The Difficulty of Gender Issues 323

It should go without saying that an important part of the approach to this debate should be not to hate anybody, on any side of the argument. Looking through the comments below I am very surprised that several people seem unable to do this.

I write as somebody who has spent virtually his whole life doing things other than think deeply about the rights of transgender people. The subject has however inserted itself centrally into Scottish political debate and particularly preoccupies sections of the leadership of the Independence movement. With the banning of the twitter account of Wings Over Scotland for what are judged by Twitter to be “transphobic” tweets, and the same day publication of the new Gender Recognition Reform Bill by the Scottish Government – and the coincidence of those two happenings worries me – I need to set down rather more coherent thoughts on the subject than I have previously.

To start from first principles, I believe that people should be treated as they wish to be treated. If somebody wishes to be treated as female I will treat them as female. That seems to me good manners. It seems the height of bad manners to do otherwise. If I meet someone who tells me they are a woman, I would not dream of querying them or demanding evidence. I would treat them as female. In my life so far, that is how I have always in practice dealt with people I have met whom I suspected might be transgender or transvestite. I treat them as the gender they present themselves as. (I do not care in the slightest for the latest fashion in politically correct jargon for these things). The same also obviously applies to people who wish to be treated as male.

I therefore support the principle of self-declaration that appears to be the basis of the Scottish government’s new bill. People should be what they wish to be, not what a doctor or psychiatrist tells them they are. Please note possession of genitalia does not factor in my thinking at all, in normal social situations.

We then come to the difficult bits. It appears to me plainly daft for a man simply to be able to declare themselves a woman and then to compete in elite sport in women only events. Men have natural competitive advantages from the effects on physique of testosterone. That is simply true, although I do find it rather ironic that feminists are now so insistent upon the fact, as it is precisely to adopt the arguments of Bobby Riggs against those of Billie Jean King. In non-elite, mixed ability sport – which is 99% of all sport that actually happens – I can see no reason why people cannot participate as the gender of their choice, and indeed I do not know why non-elite sport is gender specific at all. I am yet to play the woman who cannot beat me at squash. I suspect our cat could beat me at squash.

The attitudes towards these things change over time. When I went to primary school we had a segregated playground. There are still plenty of old Victorian schools around Edinburgh where the marking for boys’ and girls’ entrances survive in the brickwork. Though while talking of schools, I would add that I think gender re- assignment of children under 16 should almost never be allowed, as they are over-susceptible to adult influence.

Having lived so much of my life abroad, I have never quite understood the British obsession with gender segregated toilets anyway.

When it comes to prison, I have no doubt that Chelsea Manning should be in a female prison and treated as a female. Equally, there was a case highlighted on Wings over Scotland some months ago of a man convicted of sexual offences who had obtained admittance to a women’s prison after claiming female gender, who proceeded to carry out sexual assaults there. Plainly a convicted male sexual assailant ought not to be put in a women’s prison, even if they now claim gender re-identity.

So I quite accept that the right of self-declaration cannot be absolute and there are situations – highly unusual situations like prisons for violent offenders – where authorities should decide on its applicability in gender segregated areas. There are two things to say here. The first is that the entire debate so far elevates dogma on both sides above commonsense. The second is that to make law from extreme examples is foolish. We don’t make building codes for the general population on the basis of specifying the banning of the methods of Fred and Rosemary West.

Personally, I quite accept the view that a woman who arrives at a beauty salon ought to be able to refuse to have her intimate parts waxed by somebody she does not feel comfortable is the same sex as her, without being accused of “hate crime”. Others might not object at all and trans people ought not to be banned from working in beauty salons. These problems seem to me best solved by societal interaction and minimal intrusion of the state.

I realise that both sides of a currently heated debate will find my folksy take on this, based on empathy and tolerance not on rigid application of first principles, to be entirely wrong. Some will object to my lack of the latest PC jargon. One side will insist that being male or female is a simple physical thing and choice does not come into it. Some argue that men are violent, dangerous creatures from whom women need loads of safe spaces into which they can securely retreat, without fear of infiltration by “pretend women”. Others argue that identity is an entirely personal matter that nobody else can decide, and that the law should compel society to accept self-declared identity in every circumstance, and to do otherwise is a hate crime.

My own view is that, irrespective of whether gender is a binary divide, the question of how we treat trans people ought not to be a binary divide. It is a question of complex social interactions at a time of changing mores, and different factors are crucial in different situations. The safety of women is a crucial factor in the case of the male sex offender declaring themselves into a women’s prison. But the safety of women is not in imminent danger in the large majority of social interactions. The large majority of people, including the large majority of trans people, are decent and kind. Let us order relations on that basis, with safeguards in place for the unusual.

For what it is worth, in general the Scottish Government’s proposals do not seem to me a bad stab at these difficult questions. Self declaration should be the basic rule, and then there should be specified rules to cover unusual situations where problems might arise from aberrant behaviour, which may be exhibited by either party.

Finally, less than one per cent of the population have prosthetic limbs. If I were writing about the subject I would not feel the need to refer to everyone who does not have a prosthetic limb as “organics” or some such antonym. The idea we have to refer to everyone who is not trans as cis deserves to be ridiculed. The truly pathetic intellectual level of what passes for academic or expert led debate on these questions is a matter of some concern. I blame deconstructionism as the root of much trivial thought.

This whole issue is one of those subjects where I am aware that I need to duck for cover after writing.


