there will be another – more exotic – group to talk about.

        • Techno

          This is partly correct, but it’s more serious than that. Since the 1960s, the left wing agenda has been all about the promotion of the rights of oppressed groups. As each group achieves its objective, the agenda moves on, but each group becomes progressively smaller. So:

          Women’s rights: 50 per cent of population
          Ethnic minorities: 10 per cent of population
          Gays: 2 per cent of population

          Now that gay marriage has been achieved, they have to find another oppressed group so:

          Transgender: probably about 0.0001 per cent of population

          There aren’t enough transgendered people to create a movement, so they have to create new transgendered people by persuading schoolchildren to be dubious about their gender, hence the concerted effort to get transgendered education into schools.

          • Habbabkuk (keep calm, everyone)

            I’m not convinced by what you say in your final para but the rest of your post is absolutely correct.

            One- issue lobbies infiltrated and in the end took over the Labour Party in the 1970s and 1980s, filling the vacuum left by the disappearance of any serious thinking about economics.

  • Tom Welsh

    Maybe you are just very confident, Craig, and intellectually secure. Many people are shaken and upset when categories on which they utterly depended suddenly evaporate. I am sure you are familiar with the old legal saying that “parliament can do everything but make a woman a man and a man a woman” – obviously meant to imply something utterly impossible, and perhaps beyond the very scope of nature itself. Finding that someone who looks like a man is really a woman, or vice versa, or various related things, seems calculated to astonish, worry and even frighten.

    I have always been in favour of decent and fair treatment for everyone, but I must admit it stuck in my craw when marriage between two people of the same sex was legalized. To me, and I think everyone I know, marriage is specifically the formal relationship between one man and one woman, for the purpose of having and raising children by the standard biological method. If a married couple cannot have children, that is a shame. If they choose not to, that is their right. If any married couple decides to adopt, that is a very kind and useful thing to do. But about that point I start to feel… well, insecure is as good a word as any. It’s because I take marriage seriously that I don’t want it to be extended beyond its true meaning. If homosexual couples wish to have a formal relationship, that’s fine; but couldn’t they call it something else?

    • Tom

      Why do you have such a blinkered view of this institution? Or where do you get your understanding that it’s sole purpose is procreation between opposite sexes? A very brief search indicates that history has a different perspective:

      Going back to Craig’s point, I suspect the problem is people like Tom W who can’t see outside the Christian Western orthodoxy. The fact that we don’t have a pronoun to fit non-binary genders says it all, but I heard on the World Service that Thailand for one doesn’t have this problem, thanks in part to its resistance to invasion from Western “civilisations”.

      • CanSpeccy

        I suspect the problem is people like Tom W who can’t see outside the Christian Western orthodoxy.

        No, let’s have more Muslim immigrants who think it right that homosexuals be put to death, preferably in some grotesque and cruel way.

        But fortunately, the Christians in England, you know, the Anglicans, members of the national church, are generally quite well disposed to homosexual unions and some conduct blessings of such relationships. And many Anglican clergymen are homosexual, and in some jurisdictions, openly gay Anglicans have been made bishops. So perhaps you and others should update your understanding of Christian Western orthodoxy, lest in trashing Christian Western orthodoxy, we make way for some orthodoxy much less tolerant.

        • Habbabkuk (combat the haters)

          You are as bad as the Israel-haters, aren’t you.

          You have your own blog, don’t you – so why do you leave your poisonous droppings on this one?

          • CanSpeccy

            I’d thought you were capable or more or less rational discourse, but apparently you are merely a bag of wind, incapable it seems of logical argument or even of presenting an argument at all, just a dispenser of hate pretending to be anti-hate.

    • RobG

      Perhaps you have to define what you mean by ‘marriage’? ie, marriage under religious/church law or marriage under state law.

      Here in France marriage is only formally recognised under state law. You have to get married in your Marie/town hall. The church ceremony, which I’d say that about 50% of couples also take part in, is an optional extra which carries no weight whatsoever in French law.

      In France there’s also a fully legal ‘half-way marriage’ (I can’t now remember the name for it) for couples who live together, so that if they split-up there’s legal niceties about who gets what part of the shared record collection, etc.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      If two men or two women wish to call themselves married, I regard that as none of my bloody business. End of.

    • craig Post author


      See my reply to the comment above. Lots of things you are not used to might seem scary, but in fact people are just people.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      “To me, and I think everyone I know, marriage is specifically the formal relationship between one man and one woman, for the purpose of having and raising children by the standard biological method.”

      That presumably makes invalid every marriage entered into after the woman has had her menopause.

    • Jamie

      Tom: I appreciate that it might be a shock to find out that someone is trans when you previously didn’t know, but Craig was specifically asking about these US bathroom bills. Cis people have been harmoniously using the same toilets as trans people since the beginning of time (you’ve been sharing toilets and changing rooms with trans men for years – you’ve just never realised it because they never cause any trouble). Why the sudden fuss now?!

      As for it being “utterly impossible” to change sex: not only can surgeons re-configure genitals but it’s very likely that, with 3D organ printing, trans people will soon be able to reproduce in the same way as cis people. And before you recycle the tired old transphobe’s favourite “ah, but you can’t change your genes!”, scientists have recently found a way to alter an adult’s genetic sex. Just google “FOXL2 SOX9”. (Not that organs/genes ought to matter when people are just peacefully trying to lead happy lives.)

      • John Spencer-Davis

        Let me play devil’s advocate. I am a woman and I am sharing a changing room with someone who self-identifies as female but has undergone no treatment for transitioning. I do not wish to be observed naked by someone who is physically and legally male. Do I have a right to raise such an issue?

