The Cass report, children, and the Church of England

Dr Hilary Cass has delivered her final report offering an independent review of gender identity services for children and young people. The report is online, and is long and complex (not surprisingly) at 232 pages for the main body of the report, but there is a helpful summary of the key points on the supporting website. It appears to mark a significant watershed in a change of direction and attitude to this complex and vexing issue, though it perhaps does not go far enough in rethinking the whole approach to the questions of sex and identity that have been like a runaway train in the last ten years or so.

What this report also shows (though I am not sure anyone has noted this) is the value of an independent ‘audit’ approach to complex organisations. When an organisation has a range of different entities which communicate imperfectly with one another, then it allows powerful individuals and lobbies to infiltrate into this structure, and without any single person reviewing what is happening, these can significantly influence the decisions that are made with anyone realising. So this question of review and audit is closely related to questions of power and influence.

As a way into the implications of the Cass review and its findings, it is helpful to note some of the responses to it from commentators in this area.

The non-religious group Transgender Trend, who offer a forum for parents of children questioning their sex identity, but who are opposed to transgender ideology, offer their assessment here. There are several interesting things to note.

First, they welcome the holistic approach to child development which has previously been lacking:

Crucially she has considered children and adolescents holistically through a framework of childhood development and adolescent mental health, and within a cultural and social environment unique to this generation…

The information and recommendations in the report de-mystify the condition of gender dysphoria as something that is uniquely specialised, and places it within the appropriate framework of child and adolescent mental health services. As part of a psychosocial treatment pathway it incorporates standard mental health treatments which have been shown to be effective in the treatment of adolescents with a range of difficulties and adverse life experiences.

This holistic approach includes an assessment of the harm that social media and premature access to it through smartphones has caused.

We must also look at the role of the internet, early access to smartphones and the kind of information children are accessing with no proper guidance from adults:

8.47 It is the norm that all experiences of health and illness are understood through the norms and beliefs of an individual’s trusted social group. Thus, it is more likely that bodily discomfort, mental distress or perceived differences from peers may be interpreted through this cultural lens.

8.48 More specifically, gender-questioning young people and their parents have spoken to the Review about online information that describes normal adolescent discomfort as a possible sign of being trans and that particular influencers have had a substantial impact on their child’s beliefs and understanding of their gender.

And they note the way that safeguarding issues have been ‘weaponised’ to prevent proper questions being asked:

The report also references the failure in safeguarding within the clinical setting, which now must also be addressed in other settings. In schools, the same dynamic can be observed when as soon as the word ‘transgender’ is mentioned, all safeguarding responsibilities towards children seem to be forgotten:

10.43 As with all health care provision, when working with children and young people safeguarding must be a consideration. There are complex ways in which safeguarding issues may be present. Clinicians working with children and young people experiencing gender dysphoria have highlighted that safeguarding issues can be overshadowed or confused when there is focus on gender or in situations where there are high levels of gender-related distress.

The overall assessment of what has been happening is damning:

Children have been utterly failed and The Cass Review final report is not just a wake-up call for NHS England, but for the media, for politicians, for childcare professionals and for all adults who have cheerleaded this experiment on children with no questions asked: it has been the failure of society as a whole to safeguard the health and welfare of our children.

A second group who have offered a qualified welcome to the Cass review are Sex Matters led by Maya Forstater, who came to prominence when it was ruled that she had been unfairly discriminated against for expressing dissent from gender ideological views and being ‘gender critical.’

The Sex Matters comment is important, because whilst it notes the welcome comments by Cass, it notes that the report is inconsistent in continuing to use language shaped by the ideological assumptions that have directly led to the unscientific and damaging approach to young people.

Hilary Cass’s report demolishes the entire basis for the current model of treating gender-distressed children. Its publication is a shameful day for NHS England, which for too long gave vulnerable children harmful treatments for which there was no evidence base. It’s now clear to all that this was quack medicine from the start.

Dr Cass delivers stinging criticisms of NHS gender clinics, both adult and child, and her description of the Gender Identity Development Service is absolutely damning. It is disgraceful that GIDS, alongside the adult clinics, did not cooperate with her attempt to survey its practice, or to carry out a high-quality, long-term follow-up study on the treatment of children as part of the review, which would have been a global first.

Of course we regard some of the terminology that Cass uses on occasion – cisgender, assigned at birth, and calling boys who identify as girls “trans females” – as inaccurate, unscientific and confusing. But that does not detract from the many important points she makes in this groundbreaking report.

The assessment also draws out the implications for the related, also highly contentious, debate about s0-called ‘conversion therapy’:

If you take her report seriously – and you should: it’s a global standard-setter, far above anything produced anywhere else – you cannot possibly support a legal ban on so-called “conversion practices”. The ethical, careful, multi-disciplinary approach she advocates, in which a child’s gender distress is not “exceptionalised” but understood as just part of what’s going on for a child who is likely to have many other social and medical risk factors, is exactly what the proponents of a ban characterise as “conversion therapy”. They support gender affirmation – which, as Dr Cass’s report demonstrates, is unethical and unsupported by the evidence.

In particular, the Memorandum of Understanding (on conversion therapy in the UK) should now be torn up, since it’s based entirely on the debunked affirmative model. So should the various draft bills banning “conversion therapy”; all are now clearly out of line with the direction of travel and with Dr Cass’s steer for the future of NHS gender medicine.

This is exactly in line with Hilary Cass’ own comments, where she has offered a direct and personal warning to Kemi Badenoch about the dangers here.

The final comment, which is intensely relevant to the Church of England, relates to the role of schools and school culture:

There is one big omission in what is otherwise a remarkably comprehensive and impressive piece of work. Dr Cass lists many factors that influence children to identify as trans, including the media, social-media influencers, friends and their own biology, but omits a particularly important one: schools.

Schools have been a key factor in celebrating and promoting the idea of “trans children” and most children who transition do so in school long before they ever see a specialist clinician. Dr Cass’s review points out that for a child, living “in stealth” – trying to conceal the fact of their actual sex from everyone around them – increases stress anxiety and mental-health problems…

School leaders need to refocus on what the evidence says about supporting children with gender distress, and stop selling the fantasy of “gender transition” when the plain truth is that everyone has an unchangeable sex, and children cannot be kept safe and well when adults lie about that.

Given that the Church of England is a key player in the formation and influence of ‘school leaders’, this finger points fairly directly at us.

Both Forstater and author J K Rowling have highlighted the hypocrisy and guilt of two key organisations who have been behind this ideology, often behind the scenes and covering their own tracks—Stonewall and Mermaids.

Forstater highlights the hypocrisy of Stonewall in welcoming Cass in a series of damning Tweets here:

And J K Rowling demonstrates that, contrary to their claims now, Mermaids continue to recommend the things which Cass specifically highlights as deeply damaging to children:

I am happy to be corrected, but I cannot recall a single occasion when bishops of the Church of England have retweeted comments from either Forstater or Rowling, or expressed support for their campaigning on this issue. Why not?

In all this, journalist Hannah Barnes challenges, where have all the people who should have known better been? Where has the NHS been in not challenging this? Where have the media been? Where has the BBC been? And, we might well add ‘Where has the Church of England been?’

Tom Swarbrick, on LBC radio (on whose show I have appeared a couple of times) is absolutely scathing:

This was an experiment carried out on the back of vulnerable children who were encouraged by medics to believe in a medical untruth—namely, that you can be born in the wrong body. And the people who said for years that there is something wrong here, that this isn’t safe or isn’t scientific, got told they were the problem—they were the ones inflaming the cultural war—and the irony being that those most angered by the culture was used the fog of that apparent conflict to block the truth because the reality was too confounding for them.

The ‘be kind’ brigade stopped thinking. They were seduced by the language of ‘being born in the wrong body’. The reality is, no one is ‘born in the wrong body.’ You may feel you are, but you aren’t. You should be entitled to the best possible help for that feeling because it must feel absolutely horrible. But we don’t need to sacrifice fact on the altar of those feelings and, less rhetorically, the NHS never needed to endanger the health of thousands of children, because the adults in the room forgot to challenge feelings with facts.

It is very hard indeed not to include many in the Church of England, especially its leadership, in the misguided ‘be kind’ brigade.

So it quite astonishing that Jayne Ozanne, who has been so influential in these debates as a former member of Synod, is still resisting the evidence of Cass:

That this is a deeply theological question, calling for courageous engagement, is highlighted by this moving piece from Anne Snyder in Comment online magazine:

This [is] a pathologically Western moment as our disintegrating culture thrusts its talons into yet another aspect of our created design—in this case the unity of body and soul as expressed in one’s maleness or femaleness. And I must state what I see: We are losing to chaos, a chaos of meaning and of personhood.

It doesn’t take much to be discombobulated by the different streams of data flowing into one boiling cauldron. For starters, the boys are not all right. They are outperformed by girls in most academic disciplines, they are more likely to feel socially excluded, boys raised in poverty are less likely than girlsto escape it, and all are tossed about by prohibitions on “toxic masculinity” without recourse to a positive vision for healthy masculinity. Meanwhile girls’ interior lives are suffering: The Centers for Disease Control found that between 2009 and 2015, emergency-room admissions for self-harm among ten- to fourteen-year-old girls had tripled, and that in 2021, nearly one in three high school girls had considered suicide, a 60 percent increase since 2011. Separately (though simultaneously), between 2013 and 2020, girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen seeking mastectomies increased thirteenfold. Rates of adolescent gender transition have skyrocketed, with the number of boys and girls seeking medical intervention having risen 3,600 percent over the last decade. The surge most pronounced in patients was between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Forty-two thousand children and teens across the US were diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2021, nearly triple the number in 2017.

Where are the adults? As these dramatic trendlines have shot up, our culture’s only mechanism for imposing some form of “order” seems to be the English language. Elite institutions and their progressive consensus have returned to familiar tactics: Impose new verbal rules without warning or a clear telos, bend reality whenever necessary to conform it to the whims of that ever-shifting consensus, and prop it up and proclaim it universal. Comment has covered these dangers previously in our Beyond Ideologies issue; the devil may find new terrain, but his devices are ever the same.

All this raises major questions for the Church of England, for Synod, and for the whole approach on this issue for C of E Education and schools:

1. What has been the influence of Mermaids and Stonewall in policy and practice, both at a national level, in guidance, and at a local level in Church of England schools? What guidance will now be issued about screening organisations who are invited into C of E schools?

2. How have we allowed ideological entryism to have such a powerful grip on discussions at a national level in the Church?

3. What do we need to do to recover a proper theological vision of what it means to be a child, what it means to grow to maturity, and the role of education in this? What is the distinctive Christian vision of education that the Church of England has to offer?

4. When will the deeply flawed report ‘Valuing All God’s Children’ be scrapped, and what will be offered in its place?

5. How and when will the Church of England revisit its uncritical support for ‘Conversion Therapy’ bans?

6. Why has campaigning against a damaging ideology which has harmed children been left to secular campaigners? Where has the voice of the Church of England and its bishops been in this debate? Why have we been so slow to speak up?

7. When will the Church of England join voices campaigning for the protection of childhood in restricting the use of smartphones—and when will it at last speak up for the importance of marriage and parenting?

