I feel that I must respond to Gerry Hassan's
article as he normally writes such good sense. Last week's article about the health and well-being survey in schools and the upset the questions on sexual activity have caused, and the trans rights issue has infuriated me. I do not consider myself a prude or small-minded. I worked as a midwife until retiring in 2014 so I am very aware of the biological reality of sex and the activities of teenagers.
The survey of all school children P5 and over, which includes questions on sexual activity for those age 14 and over, begs some serious questions. The government have stated that if there are serious concerns in a child's answers they will be able to offer support to the individual via their SQA number. So it is not confidential. Any sexual intercourse under the age of consent could be considered an issue. Will this lead to teachers and/or social workers contacting a child/teenager about their answers? Will this information stay on their record?
The nature of the questions: have you had sexual intercourse, if yes, was it oral, vaginal or anal? These are very different things and it could be argued that anal sex is always potentially damaging, but there are health risks with all these activities. This does not sound like sex education, more like encouraging an attitude that these are acceptable/normal behaviours. This is in the context of teenage girls being harassed by boys online, boys rating the girls in school by their 'shagability', sending unwanted dick pics, all the result of viewing porn which I understand is totally different from the dirty mags we experienced as teens. There is an underlying misogyny which seems to be becoming prevalent. Accompanied by an attitude that anything is okay. Which may be hard for teenagers to negotiate when they are at the stage of wanting to be accepted by their peers.
I am all for good sex education but it must include all the potential harms, respect for their partner and understanding of consent. A tall order for young teens, so it needs care and maturity in delivery.
Now to the trans issue. What a bed of conflict. I stumbled upon this and felt a need to educate myself, so I have read Helen Joyce's Trans
, and Kathleen Stock's Material Girls
. The trans activists argument is relatively simple: we must be nice, we must only respond to trans issues by affirming a trans identity, any other response is bigotry. Sex is not as important as gender, which is defined as a feeling a person has. And yet the feeling is often a rejection of sexual stereotypes.
The whole trans ideology seems to lead to children who feel that they do not conform to the stereotypes (and that must be so many sensible people) as identifying as the opposite gender or no gender. They are fed lies, for example, that puberty blockers are completely reversible. They are not. We are seeing a huge increase in young people causing irreversible damage and life-long sterilisation to themselves, abetted by those who describe pre-treatment counselling as 'conversion therapy'. These concerns are supported by some gay, lesbian and transsexual individuals, and also detransistioners who see the danger in over-hasty action.
Another problem which is arising from gender self-id (which seems to be happening in Scotland before any legislation) is the manipulation of this by men who seek to abuse vulnerable children and adults. We know that sex offenders are highly manipulative people. This is giving them an easy way to carry out their abuse. Sex offenders have decided to identify as women so that they can be housed in a female prison.
Others have inserted themselves into services for victims of domestic abuse and rape crisis services. Others use gender to get to play in female sporting categories which in many sports gives them an advantage and makes a mockery of there being a female category. There are individuals who write on Twitter about their ladydick, and that lesbians should not choose to exclude them as sexual partners because they say they are women. I tell you there is shocking stuff.
I am even more shocked to find myself agreeing with Tories and the religious right. Any delve into the arguments around trans rights finds complex issues around women's rights, biological reality, and a feeble attempt by others to support trans ideology with what is beautifully described as 'gender woo woo'.
So Gerry, on this issue I think you need to do some more research. This is not the same as homophobia in the 1980s.
I'm dreaming of a fright* Christmas
Just like the one in Twenty One
With the virus flying
And most folk trying
To do the things that must be done.
I'm dreaming of a fright Christmas
Just like the one I had last year
With Boris quizzing
And champagne fizzing
At parties no-one has been near.
I'm dreaming of a fright Christmas
Just like the one I had at home
Sitting thrice injected
And so protected
Inspiration fails – I leave the rest to you. Have a Guid New Year.
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