        • Laguerre

          Frankly, I have to suffer women in the men’s toilets everyday here in Paris. Do I get a choice? No. Is it likely I will ever get one? Also No. I can’t say I’m bothered. There are cubicles, as also in women’s toilets, if anyone were upset.

        • glenn_uk

          JSD – is this any more of a problem to you (not _you_, but the devil’s advocate you) that you might be seen naked in a changing room by another person of the same sex, and they find you highly attractive?

          That is something which doubtless happens quite a lot. But we’re unaware of it nearly all the time.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            It would not happen to me I can assure you! Not a pretty sight! Let’s put aside the question of whether or not it will be a “problem”. At the present moment, in a changing room a woman has a right to privacy, meaning she can change and be naked without being observed by a member of the opposite sex. She doesn’t even have to give a reason. A man deliberately observing her can be subject to arrest and criminal charges. Is the right of a transgender woman who has not undergone any transitioning, to use that changing room, an interference with the cis woman’s right to privacy, or not? And if not, why not?

          • glenn_uk

            I take your point, JSD, but what do you mean by “observing”? I doubt if a person who identified as a woman would be ogling another woman (unless he was a lesbian trapped in a man’s body, but let’s not overcomplicate things). I think everyone has the right not to be observed, frankly, cubicles ought to be available (and usually are).

            Back when I lived in San Francisco, the Van Ness 24-hour Nautilus gym was a notorious “cruising” spot. I got hit on there a fair bit, and it couldn’t have been much worse than being a woman obliged to changing and showing in the men’s room. Somewhat flattering, I suppose, but it was rather disconcerting. However – if you identify with the sex indicated on the door, you’re probably not in the wrong place.

            Beats me why right wingers (and religious nuts) have such an obsession with potty-issues, and think about gay sex such a lot of the time. Hardly crosses my mind, except when they bring the subject up (which is why it’s being mentioned in this blog).

          • John Spencer-Davis

            My point is that this is a place where rights clash, or potentially clash. Should a woman have a right to say: “I don’t care whether he says he’s transgender or not. I don’t care whether he pretends he’s not looking at me or not. I have a right to use a changing room without being in the presence of a legally and physically male human being, and I wish to exercise it.”

            Because if you grant transgender women who have not undergone transition the right to use female public changing rooms, you are in fact taking away that right. Like it or not, you are. So the only answer is “Yes: the right you claim is not absolute. If you don’t like the idea, tough luck. Get used to it.”

          • Wendy

            I have been leared at soo many times by men, not once to my knowledge by a cis lesbian, so their are either so much more discrete or don’t do it.
            So cis lesbians are not one iota of concern to me.

          • Wendy

            “Back when I lived in San Francisco, the Van Ness 24-hour Nautilus gym was a notorious “cruising” spot. I got hit on there a fair bit, and it couldn’t have been much worse than being a woman obliged to changing and showing in the men’s room.”

            How many men have you read about in the world news who have been raped/ beaten up/ for refusing someone’s sexual advances?
            now shall we restrict ourselves to india, where women have faces burnt with acid for refusing men?
            or the uk/ america where women are just raped for refusing the wrong man?

          • glenn_uk

            Wendy: I am baffled at the relevance your comment intended. You quoted my comment about my being hit upon in a San Francisco gym, and immediately go on to draw some unstated relevance to male violence and acid being used against woman in the most vile form of violence and abuse.

            The parallels you saw, and the relevance therein which were what- a counter? A complement? – to San Francisco gyms in a high-density gay area?

            What on earth are you actually trying to say?

          • Wendy

            I am saying that being hit on by a guy as a guy is in no way comparable to getting hit on by a guy as a woman.

    • Anon1

      I don’t mind two gays marrying each other as long as it’s just a piece of paper and not sanctioned in a church, and they don’t start ‘having’ children.

          • glenn_uk

            Why shouldn’t gays raise children? Do you think they’d be better off in some wretched children’s home (which has the worst possible outcome in terms of future attainment)?

          • Anon1

            It’s not an either/or. They’d be better off with a heterosexual couple who can fulfill the roles of mother and father.

            Can you tell me of an instance in which an orphan has had to remain in a children’s home because there has been no-one willing to take them on apart from a homosexual couple? How common is that? How common are any of these scenarios presented by liberals in defence of their perverted beliefs?

          • glenn_uk

            “Perverted beliefs”? Come on. It’s just not the case that we share prejudices, that’s all.

            Rather than set me up to prove a negative, why don’t you illustrate your assertion with some evidence? Show us where positive harm is on balance more likely to a child brought up with same-sex parents.

          • Anon1

            What happened to your claim that a child unadopted by a homosexual couple would end up in some wretched children’s home? Where are your examples of this having happened?

            I don’t say that physical harm is more likely. The mental trauma of having been brought up by two dads in a completely experimental and unnatural environment is enough. What will the children of one prominent music star do when not only do they realise their father has been engaging in gang-bangs with a variety of other men, but that they are the ONLY children they know who are the ‘product’ of a father and a father? Perhaps given the wealth of the ‘parents’ they will be fortunate enough to be cosseted from the playground taunts and bullying. It is the right of the child not to have to be put through this obscene liberal perversion. What are we supposed to do, shrug our shoulders and pretend it’s all normal?

          • John Murray

            And we all know where “the playground taunts and bullying” come form, right Anon1?
            Kids are taught prejudice, that’s the “perversion”.

          • glenn_uk

            Sorry, Anon1, I missed this one.