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323 thoughts on “The Difficulty of Gender Issues

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  • Alex Birnie

    At last! A modicum of common sense! Together with a blog about this from Paul Kavanagh some time ago, these are the only times I have been able to read something about this issue, while nodding in agreement, rather than gnashing my teeth.

    • Brianfujisan

      I read the Wee Ginger Dug Post you refer to..It was the First I had heard anything about this subject.
      I sent the link to my Daughter who is passionate about these matters..then I forgot about it, Till last week, when she was telling me this is huge just now..I was a wee bit perplexed as all my own sources weren’t talking about it..Remember I forgot about Paul K’s Post.

      She was wondering about just any man declaring themselves a Woman..if it’s so easy to do,then going into Female toilets.. ect

      I was worried though, that it was being polarized as weapon against SNP at the worst possible moment, as we were about go to the poles..An unfounded worry, thank goodness..In Scotland.

      I do Believe Craig is Brave to Delve into this Subject

      • Dave S

        Craig is brave to delve into the subject, given all the abuse and threats people who do receive by the trans cult wokus dei brigade.

        It is just a shame he is on the wrong side of it.

  • Republicofscotland

    The whole gender self ID issue is a mine field that when you start musing over it you’re bound to offend someone somewhere.

    I always say follow the money when topics like this sprout legs and starts to run. We know that the LibDems received a large donation from the a company that produces Puberty Blockers, hence the pushing of the self gender ID craze sweeping the UK right now in some political corners.

    The problem is that you have a clash in some quarters, such as the infringement of biologically born womens rights. Who now find themselves sharing private spaces with men who self ID as women, and vice versa. You can see how that would frighten and threaten them.

    I think governments need to protect womens rights a bit more and strict laws need to be put into place to shield, as you say, children from self ID.

    The Scottish government really needs to take a step bsck and reassess the whole self ID aspect, if they don’t they could incur the wrath of women fed up with seeing their private spaces shrinking.

    • Shatnersrug

      That pharma angle is interesting, I must admit I did wonder what the draw was in such a minority issue. For years we lefties have fought for or brothers and sisters in the LGBT community, it comes as a surprise that it should be such an issue in the last five years with people who don’t give a shit about anything other than themselves.

      I do feel that Craig is an displaying signs of being an old fart!!! As am I – the great thing about the great trans debate is I have nothing to offer in it, I’m an ageing white male so ill let it wash over me.

      Bloody kids. Get off my lawn ???

  • Dave S

    I do not think society should be playing in to the delusions of people. This is a terrible precedent to set.

    The problem here, as I see it, is that the norms of what society defines as Male and Female are wrong i.e. that is to say that not all men have to wear blue, watch football, and leave the toilet seat up. Likewise, not all women need to wear pink and paint their nails whilst watching Coronation street. If it was the societal norm that men who like to wear womens clothes were accepted in society as men, we would not be having this discussion.

    If I were to adamantly believe I was a tiger, would you accept this? Would you help me campaign to have cats-eye surgery and stripes on the NHS, so that I could feel more comfortable? No – of course not. This is patently ridiculous. But why? well – science. It comes down to chromosomes and suchlike. Logically, exactly the same reasoning can be applied to sex. Women do not have penises.

    If the government are going to be in the business of denying science, then I object whole-heartedly.

    • Dave S

      Furthermore, the vast majority of people who “identify as women” appear to be fetishists. Whats going to be next? Justice for Panty-Sniffers?

      • Michael

        I agree with Dave S. If we continue denying science and go along with someone’s “feelings” then in a hundred years we’ll be back to burning witches. And it will be men who identify as women who will burn real women.

        I think this using whichever toilet you choose is just plain wrong. It’s a moral issue so how can they outlaw someone’s morals? I really think some of these men who demand the right to use women’s toilets are simply deviants.

    • Muscleguy

      Agreed, where does it end? i declare I’m a lawyer, I self declare I’m a medical doctor? I self declare I’m a structural engineer?

      All these statuses require you to be the member of professional body and to have passed all the courses, gained the degrees and if deemed necessary served your subsequent apprenticeship. My father was a Mechanical Engineer, he did by an apprenticeship and classes at T-Coll. So long as he maintained membership of the Institute of Engineers who had accepted his status he was an engineer. Membership meant he could be regulated by them.

      Who is going to regulate self declared Trans people?

      • SA

        Nonsense. There is no equivalence here just a straw man. The argument is about self image not professional abilities.

        • Dave M

          You’ve entirely missed the point if you don’t see the parallel, sadly. Where does it end? Self-declaring age and ethnicity? This policy is the top of a very slippery and dangerous slope.

          • SA

            You already self declare your ethnicity on forms that you fill. Age is a different matter.
            There is a distinction between indulging someone’s own image of themselves and awarding or recognising a professional ability and competence to practice a trade.
            It is trivialisation of these issues that lead to misrepresentations .

  • Reliably

    ‘In non-elite, mixed ability sport – which is 99% of all sport that actually happens – I can see no reason why people cannot participate as the gender of their choice, and indeed I do not know why non-elite sport is gender specific at all.‘

    Well, rugby. And a whole host of other sports where a serious disparity in size and strength can result in injury to the smaller participant. Injury aside, there’s a lack-of-enjoyment factor when your less-skilled opponent will stop your progress in the tournament by virtue of their size and strength. There might be inclusion in that but there’s no equality.

    Sometimes what is called ‘transgender rights’ appears to be an unfortunate extension of cultural male privilege into biological women’s enjoyment of life. The biological males who identify as women somehow arrive at their new gender with their male privilege still intact.

    It doesn’t make you a transphobe to try and make sense and fairness out of this situation.