Dean Inge’s famous dictum ‘Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next’ is coming home to roost for the Church of England’s approach to children, education and families. Worse than that, the Church of England looks like it has colluded in creating a generation of orphans, depriving them of the spiritual parental care that we should have been offering.

Something radical needs to change.

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258 thoughts on “The Cass report, children, and the Church of England”

  1. Everything in life is about smooth uninterrupted healthy and happy development.
    That is precisely why disruptive events like abuse are taken so seriously; in addition, prevention is far better than cure.
    The importance of this is proportional to how precious the human individuals involved are. Since they are at the highest degree precious (no so delicately intricate and potent entity as a human has ever been seen, not remotely).
    Many things that are never termed abuse are far far worse than the already awful things that are so termed. Breaking families (eeugh) is one of them. This kind of wrenching apart of smooth natural development is another.
    It is based on an extraordinary delusion that adolescents (yes – it’s almost always adolescents just like so many other harmful things – disruption of sexual development, first substance abuse… – despite the fact that we are sold the lie that it is people in general not specifically adolsecents), who are clearly comparatively haywire and unsettled for a period while their body is in the 12-year process of development from default A to default B, are settled and their perceptions (often rebellious) are to be taken at face value. As opposed to being disaffected, contrary and estranged.
    Because, after all, adults must never be given more authority than their children. That would be to take away family disorder. Which would never do. The secular revolutionaries rely on introducing disorder as early as possible so as to maximise the pool of potential sexual partners made up of unloved/disrupted lives, as caused by the implementation of their own societal philosophy.
    Which is why, among the things never mentioned in lists of what is abusive, secularism and the sexual revolution are at the top. But they are so large scale that they are on a different scale from the scale people are seeing, so they miss it.

  2. It’s important to recall that one of the leading “lights” in the Church of England in enabling the trans ideology of ‘Mermaids’ in schools was Stephen Cottrell, now Archbishop of York.
    When Cottrell was in Chelmsford, there was a serious breakdown between him and orthodox clergy over ‘Mermaids’ and one vicar, John Parker, resigned over Cottrell’s attitude and words and what was happening in the C of E school where Parker served as a governor:

    • He was shamefully promoting Mermaids, and at a more fundamental level shamefully promoting capitulation to the latest transient worldly ideology/bandwagon, as though such ideologies were not cynically motivated.

    • It would be appropriate for John Parker to now receive an apology from his former bishop for the way he was treated, and also receives the recognition he deserves for being prepared to stand up against the Mermaids ideology in schools years ago.

  3. “I am happy to be corrected, but I cannot recall a single occasion when bishops of the Church of England have retweeted comments from either Forstater or Rowling, or expressed support for their campaigning on this issue. Why not?”

    It’s a scandal, Ian. I and several others at LGBChristians have written to Nigel Genders, unfortunately named, and the board of education of the CofE repeatedly, over ten years or so, and have never had any answer to speak of. Before I lost my Twitter profile a second time, ‘there are no trans children, Rev Genders’ was my pinned tweet. We hashtaged him several times… nothing. The Bayswater Support Group (several hundred parents) approached bishops, and again, zilch. We tried to point out that this affects gay and lesbian kids disproportionately, just to ease their fear of Stonewall and Co… to no avail. ‘Valuing All God’s Children’ is still in force, allegedly an anti-bullying document, but it’s straight out of the Stonewall playbook and takes the existence of ‘trans kids’ for granted. We’ve been screaming in the void for years. Meanwhile, when trans activists denounce you, the bishops are quick to react.

  4. It’s not astonishing at all that Jayne Ozanne is resisting the evidence of Cass. I wouldn’t for a moment have expected anything else.

    • We could say ‘the evidence of Cass’, or we could say ‘the commonsense that Christians [why is it always Christians who are ahead of the game? – I think I know why] were saying all along, before things went backwards.’. No ‘evidence’ is needed on things that have been obvious to most people for yonks.

  5. A couple of quick thoughts.

    One of the sources of things going wrong has been the conflation of discussion on sexuality and transgender. You see this play out when arguments are advanced, such as “that’s what they said about gay people with Section 28” etc.. So the trans debate becomes a proxy for re-running the gay debate allowing those who feel guilty about being wrong about gay people in the past to atone for that, and those who simply wish they’d been around for the big battles of the 80s and 90s to get their own re-creation.

    But it doesn’t work. Fundamentally they’re very different discussions. The starting point for the gay rights debate in this country was the recognition that there was nothing medically wrong with us, and therefore nothing to “cure” or “fix” medically. By contrast the starting point for the trans rights debate is that we’re not talking about people dressing up for fun on the weekend, but a medical condition that needs serious medical intervention. For the Church one is about sexual ethics and relationships, and the other is a question of medical ethics.

        • In justice they should be, because it is abuse at a far more fundamental level on average than even the awful things now so termed; however, parents who abandon each other are also far far more abusive to children and to one another than the latter. These things are ingrained, and people cynically hope noone will notice.

    • Has it not been presented and prosectuted as being more than that, as a social science issue, particularly by strident a queer theory activists, where the medical model is rejected.
      Forstater has emphasised the embedded ideology in the use of language employed in the report such as cisgender.

    • The trend has been to big up trans issues so that LGB may thereby seem more moderate and part of the wallpaper.
      For behaviour to be out of accord with biology is not close to being equivalent to their being in accord – indeed it is the opposite. This is all the more important given that we are not speaking of the innate.

      • Look at the timing
        2013 mostly nothing about trans people, possibly an occasional sympathetic documentary
        2014 same sex marriage becomes legal in the UK and US
        2016ish begin to see articles outraged at trans people
        2018-present increasing hysteria about trans people

        It’s because religious/political conservatives have lost the argument on gay rights and so they’ve largely moved on to demonize another minority

        • Lost what argument? Their opponents are well known for 3 things:
          -never citing evidence in the first place;
          -not knowing what the evidence is;
          -refusing to debate.

          • and 4th: calling rational concern ‘hysteria’.
            If Peter Jermey had every worked in a British secondary school and seen the legions of troubled girls there, he might have another think.

          • James

            Well I went to a British Secondary School as an LGBT child. Does that experience count for anything?

          • Yes, lost the argument.

            Nobody is talking about jailing gays or even just banning us from sensitive professions. It’s true some are trying to repeal same sex marriage, but the enthusiasm for that is gone. Even most conservative religious leaders would oppose criminalization and prohibited professions.

          • Can you or can you not tell the difference between argument and culture?

            A boy who says ‘It’s my bat so I am not out’ has won, because things proceed in the way he wants not in any other way. But it is not the argument that he has won, but merely the future.

            Worse, such people rarely rise to the level of producing actual arguments at all!

            But anyone who cannot see the difference between winning an argument and winning by means of ”might is right” or ”possession is nine points [nine tenths] of the law” is operating at a lower level than the majority who can see the large difference between those two things.

            And there is a further point to compound that. There is no end date in history where one ”side” wins, nor would there be such a date even if there were 2 sides (there are not). Those who think there is an end date lose, because they are inaccurate in that thought.

        • I think Peter is confusing losing an argument with losing a culture. They are so different that it is hard to see how they can be confused. The latter is done by jamming and brainwashing. Done by people who would not know an argument if they saw one.

          • Christopher: that is right. We lost the *political* argument on abortion, not because abortion is right (it isn’t) but because the culture moved in a non-Christian direction and would not accept Christian truth as the basis for decision. Same with homosexuality.
            That is why Peter Jermey says he has a ‘husband’ when in God’s eyes that simply is not true. And Peter probably knows this.
            The moral and theological argument against both is as strong as ever.
            The trouble is, when you lose a political argument but stand your ground, the next step is censorship and persecution – and that is taking shape.
            Peter Jermey doesn’t understand that you can’t compromise with the devil.

          • James

            I don’t believe it’s a sin for gay people to marry. I’m not talking about “compromising with the devil”

          • Peter, that culture changes constantly is precisely my point. There is nothing stable about it. So you cannot say that if for a short period culture moves in your preferred direction if follows that your side has won. Not only did they (in a typical scenario) produce no arguments, but also history and culture have pendulum swings, so at the next pendulum swing, the other side could say they had won, and so on. Hopefully the other side would be wiser and would realise that history does not logically require an end point that is close to our own generation, as those who speak of ‘the right side of history’ falsely seem to think. But there are not just 2 sides anyway. There is the right way, and then there is everything else (all the infinite wrong ways).

    • “Fundamentally they’re very different discussions.”

      Yes, precisely. And that is what the fraudulent category “LGBT” was invented to mask. Which is why that ridiculous initialism – along with its various equally illogical, tiresome and seemingly never-ending extensions – needs to be permanently ditched, and the sooner the better.

      • It has been blandly denied on threads here that G and T are at loggerheads and that this has been reflected at Pink News. While editorial policies there might change, thank you – and Lorenzo – for showing that a significant portion of G does not hold with T.

    • AJ

      But the media etc *are* saying about trans people *exactly* what they were saying about gays in the 80s and 90s.

      Not all trans people seek medical treatment as part of a transition.

      Trans gender is not the same thing as cross dressing. Cross dressing is often a sexual kink. Trans people experience life as a gender at odds with their apparent sex.

        • Makes no more sense to say a person has been ‘born into the wrong body’ than ‘born into the wrong mind’ (or perhaps the latter does make more sense if it doesn’t offend against the psychosomatic understanding of the human person).

        • Ian

          I’m not trans so I cannot speak for them although I doubt all of them feel they were born in the wrong body.

          Trans are people who have a lifelong experience of being female (male) but whose apparent birth sex is male (female). I say apparent because it seems obvious to me that at least some trans people will have a undiagnosed intersex condition, particularly as these conditions were often hushed up and the individual not told.

          • Peter, it is impossible to have the experience, let alone a lifelong experience, of being something that one is not, has never been, and can never be. The sex in which people are born is permanent: it cannot be changed. Therefore someone who was born male cannot have the experience of being female, and someone who was born female cannot have the experience of being male.

            So-called “intersex” is a completely different phenomenon. It is a general term – now regarded by many as out-of-date and misleading – covering a variety of congenital anomalies of physical sex development which affect around 0.018% of the population, and nearly all of that very small minority are still very definitely either male or female. There is no evidence that such anomalies are the cause of “transgender”.

          • William Fisher is of course correct. ‘Transwomen’ have never experienced female puberty or menstruation and never will. They will never experience menopause. They will never experience pregnancy. Dylan Mulvaney’s money making antics are nothing but profitable performance art by an effeminate homosexual Broadway actor who got on a cultural gravy train.
            It is all in the mind because transgenderism is nothing other than the strong desire to be what one is not.

          • William

            I don’t see how you can say it’s impossible.

            Even if no trans person at all has an undiagnosed intersex condition, the existence of intersex people shows that there can be non male/female exclusive physical characteristics in a minority of humans. If we accept that as true then why is it so hard to believe trans people? I couldn’t cite them, but ive also glanced at studies showing physical differences between cis women/men and trans men/women. Do you really think they are *all* liars? It’s a very hard life. It seems very unlikely they would lie about this.

      • Peter, even if the media etc. are saying about trans people some of the untrue things that they were saying about gays in the 80s and 90s, they are also saying a whole lot more which has nothing to do with gays. Furthermore, the falsity of accusations that were made in the past about one group of people is no proof whatever that similar accusations about a different group of people are likewise false. They, or some of them, may in the latter case be perfectly true.

