BY EFFIE DEANS
What’s the worst thing the SNP could do to you personally? Many Pro UK people would assume that it would be if Sturgeon achieved her goal of Scottish independence. But this is not true. Whatever we might think about the economic consequences of the breakup of the UK these would not necessarily affect us personally. We would still have choices. We could at the very least move elsewhere. Whatever the emotional consequences of the destruction of the British identity and the unity of our three-hundred-year-old country we would survive as others have survived the loss of historical nations. While the SNP could damage us severely economically and emotionally these are not the worst things it could do.
Politics is important, but it is nothing compared to family. The loss of a child, a husband, a house or a job are far more important to each of us individually than the result of any election. It is here that the SNP can do the most damage.
The SNP recently published a document “Supporting transgender young people in schools: guidance for Scottish schools.” This can do far more damage than independence ever could.
Imagine you are a young mother with a little boy. He is just about to start school although he is still four years old. If he had been born when I was born, he would almost certainly never have met a boy who wanted to be a girl. I certainly didn’t. It just never occurred to me nor anyone I ever met that it was possible to change sex or gender. Throughout my studies I never once came across an example from history or literature prior to the past few decades of someone who genuinely thought it was literally possible for a man to become a woman. There were women who pretended to be men, such as Portia in the Merchant of Venice, but she knew that she really was a woman. But now my little four-year-old is presented with a choice that previously was not open to him. He can go where no man has gone before.
Prior to the mid-1950s no one thought there was a distinction between sex and gender. Sex was considered to be something unchangeable determined at birth and gender if it was used at all was a matter of grammar or of referring to biological sex in a general way. It is the invention of the distinction between sex and gender such that they can be different that is the root of the choice that is presented to my little boy.
There is no experimental evidence whatsoever for there being a distinction between sex and gender. If there were such a distinction in nature, we would expect it to be present in animals. But no bull has been shown to think that it is really a cow and for that thought to be true. Only human beings are presented with the idea that it is possible to be a little boy, but really be a little girl. Only human beings are told that while their sex may be objective their gender is subjective and a matter of choice. But once you introduce this choice do not be surprised when some children take it.
My little boy will enter into a school where he is gradually introduced to an ideology that was never presented to me nor anyone else in Scotland until the last few years. He will be told that there are lots of genders. He can be a boy. He can be a girl or he can be non-binary or indeed any one of any other gender that he might choose to make up. If he is unhappy, or if he prefers for whatever reason to play with the girls or dress up as a girl, then he will be told that he has a choice that was not open to me. Perhaps you really are a girl. Did you know that being a boy is not fixed? All you have to do is say that you are a girl and you can change your name and your pronouns and everyone will have to treat you as a girl.
Let’s say my little boy, influenced by some of the things he learns in primary school tells his teacher that he wants to be a little girl. This teacher has been told by the SNP that I need not be informed, indeed that it might be better if I am not informed. At that point my little boy might take on a new name at school. He might be called she. He would then go to the girls’ toilets if he wanted to. If there were a school trip, he might share a room a tent or a shower with the girls.
The parents of these girls would not be allowed to object that there was a boy in a changing room. They would not even know. If a little girl objected to the sight of a male body in her tent or shower, she would be told that this male body belonged to a girl just like her. If her parents objected, they would be told that what mattered was the gender identity of the person with the male body and if they objected further, they might find themselves admonished for being transphobic, which might get them into trouble with Scotland’s hate crime laws. Meanwhile I might know nothing about any of this because I would not have been informed.
This is the greatest damage the SNP could do to any one of us. It can turn boys into girls and if I object convict me of a hate crime, while making clear if I continue to object, I would be an unfit parent. The SNP could take my child away from me because on a whim and influenced by teaching materials that have no scientific basis, he decided that he was really a girl.
Not only might I lose my child, he would be put on a path where he would be encouraged to believe that he really was a girl. No one would say “Don’t be silly you are a little boy”. No one would point out the life changing consequences of his decision. He might in time be given pills, medical treatment and eventually surgery. He might be unable to have children. I would not be allowed to persuade him of his folly, because the authorities would insist that it was not folly and anyway, I would not be told.
The consequences of putting people with male bodies in single sex spaces are not merely about the embarrassment for those with female bodies. We don’t care about the gender identity of the person with the male body we care only about that body and what it has the potential to do.
People with genuine gender dysphoria must be treated kindly and with respect, but the initial stage of treatment must be to try to persuade them from going down this path at all. In the past someone with gender dysphoria would have been told by friends and family that it was not possible for boys to become girls. This meant that only a very few people who insisted despite all of this opposition reached adulthood maintaining they were really women despite being men. These few were a non-issue when I was a child. It was a medical matter rather than a whole ideology.
But now my little boy would face no opposition, instead the SNP would encourage him to be a girl if he just once suggested that he liked wearing dresses. If you think Scottish independence would be disastrous for your family imagine the distress of your little boy coming home as a little girl, knowing what the future held for him if he continued with this view. Imagine being unable to persuade him otherwise out of fear that he would be taken away. Imagine not even being told.
The excellent Effie Deans writes at Lily of St. Leonard’s here.