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Can we care and say ‘no’ to a request?

What do you do when someone who appears to be homeless, possibly sitting in a doorway as you walk past, who catches your attention and asks you for money? Should you give it to them? And if you don’t, are you being uncaring? According to the journalist Matt Broomfield, yes you should, and if you don’t, yes you are being uncaring.

Give your cash directly and unconditionally to homeless people. Don’t just buy them a sandwich from Pret. They’re not four. They have the right to spend their money as they choose – and it is their money, once given. Don’t just give to people performing, singing, or accompanied by a cute dog. Don’t second-guess whether people are “really” homeless.

In other words, your action should be shaped by a relentless sense of compassion which asks no questions, trucks no reflection, but is expressed in action. And Jon Kuhrt thinks he is profoundly wrong. Jon had earlier in the year written a post about why Pope Francis was wrong when he said something similar:

It sounds kind to tell people to give money to anyone who asks, but we do not have the luxury of such simplistic approaches. We should not be cynical or harsh toward those begging, but we need to have a compassionate realism about the nature of their problems. People begging are not intrinsically bad people and almost always have genuine needs. But handing over cash to them simply does not meet those needs effectively.  The homeless charity Thames Reach estimate that 80% of those begging are doing so to maintain an addiction. Rather than helping, handing over cash can actually be killing with kindness.

That final phrase, ‘killing with kindness’, locates this kind of ethical decision alongside the decisions that any parent has to make about any child who asks them for something. Should I give them what they want, regardless? Is that the loving thing to do? For most of us, the answer is clearly ‘No’—but it is amazing how many in our culture struggle to see why. It is quite right that we are not ‘parents’ to the homeless who function as ‘children’—but there remains a dynamic of responsible action on the part of the giver. Giving to anyone is an act of power, and without wisdom, that power can be misused. In fact, giving without thinking through the consequences merely serves to assuage our sense of guilt, rather than being a genuine act of love.

Jon knows what he is talking about, not only from his ministerial and professional experience, but because of deep personal tragedy.

My cousin James and I were the same age so as youngsters we spent a lot of time together. He was very good looking, cheeky and outwardly very confident. But in his teenage years, he began drinking heavily and in his twenties he became addicted to heroin. It began a 20 year battle with the drug. James died suddenly just after Christmas last year. He was 45.

But Jon’s relationship with James has been marked not just by love, but by wise discipline.

One of the reasons we got on well was that we were honest and upfront with each other. He would often say ‘Let’s have no bullshit Jonathan’. Crucially, we agreed some clear boundaries. First, we agreed that I would never lend him any money. Secondly, although he could phone me whenever he wanted to, I would end any conversations where he was simply blaming everyone else for his situation. Rather than find these judgmental, James appreciated these boundaries.


So Jon is right: it is not only unloving, but potentially seriously harmful, simply to give what you are asked for in this situation—and there are better alternative courses of action. What, then, when someone comes and asks for support in or recognition of gender ‘transition’? If such discernment, discipline and wisdom is needed in answering the straightforward question ‘Should I give money to the homeless?’, then what of the far more complex question of gender identity?

The famous obstetrician Robert Winston was drawn into the controversy around this question on Radio 4 last week. He pointed out the serious harm that can arise from medical intervention to effect gender ‘transition’.

Speaking on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4, he said that “results are horrendous in such a big proportion of cases”. He said 40 per cent of people who undergo vaginal reconstruction surgery experience complications as a result, and many need further surgery, and 23 per cent of people who have their breasts removed “feel uncomfortable with what they’ve done”.

He added: “What I’ve been seeing in a fertility clinic are the long-term results of often very unhappy people who now feel quite badly damaged. One has to consider when you’re doing any kind of medicine where you’re trying to do good not harm, and looking at the long-term effects of what you might be doing, and for me that is really a very important warning sign.”

For expressing his informed medical opinion, Winston received a torrent of hate mail from transgender activists. But he was expressing from a medical point of view similar reservations expressed by the feminist Camille Paglia:

Although I describe myself as transgender (I was donning flamboyant male costumes from early childhood on), I am highly skeptical about the current transgender wave, which I think has been produced by far more complicated psychological and sociological factors than current gender discourse allows. Furthermore, I condemn the escalating prescription of puberty blockers (whose long-term effects are unknown) for children. I regard this practice as a criminal violation of human rights.

The cold biological truth is that sex changes are impossible. Every single cell of the human body remains coded with one’s birth gender for life. Intersex ambiguities can occur, but they are developmental anomalies that represent a tiny proportion of all human births.

All this makes Synod’s passing of a motion on this issue last July look at best naive, at worst very foolish. Winston is pointing out the (unintended) consequences of hasty and naive action in this area, just as Jon Kuhrt is pointing out the results of hasty and naive action in response to the homeless. There are the consequences of giving an unthinking and unqualified affirmation of those asking for recognition of their transgender status, even if motived by kindness. It is, in any complex situation, quite possible to harm even when intending to do good, if care and love are not shaped by awareness and wisdom. What is true of those asking for money is true of those asking for recognition. These are the facts that the Church needs to take account of; in fact, these are the things any of us needs to take account of if we are to be wise and compassionate pastors.

Transgender Trend are a non-religious group representing parents of children with gender dysphoria who do not agree with the current transgender ideology. They made a presentation to the Government, opposing the planned demedicalisation of the legal process around ‘transition’. I reproduce below some of the facts they set out—facts that the Church of England will need to take into account in anything that it proposes in this area as part of its wider debate on sexuality.


I also speak to urge caution on behalf of the children of this generation who are caught up in the teaching of a new rigid, anti-science belief system presented to them as fact. [1]

If Gender Identity is established in law as a Protected Characteristic, it will apply to children of any age. But a child’s identity is not fixed: it changes over time, and it is shaped by factors like parental approval and societal influences. If all trusted adults are reinforcing daily a little boy’s belief that he is really a girl, this will have an obvious self-fulfilling effect. Puberty blockers supply the ‘answer’ to the created fear of a puberty he now believes to be the ‘wrong’ one.

Almost all children on blockers progress to cross-sex hormones at age 16. [2] Very few come off this path of increasingly invasive medical treatments once they are on it and so-called ‘social transition’ is the first step. This approach clearly works to prevent normal resolution of childhood gender dysphoria and foster persistence of opposite-sex identity.

While trans activists call for the de-medicalisation of ‘transgender,’ in the case of children they campaign aggressively for social transition, blockers and cross-sex hormones at ever earlier ages.[3]

The surge in sex hormones at puberty triggers the enormous changes in the teenage brain which don’t complete their job until the mid-twenties. [4] The brain /personality is not fully-formed until then. The effects of blockers on adolescent brain development are unknown [5] although studies on adults, including men taking the drug for prostate cancer, indicate risk of memory loss, depression and cognitive impairment. [6] Recent reports from the US indicate long-term serious health effects for women who were administered blockers for precocious puberty, such as excruciating muscle and bone pain, depression, weakness and fatigue. [7]

Preventing a child’s sexual development in early puberty, followed at 16 by cross-sex hormones, results in sterility as viable eggs or sperm have not developed. [8] These children are prevented from ever experiencing puberty: hormones can only superficially feminise or masculinise secondary sex characteristics, they cannot create the puberty of the opposite sex. Risks of cross-sex hormones include cardiac disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, diabetes and cancers. [9] Some significant effects are irreversible, such as male-pattern baldness and body and facial hair, masculinised voice and compromised fertility.

There have been no clinical research trials into the long-term effects of this treatment on children: this is a non evidence-based practice [10] to treat a non evidence-based diagnosis of being ‘a girl trapped in a boy’s body’ and vice versa [11] and this generation of children are the guinea pigs.