            “What happened to your claim that a child unadopted by a homosexual couple would end up in some wretched children’s home? Where are your examples of this having happened?

            I’ll explain it to you through logic, if that’s ok.

            There are plenty of children not fostered or adopted, that much is known.

            This is largely down to the lack of suitable foster parents, or adopters.

            If the pool of suitable caterers to these needs is increased, there will be fewer children languishing in care. That pool gets bigger, when potential candidates are not excluded on arbitrary and – no insult intended – bigoted grounds.

            Ergo, fewer children languish in care for as much time.

            If you have a problem with that, you need to explain why same sex parents should be excluded from the pool. Good luck.

        • lysias

          Anon1 demonstrates here that it is not just Muslims that he is prejudiced against.

          • Habbabkuk (combat the haters)

            He is less prejudiced against Muslim terrorists than you are against a couple of entire countries.

        • Habbabkuk (combat the haters)

          And brave of you to use yours, Morag.

          How many Morags are there in the UK?

          Be really brave and give us your full name and address, there’s a brave g

      • John Spencer-Davis

        The children may turn out to be gay, lesbian or bisexual themselves, in which case who is to say what the best gender role in early life would have been.

      • hairyman

        Anon1: I’ve been reading and enjoying this blog for years, never been that interested in getting involved in the scrum below the line before, but I can’t not call out this level of idiotic prejudice. “Perverted beliefs”? “…don’t start ‘having’ children”? I could bother you with any amount of reasoned argument, personal experience, or pleas to common decency and empathy, but I suspect that would all fall on deaf ears. So instead I’ll just call you a bigoted twat.

        You’re a bigoted twat.

      • Paul Barbara

        I can agree with you on this: I don’t mind Lesbian couples bringing up children, but homosexual men – Never. I have a problem with openly gay men teaching in primary schools, too. Just as I do with drunks and junkies.

        • glenn_uk

          Why the hell not? Have you got some evidence that homosexual men are more predisposed to sex crime, or are you just pandering to your small-minded prejudices?

          As for your transfer device of equating gays with alcohol and drug abusers, just one thing to say – screw you and your fucked up bigotry. You complete arse.

        • hairyman

          What the utter fuck? Are you for real? If so, as the poster above remarked, you are a complete arse.

    • Maxter

      Marriage is a legal contract between you your partner and the state indemnified by the required marriage licence. Go ask the church minister to marry you without a licence? Then ask them if they answers to god or the state first and watch them squirm! This qualifies marriage as nothing more than a business arrangement as far as the state is concerned, and lets face it when there is money to be made, the state is not going to turn away more of it?

      On the other hand, common law marriage requires the consumption to be carried out in the style that you are accustomed to. Ask her, she agrees and then you both swing from the light fitting! Now thats real marriage! And same sex couples cannot consumate the real thing!

    • Maxter

      Hi Tom,
      Marriage is just a legal contract between you your wife and the state! Ask the minister if they would marry you without a licence? Then ask who they bow to first, God or the state, and watch them squirm! Marriage is just a business arrangement that the state gets to benefit from, so the state is not going to knock back further business should it come in other forms!
      On the other hand, common law marriage is solely between a man and a woman with no state involvement whatsoever. You ask, she agrees and you both swing from the light fitting. Only a man and woman can consumate marriage in this way!

    • lysias

      I suspect it is only a matter of time, as science advances, before two people born into the same sex can procreate children. The recent operation to transplant a womb (into a woman) was a big step in that direction.

  • RobG

    Craig, in my humble opinion it’s all just a load of nonsense to stir-up hatred/divide and rule and to distract the masses from what’s really going on in this world.

    I’m too tired to remember right now, but I believe that throughout history there have been many societies that not only acknowledged that some people are straight and some are gay, but also that some people are ‘inbetweenies’, which for those of a musical bent brings me onto one of Mr Dury’s best and least recognised tracks…

  • Just one question

    So, Craig, do you think a male criminal should be allowed to go to a women’s prison if he so chooses?

    • craig Post author

      I think if they can show they genuinely identify as female, yes. Chelsea Manning for example.

      I do not quite understand what the objection is. If you fear sexualised behaviour, then you would have to argue that lesbian or gay people might not go to their “own sex” prisons, and bisexual people would not be able to go anywhere. Now I come to think of it I am not quite sure that prisons ought to be sexually segregated anyway, any more than educational institutions, workplaces or hotels are.

      • Just one question

        So you are retreating from the position that “anybody ought to allowed to be anything they choose”, by adding the caveat that they must “genuinely identify”.
        Who would you authorise to pass judgement on their “genuineness”?

        • craig Post author

          Thinking this through. It seems to me there is no reason for the majority of prisoners to be sexually segregated at all. Some particular categories – sex offenders, persons violent against a certain sex – should be, until they reach a stage of rehabilitation. Prisons might be improved in many ways and become less effective at reinforcing criminal tendencies if they were mixed sex.

          Not the answer you expected I know.

          • Je

            There is a very big reason. If you google prison rape in the US for an outstanding example. Try rape in the armed forces as well. Try violent assaults in prisons. Prisoners are prisoners – they are shut in. That’s a vulnerable circumstance. They need to be sexually segregated. Your idea there is barmy.

          • Courtenay Barnett


            You said:-

            “Thinking this through. It seems to me there is no reason for the majority of prisoners to be sexually segregated at all. Some particular categories – sex offenders, persons violent against a certain sex – should be, until they reach a stage of rehabilitation. Prisons might be improved in many ways and become less effective at reinforcing criminal tendencies if they were mixed sex.