    • Little Bat

      Excellent post Reliabily. The reality of gender privilege isn’t as fluid as these lifestyle experiences.

  • Sim

    ‘In non-elite, mixed ability sport – which is 99% of all sport that actually happens – I can see no reason why people cannot participate as the gender of their choice, and indeed I do not know why non-elite sport is gender specific at all.‘

    “”… a primary reason for the sex differences in the physical attributes that contribute to athletic performance is exposure to much higher levels of testosterone during male pubertal growth. Those physical attributes include power generation, aerobic power, body composition and fuel utilization. Compared to females, males have greater lean body mass (more skeletal muscle and less fat), larger hearts (both in absolute terms and scaled to lean body mass), higher cardiac outputs, larger hemoglobin mass, larger VO2 max (i.e. a person’s ability to take in oxygen), greater glycogen utilization, and higher anaerobic capacity.

    The result of this differential is the performance gap between males and females that justifies the existence of a women’s category in competitive sports. That gap typically extends to 10-12%. Without an eligibility rule based in sex-linked traits, we wouldn’t see female bodies on any podium. Equally important, without such an eligibility rule, it’s unlikely that societies could continue legally to sustain separate girls and women’s only sport. The set-aside is premised on inherent biological differences between the sexes. If that basis were eliminated, it’s unclear how the classification would pass muster under standard legal anti-discrimination analysis.”

  • Muscleguy

    As a PhD in physiology and a muscle specialist (hence the moniker) and also a lifelong athlete I understand the advantages us males have in more depth than most. In short as Craig says males in the vast majority of sports cannot compete fairly wth women.

    The worlds best 100m time for 16yo boys is faster than Florence Griffiths Joyner has ever run. So imagine what a 20yo sprinter who cannot be competitive with their fellow men could do by declaring them to be female.

    What gets me is the that the IOC definition of the testosterone level trans women athletes have to reach is TWICE the maximum for natural women. Why? because lowering it further than that for male bodied persons (words chosen deliberately and carefully) is dangerous for their health and especially for athletes.

    This fact alone tells us that males and females cannot compete together on a level playing field in most sports even if we ignore the manifest advantages of a male physique. We are, on average, taller, our limbs are longer (women have longer bodies, in proportion), have bigger lungs and hearts, denser bones, narrower hips and wider shoulders, bigger muscles, different isoforms of some muscle metabolic proteins even etc. etc.

    I’m a distance runner but when I sprint I’m a bit like Usain Bolt, once I get my long legs moving fast enough to get up onto my toes I can really shift. The true sprinters of course are out of sight by the time it happens but I can deploy it as a ‘light the blue touchpaper and retire safely’ turbo boost finishing sprint. I occasionally practice it at the end of runs down the road to home. The neighbours must be used to such things as none of them comment any more.

      • Michael Droy

        I used to row. They never allowed me to self-identify as a lightweight though. Yet there was always a slimline 10stone lad inside my 15stone body.

    • Brianfujisan

      Thanks for that Specialist post Muscleguy…Just goes to show you, I always had you down as a Bodybuilder.. Sorry.

      I know what you mean about Sprinting.. I was lucky to have Free access to a high school in Inverclyde..where I would Sprint in the merged Hokey / Football park, After an eight mile run..A very Hilly run.

  • Loony

    Although transgender people form a very small fraction of the aggregate population there is no doubt that the transgender industry is punching well above its weight in terms of its contribution to the destruction of the British NHS

    Everyone is so concerned about Boris Johnson – but maybe you are all looking in the wrong direction.

    Elsewhere the former leader of the Liberal Democrats appeared on a Radio program where a caller asked her to define the word “woman” Naturally she was unable to offer any intelligible definition at all – something that some people may have though to be a bit of a problem for someone with aspirations to be Prime Minister. And just to think the same kind of people that are unable to define the word “woman” stand ready to heap abuse on the working classes for their ignorance and stupidity.

    Any ideas yet as to some of the reasons the left lost the UK election and why Trump is a shoe in for 2020?

    • David

      emerging evidence that at least a quarter of trans/appropriate-word-here/ are on the Autistic Spectrum. AS is roughly 1% of population.

      Personally having worked with trans/appropriate-word-here/ who self identify as women since 1978, I think the set of trans and AS may be more co-incident than 25%.

      trans is likely an attempt to understand a bit more about their personal neurology as much as an attraction to a different rôle, which sometimes does not meet their expectations, hence for kids, the important /possibility/ to later re-re-self identify in a completely new direction should not be discounted, even at any point in their subsequent lives.

      • Twirlip

        That rings true. I’m highly gender-dysphoric, and I also have a lot of autistic characteristics. I don’t understand autism or gender (does anybody?), but I’ve spent quite a lot of time with autistic people on-line, and even a bit of time with some in Real Life (shocked gasp!), and am aware that autistic people are disproportionately likely to have a fluid or diffuse sense of gender. I’m glad that there is increasing recognition of both these aspects of the human mind.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      It is hard for a politician to answer because even biologically, at the margins, differences emergence.

      The PROTOTYPE woman is biologically 44 XX.

      But at the margins, there are rare chromosomal abnormalities with one, three or occasionally four sex chromosomes.

      As long as all the chromosomes are X, it is pretty easy to say they are a woman, by defining womanhood as ‘lacking any Y chromosomes’.

      The first real test case is 44 XXY.

      In that set up you have both the ‘normal’ female XX present AND the normal male XY present.

      Who do you ask to determine what they are?

      The second real test case is 44 XO.