‘Transgender’ is an ideological label distinct from the clinical diagnosis ‘gender dysphoria.’ To call a child ‘transgender’ is to make both a claim that the child’s feelings represent material reality and a prediction about that child’s future: they will not change.

An analysis of all published research studies of children with ‘gender dysphoria’ shows that 80% will naturally come to be happy as the sex they were born [12] and this is true of even some of the most severe cases, we can’t know which children will persist and which will desist.

Opposite-sex identity in childhood is overwhelmingly predictive of gay or lesbian sexual orientation in adulthood, not transsexualism. [13] Affirming a child’s ‘gender identity’ can therefore be seen as gay conversion therapy by another name.

There has been an almost 1000% increase in children referred to the Tavistock clinic in London over the past 6 years. [14] These figures are inflated by the unprecedented rise in the number of girls – nearly 70% of the figure overall and over 70% of adolescent referrals last year. [15] By comparison, in the late Sixties 90% of adult transsexuals were male. [16]

We are aware that teenagers and young adults are susceptible to indoctrination, brainwashing and social contagion which is why we block online anorexia and self-harm sites. The internet, however, is chock-full of Tumblr bloggers and Youtube vloggers with hundreds of thousands of followers, who are selling vulnerable young people the myth of transformation through cosmetic alteration of their bodies, including amputation of healthy body parts, and a lifetime’s dependency on powerful off label hormones.

Recent reports of girls’ mental health indicate that girls and young women in the UK are in crisis. [17] Recently published evidence of the rate of sexual abuse and harassment in schools across the UK is a matter of national shame. [18]

Reports such as the recent Stonewall Schools Report [19] which indicate high suicidal ideation in ‘trans’ youth serve to cover up the fact that the vast majority of these youngsters will be teenage girls, now hidden in the category ‘trans boys.’

A PSHE teacher and Head of Year at a large comprehensive told me that in her school the kids who identify as ‘trans’ are, without exception, either lesbian, autism spectrum, have mental health problems or have suffered sexual abuse.

Parents are also concerned about the relentless gender identity propaganda their children are subject to today – across the media, [20] the internet and in schools, through organisations such as GIRES, Gendered Intelligence, Mermaids and Educate and Celebrate. The belief that gender is an innate identity is taught to children as truth, with no alternative views offered, in contravention of the UN Rights of the Child.

The ‘transition or suicide’ trope is repeated endlessly, against all Samaritans guidelines. There is no evidence that children will commit suicide if their parents fail to support them in taking a medical pathway, but of course the threat terrifies parents into feeling they have to.

There are over 260 trans youth support groups across the UK [21], which provide the ‘tribe’ where our most vulnerable young people will be accepted, maybe for the first time, as long as they identify as trans. All transgender organisations advertise their support for ‘gender non-conforming’ youth, sweeping up all children who are ‘different’ and don’t fit in.

These organisations claim to support ‘diversity’ but of course they do the opposite: a girl who rejects feminine stereotypes is transformed into a ‘boy’ who conforms to masculine stereotypes. Gender non-conformity is erased. Regressive and reactionary sex-stereotyping is being sold to young people as a progressive social justice movement.

To teach children that their ‘authentic self’ is something in their heads, split off from and in opposition to, the body, is to create gender dysphoria. Mind-body disassociation is recognised as a state of mental ill-health: in this case uniquely, it is presented as a normal variation and something to be celebrated. Mental health is based on being equipped to accept reality.

Since children have been taught that it is their ‘gender identity’ which makes them a boy or a girl and not their biological sex, calls to Childline from young people confused about their gender have doubled in a year – eight calls are now received every day from children as young as eleven. [22] The concept of ‘gender identity’ is clearly – and inevitably – causing mental health problems for young people.

Any child who suffers genuine gender dysphoria must of course be sensitively supported in schools and youth organisations. But teachers, professionals and other children cannot be asked to collude in the reinforcement of a child’s belief which contradicts reality. Recognition of biological facts is not bigotry.

When girls are told that a male classmate is now a girl, their sense of their own reality is shattered. If a biological male is a girl, then it is not female biology which makes you a girl, it is something else. Girls must look to a male classmate to find out the invisible magic quality they need, and the boy is given the power to define what a girl is. We cannot predict the long-term practical or psychological effects on girls taught to deny their own biology, without the right to even define themselves correctly as the female sex.

If teenage girls must consent to a male classmate using their toilets and changing-rooms they learn that their boundaries may be violated and their consent is unimportant. Girls learn that they are not always allowed to say ‘no.’ This is grooming; lessons on the importance of consent become meaningless.

Girls who are coached at school into ignoring their own discomfort and intuition may go on to put themselves in risky situations with any man who claims to be a woman, out of fear of being seen as transphobic.

In the case of public swimming pool changing rooms a young girl cannot name a male with a penis as a man: voyeurism and indecent exposure cease to exist as crimes if a man claims to be a woman. Normal child protection protocols effectively become unlawful.

References

[1] https://www.gires.org.uk/classroom-lesson-plans/
[2] Hot Topics in Child Health conference, 12 June 2017, evidence from Dr Polly Carmichael, Tavistock clinic
[3] http://www.gires.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/GIRES-Young-People-Elsewhere-Observations-regarding-cross-sex-hormones.pdf
[4] https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/teenage-brain1.htm
[5] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2444866417301101
[6] http://dailysignal.com/2017/07/03/im-pediatrician-transgender-ideology-infiltrated-field-produced-large-scale-child-abuse/amp/
[7] https://californiahealthline.org/news/women-fear-drug-they-used-to-halt-puberty-led-to-health-problems/
[8] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/when-transgender-kids-transition-medical-risks-are-both-known-and-unknown/
[9] http://dailysignal.com/2017/07/03/im-pediatrician-transgender-ideology-infiltrated-field-produced-large-scale-child-abuse/amp/
[10] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26119518
[11] http://www.ozy.com/provocateurs/the-modern-master-of-sex/67782
[12] http://www.sexologytoday.org/2016/01/do-trans-kids-stay-trans-when-they-grow_99.html
[13] https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/262671
[14] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-35532491
[15] https://www.transgendertrend.com/from-adult-males-to-teenage-girls-the-movement-from-etiology-to-ideology/
[16] http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/women-and-equalities-committee/transgender-equality/written/19532.html
[17] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41671060
[18] https://www.women2win.com/news/women-and-equalities-committee-chair-maria-miller-responds-girls-attitudes-survey-2017
[19] http://www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/the_school_report_2017.pdf
[20] http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2014/46/my-life
[21] https://www.tranzwiki.net/
[22] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/13/childline-eight-calls-a-day-gender-identity-issues-children-nspcc-helpline-transgender?CMP=share_btn_tw


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99 Responses to Can we care and say ‘no’ to a request?

  1. Jonathan Perkin November 13, 2017 at 8:41 am #

    As I read this I heard on the news that the CofE education department are advising church schools to collude with gender confusion. What? The church is more confused than ever in history. God have mercy on us.

    • simon November 13, 2017 at 9:52 am #

      I read it – why wasn’t I surprised?! When does the church cease to be the church?

    • Will Jones November 13, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

      I, too, was disappointed (but sadly unsurprised) to read this. This is the same week as Lorna Ashworth resigns from the Archbishops’ Council and General Synod and calls on other orthodox Anglicans to do the same. It’d be good to hear Ian’s thoughts on this, especially as a member of those bodies himself.

  2. Jas November 13, 2017 at 9:13 am #

    Yes: Let me offer some Biblical support for this-

    The first mission event of the new-born church which is detailed in Acts has a man begging, seeking the money which he believes is the answer to his problems. Peter and John help him to look in a different direction [Acts 3:4-5]. If Peter and John had been unable to see any hope beyond the way the world works then this beggar would have received exactly what he requested. The church is supposed to meet people’s TRUE needs – NOT people’s own perceptions of their needs, nor just their ‘spiritual’ needs, nor just their ‘physical’ needs. Part of the church’s role in meeting needs is rightly discerning them.

