Carys Moseley explains the importance of the UK government’s admission that transgender identification is a belief.
The UK government has taken the extraordinary step of admitting that transgender identification is actually a belief. It has done this in its own consultation document on reforming the Gender Recognition Act (2004), in a discussion on whether there should be legal rights for people who say they are neither male nor female. This is to encourage response to Question 20 of the consultation, reprinted below:
Currently, UK law does not recognise any gender other than male and female.
Do you think that there need to be changes to the Gender Recognition Act to accommodate individuals who identify as non-binary?
This is what the consultation says about transgender and non-binary identification as a belief:
“The Government is aware that there seems to be an increasing number of people who identify as neither exclusively male nor female. As with all other trans people, we want people who identify in this way to be able to live discrimination-free lives in accordance with who they believe their true selves to be. We are working to determine what action it may be necessary for Government to take in order to achieve this.” [Paragraph 132]
Transgender campaigners have always denied that their claim to be ‘born in the wrong body’, ‘women trapped in men’s bodies’ and vice versa, or having a ‘mismatch’ between their ‘gender identity’ and their biological sex, is anything like a belief. For this would be to open the door to the possibility that it is a delusion or a fantasy, and thus treatable as a psychiatric condition.
The right to manifest a belief is not absolute
Under Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights, the right to hold a belief is absolute. However the right to manifest a belief is not. Like all other rights it is subject to limitations as follows:
“Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
The truth is that demands for transgender and non-binary rights can be shown to fall foul of all these limitations.
Further encouragement for vulnerable people to disassociate from their sex
Easier gender change and non-binary rights would only deepen the existing problem created by transsexual rights and by the connivance of gender identity clinics for the past fifty years, which is to encourage people to disidentify with their biological sex, and thus cause more medical and social problems for them and others. This all goes back to the invention of the category of transsexualism in the first place, and its insertion into the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights at the behest of the European Parliament as far back as 1989.
Making single-sex activities impossible
The erosion and even abolition of single-sex sports and exercise would have a detrimental effect on public health and well-being in all areas of life. This is because males would be able to enter female competitions and gain an unfair competitive advantage over them, thus destroying the rationale for having single-sex sports. This in turn would lead to loss of morale and decrease in overall mental health for many people, given the good influence that physical exercise can have on mental health and well-being.
Allowing people to be treated as neither male nor female would also undermine the rationale for single-sex facilities and services such as public toilets, changing rooms, dormitories and hostels, violating everybody else’s right to dignity and privacy.
Undermining the law on marriage, family and sexual behaviour
Marriage and family law would be put under intolerable strain should non-binary ‘rights’ be invented and codified into statute or smuggled into the common law. The following areas could be adversely affected as they would become well-nigh incoherent: the definition of sexual behaviour, the criminal law on sexual behaviour, the definition of adultery, the definition of mother and father (which is preserved as biologically-based in the Gender Recognition Act).
Parental rights to bring up their children as members of their sex would be further eroded, given that introducing non-binary ‘rights’ would only be possible due to ‘re-educating’ social workers, teachers and doctors to accept the concept of children and adolescents identifying as ‘non-binary’. This would then lead to situations where children would risk being taken away from the custody of their parents if the latter were to object to referring to the child using ‘third gender pronouns’ (they/them).
The assault on public safety and the right to life
Demands for easier gender change and non-binary rights strike against the organisation of society as male and female and as such go against the need for single-sex services such as public toilets, changing rooms, dormitories, hospital wards, prisons, etc. It is something that would obviously be exploited by sex offenders, as has already been shown to be the case with males ‘identifying as female’.
There is a real risk that local authorities, who are responsible for public toilets, would start to convert male and female public toilets into gender-neutral toilets to save money and to avoid falling foul of litigation by non-binary rights activists.
The Home Office recently admitted in the High Court that introducing gender-neutral passports to appease the demands of one campaigner for the right not to be known as either male or female would lower the effectiveness of border security practices worldwide. Given that border security is responsible for protecting people’s right to life – the most fundamental right of all – it should be very clear that non-binary rights cannot be deemed compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Forcing people to lie and be deceived
Currently people working in the public sector who refuse to use opposite-sex pronouns for transgendered people can be dismissed from employment. The Times recently reported that the Department for Work and Pensions deemed such a refusal to constitute harassment under the Equality Act 2010.
The threat of compelled speech should not be seen as a mere affront to the individual’s freedom of expression. It is a matter of public concern given that not being allowed to tell the truth about a person’s sex fundamentally violates the integrity of professionals in all relevant occupations, and lowers standards in public life. Members of the medical profession would find it very much more difficult to do their work dealing with patients properly.
Belief in the true self versus belief in the Christian faith
The entire set of demands for the right to change gender and even to pretend that one is neither male nor female is built on a belief – the right to live as who you believe your true self to be. In reality this belief is based on refusing to be known as a member of one’s sex, and on demanding the right to lie about which sex one belongs to. This is the very opposite of Christian belief, which is focused first and foremost on who God is and what He has done as our Creator and Redeemer.
Ultimately the relentless and suspiciously-speedy demand for more and more transgender rights is the consequence of British society and especially influential elements of government turning against God as our Creator. It is based upon the gradual erosion of the truth that the form of our bodies as male and female shows that we are created and designed by God. Given that public opinion is clearly opposed to proposals to make changing gender easier, perhaps this will turn out to be one of the biggest opportunities for explaining the Christian faith in a generation.