        I would remind you, firstly, of a very significant difference between the two categories. Since most “uncloseted” gays happily accept both their unalterable sex and their sexuality, they steadfastly refuse to waste away their lives pretending to be, or attempting to become, what they are not. “Transgender” people do precisely the opposite.

        Secondly, I would remind you that – with the possible exception of a handful of nutcases – gay rights activists have demanded no more than the legal right to be treated just like everyone else. They have NOT:

        • denied the biological reality of the two sexes
        • advocated that young people who have trouble accepting their unalterable biological sex, or who do not conform to “gender” stereotypes, be encouraged to believe that they are “really” members of the other sex, and be given puberty blockers, which stunt their normal healthy development, followed by cross-sex hormones, which irreversibly distort it
        • advocated for the performance of double mastectomies on girls who have the delusion that they’re “really” boys
        • claimed that one’s “authentic self” can be achieved by the surgical amputation or mutilation of healthy, functional body parts
        • made the flagrantly untrue claim that men can become women, or vice versa
        • tried to redefine “woman” as merely a social construct that any man can “identify” as
        • fought for the “right” of men who masquerade as women to intrude into spaces, facilities, sports teams and competitions etc. reserved to women/girls, and even to be admitted into female rape crisis centres, or for the legal abolition of female single-sex spaces,
        • called for male sex offenders to be housed in women’s prisons
        • condemned lesbians as bigots for not wanting to be sexually involved with heterosexual men pretending to be lesbians
        • demanded the right to falsify the anagraphic information on their official identity documents and records by misstating their sex
        • called for people who express their disbelief in “gender identity” ideology, and who refuse to behave as though they believed in it, to be deprived of their jobs

        That’s just for starters. I’m not claiming that everyone with the “trans” delusion has made such demands. But they are the demands being pushed by “trans activists” who claim to be part of the imaginary “LGBT(Q)(I)(A)(+) community” or “queer community”. Nor am I denying that a surprising number of gay, lesbian and bisexual people have foolishly been conned into supporting their pernicious agenda – although there are gratifying signs that an increasing number of them are finally starting to wake up and realise that they have allowed themselves to be led by the nose.

        • William

          Anti gay people claim all the time that we are denying biological reality, actually that’s their primary argument against equal rights.

          We are regularly accused of encouraging children to be gay etc. Here in the States one of our major political parties calls gay people “groomers” and “pedophiles”

          It’s less common now, but there certainly was a widespread fear maybe 30 years ago that we would force straight men to have sex with us.

          I don’t think trans people have done half the things you accuse them of. I’ve never had a trans man demand to have sex with me, for example. I think you are believing the media or anti trans activists a bit too much!

          • Peter, there you go again with the retort, “That’s what they have said about gay people.” That simply will not do. Even in those instances where it’s true – and in many it’s not – the argument that people who say such-and-such about X are wrong, therefore if people say it, or anything similar, about Z, they must be wrong too, is nonsense.

            Those who claim that people’s sex is “assigned” them by someone at birth, and that it is possible for them to “transition” to the other sex ARE denying biological reality. Some trans activists ARE doing precisely the things which I have listed, and they make no secret of it. I am getting my information from what they themselves say, not from their opponents.

          • William

            When you’re having these lies told about you and sometimes facing real life consequences of those lies then it’s difficult to believe that the same liars are telling the truth when they say the exact same thing against your neighbor.

            There’s also the fact that the people pushing this nonsense generally know nothing at all about LGBT people so why would they have greater knowledge than people who live with it every day?

      • Peter, some (mostly male) fetishists do indeed describe themselves as trans and live out their autogynephilia 24/7.

        And just no: the reaction of the media is largely fawning. Nothing like the homophobia that was around in the 80s, I remember it very well.

        Here in the UK, and I doubt the figures are different in the US: up to 90% of the kids who are referred to gender id ‘development’ services are same-sex attracted. About half of them autistic or showing features of clinical depression. Transition is peddled online as a solution to their woes and this targeting of vulnerable youths must stop.

        • Lorenzo

          I’m saying that there’s a difference between experiencing your whole life as a female and occasionally dressing as a female, but experiencing life as a male.

    • This is a useful basis for a response to Bernard Walsh’s editorial in The Tablet where he wrongheadedly compares the ‘demedicalisation’ of homosexuality in the 1970s with the current transgender trend. The error, in addition to the one you highlight, is the suggestion that transgenderism is a homogeneous phenomenon rather than a loss umbrella term to cover a range of phenomena. There are no continuities of experience between children who present with gender discomfort early, the large majority of which desist through puberty, and go on to become perfectly healthy gay boys and girls; highly anxious cerebral, mainly white, teenage girls with no prior history of gender incongruence, presenting as ‘trans’ in friendship clusters, and whose sources of anxiety probably lie elsewhere; and middle-aged men, who seek social validation for their transsexual preferences. The idea of a ‘transgender community’ is a misleading conceit which needs to be repeatedly challenged.

  6. “I am happy to be corrected, but I cannot recall a single occasion when bishops of the Church of England have retweeted comments from either Forstater or Rowling, or expressed support for their campaigning on this issue.”

    Neither can I, but, then again, I can’t remember a single Synod motion that has called on that body to endorse calls for a public inquiry into the risks to kids posed by prescribing puberty blockers for any self-reported experience of gender confusion (as the Christian Medical Fellowship has emphatically warned:

    I mean, back in 2017, Synod wasted no time in passing a motion endorsing calls for a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ and making public statements to that effect. It’s shameful that the risk to children posed by puberty blockers has never garnered a similar level of publicly expressed concern from the House of Bishops or from Synod.

  7. I think it’s important to note that the Cass Report did *not* say that trans people are just making it all up and nor did it say all treatment for gender dysphoria should stop.

    I think there’s been great confusion generally between gay people, what used to be called “Tom boys” and trans people. These are not all the same things. I’ve been told trans people are trying to “erase” gay people as an attempt to win me over to opposing trans equality. That’s not true. I’ve also been told that teachers/parents/doctors are taking a girl playing with dump truck as evidence they are really a trans boy. I hope that’s not true.

    And we need medical experts to help children and parents navigate this.

      • Ian

        Why are you an authority on trans people if you cannot even define the term accurately?

        I don’t think I’m an authority on trans people. I’ve met some. I think the arguments against trans rights are, to me, obviously born out of irrational fear and eerily familiar.

    • The profound irony is that transgender ideology is regressively narrowing the “bandwidth” of what it means to be a boy/girl man/woman to align with well-entrenched gender stereotypes.

      • Mark

        No that would be the “purity” movement.

        Trans people are not pressuring other people to conform to gender stereotypes

  8. The key question: which of mind and body can lie?

    It is a disgrace beyond words that those who seek to reconcile mind and body from the psychological point of view are being criminalised while those who perform genital mutilation surgery on people whose body aligns fully with either XX or XY genotype are allowed to continue. The law needs to be changed urgently to outlaw such operations. Trans must also be removed as a protected characteristic from discrimination legislation.

    • “The key question: which of mind and body can lie?”

      Indeed. And do we change the facts to fit the theory or the theory to fit the facts?

  9. After years of secular hype that “you can be anyone you want to be”, and of children adopted by gay couples being told they have two fathers or two mothers, the explosive expansion of the Trans movement should have been no surprise.

    There is an ontological problem and an epistemological problem. Regarding the latter, if someone with a penis from birth and XY genotype says “I am (or feel like) a woman”, they are using the word “woman” without defining it, so what do they mean they are or feel like? When someone is ‘transitioning’, what do they claim they are transitioning from and to? When the government speaks of a “women’s prison” it now means “a prison for people claiming to be women” – but claiming to be what?

    No other culture has been so mad as to consider that ‘man’ and ‘woman’ are not self-evident terms – you have to be very highly educated indeed to be unable to define them! The dictionary is not private property, and feminists recognise this; Germaine Greer said that “just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a… woman… a man who gets his dick chopped off is… inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself”. Like JK Rowling, she was vilified as a terf (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). Invertebrate council officials and headmasters were never going to hold the line, and elite sportswomen were always the ones not to knuckle under quietly.

    But I wonder what is next, regarding sex, as society goes ever further off the rails.

    • @ Anton

      The future beckons!

      We have “Body Integrity Identity Disorder”, describing the phenomenon of persons who “in their minds” are disabled and desire the amputation of one or more healthy limbs or who desire a paralysis.

      We have “Therians”, those people who “identify” as an animal of the natural world.

      Then there are “Otherkins”, people who believe they are not entirely human and who consider themselves “in their minds” to mythical beings, such as elves or dragons.

      The fastest-growing “gender” subset is now “Xenogender”, those feel more akin to plants or foods than humans.

      • I suspect the battle against paedophilia will have to be renewed, and that aggressively secular states, under pressure from secular libertines and polytheistic Muslims, will simply derecognise marriage and say that from then on it is a matter of private contract law.

        • I think you meant to write “polygamous” – but yes, that is where we are headed. Paedophilia will be the new frontline because nothing in these culture wars – homosexuality, transgenderism, polyamory or the ‘identitarianism’ – has anything to do with science, but is simply the spread of sin in a culture that has abandoned God and natural law, which – as Jack knows – is the rational creature man’s participation
          in the Eternal Law,
          Some of the commentators above are angry about the “T” being conflated with LGB (which just means G but sounds so much bigger and important if you use three letters instead of one. Even better if you add QIA+ etc etc. But an infinite series of 1 + half + quarter etc only equals 2.)
          But the T is simply extending the logic of the ‘LGB’. The Biden Administration understands this point and pursues it with religious zeal.
          If human beings are defined by their desires and feelings, then homosexuality is “healthy” for kids with those feelings (as a commentator avers above) and seeking to adopt the social and sexual role (whatever that meanss) of the opposite sex has to be affirmed as well.

          • No, the T is not simply extending the logic of LGB – although that is one of the lies that trans activists have long been trying to spin. Being gay, lesbian or bisexual and the delusion or pretence that one’s “real” sex is the other one are two quite different things, and the latter does not logically follow from the former, any more than it follows from being heterosexual.

            Furthermore, it is perfectly possible to be erotically attracted to people of the same sex, or of both sexes, and some people are – even if some other people disapprove and think that they shouldn’t be – whereas it is NOT possible to “transition” from one sex to the other, no matter how much one has one’s body distorted by cross-sex hormones and mutilating surgery.

          • William, obviously it’s true that noone can change sex, but the idea with T is more that you belong to the other gender (in terms of how you feel inside) than your body might indicate. You are saying this has nothing to do with LGB. The reverse is the case. Both are saying that they are more characteristic of the sex which they are not rather than of the sex which they are – the one in terms of internal feelings, the other in terms of desires.

            We then compare ‘internal feelings’ and ‘desires’. Not much difference.

          • Christopher, talk of “gender” is just a red herring by which “trans” activists and others seek to cloud the issue. By definition, a man is an adult human of the male SEX, and a woman is an adult human of the female SEX. So-called “trans” people are males who claim to be women or females who claim to be men. They therefore claim that their SEX is other than their real one, and that they make that claim on the basis of a supposed “gender identity” does not alter the fact that it is either a delusion or a pretence. That has nothing to do with LGB people as such, the overwhelming majority of whom, like the overwhelming majority of their heterosexual confreres, make no such false claim about themselves, and who would not change their sex, even if such a thing were possible – which, of course, it’s not – for all the tea in China.