  3. Phill November 13, 2017 at 9:19 am #

    Thanks Ian for this – I share your concerns exactly. I wonder whether this is all a part of society being unable to think through issues now – it seems like most people think with their emotions. Many people ‘feel’ that the right thing with transgender folks is full affirmation – and are unwilling to look into it. Same with same-sex marriage. It feels right, so it must be.

    I hope that soon people will see how the Christian story is truly better (to channel Glynn Harrison), one can only run away from reality for so long before it comes back to bite you.

    • James Byron November 13, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

      Agreed about the fashion for prioritizing emotion over reason, Phill: but, as shown by Wolf v. Walker, in which opponents of same-sex marriage couldn’t even pass the rational basis test, marriage equality’s foundation ain’t just feels.

      • Phill November 14, 2017 at 9:29 am #

        Hi James, this is interesting – I do think there is a link between reason and emotion. Atheists, for example, make a big noise about being rational but I don’t believe they are – the explain away things like morality because it’s inconvenient for them. I think they want God not to exist and then rationalise it. Emotion can cloud our judgement.

        Just because a court of law ruled the objection to SSM wasn’t rational doesn’t mean it isn’t. I think this is part of the problem – same-sex marriage “feels” rational because we’ve come to accept so many things such as (1) it would be wrong to prohibit anyone from expressing their sexuality; (2) you can’t prevent someone having a life partner; (3) opposite-sex love and relationships are exactly the same as same-sex love and relationships. All of these things are assumptions which I believe can and should be challenged.

        Julian Rivers – who wrote a Jubilee Paper about redefining marriage (“The Case for Caution”) – was interviewed by parliament about this, and I saw a video of it. What struck me was how the MPs involved were simply unable (or unwilling) to see his concerns. It was like they were talking past each other.

        Being rational means more than simply resting our case on the assumptions of the day, it means being able to question even our deeply held convictions. And I think in the case of both same-sex marriage and transgender, people’s deeply held convictions are wrong.

        • James Byron November 14, 2017 at 11:51 pm #

          “Just because a court of law ruled the objection to SSM wasn’t rational doesn’t mean it isn’t.”

          Of course not, Phill, that’d be an argument from authority, the absence of which proved to be SSM opponents’ undoing.

          Advocates of traditional marriage didn’t just lose in Chicago: their arguments fell apart on cross; when pressed, their struggling counsel couldn’t even offer a reason to continue discrimination. In another circuit, SSM opponents were reduced to fielding a grad student as an “expert witness.”

          The Seventh’s a conservative circuit, and if there were strong arguments on offer, SSM opponents had every chance of prevailing. Even supporters were shocked that their case collapsed at the first hurdle. Stripped of the ability to appeal to a source of authority, be it the Bible, tradition, or something else, the house of cards crumpled.

          • Phill November 15, 2017 at 9:37 am #

            Hmmm. You also appear to be arguing from authority, because you are using the authority of the court judgement instead of simply examining the rational arguments. A court is not necessarily rational or neutral, sadly.

            For the vast majority of human history the arguments in favour of traditional marriage have been decisive. I think I’ll go with them (and the Bible).

      • David Shepherd November 14, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

        ‘Marriage equality ain’t just feels’.

        Apart from the misnomer of ‘marriage equality’, the Austrian government’s successful defence of its refusal to grant marriage to same-sex couples (Schalke and Kopf v Austria) provided a rational basis (which the ECtHR) for marriage to remain ‘geared towards the fundamental possibility of parenthood’: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schalk_and_Kopf_v_Austria

        And what’s irrational is for same-sex couples to use marriage, which is geared in this way, to be the basis for litigation which elevates the intentional parenthood of ‘non-bio’ spouses to be legally on par with or superior to the rights of known, willing and capable biological parents.

        https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/other-courts/2014/2014-ny-slip-op-24345.html

        • James Byron November 15, 2017 at 12:11 am #

          Judge Richard Posner brushed off the childbearing argument in his Seventh Circuit opinion, David: even if marriage is “geared towards the fundamental possibility of parenthood,” the state allowing infertile couples to marry shows that it’s not the sole benefit; and even if it were, no rational basis was offered to distinguish between biological and adoptive parenthood.

          The ECHR cases aren’t comparable, since they rest on statutory interpretation, not a generalized assessment of reasonableness. Strasbourg didn’t just infer the necessity of hetrosexual marriage from parenthood: they placed a lotta weight on Article 12’s unusually specific wording, referring explicitly to “men and women of marriageable age.” For the same reason, although I oppose the death penalty, I’m forced to accept that the U.S. Constitution’s explicit references to “capital punishment” mean that it cannot implicitly ban what its text explicitly permits.

          Given the length of our previous discussions on the matter, I’ll not jump down the other rabbit hole.

          • David Shepherd November 15, 2017 at 8:23 am #

            James,

            It is due to privacy law (cf. Griswold vs. Connecticut) that Infertile couples are ‘allowed’ to marry. So, void ab initio impediments are restricted to prima facie evidence.

            Sir William Blackstone, the father of English Common Law jurisprudence, addressed the matter of infertility of married couples in his Commentaries:

            ‘The possibility of issue is always supposed to exist, in law, unless extinguished by the death of the parties. Even though the donees [beneficiaries] be each of them an hundred years old’.

            Even though ‘the fundamental possibility of parenthood’ is not marriage’s sole benefit, it is an inalienable and essential entitlement of marriage which is being used to (in the words of the judgement of the previously cited NY case) ‘preclude differentiation based on essential biology.’

            Certainly, the WHO definition of infertility makes it a category error to use the term to describe same-sex couples.

            The Schalke and Kopf decision did involve statutory interpretation, but no more than the Uniform Parentage Act in the US requires a statutory gender-neutral interpretation of the presumption of parenthood.

            The key difference between US and EU jurisdictions is that the margin of appreciation of the latter permits greater discretion than federal law allows.

            I’m happy to avoid the rabbit hole, but this reply provides a rational answer to your rebuttal.

      • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

        In order to test whether something was rational or not (I assume as a bare minimum that being rational involves both being self-consistent and having a theory that corresponds to reality) one would have to look at all angles.

  4. Christine November 13, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    Hi Ian,
    Thank you for your article which is rich with wise and informed references.
    I also welcome the sanity of your article on a day when some of the news leaves me wondering if some members of the CofE have become fanciful, to put it mildly!
    Some fashionable notions about love seem to insist that love and discipline are mutually exclusive, as though there were no such thing as ‘tough love’, as though it were not OK for the Lord to discipline those whom he loves. and as though it were not OK for us, as Christians, to discipline, warn and guide those whom we love.
    Thank you again.
    Christine

  5. James Byron November 13, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    Regarding giving money to panhandlers unconditionally: even if I accepted that it’s right for me to enable someone’s drug addiction (emphatically arguendo: I dont, and won’t), it’s not right for me to fund the criminals who deal narcotics. Nor, for that matter, the gangmasters responsible for much “begging” in major cities.

    This isn’t even radical individualism: it’s an ethical quagmire.

  6. Eric November 13, 2017 at 6:36 pm #

    Brief second comment, through the very helpful posting from Transgender Trend, one thing consistently strikes me, what philosophers have been remarking on for over a century, the loss of the female. My own reading of this is it is the sign of a culture in a death spiral, for ‘he called her name Eve, for she was the mother of all living’

    In part as Paul Evdokimov is at pains to point out, this is because we live in a radically masculinised society. Put another way, the only way to get on is in one way or another to become ‘male’.