      In that set up, you are missing one sex chromosome but do not possess a Y chromosome. So you are not a man, but are you truly a woman?

      Who do you ask??

      So then you ask about vaginas vs penises+testicles, the presence of ovaries and a uterus.

      The assumption here is that all 44 XX women have normal female reproductive organs. Go ask the medics whether that is so…..

      You will get into very hot water if you limit the definition of women to those capable of gestating a foetus, as plenty of biological 44 XX women are infertile for one reason or another. Just as plenty of 44 XY biological man are infertile too.

      So although in 99%+ of all cases it is obvious that this is a woman and that is a man, nature’s imperfections mean that care must be taken at the margins…

      • SA

        “You will get into very hot water if you limit the definition of women to those capable of gestating a foetus, as plenty of biological 44 XX women are infertile for one reason or another. Just as plenty of 44 XY biological man are infertile too.”
        This is a reduction ad absurdum. There is no definition anywhere of sex as ability to gestate or father a foetus. You also cannot look for rarities to determine your policies for the majority of the population and hence the scientific definition of ‘normal’ as lying within 95% of the distribution of that character in the population.


    According to the feminist writer Germaine Greer, a person whom I have a lot of respect for, a trans-woman is still not a woman.

    But I think I would accept and agree with more or less everything Craig Murray says in this essay on the subject.

  • Mist001

    There is at least one restroom/toilet facility in Edinburgh which is purposely built for Trans people. There are the usual mens and ladies but also this third one. I saw it last summer although now for the life of me, I can’t remember where it is but I think that’s a kind of solution. Encourage the architects/designers/planners/builders incorporate facilities for trans people. It’s clearly ridiculous to allow a man who’s dressed up as a woman to use womens facilities or to expect them to use mens facilities but at the same time, they need facilities too. It’s not the job of the Scottish government (nor any government) to legally enforce the right of men, however they identify, the legal use of womens facilities.

    • Phil Espin

      Just more public conveniences for use by anyone and everyone would be a good idea.

      Common sense like this blog is why I support Craig.

    • Los

      Obviously we need a.government of importunists for importunists to engage in a massive building expansion of toilets, toilets, toilets.

  • djm

    “I have never quite understood the British obsession with gender segregated toilets…..” Really, Craig ?

    Ask any female if she’s happy about having to use gender neutral toilets.

    I know what the answer will be

  • Merkin Scot

    I used to queue up outside Mixed Infants in the lower playground at primary school in Glasgow many years ago.
    It obviously affected me in later years. lol.
    We do know what is going on and it is not coincidental.

  • gyges01

    “a woman who arrives at a beauty salon […]” this is the issue for me. A lot of people find sanctuary in gender, I think that it is reasonable to defend against the trespass on this sanctuary.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Women do not agree with you where male sports clubs are concerned. The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers being the most high-profile example.

      Just because men have no desire to storm the Womens Institute fortress does not mean it is sexist for men to want to have their own sanctuaries from nagging, hectoring women……

  • porkpie

    Craig, I hope you are prepared for the inevitable backlash from the pro-trans movement that this post will elicit. Unfortunately, common sense discussions of the obvious problems that you highlight are virtually impossible in the current milieu, with mainstream bodies such as the Girl Guides cowed into questionable decisions for fear of being branded transphobic.

    This fear has led to a blanket acceptance of the pro-trans agenda by progressive/left-wing media, and any perceived dissent is rapidly quashed, regardless of how preposterous the accusation of transphobia is. Perhaps most clearly in the case of lesbians being branded transphobic for not wanting to have sex with transwomen – transwomen with male genitalia, that is.

      • porkpie

        Hatred? If people wish to live a fantasy I really couldn’t care less. I do care, however, when people’s fantasies impinge on other people’s lives and hard-won rights.

        Transmen? No, I don’t care because they will not threaten men’s single-sex spaces/rape men in prison/beat other men in sports/accuse gays of being transphobic/destroy the gay scene.

    • pete

      Thanks for the quote from the radical Scottish independence journal, the er… Spectator, by the… er amazingly enlightened James Kirkup, of the… er, Social Market Foundation. I always like to know what James thinks so I can head off in the opposite direction.

      Thanks Craig for casting some light on this contentious issue, I hope that common sense will prevail and the the issue doesn’t end up splitting the movement for Scottish independence.

        • pete

          I was unfamiliar with the on-line oeuvre, Post Millennial, so I had a gander at their site, they have a code of conduct which is always reassuring. Imagine my disappointment when I sampled a typical story:

          This concerned a black city official who had objected to the Jewish community’s response to the number of people of colour moving into their area. According to the Jersey City Official accused of anti-Semitism, a group of members of the Jewish community were tempting the people of colour to sell their property with a mixture of bags of money on the one hand and threats on the other, you have to read the story to get the full picture

          An even handed response I what I expected, after all people had been called ‘thugs’ in print on the one hand and on the other bribes and threats were allegedly made. The background to the story is a tragic shooting and the City Official was responding to a tweet “Where is this type of attention from City Hall when Moorish people are getting gun down left and right up on the hill”

          Of course the story is incomplete, it has been crudely oversimplified by the Post Millennial. They have a clear villain, an aggrieved mob and desire to feed the prurient interest of their readers. Above all they need subscribers and are happy to feed the people what they want, and what they want is sensational content, even if an ill-judged comment by a City official results in her resignation.
          Everyone is happy, except City official Joan Terrell.