            In fine, no matter how inappropriate you consider the same sex attractions of homosexuals to be, they do not (unless they are closeted) pretend or try to be something that they are not. The situation with “trans” people is precisely the opposite. So your assertion that there is “not much difference” is patent nonsense.

          • I totally agree that the gender stuff is nonsense, and that we should focus on sex.
            All I meant was that when they speak of this bogus gender thing which is different from sex, they mean an internal sense or feeling. Which is very similar to the internal desire claimed by those who put themselves under the LGB banner.

          • Christopher, if I may, of course erotic desire is an ‘internal sense or feeling,’ what else would it be? is it different among heterosexual people? and I can assure you it has very external, ‘bodily’ manifestations in both cases. This has nothing to do with believing yourself to be a member of the opposite sex on emotional grounds alone. Sexual orientation does not fly in the face of material reality.

          • No, Christopher, it is not very similar. It is completely different. An internal sense or feeling of being a member of the other sex is a delusional one, since it is impossible to be, or to become, a member of the other sex. Erotic attraction to people of the same sex, like erotic attraction to people of the other sex, is a reality, even if you disapprove of it.

          • William

            But lots of people (often the same people!) say gay people are just deluded or perverted straight people.

            I suspect that’s probably close to Christopher’s view and Ian seems to think the jury’s out on this issue.

          • Yes, Peter, that’s as may be, but no matter what lots of ignorant people may think, homosexual attraction and “transgender” are still two completely different kinds of phenomena. Furthermore, sexual attraction to people of the same sex is possible, even if some people consider it “perverted”; being or becoming a member of the other sex is not.

          • William

            How do you know that experiencing life as a gender at odds with your sex is impossible, but legitimate attraction to the same sex and no attraction to the opposite sex is possible? What is making you come to that conclusion?

          • But I didn’t say believing oneself to be the other sex was comparable to the homosexual claim. I said that feeling other-genderish inside was comparable to the homosexual claim.

          • Peter

            There are two human sexes: male and female. Since the sex in which one was born is unchangeable, it is impossible for someone who was born male to experience life as a female or for someone who was born female to experience life as a male. (I don’t, of course, deny the possibility of experiencing life as a male who is PRETENDING to be a female, or vice versa.)

            You speak of “experiencing life as a gender [sic] at odds with your sex”. What “gender” might that be? Perhaps you could kindly name a “gender” or two for us.

          • William

            I’ll answer your question when you answer mine. What makes you think its impossible to mentally experience life as a male if you were born ostensibly female?

          • First, it is obviously not possible to experience life as a male when you are not one.
            Second, you might think you were experiencing it that way, but it is totally impossible to know that. The only way to know would be inside knowledge, which by nature they cannot have. Even if someone were accurate in that belief, there is no way they could know that they were accurate in it.

          • Peter, I don’t know what you mean by “ostensibly” female. If you were born female, then you are not and can never be a male, so to say that you were mentally experiencing life as a male would be simply nonsense. The most that you could do would be to IMAGINE how you would experience life if you were a male.

            Now perhaps you’d be kind enough to name for us a gender or two which one might have and which would be at odds with one’s sex.

          • Peter, I don’t know what you mean by “ostensibly” female. If you were born female, then you are not and can never be a male, so to say that you were mentally experiencing life as a male would be simply nonsense. The most that you could do would be to IMAGINE how you would experience life if you were a male, or to IMAGINE that the way that you are experiencing life is how a male would experience it.

          • William

            You could use the same argument to claim gay people don’t exist. I have a penis therefore I must be attracted to women and its “impossible” for me to have any other experience.

            Genders are male, female and then there are various terms for people who experience both. Similar to gay, straight and various flavors of bisexual.

            The vast majority of people are straight and have genders that align with their apparent sex.

            We are talking about a very small minority whose gender doesn’t align with their apparent sex.

          • William

            I say ostensibly because there are all kinds of intersex conditions where the doctor does not get 100% in determining at birth which the dominant sex (male or female) will be.

            Most intersex people go undiagnosed. Even when it has been diagnosed, it is well within living memory that this diagnosis was routinely hidden from the individual themselves. I used to have an acquaintance who had been diagnosed at birth, but never told. They found out only when asking for medical records for another issue.

            So thats the long way round of explaining why I said “ostensibly”

        • No, Peter, I couldn’t use the same argument to claim that gay people don’t exist. It is a fact that the majority of adults with a penis are sexually attracted to women, but it is also a fact that a small minority are sexually attracted to other men – even if some people thing that they shouldn’t be. It is NOT a fact that someone born male can experience life as a female, or that someone born female can experience life as a male. It is not possible to experience life as something that you are not.

          Gender is, properly speaking, a grammatical classification, as in French, where the garden is masculine, so it’s LE jardin, and the house is feminine, so it’s LA maison. The term is often used, incorrectly, as a synonym for sex – and you have so used it by referring to male and female as genders – but it has now also been given a number of other meanings, thus facilitating dishonest arguments in which the usage slides around from one meaning to another.

          Male and female are sexes. Human sex is not on a spectrum; it is binary. Humans are either male or female. They do not and cannot experience being both, so your analogy to “gay, straight and various flavors of bisexual” is a false one.

          You talk of “a very small minority whose gender doesn’t align with their apparent sex”. If you are being consistent in your use (or misuse) of the term “gender”, that is the same as saying that their sex doesn’t align with their apparent sex. That is possible only if there was some mistake about their sex when they were born, as in some very unusual so-called “intersex” conditions. If their physiology is unambiguously male or female, then any belief that their “real” sex is different from their immutable natal sex is a delusion.

  10. On 4th April 2022 Rowan Williams was a signatory to a letter to the Prime Minister demanding that a ban on LGB ‘conversion therapy’ be extended to Trans persons, stating that “To be trans is to enter a sacred journey of becoming whole: precious, honoured and loved, by yourself, by others and by God.”

    In January 2023 Welby explicitly affirmed, in a comment concerning the case of Christian parents Nigel and Sally Rowe (who had won a legal victory against the Department of Education concerning transgender policies), the Church of England’s document “Valuing all God’s children”. This document contained guidance for the Church’s 4700 primary schools, and stated that children as young as five “should be supported to accept their own gender identity”.

    Repent and resign, Justin.

  11. The issues that lie at the heart of the Cass report raise some of the most profound theological issues of our age, about which the Church, and Christian theologians, have been largely silent. I think questions about what it means to be truly and fully human are, or should be, the central theological preoccupation of our age. The idea that a person’s psychological instincts should trump self-evident and inescapable biological realities is a modern form of ‘Gnosticism’ which, in its scholarly construction, locates the true self in an inner sense of personal authenticity asserted as a metaphysical reality untrammelled by the material order. There has been some gender affirmative theological pushback which appeals to St Paul’s declaration that there is, amongst other things, ‘neither male nor female’; adduces Genesis to support the proposition that there was, in the beginning, a uniform humanoid which later differentiated into male and female sexes; and regards transgenderism as a form of anticipation of a sexless eschatological reality in the Kingdom of God. The Dominican theologian Daniel Horan has argued that individuals need to be treated particularistically, as an inherent essence or nature that transcends their biological configuration. I find this theological grounding for a transgender identity chilling given the irreversible damage transgender ideology is perpetrating on healthy bodies. I have a great deal of reading and thinking to do.

    • My immediate reaction was that a Dominican should know better, but Daniel Horan is in fact a Franciscan – unless there are two of them. Not that that makes it any better.

    • Mark Bratton: what you have written above above, about “psychological instincts trumping self-evident and inescapable biological realities (as) a modern fform of Gnosticism” is pretty much what we were saying a generation ago about homosexuality. We lost that politico-cultural war as the west abandoned Christianity as the guiding star of public life.
      All of this chronicled in Carl Trueman’s “Rise and Triumph of the Self”.
      The Natural Law argument you make against transgenderism is the same argument against homosexuality. It affirms that each of us belongs to something bigger than our individual feelings and drives (which are in any case fallen and imperfect).
      The Natural Law affirms there is a telos in being human, in being male and female. That also means there are right and wrong uses of our bodies and their generative organs.

      • James (and Mark), I think this is an interesting and complex point, and one that I have observed some time ago.

        Male and female bodies are sexually made for one another. The idea that we should use our bodies sexually in another way (eg with the same bodily sex) when are bodies are clearly not designed for this does, at one level, represent a triumph of psychology over physical reality.

        But also indicates that same-sex attraction is inherently paradoxical, in that gay people come to define their identity by their desires, but those desires do not draw them to other people with the same psychological identity, but to people with the same biology. So, a gay man will be attracted to other men, not other gay people. So the question arises: what is it that actually defines identity? It cannot be my patterns of desire for me, but their bodies for others.

        It is this contradiction with leads to the tension with the T thing. If a gay person is defined by their pattern of inner desires, why should not someone with eg autogynophilia do the same?

        I apologise if, to the gay men commenting here, this all sounds a bit technical and detached. But it does seem to me that there is a contradiction at the heart of gay identity in this way, and it is this which leads to the paradox of both identifying and differentiating the LG from the T.

        • Ian writes: “Male and female bodies are sexually made for one another. The idea that we should use our bodies sexually in another way (eg with the same bodily sex) when are bodies are clearly not designed for this does, at one level, represent a triumph of psychology over physical reality.”

          Of course ‘made for’ and ‘designed for’ imply an intelligence and personal purpose directing biology. Atheists don’t believe in any purpose or design in life, except what we choose to give it. Evolutionary biologists may talk about ‘natural selection’, for example, but this is just a metaphor because there is – for the Neo-Darwinian – no person doing any ‘selecting’ (as you or I might select an article or clothing etc) but simply unplanned ecological and environmental factors accidentally favouring the survival of particular organisms in particular environments.
          Of course this is worlds away from the Natural Law understanding of human beings that we are defined first of all as rational animals, sharing a great deal in common with the beasts but distinguished by our capacity to think, reason and choose and to see the ends or goals of things. Natural Law, as Aquinas said, is the creature’s participation in the Eternal Law and it takes a concerted act of MIS-understanding not to see this.
          Not many Protestants today study or understand the natural law tradition, so they don’t follow these arguments easily. It doesn’t help that modern science has tried to abolish the ideas of purpose and design – even though at the practical level biology is shot through with purpose and design as explanatory ideas, even down to the nano-level of how cells work to create new structures in the body.

          • Have you come across D Bentley Hart on the matter, James? “Is, Ought and Nature’s Laws”

            ‘Thus, allegedly, the testimony of nature should inform any rightly attentive intellect that abortion is murder, that lying is wrong, that marriage should be monogamous, that we should value charity above personal profit, and that it is wicked (as well as extremely discourteous) to eat members of that tribe that lives over in the next valley. “Nature,” however, tells us nothing of the sort, at least not in the form of clear commands; neither does it supply us with hypotaxes of moral obligation. In neither an absolute nor a dependent sense—neither as categorical nor as hypothetical imperatives, to use the Kantian terms—can our common knowledge of our nature or of the nature of the universe at large instruct us clearly in the content of true morality.’