    • blair November 15, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

      Hi Eric,

      just briefly – I find your comment a little odd given that, as Transgender Trend also note, it’s only very recently that there has been a sharp rise in the number of girls seeking help with gender identity. This is a bit cursory, granted, but if you Google ‘ratio of male-to-female to female-to-male trans people’ you’ll find that, even acknowledging the difficulties of the statistics, there are more MTF than FTM trans people. I think this speaks against your comment somewhat…

      in friendship, Blair

      • Eric November 15, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

        Hi Blair – and thanks for the friendly tone – I find these forums have a tendency to aggressiveness which is in part due to the technological aspect of this form of discourse. As I tend to say, true conversation requires bodies 🙂 (coffee or indeed beer or wine is also helpful in small doses! 🙂 )

        Thank you also for your illuminating stats. It might sound counter intuitive, but there may be a sense in which the stats actually bear out my point, and of course I am as guilty as anyone of finding the evidence for my position in any story/statistics etc. etc.

        This is part of a much wider conversation, and I find it difficult to as it were separate out one thread eg transgenderism, from a broader ontological tapestry, but with that caveat in place, I would ask whether the desire for MTF transitioning is in some respects out of a deep sense of the loss of the female. Male and Female Need each other. Tolkien expresses this myth most beautifully in the sad tale of the Ents and the Entwives, so in the absence of the feminine in a masculinised world, ‘we go in search of the female’ as the Ents journeyed and sought news of the Entwives from the hobbits. (Story is always helpful in speaking of underlying mythos I am increasingly finding, or perhaps its just a desire to return to Englan and sit in a pub with friends . . .)

        (Before this response gets any more alcoholic . . . ) The human is deep and mysterious, and I suggest there are very powerful archetypal ‘myths’ operating here. The Modern world is highly technical left hemispheric, life denying (in any deep sense) and very suited to the Power of the male. Thus in so many ways we lose or even (unconsciously) seek to eradicate the ‘female’ – the loss of ‘motherhood’ in our Age as a dominant cultural Metaphor in comparison with Ages past, is I think telling in this regard.

        Thus, I would tend to argue (wouldn’t I – see para 2 🙂 ) that the higher MTF transition may be in part a deeply conditioned response to the loss of The Female.

        (I would also gently question whether MTF trans = Female (without to get into Germaine Greer territory 🙂 ) Equivalence/Equality being another Techinical inherently masculinised abstract . . .)

        but hey – what do I know 🙂 (Re-reading this it sounds aggressive, but its genuinely not 🙂 )

        thank you again for the ‘friendly tone’

        Blessings

        Eric

  7. Tricia November 13, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

    Thank you for writing this well reasoned and well researched piece. It was much needed today after waking up to the news of the Church abandoning the little ones that parents entrust into their keeping as a safe space to grow in mind body and spirit. You only need one activist family to coerce a whole school into a lie. It is important for children to play and have make believe games, but it is only possible when they are grounded in safe reality.
    My daughter rang me – absolutely furious as her son attends a C of E Primary School. This is going to be so difficult for us in the parishes. There is going to be uproar from parents when they find out all the implications of the sex education agenda as well.

    • James Byron November 13, 2017 at 10:02 pm #

      “You only need one activist family to coerce a whole school into a lie.”

      Is there a single example of an “activist family” lying about their child being trans, then strong-arming a school into going along with it? If there is, d’you have any suggestions for how to deal with the situation that’re compatible with respecting the rights of the overwhelming majority of sincerely trans students?

      • Tricia November 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

        It is the parents not the child. Children are in the care of their parents. Children do not decide when it is safe to cross the road whilst in primary school, never mind whether they are the wrong sex! Sensible parents as Robert Winston pointed out will affirm their child in their body and work through their issues – not start them on the horrendous road to chemical and surgical change. This is not compassion – it is cruel.
        It was the parents at the Isle of Wight C of E Primary School who insisted that their child was gender fluid and would sometimes be a girl and sometimes a boy. All the other 6 year old had to to try and work out which name was required in that day. This is the abuse of the majority of children. The Christian family removed their child as there was no support from school or church. Rev David Robert reported on his blog about a family in his congregation having had their child come home from school in tears as she was frightened she would turn into a boy. A Christian secondary school teacher has been suspended because he inadvertently misgendered a pupil and even though he immediately apologised, the parents complained.

        • Christine November 14, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

          Hi Tricia – well said. I feel so sad about the little girl who was frightened that she might turn into a boy – I’m sure there must be others like her. Our God is a God of order, not a God of confusion and chaos. My heart also goes out to the teacher who might lose his job. I’m a retired teacher, and when I read about that unfortunate maths teacher, I remembered a time years ago when I thought a girl pupil was a boy. I said,’That boy at the back, please sit down and be quiet.’ That was in the days when gender identity was not an issue, so some kids laughed, and some protested a bit – but my job was certainly not on the line. The girl I thought was a boy was dressed, like many kids, in trousers and a school sweatshirt. She was very tall and had very short hair and she was shouting in a loud and rather deep voice. It was the first time I had taught that group, so I did not know any of the kids. In retrospect I can see that it might have been better if I had said, ‘That person at the back…’, but then it is always easy to be wise after the event!

          Christine

      • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

        ‘Lying about their child being trans’??

        What you call ‘being trans’ is not a sufficiently robust concept to be either verifiable or falsifiable in the first place. The very concept is one that the vast majority of cultures has done without; even within our own culture, it is a confused phrase that means several quite separate things, not a few of which have no basis in reality.

  8. James Byron November 13, 2017 at 10:14 pm #

    There’s valid questions to be asked about how trans children should be accommodated.

    When, instead of being asked sensitively, preferably in a guest-post from a trans person, those questions are mixed in with scare-stories about predators impersonating trans people to break into the women’s locker room, you’re guaranteed to see more heat than light. And so it’s proved.

    The CoE claims to’ve turned over a new leaf, and to welcome trans people. When a member of what is, in effect, its executive addresses them in this way, it’s fair to question the merits of that claim.

    • Mat Sheffield November 13, 2017 at 11:19 pm #

      I agree with you in part James.

      I agree that including so much ‘hypothetical’ (this [example] could happen) is probably unhelpful, though I’m not sure I’d go so far as to label this particular list as ‘scaremongering’ (though there is plenty of that about!). But I agree with the author of those concerns that there is immense danger here. As the Winston situation suggests, there is a risk that:

      1. We end up creating, or encouraging, an atmosphere that actively pressures people to conform.
      2. We De-medicalise the process, so the decision-makers are not guaranteed to be those with the right expertise
      3. That we remove the parents from that process too.

      To some degree the reactionaries are fighting fire with fire, and pushing back against the bow-wave of change with the same bluntness that rallied against them, but they are not mistaken to push back and resist and should be encouraged to do so.

      • James Byron November 13, 2017 at 11:50 pm #

        As it happens, Mat, I deplore the abuse hurled at Dr. Winston. Plug a position into Twitter search, and unfortunately, you’ll likely find someone abusing someone else in its name. Nature of the beast.

        Tone aside, I agree that there’s serious and difficult questions to be asked. I think we’re on the same wavelength at least in saying that, with so much ground covered by the hypotheticals, they’re liable to get lost in the crowd.

        • Mat Sheffield November 14, 2017 at 10:03 am #

          Agreed.

      • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

        I think it is best to avoid the word ‘reactionary’ just as we avoid ‘progressive’. In the nature of things there are times when the older way will be worse than the newer, and also other times when vice-versa is true. It is whether something is *true* that is important; whether something is old or new is utterly irrelevant.

    • David Shepherd November 13, 2017 at 11:37 pm #

      ‘When, instead of being asked sensitively, preferably in a guest-post from a trans person, those questions are mixed in with scare-stories about predators impersonating trans people’.

      So, sensitivity (read, mawkish deference) is evidenced by the owner of this blog posing questions in the context of a trans person’s guest post.