  • David G

    “When it comes to prison, I have no doubt that Chelsea Manning should be in a female prison …”

    Getting someone like Craig Murray to
    say that Chelsea Manning should be in prison encapsulates for me the great success identity politics has had in displacing all discourse of actual human progress from what is still laughably called the Left.

    I’m not accusing Craig of anything; I know what he meant. But that’s what he wrote.

    • Jon

      You’re saying that if we did not have identity politics, people would not accidentally say things they do not mean?

      • David G

        You’re setting up a straw man. I didn’t say that Craig accidentally said something he didn’t mean. It wasn’t a proofreading error.

        It’s a small but representative example of how identity politics has crowded out concerns such as those that motivate Manning.

        Indeed, the U.S. government may continue to try to destroy her for exposing what is rightly public information, and persist in the wars that led to her protest, but they know better than to make light of Manning’s declared gender identity: that might get them in real trouble.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Whilst I think the current obsession with identity politics, is specifically designed and promoted by extremely evil powerful forces, to further brainwash, particularly young people, I have always accepted that there is a wide range between male and female, and sexual preference and identity, and have never had a problem with it.

    It’s entirely natural, and it is just as normal in humans and animals as it is in plants. I feel it is completely inappropriate to make a big issue of it. To illustrate how this issue has been generally accepted, The Kinks song “Lola”, which is very much about this, was released in 1970, and it has “become one of The Kinks’ most iconic and popular songs, later being ranked number 422 on “Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” as well as number 473 on the “NME’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time”. To continue to highlight this, is far more likely to cause division and resentment, rather than acceptance, because the vast majority of people simply do not care.

    There are far worse things going on in the world than this, and continually going on about it just serves to obscure and cloud the real evil in the world, like our country, for example, bombing the hell out of millions of innocent people in foreign countries, whilst impoverishing a large percentage of our own population.

    Hardly anyone cares about that. They are sat glued to the telly or mobile watching crap.


  • beetroot

    Harry Miller a former police officer was investigated by Humberside Police earlier this year after a Twitter user complained that he shared a “transphobic limerick”. Even though no crime was committed, his sharing of the limerick online was recorded as a “hate incident” and he was described as a “suspect” in police reports.

    20 November 2019

    “The “right to be offended” does not exist, a judge has said, as the High Court hears that British police forces are recording hate incidents even if there is no evidence that they took place.

    Mr Justice Knowles made the remark on the first day of a landmark legal challenge against guidelines issued to police forces across the country on how to record “non-crime hate incidents”. The College of Policing, the professional body which delivers training for all officers in England and Wales, issued their Hate Crime Operational Guidance (HCOG) in 2014, which states that a comment reported as hateful by a victim must be recorded “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element”. Mr Justice Knowles expressed surprise at the rule, asking the court: “That doesn’t make sense to me. How can it be a hate incident if there is no evidence of the hate element?”

    No decision has been made to date afaik.

  • fedup

    A quick observation proves a very low percentage of “transgender” people in the population? Given these low percentiles; why are the laws of exception are yet again being contrived to be applied? The social engineering belying the nefarious goals of such an endeavour go missing amidst the brouhaha of 11 year old transgender whom can barely make their mind up about eating burgers or McNuggets but evidently are free to choose the gender they wish to “identify” as.

    The clash of civilisation that is being dreamt up, given the UNESCO 2030 aims that is being taught to infants as young as five, is laying the grounds for future wars that are yet to be fought, not based on ideological or policy differences but based on high octane emptions because of the patent and obvious ideological bankruptcy of neo free beer tomorrow, and wait for the trickle down riches from high on.

    It is not a question of catering/making provisions to protect the rights of a scant minority but laying the foundations for the future wars that are yet to be fought. In essence more of the same policies of hatred and division as of now but for apparently a different reason!

  • 6033624

    I think we are in new territory as regards many of the issues raised, there WILL be genuine concerns and I think most can be allayed. That includes your example of the man transitioning to a woman then going on to sexually assault women in prison. FAR more common is the case where men are raped in prison, so common is it, and so lightly is it taken that it is the subject of cruel jokes – I’m at a loss to why anyone thinks rape is funny because a man is the victim. What’s needed in ALL jails is better staffing, less overcrowding and better overall management of prisoners therefore. This would do more to prevent sexual assault than segregation based on genitalia.

    I’m also aware that, certainly in medical cases, some women dislike being examined by other women and prefer a male. I remember that my own mother was one of these women, everyone’s different. But yes, if you’re being dealt with in any kind of way that is intimate you MUST feel comfortable and that ISN’T the fault of the person you have shown a preference against.

    But going back to the subject of the Wings Twitter I saw his article some months back on this very subject and was even minded to comment that, not long after his ‘mixed’ result against Kezia Dugdale, he was writing an article that bordered on transphobic. I don’t think he actually IS but his choice of language is SO poor that the mistake is easy to make, playing into the hands of his previous accusers. On that basis I can’t really blame anyone for blocking his feed sadly. His language chimes to closely with that of the bigots for my liking, makes it difficult to have a serious conversation.

    This DOES remind me of the attitudes and opinions around homosexuality, particularly in men some 30 or 40 years ago. Long held beliefs had never been challenged and those who held them had never seriously thought about WHY they held those opinions either. Nowadays we can see where we were wrong back then, but decades ago it wasn’t so easy to see, was it?