            Well worth reading as a whole.

          • Hart is a very uneven writer. Sometimes he is a perceptive observer, as in ‘Atheist Delusions’, at other tines he is an imperious dogmatist with an animus against both Catholics and evangelicals. Probably the “erong” kind of Orthodox as well. I don’t expect him to have any respect for Thomas Aquinas. He is inclined to mistake his own rhetoric for argument. Edward Feser took him to the cleaners for his universalism.
            C. S. Lewis remaind a bettr guide.

        • It does not sound technical or detached but it doesn’t make much sense to me. It fails just like all other natural law arguments. No one denies that male and female bodies manage well, it’s the jump from this being the case to this being normative. We cannot talk intelligibly about natural law if we have not all first agreed upon what nature is and accepted in advance that there really is a necessary bond between what is natural and what should be moral.

          • Natural law arguments do not all fail for those who take the time to study them. Understandably one would not be enthusiastic about it if one wanted to defend homosexuality, however because NL grasps the purpose of having two sexes and the purpose of our sex organs. The issus is discussed in great detail in the works of J. Budzsizweski

          • Oh give me a break, I was a Dominican friar for 11 years. I’m quite accustomed to Aquinas. I ‘took the time’ to study him.

          • Well, Lorenzo, if you were a Dominican friar for so long, I expect you to know better. Read him again, with help from Feser and Budzsizewski.

          • James

            Natural law according to who? Most gay people don’t think it’s natural for them to play heterosexual.

            Paul thought it was natural law for women to have long hair and men to have short hair, but if you let nature take its course men have long hair and then eventually no hair!

        • ‘So, a gay man will be attracted to other men, not other gay people.’

          Ian, I dont understand this sentence.

          Gay men are attracted to other men. Straight men are attracted to women. Straight women are attracted to men. Gay women are attracted to other women.

          So gay men are attracted to other men, whether those other men are gay or straight. Per another comment, my ‘identity’ is NOT my sexuality, ie who Im attracted to. Sexuality is just part of the human make-up, even if it is an important part. While some, perhaps many, may define themselves per their sexuality, it’s not appropriate for Christians to do the same.

          Regarding the trans issue, I think a fundamental question needs to be asked and researched – what has caused a young child to reject their own physical body?

        • Ian

          1. I don’t think many real gay people define their identity as gay and only gay. I’m also a mathematician, father, husband, Brit, Mainer, dog owner, etc etc

          2. I don’t understand why you think it’s a contradiction for gay people to identity according to orientation, but not straight people. Straight people are also not just attracted to straight people.

          3. I think you are wrong that same sex sex is at odds with biology. You are claiming this with no evidence and, presumably, no experience!

          • I think it’s obvious the penis was made for the vagina and vice-versa. Does anyone seriously doubt that?

          • “I think it’s obvious the penis was made for the vagina and vice-versa. Does anyone seriously doubt that?”

            I haven’t heard anyone doubt that. But clearly both the penis and vagina can be enjoyed and pleasured in other ways too, involving fingers, hands, mouths and so on. Does anyone seriously doubt that or want to say that within a loving relationship that a couple should not enjoy such pleasures?

          • Andrew Godsall writes:
            “But clearly both the penis and vagina can be enjoyed and pleasured in other ways too, involving fingers, hands, mouths and so on.”

            What is the ‘and so on’, Andrew? Do you mean anal intercourse? Do you think the anus is ‘meant’ for sexual pleasure? or for defecation?
            Or is that act inherently degrading and harmful?
            (Do you see how natural law thinking works?)

          • James I have written what I have written.
            I think anal intercourse is practised more by married heterosexual couples but I wasn’t actually referring to that. I was making a quite specific point – with a question that you don’t answer. Let me repeat it:
            clearly both the penis and vagina can be enjoyed and pleasured in other ways too, involving fingers, hands, mouths and so on. Does anyone seriously doubt that or want to say that within a loving relationship that a couple should not enjoy such pleasures?
            So James let me ask you. Do you think a woman should not be allowed to use a sex toy for her own pleasure? Or should her own pleasure only be derived from inter course with a man?
            Should it be illegal, in your opinion James, for a married couple to engage in anal intercourse?
            Please try to focus, as well, on the issues I actually raised rather than anything you imagine I am raising.

          • Andrew Godsall: so you avoided answering my question about anal intercourse.
            Why was that?
            You probably know that anal intercourse was indeed once illegal even between a married man and woman.
            Why was that?
            I am not interested here in the question whether it *should still be illegal – that is a practical question and practically speaking, the answer today is no – but rather WHY society thought that even consensual sexual conduct in marriage had its limits. Certainly the Church has always taught that.
            Why was that?
            Give me your answer on the morality of anal intercourse in man-woman marriage, then I’ll answer your questions.

          • AI (AIntercourse, id est) is what has been behind global pandemics, or rather one in particular. Per head, men who have sex with men were way way way the most ‘at risk’ individuals, but that also has made them the most ‘risky’ individuals. All those lying dying, and all those who have forced the spending of millions to find an antidote to prop up what seems like a lifestyle of self indulgence, are not comforted even if married couples are ahead in these stakes. I don’t think they are ahead at all. I think that the stat in question put male-female ahead by 2% whether married or not.

          • Andrew is talking absolutely deadly rubbish. The factors have been listed before, and the only response was ‘eeuch’ rather than ‘red alert!’ – how immature.

            1. -A single instance of AI carries 20 times more risk of HIV contraction than a single instance of vaginal (Pinkerton et al, Archives of Internal Medicine 2004)
            2. -AI is medically risky even without promiscuity for 2 reasons: the relative dirtiness of the anal area; the difficulty of cleaning it ‘blind’
            3. -The rectum has a sphincter making it a non-entrance exit
            4. -A sphincter’s breakage unlike a hymen’s is harmful physically
            5. -The rectum is not built with the vagina’s natural stretch
            6. -The rectum has no natural lubrication
            7. -Rectal lining is one cell thick, the thinnest possible. That would spell injury risk anywhere in a 68trillion cell masterpiece of a body. But we add:
            a.the attendant risk of cuts and bleeding in contexts of unusual and unnatural strain;
            b.and secondly the exacerbation of this by contraception;
            c.and thirdly contraception’s rubbing;
            d.and fourthly the fact that this area is especially susceptible to harmful disease.
            8. -Inside the rectum are microfold cells which actively attract, embrace and envelop those very harmful microbes we call STIs.
            9. -The context of passion is the context least likely to guard against any of the above.

            So what do people who don’t care, and don’t value others, recommend?

          • Ok, you both wish to focus on anal intercourse when I never even raised the question of it!
            It shows exactly where your minds are obsessed.
            Don’t need to answer my questions if you don’t wish to.
            I think that between a married male female couple I have no interest in what they choose to do.

          • PC1

            I’m not saying that penis isn’t made for vagina. I’m questioning the claim that gay bodies are not made for same sex sex. Ie this pulled-from-the-hat claim that same sex sex is unnatural

          • Andrew Godsall copped out of that one when faced with the medical and biological facts about AI (ha!) – and then accuses Christopher and me of being “obsessed”! It was Andrew who said ‘and so on’.
            When challenged, Andrew refused to say what he thought about AI, because he realised that it is inherently dangerous behaviour that can cause rectal harm and risks infecting the bloodstream with fecal matter.
            These are very unpleasant things and should factor in any evaluation of the behaviour.
            Andrew wants to affirm that any consensual sexual behaviour between (or among? threeples, anyone?) adults is morally acceptable but I think he knows that isn’t true -but cannot bring himself to admit the truth of natural law which accords with human biology.
            The design of our bodies tells us important things.

          • For the avoidance of any doubt:
            Andrew does *not* wish to affirm any sexual activity between adults as being morally acceptable.
            ‘And so on’ was *not* a reference to anal sex at all. I did not raise tge the matter. We know that Christopher has an immature emotional response to the matter but I didn’t raise the matter in any form.
            When challenged about AI in heterosexual marriage I declared I have no interest in the matter.
            These are the facts.

          • Andrew included implicitly AI in the things that a couple can do, otherwise his point would not have been addressing the previous one.

            10. -Most who indulge in AI are unaware of most or all of 1-9, because the (lying) media have a policy (and those with policies are gagged by those who are overriding evidence in favour of ideology) of never at all stating the intrinsic risks in OI and AI, which both proliferated after the sexual revolution and were normalised by pornography too. Even after HIV/AIDS they did not change their essentially positive stance. Not only lying but at one remove murdering too.

          • Wanting to save infinitely precious lives against a background of the media giving a false impression is ‘an immature emotional response’?


            That means just standing back and letting them die and NOT giving this physiological information (and it is only people on my ‘side’ who ever seem to give it) is mature and rational, I expect.

            And – secondly – who are the ‘we all’ in ‘we all know that Christopher has an immature emotional response…’? Come out, come out, wherever you are, so that we may see if you actually exist.

          • “Andrew included implicitly AI in the things that a couple can do, otherwise his point would not have been addressing the previous one.”

            No, he did not. You clearly can not follow the conversation. But we know that your bias prevents you reading carefully.

          • Christopher

            I respectfully suggest that, just this once at any rate, you stop telling us for the umpteenth time how thoroughly hung up you are about homosexuality – as if we didn’t already know, for crying out loud – and about your fixation on anal intercourse, which is neither the only homosexual act nor an exclusively homosexual one, and that you focus instead on the subject of this thread, viz. the Cass Review, which is about neither homosexuality nor anal intercourse, but the prescription to children of puberty blockers to stunt their normal development, and the failure of the Church of England to oppose the anti-factual ideology which has led to such medical abuse of young people.

          • James et al

            Sorry to repeat myself but most gay people don’t have anal intercourse and lots of straight people do. You can’t use condemnation of anal sex to condemn homosexuality

          • William, my modus operandi is always to highlight incoherence in what others say, and thereby to narrow the search for truth down – i.e. get closer to the truth. That is what all debate is about and what all debaters seek: getting closer to the truth.
            Presumably, those who are not so-called ‘hung up’ do not think the causes of the horrific STI level among men who have sex with men are at all important. That can only be because they do not think that the individuals involved are precious.
            I however know that they are precious, as indeed does everyone else.
            But the important thing, you say, is to go around calling factual accurate people hung up, rather than either get anywhere nearer the truth or prevent people suffering harm.
            So long as we establish that some people are hung up, you imply, then others can catch diseases, suffer premature death, and never speak accurately about what is going on. That is not what matters. Making inaccurate psychological analyses that put other people down is what matters. Priorities.

          • Christopher, I am not arguing about those things. I am merely suggesting that you stop de-railing the discussion by expatiating yet again on something which is not the subject of this thread.

          • Christopher

            I wasn’t being trivial. You made a claim against anal sex which is obviously not true. You also still don’t seem to realize that anal sex is not a “gay” thing in that it’s not exclusively practiced by gay people and most gay people dont practice it.

  12. Sorry, not sorry, for the length of this post, but these sections from the newly released Declaration by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Dignitas Infinita” on Human Dignity are worth a read:

    Gender Theory
    57. Regarding gender theory, whose scientific coherence is the subject of considerable debate among experts, the Church recalls that human life in all its dimensions, both physical and spiritual, is a gift from God. This gift is to be accepted with gratitude and placed at the service of the good. Desiring a personal self-determination, as gender theory prescribes, apart from this fundamental truth that human life is a gift, amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God, entering into competition with the true God of love revealed to us in the Gospel.

