reposted from: Wings Over Scotland

Rev. Stuart Campbell January 3, 2018
The law that nobody wants

On a number of previous occasions we’ve highlighted the weird discrepancy between the undivided loathing of the Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act in the Scottish media and the Act’s overwhelming popularity with the Scottish public.

You will struggle to ever hear a voice anywhere in the media in favour of it, yet there has never been a law in the history of the Holyrood parliament that is as universally backed by the electorate as the OBFA. Support for it crosses party lines, unites men and women, the old and the young, the rich and the poor, Yes voters and No voters, Celtic fans and
“Rangers” fans, football lovers and football haters, and pretty much any other groups you can think of.

Despite their own voters wanting to retain it, however, the combined opposition parties may well succeed in having the Act repealed this year, for reasons of their own that we can’t begin to rationally explain.

Meanwhile, every party at Holyrood – this time including the SNP – looks as though they may be preparing to come together and implement the LEAST-wanted legislation (in terms of public opinion) that the Parliament will have ever seen. But which legislation are we talking about?

The UK and Scottish governments are both currently conducting reviews of the 2004
Gender Recognition Act, in which it is proposed to in the future allow people to legally “selfdefine” the fact of whether they’re a man or a woman.

While the debate around the review is cloaked in obfuscatory language about “gender” (a term nobody can now agree on the meaning of), what it actually means is “sex”. The review proposes people being able to alter their birth certificates and passports, and what birth certificates and passports identify is “Sex”, not “Gender”.

(Official documents all focus on “sex” because depending on where you look, there are currently either 33 different “genders”, or 36, or 37, or 51, or 56, or 58, or 71, or 76, or almost any other number you can imagine. New “genders” are created on a near-daily basis. There will almost certainly be more genders by the time you’ve finished reading this article than there were when you started.)

Currently the process of “transitioning” legally from one sex to the other takes over two years and requires the would-be transitioner to meet a number of conditions.

(click the picture for link to the article)

All of these conditions would be abolished under the proposed changes, and a person could instantly legally become their chosen sex simply by announcing it.

(click the picture for link to the article)

There are about a thousand immediately obvious major problems with this idea, which have been discussed at length elsewhere and which we don’t intend to reprise in this post. (If you’re interested, try here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.)

The suggestion made in the Times piece above – namely that challenging transgender self-identification will be considered a hate crime if the proposals are enacted – seems to have been borne out already by the closure of numerous websites and Twitter accounts, including Whole Woman and Transcrime UK, and by other sites removing articles and letters after torrents of abuse and threats.

Most transgender people just want to live out their lives in peace, free from persecution and fear the same as everyone else does, but the debate has been more recently polarised by some hyper-militant trans activists, mainly biologically-male “women” who openly reject the idea of any form of physical transition (eg hormone therapy, surgery) and/or actively taunt, goad or threaten opponents – mainly biological women, who are pejoratively dismissed as cis– with their masculine appearance and appendages.

(This often involves referring to their intact penises as their “girl dick” or similar.)

The subject has also split the LGBT community, in part because lesbians have been especially targeted for abuse if they say they’re not sexually attracted to trans “women” who still have male genitalia.

(The tensions between the “L” and “T” sections grew over Christmas when the leading LGBT website Pink News published a list of its “Heroes Of 2017” in which every single ostensibly lesbian figure was in fact born male, though after a storm of protest it swiftly edited some biological women in.)

(click on this LINK to see the twitter feed below)

The main opposition to the proposed changes comes from feminists concerned about the erosion of women’s rights which took decades or even centuries to win. Many have been denounced, subjected to various forms of exclusion or physically assaulted by biologically male trans activists merely for attempting to debate the issue in public – often after being attacked as “TERFs”, meaning “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”.

But our poll found that it’s not just feminists who are unhappy about it. Scots opposed the proposals by a margin of more than 3:1, and just as with support for OBFA, the opposition to self-declaration went right across the board.

Excluding the 24% Don’t Knows, men and women were both against the move by a crushing margin of 54 points (23% to 77%). Young people were the least anti but still 28 points against (36-64), with the middle-aged group opposed by 52 points (24-76) and the elderly by a gargantuan 74 points (13-87).

Native-born Scots rejected the idea by 52 points, those born south of the border by 62 points. Well-off ABC1s recorded a 52-point margin, almost identical to the 54 points of poorer C2DE respondents. Yes and No voters were against by 30 points and 72 points respectively, with Remain and Leave voters tallying anti-change margins of 38 points and 76 points in that order.

For supporters of the political parties, the net balance against the proposals was 86 points (Tories), 44 points (Labour),  not-very-liberal 54 points (Lib Dems) and 36 points (SNP). Among football fans there was the somewhat unusual phenomenon of “Rangers” recording a bigger points tally (58 points) than Celtic (54 points), with other clubs’ supporters netting 42 points of difference and football-haters 56 points.

(For perspective on these numbers, remember that the indyref margin was 10 points and the EU referendum margin in Scotland, which was regarded as an overwhelming win for Remain, was 24 points.)

Finally, for the first time in a Wings poll we asked about people’s sexuality, partly out of general curiosity but mainly for the purposes of this question, and while the numbers are too small to be statistically representative, the results were that non-heterosexual Scots (including transgender) narrowly opposed the proposals too, by 51-49 overall.

This, then, is by some distance the most unpopular law ever seriously contemplated by the Scottish Parliament since it reconvened in 1999. Yet such an incredible climate of intimidation and intolerance surrounds the subject that to the best of our knowledge not one politician in Scotland has spoken out against the review proposals. And whatever their opinions on the issue itself may be, readers may feel that that’s an uncomfortable position for a democracy to find itself in.

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