    We CAN’T make blanket decisions on giving or not giving transition treatment to under 16s. Just because it’s difficult to make the right decision doesn’t mean we shouldn’t TRY to help those who clearly need it. No one should have to approach a doctor for the first time aged 16, because that IS what will happen. It’s difficult to wade through the bias and strong feelings and those desperately in need sometimes lose patience with those of us still trying to catch up. Hard and fast rules ALWAYS get it wrong for one group. There’s no easy answer but we MUST continue to try and help those children who are crying out for it…

    • beetroot

      “There’s no easy answer but we MUST continue to try and help those children who are crying out for it…”

      I believe we must delve into the reasons why the number of children apparently wanting to transition has exploded in recent years.
      Do over sensitive parents and social media play a role?

      “A transgender clinic has been hit by 35 resignations in three years, as psychologists warn of “overdiagnoses” of gender dysphoria among children. The whistleblowers said too many children were being put on puberty-blocking drugs when they should not have been given the diagnosis.Former staff said they were unable to properly assess patients over fears they will be branded “transphobic”.

      The concerns were raised by six psychologists who have resigned from London’s children’s gender-identity service in the past three years.One psychologist, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Our fears are that young people are being over-diagnosed and then over-medicalised.”We are extremely concerned about the consequences for young people… For those of us who previously worked in the service, we fear that we have had front row seats to a medical scandal.” Thirty-five psychologists have resigned from London’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust since 2016″

  • Jon

    This seems to be a pretty sensible post – some issues are rather too thorny to lay down in law.

    I don’t know where I stand on Twitter banning users – I would have thought if they allow the far right to organise on the platform, as they have done, then it should be anything goes. That said, I think I’ve read enough of Wings Over Scotland and come away with the feeling that their chief writer could spend less time being mean-spirited to people. He spends far too much time on gender issues, and I recalled before writing this comment that I regarded some of his views as transphobic.

    I’ve just checked the latest post, in which the author proudly parades nasty, bulling tweets they have made in the past that have survived Twitter investigations. One such message, “[Transgender status] is a mental disorder” strikes me as completely beyond the pale, and while I am wary of supporting a Twitter ban, it strikes me as so obviously bigoted that I wonder why the author is proud of them.

    • Bruce H

      > One such message, “[Transgender status] is a mental disorder”

      Do you believe that there is something shameful or insulting in the term” mental disorder”?

      Someone very close to me;in my family has a “mental disorder” which numerous specialist have been unable to help on until now… there is nothing pejorative in the term, it is statement of unfortunate fact, unfortunate in the unhappiness such people go through. That you are outraged on this subject is wholly valid but it seems to me your outrage is misplaced. It’s not pleasant suffering from any mental disorder… if the term is accurately applied, of course.

  • Michael Droy

    Craig – I think you have misheard the story of the transgender waxing – which is of course greatly to your credit.
    I believe it was transgender but fully complete customer who demanded to be given the waxing by a woman and sued when they refused.

    • Jen

      I would say you are correct.

      The issue (it was in Canada by the way) was that a transgender woman (who was still biologically male, with no apparent intent to transition) with a history on Twitter of anti-immigrant and misogynist rantings targeted small waxing salon home businesses owned and run by immigrant women, of whom some were of Sikh background and all of whom were married as well and with small children. All these salons advertised that they did waxing for female clients only. In the case of one of these salons, it was only down the road from a bigger salon that advertised it took male and female clients.

      The women salon owners targeted by the transgender individual took their cases to court – they applied for legal assistance – and won. Initially the publicity surrounding the cases was negative towards these women until their lawyers made available information about their backgrounds and the public learned more about the transgender individual’s history of inciting ethnically and religiously based hatred; from then on, the women received public support.

    • Lucinda Stoan

      Jen has much correct about the case of Jessica/Jonathan Yaniv in Canada of the “wax my balls” case. But understand this: Yaniv was the one who brought legal action. The women didn’t go after him. He went after them. He dragged them all before the Human Rights Commission, causing huge stress for them….at least one went out of business. The reason he was able to do that was that as a transwoman, he was considered a woman….simply because he said so. Yaniv’s case illustrates exactly why it is insane to say that any man who declares himself a woman…is a woman…thereby entitled to everything female.

    • Lucinda Stoan

      Just want to make sure the Yaniv case is clearly understood. Yaniv approached multiple women who provided waxing services in their homes as a business. When they learned that he had a penis and scrotum, which they would need to handle, as part of waxing, they said they could not serve him. So he filed human rights complaints against them. (BTW a majority of transwomen retain their male anatomy, referring to it as female anatomy.) If you say that transwomen ARE women, entitled to all things womanly, this is the result.

      • Tatyana

        Oh my, I can’t imagine this happened in Russia. It’s just ridiculos. This transperson would be considered impudent, and most probably would be well treated with sobering slaps in the face. And if such a person filed a judicial complaint against someone who refused to touch his penis and scrotum, such a case would give rise to a huge wave of humor and memes.

        I believe that being polite and having good manners is a good and right thing in itself.
        But unfortunately, some members of society parasitize on this. And it’s easier to parasitize on society of good-mannered people, who can’t say directly “f*ck you, I’m not playing this game*.
        I don’t see justice in this case. Why should only trans be treated like a live human being with respect to his rights and feelings, while the other side is forced to behave as an unanimated robot with no emotions? Why is it expected that a service-selling-person should abandon her beliefs and values in order to serve someone? For what Great Purpose is such a sacrifice made? Why does she suddenly have no right to simply refuse a service?
        Is it all real life or is it a theater stage?

    • John Pillager

      There’s also this;
      Jessica/Jonathan Yaniv possible pedophile…
      “There has been a long-term effort by women’s rights advocates to expose what they describe as years of evidence of Jessica Yaniv, a 32-year-old man who identifies as a woman, expressing sexual interest in pre-pubescent female children, and abusing the legal system to intimidate and sexually harass women.”