    In other words, at its core, it’s human rebellion inspired by Satan.

    58. Another prominent aspect of gender theory is that it intends to deny the greatest possible difference that exists between living beings: sexual difference. This foundational difference is not only the greatest imaginable difference but is also the most beautiful and most powerful of them. In the male-female couple, this difference achieves the most marvellous of reciprocities. It thus becomes the source of that miracle that never ceases to surprise us: the arrival of new human beings in the world.

    In other words, it is anti-creation, and fundamentally anti-life.

    59. In this sense, respect for both one’s own body and that of others is crucial in light of the proliferation of claims to new rights advanced by gender theory. This ideology “envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.”[103] It thus becomes unacceptable that “some ideologies of this sort, which seek to respond to what are at times understandable aspirations, manage to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised. It needs to be emphasized that ‘biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated.’”[104] Therefore, all attempts to obscure reference to the ineliminable sexual difference between man and woman are to be rejected: “We cannot separate the masculine and the feminine from God’s work of creation, which is prior to all our decisions and experiences, and where biological elements exist which are impossible to ignore.”[105] Only by acknowledging and accepting this difference in reciprocity can each person fully discover themselves, their dignity, and their identity.

    In other words, it’s anti-life ideology that is, anti-family and anti-human.

    Sex Change
    60. The dignity of the body cannot be considered inferior to that of the person as such. The Catechism of the Catholic Church expressly invites us to recognize that “the human body shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God.’”[106] Such a truth deserves to be remembered, especially when it comes to sex change, for humans are inseparably composed of both body and soul. In this, the body serves as the living context in which the interiority of the soul unfolds and manifests itself, as it does also through the network of human relationships. Constituting the person’s being, the soul and the body both participate in the dignity that characterizes every human.[107] Moreover, the body participates in that dignity as it is endowed with personal meanings, particularly in its sexed condition.[108] It is in the body that each person recognizes himself or herself as generated by others, and it is through their bodies that men and women can establish a loving relationship capable of generating other persons. Teaching about the need to respect the natural order of the human person, Pope Francis affirmed that “creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.”[109] It follows that any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception. This is not to exclude the possibility that a person with genital abnormalities that are already evident at birth or that develop later may choose to receive the assistance of healthcare professionals to resolve these abnormalities. However, in this case, such a medical procedure would not constitute a sex change in the sense intended here.

    In other words, all of the above noted objections, plus denial of the ontological dignity of men/women, a Christian anthropology, and opposed to the integrity of body and soul.

    • Who needs the Declaration when we have HC’s succinct authoritative ‘executive summaries’.? How very protestant of you HC. Thanks.

          • @ James

            Ah, Luther and his worms!

            The German Catholic Church is using a similar approach to justify same sex marriage and transgenderism. It’s a classic defence of personal freedom. One only needs the Bible (i.e. one’s understanding of it) and one’s faith to commune with the Divine.

            This statement of Luther’s is both true and false: “Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound.”

            We all have the right to act in conscience and in freedom and make moral decisions. But how far should this freedom extend? On what basis do we deny this freedom to those who wish to “change” their gender/sex? Why deny freedom to those who believe in same sex marriage?

          • Jack, you know your Aquinas well enough to know that your church teaches you must folow your conscience but your conscience must follow the truth.
            Nowhere does St Thomas teach that conscience is a hotline to heaven. Conscience is not a mystical property of the soul but simply our moral knowledge adressing us with the force of personal command. Some of us may have extraordinary experiences of revelation but the way we acquire moral truth is the same way we learn (or fail to learn) chemistry and Latin grammar. As you know, the conscience must be informed and corrected.

          • @ James

            Hence my comment that Luther’s statement “is both true and false.” One cannot do the right thing if one does not know what the right thing is.

            For Aquinas, as I understand him, every conscience binds, even an erring one. This means that if there is something that you believe you cannot do (after having taken care to form your conscience as well as you can), even if the Church commands it, then you cannot do it without committing a sin. Likewise, if there is something you believe you must do, even if the Church forbids it, then you must do it or else commit a sin.

            The qualifier for Aquinas – he believes that the Church is an infallible guide in faith and morals, so he would argue that to disagree with the Church, ipso facto, shows one has not formed one’s conscience well.

            If one is convinced that the Church is just wrong (and made honest, good faith efforts to know and accept what the Church teaches), Aquinas would say one suffer from an erring conscience, and that would bind one’s actions. Of course, such a person would not and could not know they are in error – it is not possible for a person to believe that she herself has an erring conscience. It is the nature of a conscience (both erring and true) to believe that it is true!

            Aquinas also teaches that having the subjective conviction (after exercising due diligence to form one’s conscience well) that one has to act contrary to Church authority that is, if one is not sure one is right, one has an erring opinion, not an erring conscience. In that case, one is morally bound not to act contrary to a trustworthy authority, e.g., the Church. Such a person would have a doubtful conscience, and one morally cannot act with such doubts.

            Of course, Luther rejected the Catholic Church as trustworthy. Was this a “doubtful opinion” or an act of an “erring conscience”? Or a mixture of both? We’ll leave that to God to judge!

            Is conscience “a mystical property of the soul”? I’m inclined to say it is. Everyone knows that certain actions by individuals are just morally wrong, and the individuals who did them are guilty of wrongdoing, despite the fact that the perpetrator thought it was a good thing.

            Newman writes:

            [Conscience] is a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by his representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal vicar of Christ.”
            (Letter to the Duke of Norfolk)

            According to St. Paul, we have an innate sense of morality, a natural knowledge of the basic principles of the moral law, implanted in us by God, who created us in his image and likeness. This innate sense of morality is what he calls “the law written on their hearts” (Rom 2:15).

            It our Fallen world, this innate sense of morality is not enough to guide us in every concrete situation. We need to apply it to the particular circumstances of our lives, taking into account the facts, the consequences, and the circumstances.

            Conscience, then, is not something external to us, but something internal, something that belongs to our very being as human persons.
            Conscience is a faculty of the human soul that has to be fed and nourished by our rational ability to know objective moral truth. It is not the source of morality, but its servant. To function properly, it must be well-formed and educated in its effort to know the objective moral principles that are available to it either from Divinely revealed sources or creation itself.

    • Slightly churlishly, I might say it is a pity this document did not come out before the backlash against Trans had got under way, but it is entirely sensible, far sounder than the CoE on this subject, and to be welcomed.

      • @ Anton

        The “ideology” of “gender theory” was addressed in “Amoris Laetitia,” in 2016
        Male and Female He Created Them, was released by the Congregation for Catholic Education in June 10, 2019. Both rejected the idea that transgender people can be any gender apart from what they are born with and that “gender theory” is contrary to the faith.

        This new Declaration builds on these and other Catholic documents and has taken 5 years to prepare.

          • @ Anton

            Ah, but you haven’t read the distinctly Catholic elements in it. Personally, I’m disappointed it made no direct mention of the ideology of “reproductive rights” or the “contraceptive mentality” that’s overwhelming the West.

          • Sexual promiscuity is overwhelming the West. Contraception has furthered nonmarital sex, but the evil is in nonmarital sex not contraception.

          • @ Anton

            “Reproductive rights” and the use of contraception involves a false assertion of freedom vis-à-vis God by claiming a prerogative which rightly belongs to God, It highlights the central issue of our age – who has dominion over man? Man himself or God?

            To artificially divorce sex from procreation is to divorce man from his role as co-creator with God. It sets man up as the sole lord of his own existence. It reduces sex to the level of a simple biological function. It gives man the warrant to define for himself what is good and what is evil in all matters pertaining to sex and thus to life and death. Abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, and transsexuality are the logical corollary to such a notion of control – all fruits of the same poisonous tree. And all prophesied in Humanae vitae.

            With the “contraceptive mentality” pregnancy more and more has come to be seen as a burden and children as undesirable and inconvenient — an impediment to life’s goals. Life goals used to centre around raising a family. The introduction of artificial birth control shifted the focus to career as the summit of satisfaction. Money, material goods, and comfort are more important than the family. Careers and personal satisfaction now come before families.

          • Nonsense. God himself arranged that the human female continue to be sexually receptive even when infertile – during part of the monthly cycle, in the early stages of pregnancy, after menopause. That is not true of mammals which have similar reproductive physiology. There is a reason for this – pair-bonding, which also occurs in mammals but in different ways, and which reaches its highest form in humans, who call it love (eros).

            Why is it OK for a married couple to have sex during the times I have stated that the woman is known to be infertile but not OK, in your opinion, via contraception? In the past you have said that sexual intercourse must be “open to conception” but the only reason you have given for this arbitrary claim is that it supposedly pre-empts God from allowing conception. But the natural laws He has ordained do that anyway during infertile intervals. It comes down to “man must not interfere with this natural function”. But why not? Answers might be in the realm of psychology (it’s lust – nonsense, it’s marital love) or physiology (but we also interfere with our bodies whenever we take medicine). For no coherent reason. sexual intercourse is being singled out. And here is where the Vatican, which sets out doctrine according to what a group of celibate men state, needs to listen to the Catholic laity who unlike them actually face the issue. The laity include many Catholic married couples who love (eros) and are faithful to each other and love (agape) the Lord Jesus Christ and quietly ignore this addition to scripture.

          • @ Anton

            Because there is nothing artificial preventing conception when one uses natural means of planning one’s family. Noting is “frustrating the marriage act.” There’s no interference to impede the possibility of procreation as there is with sterilization, condoms, other barrier methods, spermicides, coitus interruptus, and the pill.

            Contraception a deliberate violation of the design God built into humans. The purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is a blessing from God which strengthens the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between a husband and wife. This bond creates the perfect setting for nurturing and raising children.

            Contraception, when accepted in a society, helps bring about a radical change in social perceptions. It ingrains abortion and other anti-life practices into the culture. It changes the way we think about sex, about life, about science, the human person, and about morality.

            Any one of these changes would have a significant impact on a society. Together they are devastating.

            And the Church’s position is based on a profound understanding of Scripture – not an add on.

            I can elaborate on all these points if you wish and show the link between contraception, growing immorality across the board and not just in sex, and more specifically with abortion, euthanasia, homosexual ‘marriage’, transsexuality and transgenderism.

          • Nonmarital sex is the problem. I accept that contrception makes it easier but there is nothing immoral about marital contraception. I’m willing to go round the loop again. Why is it wrong?

  13. The other day I happened across an article online about freckles. Curious, I read it. There was a very curious sentence about how freckles were more common among “those assigned as female at birth.” This shows how the language framework has been infected so much that it is impossible for someone to refer sensibly to “those who are genetically female.” The language required one to suppose that the fairly arbitrary choice of M or F on the birth certificate somehow influenced the development of freckles.

    • Again HC,
      Waffle and misinterpretation is a protestant trait
      or perhaps in heightened and magnified
      application, the quasi protestant CoE in particular, isn’t it?
      Come-on man, out with it- the game’s up. You are needed!