            Not the answer you expected I know”

            Answer: The women would get raped by the men; not to mention the men who were already raped by men.

          • Je

            Another thing just… I’ll at least say you’ve given food for thought here… is how destructive it would be to outside relationships. Your partner gets jailed and… is locked up with a load of people from the opposite sex…

          • Wendy

            And if men and women are to be housed together, what is to be done about birth control and all the babies there will be with no parents at liberty to raise them?

      • CanSpeccy

        From the silly talk and dangerous schoolroom brainwashing to which children are now exposed, many may have the idea that gender is something quite fluid and alterable. For most people, that is almost certainly not so. Guy de Maupassant, for example, recorded that from the age of five his blood boiled with lust, a lust that was invariably heterosexual. While Maupassant was probably unusual in the intensity of his sexual obsession, like him, most people, develop a sexual proclivity, homo or hetero, that is largely inborn and determined early in life.

        What the vast majority, hetero or homo, should understand, however, is that sex chromosome abnormalities, e.g., XXY, YYX and some others are quite common (in total, about 0.9% of the population). It is almost certain that people with such chromosome abnormalities comprise the vast majority of the transgender community. The existence of a genetic basis to the transgenderism indicates that the condition is not some kind of perversion, in the sense that it could be corrected through self-discipline or conditioning, and confirms that transgendered people are as entitled to acceptance as anyone.

        • John Spencer-Davis

          Could you please let me know the studies linking chromosome abnormality to transgenderism? Thanks.

          • CanSpeccy

            Gross sex chromosome abnormalities, e.g., XXY and XXX, are found in only one or two percent of transgender individuals, but a large minority show chromosome heteromorphisms. Little seems to be know about how such abnormalities relate to gender indentity, but they suggest genetics are likely important in many cases (including the genetics of the mother, whose hormones influence foetal development).



      • Mrs B, Essex

        What is feared is acts of sexual harassment and violence, not feelings of attraction or desire. It is a rape myth that sexual crimes are motivated by lust; the motivation is hate, disdain, desire to control and desire to dominate and assert authority.

        • Just another question

          So if you think the best solution to the threat of sexual harassment and violence is sex segregation, do you also think the best solution to the threat of racial harassment and violence is race segregation?
          And if not, why not?

  • Mark Golding

    I myself find it impossible to consider any argument around trans-gender.

    A mutual friend, Lee, who once described to me a world based on a resource economy beyond poverty, politics and war, loved to dress as a women. Lee had a generous wardrobe of give-away female rags. Lee would blow away hours shaving his whole body until his skin was smooth, soft and feminine. Lee was attracted to women, perfectly straight yet sadly introverted, reclusive and solitary, exclusively spending time with his partner and his closest friends. That is until he opened his soul to everyone and ‘came out’ indeed with much courage and resolution.

    I believe we must ask ourselves was it the battle of life, the vicious circle of society that kept Lee chocked and embarrassed for way too long?

  • Roderick Russell

    My real concern about public bathrooms is that they are seldom kept clean enough. I don’t understand what the concerns about gender-related use of bathrooms are since presumably people (of whatever sexual persuasion) are already using the bathroom that fits best with the sex of the clothes that they are wearing at the time – and doing so without any fuss at all. So what’s new, except that this non-issue is being publicised for some purpose. There are some very real human rights issues around that aren’t being dealt with at all as the human rights industry is scared to touch them.

  • Resident Dissident

    “I can think of no vaguely sensible reason why people ought not to be allowed to be what they wish to be. ”

    That argument has never stopped people any where or at any time having arguments about all sorts of things. Is there any sensible reason for arguing about someone else worshipping a different or especially the same all powerful God when you are convinced that your all powerful God has already pre=ordained everything? People, of all levels of intelligence, are irrational in all sorts of different ways – get used to it it will take many many years for it to disappear.

    Most of these form of discrimination tend just to wither with time – some Christian churches used to segregate congregations by sex, some Christian churches used to practice segregation by colour, some still don’t allow women priests, some still consider homosexuality a sin, some still kick people out for all sorts of stupid reasons. The same trends are there in other religions. The power of rationality and liberal thinking is such that it will eventually win through.

      • glenn_uk

        I thought it was because people are no longer duped by all that religious hogwash, find better things to do with their time and money, and don’t want to be told what God supposedly wants them to do.

        So you think the success of Islamic fundamentalists is to do with their decidedly un-liberal attitudes – are you advocating for them now?

        • Anon1

          Nope. I don’t approve of throwing gays off buildings. Or killing apostates.

          Regarding the present age of liberal vapidity, people who look for answers in religion are unlikely to follow those that change themselves constantly to keep up with every passing whim of society.

          • glenn_uk

            Damned white of you to restrict punishment to non-capital sentences, but don’t you share the general sentiment of your fundamentalist Islamic mates, who also hate anything not “traditional”?

            About changing with whims of society – do you seriously think being gay, lesbian, trans or anything outside straight hetro orientations, is simply a trend, a passing fashion? Do you think people get bored with being straight, and simply fancy a different orientation, because it’s fashionable now?

            It’s an astonishing perspective, one I simply cannot share. I simply could not change my orientation according to the dictates of fashion. Could you?

          • Habbabkuk (combat the haters)


            He’s talking about the Church (not people) changing to keep up with every passing whim, you plonker.

          • glenn_uk

            Habbabkuk: It’s obviously about the CoE changing to adopt the general values of society then, YOU plonker. Not that they’d got all “liberal” for no particular reason and pissed off the faithful.