      Also Trans Woman activist Blaire White calls out Jessica/Jonathan Yaniv on youtube;

  • John Goss

    I’m pretty sure that transgender and transvestite are two separate identities. The latter used to be what was once called a cross-dresser whereas a transgender individual identifies as opposite from what is his or her physiology.

    For the end of year Manx Carnival there is (at least was) an annual pram-race along the promenade where representatives from businesses, organisations, sports teams and families dress up and race as mother and baby. Pushing Max Dodd, then landlord of the Salisbury, was no mean feat in a pram little bigger than a pushchair. It was fun even if Max in nappy (towel) ended up pushing a thoroughly exhausted me dressed as the mother. Anybody with connections to the theatre knows who the dames and who the Dick Whittingtons are. There have always been male Prima Donnas and female Prince Charmings. And by the majority they have always been accepted for what they are and treated inclusively.

    Where am I going? Hmm. There is a culture now whereby if anyone challenges the global parameters of what is acceptable in the Gay community they are excluded or cross-challenged to comply. If Craig wants to equate transgender with transvestite who can argue with it? It does not harm anybody. It’s just semantics.

    When we were young our role models were our parents, mother and father, and those with non-heterosexual genes had a pretty tough time. While one part of me is pleased that this is no longer the case – nobody should be persecuted for being what they are – another part feels that we are becoming obsessed and complying with an agenda to promote alternatives to the procreative union of man and woman. It is a delicate issue to write about. I no longer feel comfortable. I think things have gone too far into positively discriminating in favour of gay rights. Perhaps I am old-fashioned, or just old, but that is how I feel. I also feel alone in that few others – excluding some fascist elements – seem positive towards the traditional family or male-female unions. I’ll leave it there.

    • Shatnersrug

      I think you read news media too much Jon. Have no doubt people are getting married, breeding and bailing their kids out same as ever, it’s just not considered interesting if it doesn’t make the news.

      Remember the Chomsky paradigm

      “ The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”

      So we talk about trans right not Palestinian lives.

      • John Goss

        It’s a good point Shatnersrug. I would much rather be debating Palestinian lives and the oppression of Palestinians than what is happening in the gay “spectrum”. Having said that I do know lesbians and homosexuals (can I use that term today?) who are very supportive and active in the Palestinian movement.

        While not wishing to offend there are more important issues on my agenda than “reality” exposures yet there is something I perceive in the way we are being exploited via the gay movement to “trans” us all until we accept practices with which we feel uncomfortable. I see it as being similar to the anti-semitism debate. Accusations of anti-Semitism come from the same stable as accusations of homophobia (and its associated phobias) in media portrayal. Even as I write this I wonder what kind of offensive transgressions I might have innocently made. I should not have to do think like that.

  • DiggerUK

    When I hear arguments that start with an ignorance of the difference between sex and gender, and sex and sexuality, I reach for my pistol. This debate isn’t about the delicate nuances of semantics, it’s about the plain use of correct language.
    Sex in the main is fixed as male or female, with a smaller number who cannot positively identify as male or female. Outside of those three sex groups there is nothing.
    Referring to everybody as a gender is just bad english, sex and sexuality are not the same. Sex is identified by nature, gender and sexuality by both nature and nurture…._

    • Lucinda Stoan

      The Nettie Project Statement (named after the woman who discovered chromosomes) has been signed by hundreds of scientists:

      “Biological sex” is a scientific description of the reproductive anatomies that have evolved to fulfil the function of sexual reproduction. Biological sex exists independently of humans and society. In mammals, there are two types of gamete and two classes of reproductive anatomy. The male sex class produces many small motile gametes – sperm – for transfer. The female sex class produces few large immobile gametes – ova – and gestates/delivers live young. In any individual, reproductive anatomy is almost always unambiguously male or female and observed correctly at birth, regardless of ultimate sexual function or dysfunction. Male and female reproductive anatomies differ qualitatively, not quantitatively, and there are no intrinsically-ordered states between male and female reproductive anatomies. Biological sex does not meet the defining criteria for a spectrum. Although rare, some individuals have disorders of sex development (also referred to as intersex conditions). Most of these disorders are male or female specific and do not cause ambiguous biological sex. Some individuals have reproductive anatomies with both male and female features; here, biological sex classification is a complex process with input from medical professionals and parents. Not one of these individuals represents an additional sex class. Reproductive anatomies differentiate and mature under the control of genetic and hormonal signals, and measurements of these factors have strong predictive power, but do not define the sex of an individual. Biological sex is fundamentally defined by male and female reproductive anatomy. Attempts to recast biological sex as a social construct, which then becomes a matter of chosen individual identity, are wholly ideological, scientifically inaccurate and socially irresponsible.”

      • DiggerUK

        Project Nettie is for me the only place to go for guidance on the issues being discussed here.
        I am in near complete agreement with The Nettie Project Statement apart from it claiming there are only two categories of sex. I am in favour of the third categorisation of “intersex” on the grounds that the exception is still part of the rules of sex identification…_

  • Bruce Lesnick

    Craig, I believe your instincts are correct, but you are failing to fully follow them. All reasonable people – certainly those on the left – believe in full civil and human rights for all, including transgender people. Everyone should be able to dress, present and love however they like.