      • I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s deeper than fear alone. There is also the “madness of crowds”, as Douglas Murray puts it.

    • David,
      Maybe it’s the freckles that are assigned at birth.
      Gregor Mendle may have some input after all.
      Or maybe freckles have a free-will choice.

    • DW

      They were probably just trying to be clear what the link was. Don’t worry, it’s not illegal yet to say female!

      You guys are so worried about language. And all that’s happened is that some official bodies are just being more accurate than they were in the past.

      • What’s accurate about ” “those assigned as female at birth.”?

        You, guy, should be more concerned about language as it’s a front for the mind.

        • ‘assigned female at birth’ is a weaselly and dishonest way of saying ‘born female’.
          It suggests it was arbitrary decision by a form-filler instead of a biological fact.
          The term needs to assigned to the dustbin.

          • James

            Some intersex people are assigned female but grow up with dominant masculine traits

            Trans men consider themselves male but were assigned female at birth

          • ”Assigned at birth”, Peter?
            Phrases like that are in danger of stopping people taking what you say seriously. Really does sound ‘away with the unscientific fairies’.
            Sex is visible, incapable of being mistaken about, incapable of being lied about. Gender-as-opposed-to-sex (a strange concept) is none of those three things. You therefore elevate the latter *above the former in your final classification? And also fail to provide a rationale for that?

            But if you provide a rationale for this odd pecking order, people may start listening?

          • Peter, except in the very rare cases where a person is born with ambiguous physiology, no-one’s sex is assigned them at birth. They are born with it and it cannot be changed. So-called “trans men” were not assigned female at birth; they were born female, and female they remain. In short, they are women.

          • Honestly, Peter – you think it was ‘assigned’ on no objective evidence?
            There would have to be objective evidence for it to be assigned at all. Therefore the assigning has no independent significance: it is not a datum. The objective reality that gave rise to the assigning is the datum.

          • Peter, unless you were born with some rare anomalous condition such as ambiguous genitalia, and there was therefore some question about whether you were male or female, your sex was not assigned to you at birth, any more than your species (human) was: it was observed and recorded.

          • Yes, “assigned M/F at birth” is at best cowardly language, at worst an attempt to deny that biological sex is a fact. And it needs to be called out as such.

            I’m not sure the phrase “needs to” be binned. It’s dangerous to repress free speech, even false speech. And it’s useful to have the indication, given by this phrase, of where someone’s thinking might be.

            It seems to me that we hear “assigned female at birth” much more than “assigned male at birth”. If so, that would imply there are many more “trans men” than “trans women”. (In using those labels, I don’t mean to agree with any assertions that the labels imply.) But empirically that seems not to be the case.

            Is something else going on, whereby “trans men” wish to be called “assigned female at birth”, whereas “trans women” avoid being called “assigned male at birth”? Perhaps in both cases a subliminal appeal “think of me as [woman or ex-woman] and therefore deserving more empathy than [ex-man or man]”?

  14. It is clear that the Report recently published by Hilary Cass, an independent review of identity services for children and young people, has opened a storm of diverse opinions on the issues that have come to the fore concerning so-called transgender impressions.

    She is to be commended for her fearless exposure of the extraordinary, misinformed theories that have been advanced to justify practices that undoubtedly damage vulnerable young people both physically and psychologically before they are able to assess dispassionately the long-term consequences to which they have been exposed.

    What is perhaps not appreciated by people who, for obvious reasons, do not follow the literature written on the issues of transgender dysphoria, researched and published in academic scientific journals and and as the result of research projects, is that Hilary Cass’s conclusions had already been widely aired prior to the time she began her research.

    One example is ‘The Report of the American College of Pediatricians’, entitled ‘Gender Ideology Harms Children’ (published in September 2017). It ends with these words, summing up the arguments adduced in the Report:

    “the College maintains it is abusive to promote this ideology, first and foremost for the well-being of the gender dysphoric children themselves, and secondly, for all their non-gender-discordant peers, many of whom will subsequently question their own gender identity, and face violations of their right to bodily privacy and safety”.

    Similar sentiments have been publicised in many other journals of international repute. It may be that pediatricians generally follow a different medical code from those who promote gender transition.

    One further comment I would like to add. It is a response to the general feeling expressed in a number of the comments above that the Christian Church in general has not formulated a convincing theological comment in the public arena on the controversies engendered by transgender questions. This may be true at the level of churches as collectives (though the Roman Catholic Church seems to be an exception). However, there are a number of individuals, of which Ian Paul is an excellent example, who have articulated their views in journals, web-sites and various media outlets. If I am allowed to sponsor myself, I have done considerable research on general questions related to sexuality and transgenderism in a recently published book (‘A Tale of Two Worlds: Why Contemporary Western Culture Contends against Christian Faith’). The book ends with an Appendix on ‘Transgender identity and its ideological roots’.

    • Happy Jack is right

      ACPed are an anti LGBT rights political lobby group. They are not the professions official organization

      • The ACPEd are doubtless wrong about a number of things, but on this particular topic, viz. “transgender” children and young people and so-called “gender affirming care”, they are absolutely right.

        • William

          Doubtful since the official body of real pediatricians in the US says almost the exact opposite.

          The ACPed exists to invent reasons why LGBT people should not have aby legal rights

          • Peter, for all I care the ACPed could be wrong about absolutely everything else, but even if that were the case, on this particular issue the American Academy of Pediatrics is wrong, and the ACPed is right.

          • William

            With what authority do you claim to know better than the US professional body for pediatricians?

          • On the “authority” of reality, Peter. “Gender affirming care” is affirmation of a delusion. Children born male can’t be girls, and children born female can’t be boys. Stunting young people’s normal, healthy development with puberty blockers and irreversibly distorting it with cross-sex hormones merely turns them into physical freaks.

  15. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

    The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a fringe anti-LGBTQ hate group that masquerades as the premier U.S. association of pediatricians to push anti-LGBTQ junk science, primarily via far-right conservative media and filing amicus briefs in cases related to gay adoption and marriage equality.​

    They provide a series of statements from ACPeds in support of this label. One read:

    “Transgenderism is a belief system that increasingly looks like a cultish religion – a modern day Gnosticism denying physical reality for deceived perceptions – being forced on the public by the state in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.”
    (Andre Van Mol, in “Transgenderism: A State-Sponsored Religion?” Jan. 24, 2018

    The much larger American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement in October 2018 (reaffirmed in August 2023) with a “gender affirming” stance. It included this:

    “Sex,” or “natal gender,” is a label, generally “male” or “female,” that is typically assigned at birth on the basis of genetic and anatomic characteristics, such as genital anatomy, chromosomes, and sex hormone levels. Meanwhile, “gender identity” is one’s internal sense of who one is, which results from a multifaceted interaction of biological traits, developmental influences, and environmental conditions. It may be male, female, somewhere in between, a combination of both, or neither (ie, not conforming to a binary conceptualization of gender). Self-recognition of gender identity develops over time, much the same way as a child’s physical body does. For some people, gender identity can be fluid, shifting in different contexts. “Gender expression” refers to the wide array of ways people display their gender through clothing, hair styles, mannerisms, or social roles. Exploring different ways of expressing gender is common for children and may challenge social expectations. The way others interpret this expression is referred to as “gender perception ….

    This certainly sounds like a “cultish religion” to me.

    • “Assigned at birth” is usually a sign to stop reading. It usually means: “what follows is quasi-descriptiive social psychology masquerading as medical science written by a cultural Marxist”.

    • From the pro-trans people in the Spectator article: “In many of the NGO advocacy campaigns that we studied, there were clear benefits where NGOs managed to get ahead of the government and publish progressive legislative proposal before the government had time to develop their own. NGOs need to intervene early in the legislative process and ideally before it has even started. This will give them far greater ability to shape the government agenda and the ultimate proposal.”

      Oh how true! “In advocacy for the Church of England to become independent of the State, there would be clear benefits if the advocates managed to get ahead of the government and published progressive legislative proposals before the government had time to develop their own. We need to intervene early in the legislative process and ideally before it has even started. This will give us far greater ability to shape the government agenda and the ultimate proposal.” – Colin Buchanan wrote this (pretty much) 30 years ago.

      • Colin was ahead on a number of things. Including clergy numbers/retirement crisis is that was coming.. He wrote a Grove Booklet on it in/around 1976.

        I think that he’s the only Bishop who has ever offered his resignation (over a festival financial failure) and Birmingham Diocese had the nerve to accept it. Felt unnecessary and, essentially scapegoating. He made a massive contribution to the CofE on many levels. A decent and honourable man.

        • Agreed. He saw where things were going and rightly called them. His faux pas was running a festival with Desmond Tutu as the ‘star attraction’ when Tutu was a media favourite over South African politics (and not the pro-gay advocate he became, largely because of his daughter). When the festival failed financially (who pays to hear a clergyman?), Buchanan offered his resignation as Bishop of Aston and the Bishop of Birmingham rushed to accept. So much for collegiality in decision making.

  16. A minor point from comments I’ve recently made on FB and my blog based on statements by JK Rowling
    “I have a further thought – people opposing Rowling over this issue (transgenderism) often scornfully say variations of “What does a fantasy author know of this medical/psychological issue?” Well I’ve been a fan of fantasy and sci-fi most of my life, and one thing I’ve realised is that the great fantasy authors paradoxically have a firm grounding in reality to make the fantastic elements credible. And ipso facto, one of the things I think a great fantasy author like Rowling can contribute is that I’d expect her to be good at spotting unhealthy fantasy in real life situations. Whereas I’d submit in the transgender issues it is the doctors and scientists who have been rather carried away into fantasy, bedazzled by what their surgery, hormones, etc can achieve and not noticing how far short of a true ‘sex change’ their efforts fall”.

    • Stephen

      Three weeks ago I had an operation. On talking to the doctor I didn’t decide I would prefer Stephen King to do it

    • When C S Lewis came up against the reality of the death of his wife and subsequent grief his fantasy version of Christianity didn’t entirely ring true with him any longer. The idealistic expressions of Mere Christianity and the fantasy stuff of Screwtape, Aslan et al were never grounded in reality and came unstuck when he met real life and love in Joy.

  17. And a further comment on a point that nobody from bishops down seem to have realised ….
    Some years back I was on another forum, ‘transgender’ came up and this guy glibly said “God makes people transgender”. As I see it that has to mean that God intended from the original creation – ie before the Fall – that there would be transgender people.
    Question – how could a loving, caring, or even simply sane God intend that? It implies that as a norm God would be for example ‘making a woman’ by a route involving making a perfectly good male body but deliberately mismatching that body and the mind/soul in the body so that the person in question would need to undergo some of the most drastic voluntary surgery known simply in order to be their ‘true’ self. Surely only a cruel and demented god could afflict people with that. Ipso facto ‘transgender’ cannot be part of God’s original creative intent but must be in the category of the disruptions following the Fall. And any Christian approach to the subject should start with that as a basic point – and I’m tempted to suggest that any bishop who has clearly failed to notice this point ought to offer their resignation as incompetent.

    • That is exactly why there is this war of the LGBT vs LGB-not-T.
      If God “made” some people gay (as they claim, i.e. it was part of God’s creational intent that some people should develop SSA), then surely also God “made” some people transgender?
      But wait, transgenders need surgery, hormone blockers, hormones, breast binding etc – so clearly there is a deficit, some developmental lack or failure to be corrected.
      But if that is true …. then SSA is sign of some developmental failure as well.
      The whole movement is based on incoherence.