      What confidence can there be that such a piece would pour forth significantly more light than heat when trans people are just as capable as anyone else of resorting their own ‘scare-stories’ which lay blame for homophobic and transphobic bullying in Church schools on traditional Christian doctrine and anyone who still dares to proclaim it?

      • James Byron November 13, 2017 at 11:57 pm #

        No David, I’m not asking for “mawkish deference,” and I’d be rightly amazed if it appeared. I simply offered an opinion on the subject raised.

        Since trans people are, of course, as diverse in their views as any other group, there’s those who share in at least some of Dr. Winston’s concerns. I’m not looking for a silencing devise, but insight into a complex area.

        • David Shepherd November 14, 2017 at 7:47 am #

          James,

          My point is that your suggestion of asking a trans person to provide a guest post would indeed yield an alternative opinion, but with no greater prospect of imparting objective impartial insight into this complex area.

          And you go too far in your unwarranted assertion that, coming as it does from a member of the CofE’s executive, this post, as it stands, addresses trans people in such a way as to belie the CofE’s claim that it has ‘turned over a new leaf’ in tackling transphobia.

          That would only encourage politically motivated purges to root out any leader who doesn’t toe the new party line.

          Some here may remember Brendan Eich, the CEO who was forced to resign from Mozilla over his personal support for Proposition 8 in California.

          • James Byron November 14, 2017 at 8:11 am #

            I’ll wait for the movie version; someone drop Armando Iannucci a line.

            Since I bizarrely have need to, I’ll clarify that I have no wish to see anyone purged from anywhere. I do believe that an article more keyed in to the trans community would better represent the CoE’s new commitments, and would be likelier to win over hearts and minds.

            As for impartiality, we’ve all got an angle. I of course hope that whatever argument’s made is well-supported.

          • David Shepherd November 14, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

            Well, over in the other place (Thinking Anglicans), it’s clear that the purge of conservative membership from the Archbishops Council is being relished with glee.

            So, even though it lacks mainstream appeal, maybe Iannucci will see comic mileage to be found in a pitch of the ‘Lorna Ashworth and the evangelical exodus’ story.

    • Clive November 15, 2017 at 11:49 am #

      Dear James,

      Transgenderism involves clear misogyny and no sensible person can involve themselves in such misogyny. There are now multiple examples over several countries of “women” atheletes who are originally men but now saying they are women and trouncing their actual female athletes. A very clear message is now being sent by schools, government and the media that female athletes are completely wasting their time and their lives.

      I will NOT ever support such hateful misogyny and I am upset that CofE book to schools can’t see the actual misogyny inherent in transgenderism and so teach to children.

      • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

        Yes, to say nothing of the second and separate misogyny (and also misandry) that says children in particular, but all females and males too, can’t be allowed to be free from other-gender access to their bathroom.

  9. David November 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm #

    With all the sense in the matter you quote, it is curious to note from the “About Us” Transgender Trend post, “We reject current conservative, reactionary, religious-fundamentalist views about sexuality” – disappointingly dogmatic, and dubiously rational.

  10. Penelope Cowell Doe November 14, 2017 at 10:23 pm #

    I hope that everyone who deplores this excellent CofE guidance has read it in full, especially p.20, and is not simplying relying on the tabloid press and the twitter sphere for accurate representation.

    I also hope that those who feel sorry for Mr Sitcliffe and his ‘genuine mistake’ have now watched him on national TV and realised that he is utterly mendacious; driven by an ideological agenda and still, pointedly, misgendering the pupil. Though he may have got in rather deeper than he intended with CC.

    • David Shepherd November 15, 2017 at 1:19 am #

      Yes, Penelope, I read it in full.

      What you call ‘excellent guidance’ refuses to uphold Church’s teaching on marriage any more than to subsume it into the spectrum of minority beliefs:

      ‘The official Church of England teaching about the human sexual act is that “it is an act of total commitment which belongs properly within a permanent married relationship and that homosexual acts fall short of this ideal”. Yet within the Anglican Communion there exists a wide spectrum of beliefs about this issue and this is a hugely divisive issue for the Church at this time.Within a school community of pupils, staff, parents and governors and within your link parish, many different views may be held and it should be acknowledged that this is a sensitive issue about which there may be a considerable strength of feeling.

      ‘The Church of England holds traditional teaching about the sanctity of marriage and same-sex relationships which should be explained.29 However there is a diversity of beliefs surrounding sexuality within the Anglican Communion. It should be acknowledged that some Church of England clergy have expressed their disappointment and frustration that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 does not permit the solemnisation of same sex marriages according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England. In other Christian denominations, people may agree with the Church of England’s position, whilst some may vote to ‘opt in’ and allow single-sex marriage in their churches. Interpreters of scriptures across faith divides may agree with one another and yet there will be a diversity of opinion within a single faith tradition. It is important that any dialogue allows for religious and non-religious perspectives to be aired and heard under the overarching caveat that all people should be treated with reverence and honour.While in discussion, it is entirely reasonable to criticise sincerely held views based on strong convictions this should be done in a way that is consistent with the Christian ethos of love and welcome and avoids any suggestion of being dismissive of people.

      So, it reduces Canon B30 to little more than the party line for fear that to explain any more of the Church’s current position would foment homophobia.

      This initiative represents a Pyrrhic victory in the march towards revisionism when the Archbishops Council 2018 budget predicts eye-watering year-on-year apportionment increases of over 9% to cover the influx of ordinands.

      I’m really looking forward to emboldened liberals digging deep and filling the National Church coffers as never before, ‘cos guess who ain’t.

    • Tricia November 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

      Penelope
      I find your post offensive and supercilious. The”excellent guidance” as you refer to it, was written by Stonewall and signed off by the Church establishment. It is nothing more than an utter dereliction of duty of care to the children the Church if England schools in this country and I wept when I read it. You are obviously impervious to the 20 or 30 children in the class who will be forced to believe a lie, to enable a confused child to be affirmed And possibly go on to damaging chemical treatment which they may well later regret. Statistics show that young children with this dysphoria settle to their sex at puberty. And what about secondary school when all the girls in the class have to share changing rooms and showers with a boy who says he is a girl. Never mind eh – the C of E has shown it has abandoned Christian morals and teaching and is culturally acceptable.

      • Penelope Cowell Doe November 17, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

        Dear Tricia
        I am sorry you found it offensive and supercilious. Stonewall does help the CofE with its work on anti bullying. They are acknowledged experts in this field and their CEO is a committed Christian.
        I found the guidance sensitive and nuanced whilst acknowledging Christian Doctrine and practice. I do not believe that children will be forced to believe a lie, but trans children may be spared the bullying which so often leads to self harm.
        The chemical treatment which you mention has been prescribed for children since the 1970s, for other conditions, and there is no evidence of ‘damage’. It inhibits puberty and can, of course, be stopped.
        Trans people, having often been bullied themselves, are less likely to harm others. A male transitioning to female wants to fit in with the other girls, not threaten them. Young girls are at far more danger from adult male predators.
        I see this guidance as an exemplar of Christian morality, not an abandonment of it.

        • Tricia November 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

          Dear Penelope
          So you really believe that a male can become a female and vice versa. You do not accept that as Jesus states in Matthew 19 “Do you not know that God created them male and female and for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and take a wife and the two will become one flesh”. As Christ is the author and perfect or of our faith, I struggle to find any in your comments.
          The gospel is not social justice platitudes it is living and active.
          Children will be harmed by this document that Stonewall has formulated because Stonewall are only interested in sexuality and the sexualisation of the young in particular. Parents all over the western world are shocked and attempting to prevent the sex ed which is being foisted in their children by liberal agendas. In Ontario in Canada many are now home schooling.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe November 18, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

            Dear Tricia
            I do not believe that a male becomes a female or vice versa through transitioning (though biological sex is more complex than we often realise). I do believe that a man may become a woman and vice versa. I am not a gender essentialist and do not see Jesus’ words as in anyway contradicting that (although the biology is more nuanced).
            Nor do I agree that Stonewall are only interested in sexuality. They are interested in justice. And, as I said before, their CEO is a committed Christian.
            Sex education is not an attempt to sexualise children – commercialism and the media are already doing that – but the desire to educate children about their bodies, about human reproduction and that they have agency over their bodies.