            Fact of the matter is there’s a lot less of the faithful around these days, hence a huge reduction in church attendance.

      • Resident Dissident

        Some times religious establishments get ahead of their congregations – I daresay quite a few of the congregation where muttering and complaining in the past when the C of E stopped killing apostates.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      The late, great Farrell Till (1933 -2012) began his life within, and his early adult life as a preacher and missionary for, the US South evangelical inerrantist denomination the Church of Christ, before apostasizing and becoming a committed atheist and a fierce critic of the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy.

      The Church of Christ split into at least three denominations, each of which regarded each other as heretical. They divided over two matters: whether or not it was sinful to play musical instruments during services and whether or not everyone should use the same cup for communion. The denominations are colloquially known as the One-Cuppers, the Cups Brethren and the Instrumental Brethren. This is not a joke, and is not something out of Gulliver’s Travels but is regarded as a serious matter involving salvation and damnation for the relevant sets of worshippers. This is what irrational belief can actually bring people to.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford aka The Biscuit

    It’s just like most politically debated issues these days, like gay marriage, right to life, assisted suicide, abortion, smoking and drinking, correctness, conspiracy theories etc., disputed usually by people who just wanted to make others feel and be miserable.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      O.K., I was on the dole..but after Stonehenge Free Festival in 1982, cos someone was doing these Flyers advertising Flushing Toilets at The Elephant Fayre in Cornwall…My Girl and me went to The Elephant Fayre in Cornwall

      and it was fkin Brilliant – The Band Loop were amazing

      But you don’t always get what is advertised..

      Basically the Toilets…Deep Trench and Planks of Wood over The Trench…

      No Cover..No hiding..Out in The Open

      Both Boys & Girls shitting and pissing together in the open for everyone to see…

      Personally I didn’t look at anything except their Faces and Their Hair

      I could tell The Difference

      I am with Friends


  • Republicofscotland

    I think, people should be allowed to live as they please, man, woman, A-sexual etc, however the legality of certain situations, prison, bathrooms, changing rooms etc, is at present a mine field.

    I have to say though, that I’m old school, and although I’m not particularly religious, I believe in the bibles version of a man and woman, and their relationship.

  • Bobm

    Whatever one’s aspirations for the future it seems irresponsible to propose free access for people who “can show that they genuinely identify….”

    This, Craig, is not lucid thinking. Who is supposed to be the arbiter?

    And then, on what basis do you, Craig, and the outright free-thinkers here consider that you can demonstrate the superiority of your view to Jewish or Muslim [or, indeed, other] adherents…or, indeed, to most fellow citizens?

    Perhaps we should hesitate over public facilities until we have resolved that?

    • glenn_uk

      Bobm: If you have Islamic or Judaic delusions (or Christian myths as your guiding principle), good luck to you! The problem is when such crazed notions start to dictate the lives of others. Which is where the whole problem of religiosity is at its most stark.

      For instance, if you don’t like gays, don’t date one. But if you want to stand in the way of gays dating, or punish them for it, then you are the problem.

  • Peter wright

    Craig you take the words out of my mouth, generally great that such people make more colour in our society!

    On a negative note, I live in Germany and by csd they have carnival which is wonderfull however some LGBT people strap on gigantic penises or other wise demonstrate a view of sexuality that little children attending the carnival should not be dub jetted to . I think such people are wonderfull however I would like a bit more self control by such groups. Which brings us to breast feeding in public, why the hell not where do such idiots come from who complain, do they not realise that babies need feeding immediately, in the good old days department store had a ladies bog with a powder room why has this disappeared it was cool! And very british

  • Ba'al Zevul

    ‘Vaguely sensible’ reasons are probably too much to expect from a species hard-wired to reject difference from the norm. See also racism. Otherwise, it baffles me too.

  • Tom

    I think most people would find it a bit disturbing but are being brow-beaten into accepting the trans-gender agenda for fear of being labelled bigots. This is the government’s strategy on many issues – frighten people into submission against their better judgement. That’s why we’ve had so many articles making light of John Whittingdale consorting with a prostitute – just us plebs being narrow-minded!

    • Techno

      This exactly. It is the feeling that I’m being bullied that I resent, particularly by the BBC which I am forced to pay for by law.

        • Techno

          The BBC iPlayer now has a live feed, so you now have a “device capable of receiving a live transmission” whether you watch it live or not.

          In any case, the current government have said recently that they will be making it a crime to watch any iPlayer programme without a licence.

          • Clark

            It’s watching or recording at the time of transmission that you need a licence for, not for possessing a device capable of doing so.

            Nearly all convictions are based upon confessions extracted by leading suspects into discussion of celebrities on reality TV.

  • Jon

    Re: Toilets.

    I’m UK based. We have one toilet at home, which both men and women seem to be able to use perfectly well. As have several gay men and women, and a transgender child. The only one who struggles with it is the dog. (So evidential proof that toilet issues aren’t caused by gender or sexuality.)

    I suggest that this is a US problem, and that the real issue is that Americans don’t have proper doors to their public toilets. There’s always this huge gap under and over the actual door. I’ve always wondered why the world’s richest country, the world’s most extravagant consumer, the country that brought us the Hummer, the B52, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover dam, Kim Kardashian’s ass, can’t make proper sized public toilet doors. (Mind the gap!)

    A recent trip to California and Hawaii shocked me when I discovered that the public loos had no doors at all. You just stood there in line watching your fellow ‘citizen in need’ taking a poo.