    But gender self-ID is a different kettle of fish. Gender is an ethereal social construct which groups sets of stereotypes and expectations. Biological sex is a material fact. The two should not be confused nor used interchangeably. Humans, all mammals and most other animals are sexually dimorphic: there are only two sexes. Females produce large gametes; males produce small gametes. There is no third gamete and no third sex. 99.98 of all humans are clearly identifiable as male or female at birth. No one can literally change their sex. Gender, on the other hand, is an open ended, subjective construct that people can pick and choose.

    The problem with gender self-ID is that it replaces sex-based rights in law and, as such, impinges on the rights of women, gays and lesbians, and others. If gender self-ID replaces sex-based rights:

    – Men who declare themselves to be women can compete in women’s sports, erasing the protection and opportunity that sex-separated sports provide for women. This is so not just at the elite level, but at all levels involving post-pubescent athletes.

    – Women’s short lists (affirmative action programs) are rendered meaningless if men who say they are women can fill those slots.

    – Sex-segregated spaces conceived to provide safety and dignity for women (abuse shelters, locker rooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, prisons, etc.) are undermined if men who feel they are women can enter. Unless one believes that there should be no sex-separated spaces period, it is logically and morally inconsistent to insist that women should accommodate some male-bodied people in their spaces.

    – Homosexuality is a sexual preference, not a gender preference. But when gender is elevated above biological sex, gays and lesbians are called transphobic for refusing to consider transgender partners of the opposite biological sex. This and related issues led to a recent split in the UK Stonewall organization and the formation of the new LGB Alliance.

    Please see for more details and references on this important issue.

  • Lucinda Stoan

    Craig, So good to see you jump into this fray. Prepare for being called “hateful”…..though as a male, the attacks will likely be less obnoxious than those borne by women who dare to speak up.

    The voices of the “gender critical” have been brutally suppressed to date. For a source-linked overview of what’s at stake, please see the article: To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Trans Extremism at because there is much you are still missing. And the impacts of letting any man declare himself a woman are enormous and terrible…..for women and girls, for lesbians and gays, for children being fed sex stereotypes and funneled into medicalized lives, for science and for free speech.

    The linked article details the destruction of girls/women’s sports well underway (no, it isn’t just elite sports that matter), the insanity of men holding positions reserved for women, the reality of shelters where traumatized women can’t sleep because a man lies nearby, and much more.

    Since the article doesn’t go into the theft of my language and identity, let me mention that here, as it matters too. Being a woman is NOT a feeling. It is biological reality. I am an adult female human, and I do not cede that identity, nor do I cede my ability to organize with other women around the repression directed at our sex. Telling me that its simply being nice to refer to anyone who says they’re a woman as a woman,……is telling me to make meaningless the language I need to discuss my life, and that’s not okay. I don’t use “she” for males or “he” for females…..I opt instead for clumsy sentences that utter someone’s name repeatedly so as to not participate in biologically inaccurate and woman-erasing speech.

    Listen to what women are saying. We support rights for all, we are expansive and loving, we fight against sex stereotypes with all our might. At the same time, we rightfully reserve our language for ourselves (along with our spaces and rights). Dig deeper Craig to understand that we are literally being told that we mustn’t refer to our vaginas, or childbirth or menstruation, because to do so is “hatefully” exclusionary of “women who have penises”!….This is outrageous. It is utter disrespect, identity theft, disdain for women. In other words, Craig, your initial instinct is to casually assent to the destruction of women’s language, but that is not okay. Please think it through. Please read the article linked above. And please keep writing on this.


    • SA

      I read your very well argued article. There is one other aspect that I would like you to look at. The International Classification of Disease (ICD) is very useful to look at with this respect. As far as I know ICD-10, the current one classifies gender dysphoria under the mental health disorders. It could be said that we are now proposing to treat what is essentially a mental health issue with a pharmacological and surgical approach, with irreversible effects, rather than other means.
      This is a central issue because I think there is data to confirm that GD is associated with other mental health issues that can persist after transitioning, again I haven’t looked at this properly. You mention autism in one study but there may also be a high suicide rate. This is not doing any good to many.

  • James Cook

    Humans have learned to weaponize anything and everything.
    Just one more issue that can be used in a variety of ways for the currently expanding internal political warfare our society is waging.

    This one perhaps needs some more thought Craig:
    ” In non-elite, mixed ability sport – which is 99% of all sport that actually happens – I can see no reason why people cannot participate as the gender of their choice, and indeed I do not know why non-elite sport is gender specific at all.”

    Surely, Craig, you are not thinking of school wrestling teams, or field or ice hockey. Any sport where there is physical contact your idea is, well, non-sensical.

    Childrens sports have a long history and play an important role in the development of both individuals and society as a whole. As a historian you must agree, that we should not forget lessons learned from past experience, just for the sake of a current political furor which is being used as a bludgeon on those of us who are NOT confused about our place in the world.

    That is it, I have dug enough of a hole in your current thought wave – I am now throwing the shovel away!

    • Lucinda Stoan

      Male sports dominance emerges at about age 11.
      From that point onward girls and women need their own competitions for fairness, and in many sports, for safety.
      Male high schoolers can smash female adult world champion records in multiple sports.
      See details and links in To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Trans Extremism on Redline.
      Multiple examples provided of grotesque unfairness, as males push females off teams and podiums, and out of record books.

  • SA

    This is a very difficult subject to write about and is good to discuss. A much simpler way of dealing with this is to say anything that is a result of this perception that is your own personal space is fine but anything that impinges on other people’s freedom or space needs consideration or regulation.
    I know that this principle, similar to that of free speech can still be distorted as certain things can now not be discussed openly anymore.

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