          • David Shepherd November 20, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

            ‘I do believe that a man may become a woman and vice versa. I am not a gender essentialist…’

            So, if, as one who is not a gender essentialist, a person’s gender does not need to coincide with their sex, why is physiological re-assignment necessary?

            Why not just reject surgical reassignment in the belief that overt sexual characteristics are non-essential to one’s self-identified gender?

        • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 1:23 pm #

          What is the difference between thinking you are (fe)male when you are not (as every one of your millions of cells testifies, as does, secondly, your biology) and:
          thinking you’re fat when you’re not
          thinking you’re 6 foot 11 when you;re not
          thinking you’re Chinese when you’re not?

          • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

            for ‘biology’ read ‘gender-specific biology’

        • Tricia November 18, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

          Dear Penelope
          Chemical treatment – this is not as simple as you say. It can lead to complications as any chemical treatment. Children should not be subjected to such treatment until they are adult in thought. There has recently been a case where a teenager realised that he was male but he already has breasts and it was not possible to reverse the process. You seem to have a fairy tale idea of human behaviour whereby and reasons for behaviour. Last year a boy in a school in America claimed he was a girl and demanded access to the girls toilets and shower and changing facilities. He was offered the disabled toilet facilities for these issues but refused, he was given a screened off area in the changing rooms and he refused. He was given access to the changing rooms against the wishes if the girls, who now refuse to use them. And intersex is rare around 1 in 2000.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe November 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

            Dear Tricia
            By the time they are adult, it is too late and the changes have taken place which lead to much suffering for some transgender people.
            There will always be exceptions. We cannot legislate for those. We do not make alcohol illegal because some people abuse it.
            And intersex is not as rare as you suggest. Even if it were, it is a natural variation and has theological implications.

        • Tricia November 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

          Dear Penelope
          You say you do not believe that a male can become a female but that a man can become a woman. Semantics. I presume you are speaking of the greatest heresy. I AM because I say I AM. No chemicals or surgery necessary the mind is superior to the body. This is remaking yourself in your own image – God’s work is not correct.
          Gnosticism was an early heresy where the body was irrelevant and all that mattered was the spiritual life and some said that it was incumbent for the body to discover degeneracy to fully live to the full. What you are describing is a heresy going back hundreds of years. Thank God for St Athanasius who suffered rejection and exile but triumphed at the Council of Nicae and that is why we have the Nicene Creed.
          Referring to children being treated with chemicals, you refer to alcohol. Children are not allowed to drink alcohol or smoke, but you thin they are competent to undertake life changing chemical treatment.
          I agree that society sexualises children p, but it is the role of the Church to teach otherwise. The programmes of sex ed that I have looked at in Ontario and the new Resoect programme in Warwickshire can in,y be described as porn manuals with the inky moral understanding being “consent”. This being taught to children who are underage.

        • David Shepherd November 18, 2017 at 10:12 pm #

          Penelope,

          You wrote to Tricia: ‘The chemical treatment which you mention has been prescribed for children since the 1970s, for other conditions, and there is no evidence of ‘damage’. It inhibits puberty and can, of course, be stopped.’

          Firstly, luprorelin was originally prescribed for precocious and early onset of puberty in children, which is very different from its use to suppress the normal development of secondary sexual characteristics.

          The same drug is also used as a hormone therapy for advanced prostate cancer and breast cancer. The acknowledged side effects include redness/burning/stinging/pain/bruising at the injection site, hot flashes (flushing), increased sweating, night sweats, tiredness, headache, upset stomach, nausea.

          As the following report explains the FDA approval process for Lupron (its commercial name) was fraught with uncertainty over how long it took for the drug to be cleared from the body: https://www.hormonesmatter.com/lupron-metabolism-metabolites-circulate/

          The irony here is surely that, on one hand, liberals insist that conversion therapy cannot effect a change in sexual orientation and should be banned on the basis that this psychological treatment assumes that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder and also assumes a priori that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation. (Source: American Medical Association)

          On the other hand, the same liberals support government proposals to ‘de-medicalise’ the gender change process, while nonchalantly supporting its physiological treatment with luprorelin (which cannot effect congruence of sex with gender) which has known side-effects for cancer patients, all of which are supposed to disappear magically when the same drug is used to suppress puberty in children.

          What blimmin’ planet are they on?

        • Clive November 19, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

          Dear Penelope,
          You wrote: “….Stonewall does help the CofE with its work on anti bullying…..” Actually, no they don’t. They constantly and wrongly reinterpret bullying into specific categories such as homophobic bullying or transphobic bullying and so on. One only has to actually stop and think and ask yourself if a child ever actually thinks to themselves “I’m scared that’s transphobic bullying” or “I’m scared that’s homophobic bullying”. It is truly time that such childish and unsustainable nonsense of categorising bullying, where no such categories belong, has to STOP. Bullying is wrong – and that’s it and that is what the guidance should have been about. The next time a child bullies another because they have blond hair then the child should be told off for bullying and nobody needs Stonewall to flounder around trying to categorise it, it would be much better if Stonewall simply grew up instead!

      • Penelope Cowell Doe November 17, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

        Sorry, Tricia, I meant to add that desistance rates for trans children have been exaggerated, because studies often lump in children with gender dysphoria and children who are gender non-conforming. They are, as you observe, quite different.

    • Christine November 15, 2017 at 10:12 pm #

      Hi Penelope, Why do you describe maths teacher Joshua Sitcliffe as ‘mendacious’ and as ‘being driven by an ideological agenda’? He believes that God created Adam and Eve male and female, for the procreation of children – so do I. I believe it because it is stated clearly in the Scriptures – it is a belief, not an ideology. Ideologies are man-made, not inspired by God. But even if I were not a Christian, I would not argue with the conclusion of many non-Christians that common sense shows us that men and women are biologically different and that there is no ‘third sex’. I know that there are some people who are born intersex, and my heart goes out to them and their families – but they are very much in a minority.
      Why are you convinced that Mr. Sitcliffe did not make an innocent mistake when he ‘misgendered’ a child? I once thought a girl pupil was a boy, as I mentioned in an earlier response here – it is the kind of mistake that many people can make, regardless of their beliefs or ideologies.
      Teachers are employed to teach and children go to school to learn. Both teachers and pupils can certainly do their best to consider the needs of children who suffer from gender dysphoria, and also do their best to address and refer to such children with their preferred pronouns, but I don’t think it is good for teachers and pupils to be walking on eggs all day because they are afraid of misgendering a child – being on edge about this does not make for a good learning environment for anyone.

      • Penelope Cowell Doe November 17, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

        Hi Christine
        I described Mr Sutcliffe as mendacious because his first claim was that his mistake was to misgendering this child twice. However, he has continued to do so, even on national TV. I call his beliefs ideology because he does not accept gender fluidity in the face of scientific evidence and, of course, the existence of intersex people.
        Intersex people are not very much in a minority – various intersex conditions are about as common as red hair – and many are perfectly content. In any case, the minority argument is something of a red herring, Matt. 10.29.
        You mention teachers’ duty of care. Part of that is following the statutory guidelines which Mr Sutcliffe failed to do.

        • Penelope Cowell Doe November 17, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

          Sorry, my first sentence should read that he claimed that his mistake was to misgender the pupil once

        • Christine November 18, 2017 at 2:07 am #

          Hi Penelope,
          Thank you for answering the questions I asked you.
          I think that Joshua Sutcliffe was telling the truth about his ‘misgendering’ of a pupil being unintentional. You think he was lying.
          God alone knows the whole truth, and I pray that God’s truth, justice and mercy will prevail.