    America, start making proper doors and this ‘transgender toilet issue’ might just resolve itself.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      I think the toilet issue is a bit silly – I had mixed gender toilets doing my psychotherapy training and nobody cared a hoot, although it’s quite a jolt coming face to face with a woman for the first time when exiting a cubicle. I think the idea of changing rooms is more challenging, because in my opinion that is where rights potentially clash.

      • glenn_uk

        “… it’s quite a jolt coming face to face with a woman for the first time when exiting a cubicle.”

        Kind of depends what sort of state you’ve left it in 🙂

        It might be all very jolly to tell some bloke, “I wouldn’t go in there for a bit if I were you, mate.” Rather embarrassing to have to say that to a woman. Or to slink off, eyes downcast.

      • Wendy

        Our local pools changing area is very small you are very intimate with everyone else changing, in the single open area, how do i know if this naked man in front of me is a transwoman or a perv?

  • RobG

    2016, or 1016?

    Actually, 1066 and all that was when women’s rights went completely down the pan. The Norman invasion imposed church rule over most of what is now called England. Prior to this, women were equal to men, and there was no ‘God’ or religion or any of that crap (apart from the old pagan stuff).

    Just thought I’d point this out.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Even I am impressed with the sound and the photography, and the band in the unlikely event they will ever see it, will think how the fck did you do kit…no ext link…and it was so loud…and I was so close…

    How come the sound is not distorted?

    my little second hand camera is really nice…in fact i might buy another one.

    the new stuff can’t cut it

    I am really pleased with that.


  • Tony_0pmoc

    My Daughter has tried to explain it to me…”No He is not My Boyfriend”…but I didn’t quite get it…and now the Mother of My Grandson – nah he ain’t her Boyfriend…

    Well he doesn’t look Gay to Me…

    The Children tried to explain…no he is just her best friend..

    Fine but they almost certainly sleep together and cuddle each other and fall asleep together in the same bed in same bedroom..(upstairs)

    I am an old man, and I don’t know what’s going on…

    Do you think, I am going to love my daughter any less, if she says to me in her little lovely girly way…

    Dad, I think I am growing a Penis. I think I might be Gay

    Don’t be so completely stupid. I have changed your Nappy..and I have met your boyfriends – they are not all like that..I really like your current one..he is just so nice and polite…you ain’t going to tell me he his gay and you don’t have sex?

    He is very good looking.


  • Anne brown

    Surely removing a man’s genitals and putting a skirt on him does not make him a woman .It makes him a eunuch .There’s nothing wrong with that if it’s voluntary and eunuchs have been part of many societies as the third sex.We have an obsession with pushing people into either male or female categories these days starting with pink frills for girls and blue for boys ,all part of our modern consumerist lifestyle and being `trans` is in fashion currently.
    Women’s toilets as places of privacy and safety would be compromised if they became unisex and the queues are bad enough as it is!

      • Wendy

        And her fully working penis, in case anyone is left who doesn’t know this important bit.

        • John Spencer-Davis

          I was certainly left. I had no idea either that Tara Hudson was a sex worker or that she had a fully working penis. In fact, before I posted this link I tried to check her out to see if she had transitioned, and the Guardian said “It was six years ago that Hudson began the surgical and hormone treatments needed to make the full transition from male to female.” So I am surprised.

          However, it is an illuminating example. If the fact of Tara Hudson’s genitalia was not known, would any woman have any hesitation sharing a toilet or a changing room with her (provided she did not completely disrobe)? I doubt it. It is interesting to see the concerns – in my view, entirely understandable concerns – that have been raised here. They are not about prejudice, but about cis women’s concern for their own personal safety and their right not to be used without their consent to gratify male sexuality. If there is to be dialogue with the trans community, I believe these concerns have to be acknowledged. However, trans women also have very similar concerns: if they are to be forced by law to associate intimately with the gender with which they do not identify, they will be at risk – and the risk is very high for trans women.

          Incidentally, to be unpleasantly technical, it is perfectly possible for a man or a trans woman to have a fully functioning penis and also to be a eunuch.

      • Mrs B, Essex

        Tara Hudson is a sex worker (relevant only because this is how it is known) who advertises that she has a fully functioning penis, so not a eunuch no.

  • Loony

    Oh great, trans gender people such an important topic – what with the consequent need to wonder whether toilets segregated on the basis of sex is merely one more form of discrimination perpetuated by an ill educated, narrow minded, bigoted proletariat.

    Mean while in news that is not at all interesting General Scaparrotti (The Obama nominee to be the next NATO and US European Commander) recommends the shooting down of Russian warplanes behaving in a “reckless and unjustified manner”

    I do so wonder whether starting a nuclear war will be beneficial to the cause of trans genderism or resolve arguments over “sexist” toilets.

  • Loony

    Why stop with transgender issues. What about all the trans ability people who are no doubt feeling left out by all the focus on trans genderism.

    In Canada someone has published a book setting out how best to chop off a limb in such a way that makes it impossible for a surgeon to re-attach the limb.

    In southern Africa public radio seeks to persuade people that chopping off the limbs of albinos is not a good idea since (i) It is not true that Albinos are immortal and that furthermore Albinos have no ability to regrow severed limbs and (ii) Albino limbs are neither an aphrodisiac and nor can they cure disease.

    Can anyone spot a problem here?

  • Rhisiart Gwilym

    Identity politics is a useful shit-stirrer for the socio-political manipulators, Craig; the PRniks and pocket-politicians and their tame mediawhores: to keep our attention off the serious issues that are threatening us all now; to keep us divided and ruled.

    As you point out, gender matters are no big deal for the world at large – though obviously important for the individuals who feel them personally; my sympathy to them.

    It’s all just being blown up into a fake big issue, to keep us distracted and at each others’ throats, particularly with the sort of utterly irrelevant religious silliness which has been somewhat on display in this thread. A political-manipulation technique developed in – where else? – the US of A.

  • S-Rah

    I’m typically very left, liberal, anything goes type, but trans issues have me worried, which puts me at odds with my normal tribe. It’s difficult and uncomfortable, but here are my issues:

    1. The word “woman” is being redefined to become practically meaningless. A woman is now anyone who says they are a woman. As a woman, I find that as offensive as Rachel Dolezal is to the black community. I’m not a feeling or a wardrobe to put on. I am a person.

    2. Women can’t “identify” out of being women. The Yazidi women kidnapped and raped by Daesh couldn’t avoid it by “identifying” as something else. Women and girls subject to FGM can’t say “actually I’m non-binary” and have their vulvas and vaginas left alone. To claim that woman is a feeling is to suggest that all the awful things that happen to women can somehow be avoided just by thinking about it.

    3. I’ve spent my life being taught to be wary of unfamiliar men in unfamiliar places, because men commit sexual, violent crimes against women at a considerably higher rate than the other way round. Now I’m told that I’m a bigot *phobe if I worry when I see this person in the bathroom with me

    4. I don’t really understand what special provisions or rights non-binary people need. I don’t “feel” like a woman. I’m not interested in any of the things women are supposed to like. I utterly reject the role society says I should fulfil. That doesn’t alter my biology in any way, it doesn’t alter people’s perception of me as a female with reproductive capability (important when applying for a job, for instance) and nor do I assume anyone else gives a flying shit about how I feel inside.

    5. The transing of children, which is on the increase, is particularly alarming. Giving puberty blockers to teenagers is simply abuse. A 20-something woman who knows she doesn’t want children will never find a doctor to sterilise her, but a 15 year old girl who says she feels like a boy is given puberty blockers and sterilised for life. A four year old boy who likes to wear dresses has his name changed and told he is a girl, instead of told boys can wear dresses. These are not small adults. They cannot make these kind of decisions.

    6. The world “woman” and “mother” is increasingly being removed from maternity literature because it’s transphobic. Women are increasingly told that any mention of their biology is transphobic or triggering. Women must have the language to discuss their bodies and the issues that face them without fear or censorship.

    7. For years, trans people happily pottered about their business and no one really cared. Now we’re expected to all say that transwomen are literally women, and let people with penises into rape crisis centres, domestic violence shelters and female prisons without question or discussion. Personally, I don’t think it’s wise to put convicted violent and sexual criminals, with penises, in a women’s prison.

    8. For years, women have said they don’t feel like the societal construct of “woman” .This is called feminism. Men laughed, and gave us a few equalities while patting us on the head in a patronising way. Now men say they don’t feel like the societal construct of “man”, and we’re all expected to roll over, deny 500 million years of dimorphic sexual reproduction on planet Earth, and say the female-penis is a thing. Genuine gender dysmorphia is rare and deserves treatment, respect and care. A lot of what goes on in the media at the moment is nonsensical, non-justifiable bullshit.

    • Phil the ex frog

      S_Rah, I find myself in a lot of agreement with what you say.

      It is also telling that people who have for decades been at the front line of fighting for equal rights are now attacked as the new oppressors. Whilst the host here, a rich old white fella of privilege who claims his womanising and fondness for young dancers from poor countries is merely a taste for good living (nothing to do with distorted power relations whatsoever) embraces the new cause eagerly. He’s surprised anyone could think differently. Hilarious.

      Of course like all the best causes coopted by power to serve power there is some truth in the argument. However, the idea that any man who feels like he is a woman is a woman and has the same rights as a woman to the extent that he must be allowed wherever other woman are is just nonsense.

      • craig Post author


        You evidently have not actually read Murder in Samarkand, which contains a passage on my angst at coming to terms with my own behaviour and very specifically the fact that my love life had been based on distorted power relationships. I must say I find your reversion to hurling personal insults at me completely uncalled for.

  • Jay

    It matters not who they are but how they are.
    a well kept bathroom is preferential to one that is not. So being a mixed toilet would be better. I it’s kept clean.
    Public toilets are under threat of closure by conservative polii’s
    As most public services they could be good but are they cherished?

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Under threat? They’ve been disappearing steadily for over a decade. If you’ve got one where you live keep a 24-hour watch on it. Our civic leaders will do anything to make you walk through two levels of a bloody shopping mall and hopefully buy something you don’t need en route.

  • Fettucini

    I think you may be a bit behind in your understandings of the trans debate.

    Suffice it to say no one believes the are the wrong body anymore. The push to changes one genitals is no longer necessary. One need only feel like a woman to be a woman. Many transwomen feel that they can still present as men for the ease of life while using women’s spaces. They have beards, they go by Dave.

    They are “lesbians”. If you think I am making this up I respectfully request you do some research on the term ‘truscum’.

    I do hope you are being facetious when you say you can’t possibly think of a reason people might not be comfortable with people of the opposite sex using sex segregated spaces of their choice as it take very little creative thinking to hazard a guess.

    Women are sexually assaulted by men. The kind with penises. 1 out of 4 of us are assaulted. Men commit 98% of sexual crimes and 90% of violent crime. Transwomen commit violence at the same rate as other born males*. Whether this is nature or nurture or a combination of the two we don’t know. But the point is they do. It’s why they have been making news lately with regards to prisons. Women just don’t commit violence in the number men do, so a very tiny minority of men committing violence at the usual rates will actually affect the non violent women’s prison population. Taking in to consideration autogynophila (men who get off while imaging them selves as women).. you are risking women’s lives in prisons and changing rooms by letting men work out their kinks in public. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it is the “sex positive” crowd who so often champion letting people self identify.