        • Christine November 18, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

          Hi Penelope,
          ‘Christian Educators’ just posted on Twitter that it was not appropriate for Joshua Sutcliffe to comment on national TV about pupil progress and has also asked for care for the feelings of the pupil who was described publicly as ‘the poorest pupil in the class’. I agree with this and will not comment further about this case.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe November 18, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

            Hi Christine
            Thank you. I think Mr Sutcliffe’s first mistake was a simple slip up. What I was criticising was his continuing behaviour. I do feel sorry for him and hope that this can be resolved with wisdom and compassion.

          • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

            But no-one would know about any ‘continuing behaviour’ if he had not wrongly been treated as though he had done anything even slightly wrong.

            Are you trying to prevent girls (in terms of biology) being called girls? females? whatever the term is. Who on earth gives you the right to stop people speaking the truth in a world where people are (alas) even allowed legally to lie and abuse.

        • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

          Penelope, the children in question are mostly not intersex. Intersex is a separate question.

          What we are talking about is that you cannot say which gender you are and (hey presto) become that gender. In the case of intersex this does not apply because they are intersex already. We are talking here about people who claim that (at this hour of the day at least) they feel like the gender that their body is not.

          How they would know what it feels like to be the other gender is not clear – one could feel affinity with those of the other gender (many are those who have a majority of other-gender friends) but that is not inside knowledge.

          Fudging together biological intersex with at-a-whim claimed gender-change for which there is no evidence, and calling the resultant fusion ‘trans’ clouds the issue. These are 2 different things, and the one is used (Trojan-Horse-like) to smuggle in the other, just as the very few womb-children who might cause their mum’s death are fudged together with the other 99-point-whatever percent of womb-children as though they were the same category.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe November 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

            Christopher
            I didn’t bring up intersex, nor did I say it was the same as trans.

          • Christine November 18, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

            Hi Christopher,
            Thank you for differentiating between intersex people and people who suffer from gender dysphoria. No doubt there are many reasons why people might feel unhappy about the biological sex they were born with, and I have some sympathy with them, but I do not think of them as being a special case. I can think of many people I do think of as being ‘a special case’, but I will mention just one here. A friend who has severe cerebral palsy and who struggles with this on a daily basis told me that her favourite psalm is Psalm 139, and that she thanks God daily because she is ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’. She gave me the examples of her healthy internal organs. I can see that she was also given a fine intellect. She also has a wonderful sense of humour. Her gratitude for her life and her joy in the Lord lift my heart every time I meet her.
            Christine

          • Christine November 18, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

            Hi Christopher,
            Just to clarify – I *do* think of intersex people as being a special case.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe November 18, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

            https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/think-gender-comes-down-to-x-and-y-chromosomes-think-again/article24811543/

            Interesting though not full description of intersex ‘conditions’.

          • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

            Thanks, Christine.

        • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

          To call a child who is female ‘female’ is not misgendering.

          It is to speak the truth.

          It is a truth so widely attested that every single one of her millions of cells speaks it, as does her biology overall.

          Whereas the counter-evidence is…?

          If anyone tries to stop others speaking the truth (as opposed to lies or abuse) then they are the most intolerant and in-denial group and one has to wonder about their agenda. One thing we know about their agenda is: it is mendacious.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe November 18, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

            Christopher
            Sutcliffe didn’t call her ‘female’, he called her a girl

          • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

            Groan! You mean that that is also supposed to be a difference laden with significance?

            Molesworth had a phrase ‘advanced, forthright and significant’ for such pseudo-intellectualism.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe November 18, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

            One is not born, but becomes a woman. The difference between sex and gender.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe November 18, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

            Christopher see link above on nuances of biological sex.

          • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

            But the present proposals are not biological. Anything that is biological no-one has an issue with.

            People are allowed to self-identify as the other sex (and in an atmosphere where that is a topical issue, a greatly increased number will do so) without any biological evidence whatever.

          • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

            Anyway, there is no difference between sex and gender unless people are *forced* to conform to the usage imposed by an extreme group whose prime concern was not science.

          • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

            Becoming a woman is a matter of changing age, not changing – or attaining(!) – sex/gender.

          • David Shepherd November 23, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

            ‘one is not born, but becomes a woman’

            Interesting quote from Simone de Beauvoir, although instead of intending to distinguish sex from gender, she was suggesting that the ideals of womanhood are inculcated to ensure female subjugation in patriarchal societies.

            Accordingly, the atheist feminist philosopher also took such a dim view of motherhood as to write that it left woman “riveted to her body” like an animal and made it possible for men to dominate her.

            In contrast, for Christians, motherhood and fatherhood are part of a God-given vocation. We would do well to obey St. Paul’s apostolic counsel to the Church: See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (Col. 2:8)

        • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

          Penelope, he means that his ‘mistake’ according to school policy was to so-called ‘misgender’ her twice.

          He did not consider this an actual mistake, and (of course) indeed it wasn’t.

          By speaking as he did, he was telling the truth.

          Statutory guidelines do not fall from the sky infallible. If they do not conform to reality, they need to be changed until they do.

          You do not make it clear whether the child in question is in fact intersex. If not, then some of what you say does not apply. Most likely, we do not know; but it is a highly relevant consideration. Joshua Sutcliffe was required by the dictatorial school to call her ‘him’ whether or not she was intersex – she may have been just confused or affected by the present cultural malaise, or her parent(s) may have been, or she may have been rebellious (the zing provided by rebellion is so great that not to be rebellious is to many unthinkable), as so many teenagers are in sexual-revolution or poor-role-model societies.

          Let us suppose the child was intersex. In that case neither ‘he’ nor ‘she’ applies; both would be misgendering. The school says that ‘he’ is correct; if the child is intersex then the school is in error on that.
          Whereas if the child is *not* intersex, then ‘she’ is accurate and ‘he’ is not.
          What I can’t think of is any circumstance where ‘he’/’him’ would be accurate.

          Awful, dictatorial, petty, uninformed, time-wasting, lying, ideological school policy.

          • Tricia November 18, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

            Christopher
            I totally agree with you. Schools are being pressurised to be LGBTQ friendly and this school had won an award and runs an extra curricula LGBTQ club. As we have seen in news reports even a Jewish school for 4 to 8 year olds which had previously attained an outstanding OFSTED report was downgraded because it failed to teach pupils about LGBTQ.
            Also I understand that Joshua Sutcliffe had been running a school Bible Club which the school authorities had said did not register attendees. Sutcliffe then provided a register but they still shut the club (100 kids attended). The LGBTQ club Sutcliffe says is still running with no register.

          • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

            Yes, and other clubs that supposedly should need a register are also still running. Including ‘religious’ ones.

            I am sure the register thing was an excuse anyway. Not honest. He provided a register and still got shut down.

            AND they are far smaller in size than the Bible club.

            It’s always Christianity which is treated as different. Why? Because it is, and people feel it.

          • Tricia November 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

            Christianity is different – “I am the way the truth and the life”. I watched a brilliant video that Gavin Ashenden’s posted showing a Hezbollah extremist who had come to Christ. He kept saying: “He does not tell you how to live; He IS the way, the truth and the life”.

            He different, he is dangerous, he challenges, he disturbs. It feels as if the world is standing there with their eyes averted and their ears covered. Its becoming dangerous to be a Christian in Western countries! The MSM attacks Christianity and gives other religions a free pass.

    • Chris Bishop November 15, 2017 at 10:40 pm #

      So does not the whole transgender movement, let alone the LBGTQ etc. have their agendas and are ideologically driven?

  11. Chris Bishop November 15, 2017 at 10:03 am #

    I find it curious that the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer is a “Revd Nigel Genders”.

    Is this an example of nominative determinism?

    • Mat Sheffield November 15, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

      Comment of the week.

    • Christopher Shell November 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

      I believe in a degree of nominative determinism. There are first-names you can assign that will increase or decrease a child’s confidence at school.

  12. Penelope Cowell Doe November 20, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    On Transgender Day of Remembrance: therachelmannblogspot.blogspot.co.uk

    • David Shepherd November 20, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

      And while we decry irrational prejudice and violence perpetrated against trans people, let us also lament the suicides caused by regret over reassignment surgery, which is so unscrupulously touted as a ‘cure’ for gender dysphoria, despite known studies to the contrary.

      • Penelope Cowell Doe November 21, 2017 at 9:17 am #

        How many trans people were killed last year because they regretted transitioning?

        • Clive November 21, 2017 at 9:39 am #

          Dear Penelope,

          According to those medical institutes that dare to speak truthfully over 50% of those who undergo surgery go on suicide watch and a substantial number stay there for the remainder of their lives.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe November 21, 2017 at 9:52 am #

            Hm.. Lies, damned lies and statistics. I asked how many were murdered? ,

          • David Shepherd November 21, 2017 at 11:07 am #

            You asked: ‘How many trans people were killed last year because they regretted transitioning’

            Now you claim ‘I asked how many were murdered?’

            If there are lies, it’s not from us!

          • Penelope Cowell Doe November 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

            Killing people (unless in certain exceptional circumstances like war) is murder.
            No one is lying, I hope. The joke is about statistics.

          • Christopher Shell November 21, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

            The stand-out statistic here is the suicidality of those who submit to what after all is a surgery process that is both extreme and artificial. (But, as we all know, far less harmful than a change of mind on sexual orientation.)

            The other is the fact that suicidality does not decrease (on average) after that surgery.

          • David Shepherd November 22, 2017 at 4:02 am #

            People intentionally kill themselves. That sort of killing (which is associated with post-reassignment regret( is not murder.

            The decriminalisation of suicide along with the 2015 decision of General Synod to remove its stigma by allowing full funeral rites means that suicide is not to be categorised with murder.

          • Clive November 23, 2017 at 10:05 am #

            Dear Penelope,

            NO it is certainly NOT a joke about statistics. Anyone who has “transitioning” surgery or drugs and then commits suicide is cause for any of us to be upset and not to callously disregard their death just because it wasn’t murder – How dare you be so callous? Clearly the “transitioning” hurt and was a total medical failure and any Christian can be upset and disturbed by the hurt caused by the cheering and support involved in the misguided support for transitioning.

  13. Penelope Cowell Doe November 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    It depends where you get your statistics from. Two years old but quite interesting https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/kwxkwz/dispelling-the-myths-around-detransitioning

    • David Shepherd November 22, 2017 at 4:27 am #

      Very interesting.

      Chelsea chose to start her detransition because she felt lost. “I felt that I didn’t fit into the male gender role, and I didn’t fit into the female gender role, I was this third gender.” Chelsea felt she was always viewed as a trans woman and not simply a woman. “One day I looked in the mirror and I thought to myself, ‘God, if I can’t even look like a woman and I don’t feel like a woman, I’m not going to be a woman.'”

      It actually makes Christopher Shell’s point. Even Chelsea realised that neither hormonal treatment nor sex reassignment surgery would succeed in changing him from a man to a woman.

      So, you’re only guilty of misgendering when you address people in a way that doesn’t echo the unsatisfactory delusion of gender augmentation and mutilation which trans people, like Chelsea, eventually abandon.

  14. Penelope Cowell Doe November 22, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    David
    I know that some people commit suicide. I was not speaking of that, but asking how many trans people were killed (that is, murdered), not how many killed themselves.
    Chelsea decided to detransition because she was having difficulty in finding sexual partners. She did not regret transitioning as such and at the end of the article is continuing transitioning to being a woman and considering vaginoplasty.
    Detransitioning is between 4% and <1%

    • David Shepherd November 22, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

      Penelope,

      Thanks for clarifying your earlier question.

      The article itself explains some of Chelsea’s principal motives for detransitioning and they have more to do with finding a lasting romantic relationship as a woman than any difficulty in finding sexual partners:
      ‘For Chelsea, one of the main reasons is that she wants to find “true” love. “It’s more difficult for transgender people, it’s a lot easier with other transsexuals,” she said. Unfortunately, there is still a strong social stigma for those dating trans women and Chelsea feels that she would be more accepted as a gay man, worrying that men just think of her as a kink. “They think that you’ve just got breasts and a penis and they fancy you sexually, but I could not find true love, I never felt like they wanted me for me, I felt like they wanted me for my body.” It seems that some men fetishize trans people rather than view them romantically, as thinking and feeling people. “You go to clubs and then they wake up the next day and they don’t want to hold your hand in the street,”

      This is because no amount of surgery will enable a trans person to ‘pass’ for the opposite sex and the article makes this point:
      ‘A concern for many trans people is “passing”—being perceived by others as the right gender. Being able to “pass” ensures a lot less public scrutiny; it ensures you don’t stand out. But passing isn’t always easy, as trans woman and activist Charlie Craggs points out. “Hormones are amazing but they’re not going to turn you from Jay Z into Beyonce,” she told me. “You’re just going to look like Jay Z in a wig.”

      Dr. Reed agrees. “You can have someone who said they want to be a woman and have his genitalia removed but that doesn’t make them a woman in society’s eyes.” There have been so many examples of trans women walking in to all-girls bathrooms and being told they aren’t in the right room “because they don’t pass well.”

      Considering the cost ($75k to $100k) and enhanced health risk involved in ‘closing the pelvic space and creating a neo-phallus’, I’m not surprised that detransitionihg is low. However, post-reassignment regret is higher.

      Chelsea really had no other option but to maintain estrogen intake. That’s not a continuance of transitioning.

      Chelsea’s situation is tragic, but it helps no one to enforce disciplinary sanctions against anyone who doesn’t confess a gender identity which even trans people admitted to being unconvincing to both themselves and the wider society.

  15. Penelope Cowell Doe November 22, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    David

    I don’t think Chelsea sees her situation as tragic. Indeed, it might have been tragic had she not transitioned.
    Clearly, some people have had difficulty in finding romantic relationships (as have some cis people), but that is not always because they cannot ‘pass’. I know transgender mtf and ftm who ‘pass’ very easily.

    Of course Chelsea has to take oestrogen, because that’s a consequence of transitioning, as it is of many other eventualities: the contraceptive pill, post hysterectomy, HRT, some treatment for prostate cancer.

    • David Shepherd November 22, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

      Penelope,

      That’s just spin. So what if you know some transgender who ‘pass’ easily. By Chelsea’s own admission, the reassignment surgery produced unsatisfactory results and, in the article, the relative frequency is corroborated by another trans person.

      Apart from contraception, the government’s proposal to de-medicalise the gender change process is completely at odds with the other eventualities which you’ve cited.

      At least, those medical interventions are warranted by physiological deterioration.

      • Penelope Cowell Doe November 23, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

        David
        You brought up ‘passing’ in relation to Chelsea’s interview.
        As for what ‘warrants’ medical interventions, I don’t think you or I are qualified to judge.

        • David Shepherd November 23, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

          Penelope,

          I asked ‘so what?’, not to dismiss further objective discussion of transgender difficulty in ‘passing’ (which was brought up in the article that you cited), but to highlight the irrelevance to our exchange of mentioning that some of your transgender acquaintances ‘pass’ easily.

          If the government is being lauded by LGBT advocacy groups for its recent launch of a broad public consultation on de-medicalising the gender change process, we certainly are qualified to evaluate (without rendering the final verdict, if that’s what you mean by ‘judge’) which eventualities should continue to warrant medical intervention.

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