    By and large I make Corbyn look like Regan. I am not conservative, but I believe the idea that people have “female souls” is regressive and not worthy of liberal discourse. Why are we sharing out stories on social media of “two spirit” people? When did we stop ‘fucking loving science’ and move on to “gender identity” is innate (except for when it’s fluid)? This is a neo Christian ideology. Men should be men women are women.

    “Gender is innate, we were just misassigned”.

    It is this difference that has brought it to the media’s attention. Previously women were not complaining when we saw the random transexual woman in out restrooms. And trust me, we know she wasn’t born a a she. But we knew she wanted her privacy as did we and we let her get on with it. We had empathy for her disgust with her body (born women certainly understand dysphoria).

    This is different, this is new, this unsafe. Beyond all that I don’t even have it in me to have the discussion of why it offensive to talk of lady brains. Especially for men to tell me how I should feel about lady brains.

    *”male-to-females had a significantly increased risk for crime compared to female controls (aHR 6.6; 95% CI 4.1–10.8) but not compared to males (aHR 0.8; 95% CI 0.5–1.2). This indicates that they retained a male pattern regarding criminality.”*

    • deepgreenpuddock

      I think that you may have something interesting to contribute, but your comment is not entirely coherent or logically consistent. You should re-write, with attention to the detail.
      for instance: You say
      “This is different, this is new, this unsafe. Beyond all that I don’t even have it in me to have the discussion of why it offensive to talk of lady brains. Especially for men to tell me how I should feel about lady brains.

      *”male-to-females had a significantly increased risk for crime compared to female controls (aHR 6.6; 95% CI 4.1–10.8) but not compared to males (aHR 0.8; 95% CI 0.5–1.2). This indicates that they retained a male pattern regarding criminality.”*
      I take the second part to mean that male to female transgender individuals retain a similar tendency to
      violence, ass expressed by the rate of offence, as the general population of males.
      From this, we infer that sex related behaviour of transgender individuals have not had their underlying propensity to sexually violent (which you are tacitly defining as gender related) behaviour changed by any changes carried, (surgical and/or endocrinological) out on the transgender person.
      We get into some deep territory here unfortunately. Is the association of male gender and violent acts an association, with many or some intervening variables, or is gender a causative factor.
      That seems a difficult proposition since the great majority of males are not spontaneously violent.

      • Fettucini

        Either A. Men are taught to be aggressive and are products of our society and in which case transwomen are a danger to women as they were socialized as men.

        Or B . TW are aggressive because they are men. but if this is the case then they aren’t actually the gender they claim to be as they are behaving as men. And transgenderism doesn’t really exist.

        The logic fail comes from transgenderism.

    • craig Post author

      I fear that it cannot be very pleasant living with that degree of paranoia. And if the risk is really that enormously high, allowing the tiny number of people who might not meet your approval as female, but wish to use female toilets, is not going to raise it significantly.

      • John Spencer-Davis

        “I fear that it cannot be very pleasant living with that degree of paranoia.”

        I fear an enormous number of women will have a wry smile at that comment.

        • craig Post author

          John I fear you feel a need to be politically correct. There are a very large number of women in my life, and none of them walk around in momentary fear of assault.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            Don’t they? I wonder about that. Ask them.

            Women have to have their antennae permanently switched on in a way that men do not. Permanently. They always have to be mindful of ways of escape, ways of defence.

            There are plenty of women on this forum – I will be entirely willing to retract my statements if they say I am wrong.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            “Were you never taught about stranger danger in your childhood, well for women this is a lifetime concern of assault, not just kidnapping.” – Wendy, 25/04/16 12:11

            “How shocking you’d refer to a woman’s real fear of assault as paranoia” – Fettucini, 25/04/16 15:00

            “…the anxiety is that women might encounter male sexual harassment and violence. Women experience male sexual harassment and violence all the time. is reasonable for them to feel anxious” – Mrs B, Essex, 25/04/16 15:34

        • Fettucini

          You are unfortunately correct in your assumption. Women *do* walk around in a state of perpetual concern.

          1 out of 4 chance of sexual assault is nothing like paranoia. If you were reliably told you would have a 25% chance of dying from a flea related illness, would you avoid dogs? Too f*cking right you would.

          It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get to you. The very fact that women have been assaulted by transwomen but are still told that the small chance of us being sexually assaulted isn’t important as someone’s feelings shows why we have to be on high alert.

      • fettucini

        How shocking you’d refer to a woman’s real fear of assault has paranoia. Very few black young American men are actually killed by the police so I suppose they should get over their paranoia as well. The numbers of people who consider themselves to be outside the sexual binary are growing exponentially due to increasingly ridiculous terms. It is not merely transwomen but all people who are ‘not men’ (see The Greens) who are taking up female space. As for numbers, how small the minority isn’t relevant as women have no responsibility to take an additional share of male violence. Not even for one man. it is men who need to shoulder the burden. Please also keep in mind that one sexual offender does not equal sexual assault. Ir means many.

        I find your comments repulsive and ignorant

  • John Murray

    Sound of builders gleefully rubbing hands together, as the prudes rush to have a separate “Women Only” bathroom installed in their own homes, – just to reinforce their enlightened ideals.

    • Wendy

      Were you never taught about stranger danger in your childhood, well for women this is a lifetime concern of assult, not just kidnapping.

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