      • Your argument is difficult to follow. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the claim of “transgender” people that they need surgery, hormone blockers, hormones, breast binding be their “true selves”, implies – if that claim be taken seriously – “a deficit, some developmental lack or failure to be corrected”. I agree: it does imply precisely that, even if they fail to see it or refuse to admit it.

        You then say “But if that is true …. then SSA is sign of some developmental failure as well.” But while you are free to hold that opinion (I don’t), no such conclusion follows from the above. People with SSA do NOT require surgery, hormone blockers, cross-sex hormones etc. to be their “true selves”, any more than people with OSA do.

        • SSA is a sign of some developmental failure because it involves a mismatch of body and sexual desire and the misuse of a male body as female and the female body as male. It points to uncertainty or insecurity in one’s maleness or femaleness and the quest to make up this deficit in a sexual relationship with another of the same sex.
          Persons with SSA often display personality traits more commonly associated with the opposite sex. Male homosexuals more typically (but of course not always) display the feminine traits of social agreeableness and a concern with appearance and style, along with much higher levels of anxiety (again a more typically feminine personality trait). That is why male homosexuals can often form close friendships with sympathetic women: they are on a similar psychological wavelength but without sexual interest. Such friendships would never work between heterosexual men and women because they would quickly become amorous.
          Lesbian women, on the other hand, more commonly display the masculine characteristics of aggression and competition, but unlike homosexual men, they don’t relate easily to the opposite sex.
          Heterosexual love is the search for the other, the desire for what is intrinsically missing from one’s own sex (men are not women, fathers are not mothers), and for that reason men and women are always something of a mystery to each other. A man and woman look to each other to be what he or she cannot be individually. This is the Creator’s design and natural law is simply the creature’s perception of this truth (or as Thomas Aquinas puts it natural law is the rational creature’s participation in the Eternal Law).

          • James, “SSA”, as you like to call it, involves no mismatch of body and sexual desire. The only mismatch here is between some people’s belief that everyone’s sexual desires ought to be heterosexual (other sex) and the reality that some people’s are homosexual (same sex). Such a mismatch is nothing for anyone else to trouble their head about.

            Since the very essence of homosexuality is sexual attraction to people of the same sex, the accusation of using a body of the same sex as a body of the other sex really makes no sense. Most homosexual people have no more uncertainty or insecurity in their maleness or femaleness than most heterosexual people have. That notion, and the quaint notion that they form same-sex relationships in an attempt to make up such a presumed deficit, are largely fantasies entertained by heterosexual people who don’t understand homosexuality – but since they are not homosexual themselves, they don’t need to.

          • William: same-sex attraction of SSA isn’t my coining, it’s very common in usage. Despite your (political and not biological or psychological) assertion, it does involves a mismatch of body and desire. This is why, for example, the literature talks about passive and active partners, or ‘fem’ or ‘butch’ women.
            You are probably aware of the personality traits that I mentioned, how predominantly feminine ones (agreeableness, neuroticism or anxiety) cluster in male homosexuals and how predominantly male ones (aggression) cluster in female homosexuals. This is not an accident and it does stem from troubled feelings about one’s own maleness or femaleness – usually maleness because male homosexuality is about twice as common as lesbianism.
            Homosexuality isn’t genetic in origin (or at least 40 years or more of study has failed to establish any genetic link) but is shaped by environment and one feels among one’s peers, as well as the relationship one has with one’s own parent of the same sex. It’s developmental. Mark Regnerus has done a lot of work in this area.
            The attraction that many homosexual men have to boyish or effeminate men is psychologically interesting as well.

          • William’s position is untenable, because he is treating not being able to achieve anything at all with sperm/eggs as on a par with being able to achieve the most miraculous thing possible with them. (On our take, of course, one is able, and that one does not wish to could easily be a deficit in oneself.)
            Acting in accord with biology on a par with not doing so?
            It is soo obvious that these are not par options. One is just the lack or deficit of the other.
            GLB is desire against biology; T is internal feeling against biology. Very little difference.

          • James

            I know a lot of gay men and I don’t know any who have anxiety over their masculinity.

            Also its not true at all that gay men are more common than lesbians. Its approximately 50/50. In the area I live in there happen to be far more lesbians than gay men!

          • This is intriguing James: you are arguing that there is no genetic cause for SSA but that women are naturally anxious, neurotic and eager to please. And it so happens that the one authority you quote re. SSA originating from one’s relationship with the same-sex parent is a devoutly catholic sociologist. It’s claptrap: homosexuality crops up in every society and family configuration. The epigenetic causation of homosexuality are quite well understood:


            As for the alleged mismatch of body parts: I look forward to your strident denunciations of oral sex among straight peeps. Aquinas does not shy away from it. Why do you: it’s far more frequent than gay sex. This too used to be treated as sodomy, as is ‘procuring pollution, without any copulation, for the sake of venereal pleasure.’ Good luck.

          • Lorenzo, you need to get up to speed and look at much larger and more recent studies – like the Canadian study that disproved Dean Hamer’s claims.
            Here’s the biggest study I know of to date:

            If you’re an ex-Dominican friar and an ex-Catholic, you may have some antagonism toward Catholic Professor Mark Regnerus. I can’t help you with your fallout with Catholicism. But you can’t flaw his research into the difficulties suffered by children brought up by gay couples. If you don’t like the message, shooting the messenger is not the right response.
            Is oral sex contrary to God’s will? Although men desire it, most women really dislike it and find it a bit unclean and degrading – and they say even more so about anal sex. They feel ‘used’ by men. Are you surprised? So there’s my answer.
            Do you understand why most women feel this way?
            There is a reason why homosexual men have a lot more sex with more men (including strangers) than lesbians do with women: it’s because they’re MEN and have male sex drives – easily aroused and not so interested in emotional bonding with sex partners.

            (My comment on the basic personality types and where they tend to cluster – in men and women – is correct and is of course a generalisation, as all psychological statements are. I would add two other points.
            1. There is likely some genetic or epigenetic element in the development of same-sex attraction but it is only a smallish element (according to the large study above, 8-25% perhaps?); otherwise identical twins would have 100% concordance, and they don’t. Instead, the environment, upbringing, trauma, abuse and other interpersonal factors overwhelmingly determine the development – and many of these factors are unknown to the adolescent. I do not think anybody consciously ‘chooses’ to have same-sex attraction, any more than one ‘chooses’ to be heterosexual. Our emotional development is rather like our breathing: something we don’t think about until we encounter problems.
            2. Given the ‘right’ conditions, anybody could develop SSA, but most don’t. The fact that some people call themselves ‘bisexual’ is an indication that our sexual feelings are a bit more plastic than we think – which is to say, shaped by environment and experience. Feelings and emotions are not like our skin tone or the colour of our eyes or the waviness (or absence) of our hair, which are straightforwardly genetic facts.

          • James, I’m well aware that “SSA” isn’t your coining. I just think that, since it’s fairly unlikely that there is anyone on here who doesn’t know the meaning of the terms “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality”, calling the former “SSA” is as unnecessary as calling the latter “OSA”.

            My assertion that being homosexual does not involve a mismatch of body and desire is not political but simply factual. Talk of active and passive partners implies no such mismatch; it merely describes preferred sexual behaviour. (As a male, I shall refrain from commenting on the behaviour of lesbians, and leave it to them to speak for themselves if they so choose.)

            Human sex, despite the false assertions of some trans activists, is binary, not on a spectrum. On the other hand, personality traits which are found more often, or in a more marked degree, in one sex or in the other, ARE on a spectrum. Some which are regarded as more typical of females can also be found in some males, and vice versa. It is also true that there is a higher incidence of such sex-untypical traits in homosexual people. I see no reason to suppose that this is caused by “troubled feelings about one’s own maleness or femaleness”. I would say that, on the contrary, any such troubled feelings are more likely to be the RESULT of awareness that one does not conform to sex stereotypes, and are best resolved by the realisation that there is absolutely no need or obligation to conform to them, since they are not mandatory standards but merely averages. In the case of homosexual people, letting go of any imagined need to conform in that way may well be an important part of the healthy acceptance of their minority sexuality.

            As for genetics, it is certainly true that there is no single homosexual gene. There is no single heterosexual gene either. There is a plethora of theories about what it is that determines people’s sexual orientation, but they all remain unproven, and that includes developmental theories. If any genetic factors are involved, we still don’t know what they are, or how large or how small a part they are likely to play. But while the question is one of great interest to the scientifically curious, finding the answer is of no practical urgency. Heterosexual people are perfectly capable of getting on with their lives without the need to know what caused their sexual orientation; so are homosexual people.

          • Yes, Christopher, that position would be untenable, but it is not my position. I have never suggested, even by implication, that achieving pregnancy is on a par with not achieving it. It has never occurred to me to make any such comparison.

            You frequently talk of biology as though it dictates to us what we should and shouldn’t do. It doesn’t; it tells us facts. Biology doesn’t, for example, tell us that no-one should ever engage in homosexual behaviour because it’s not potentially reproductive. It just tells us that it’s not potentially reproductive.

          • Thank you William. You will find that Christopher finds emotional intelligence too complicated to factor in with facts. His preference for some facts rather than others is also rather troubling and provides him with only some of the story.

          • William Fisher writes in response to my reply to Lorenzo:

            “As for genetics, it is certainly true that there is no single homosexual gene. There is no single heterosexual gene either. ”
            – Nobody (except Hamer briefly in 1993) ever said there was. Have you read the studies mentioned above?
            “There is a plethora of theories about what it is that determines people’s sexual orientation, but they all remain unproven, and that includes developmental theories.”
            – Well, if it’s not genetic, isn’t it interaction with environment (which is what ‘developmental’ here means – a bit like nutrition or schooling/upbringing, how we learn to speak etc.) Nurture or nature – which is it? What if it is multi-factorial, as I believe it is?
            “If any genetic factors are involved, we still don’t know what they are, or how large or how small a part they are likely to play.”
            – Lorenzo disagrees strongly and quoted the Ngun paper from 2015 commended by Hamer. I countered with a much larger study from 2019.
            “But while the question is one of great interest to the scientifically curious, finding the answer is of no practical urgency.”
            – But it is of great political importance if SSA is an immutable genetic or epigenetic phenomenon rather than socially/environmentally acquired. Why? Because we can control the environment to some extent. And we can do genetic testing.
            “Heterosexual people are perfectly capable of getting on with their lives without the need to know what caused their sexual orientation; so are homosexual people.”
            – You may hate me saying this but there are no real biological differences between people with SSA and people with OSA. It still remains of interest why it happens and whether it is inevitable. Sexual desire is plastic, not immutably fixed. What directs it, then?

          • 1. William says we cannot derive an ought from an is. This has been noticed down the ages.

            2. What we cannot possibly derive from this is that there should be no oughts at all (i.e., anarchy).

            3. But in that case we need a source for our oughts.

            4. The only source there is for OUGHT is IS. (The natural law model.)

          • Christopher,
            No, we cannot conclude that there should be no oughts at all, nor did I suggest it. But biology does not tell us what the oughts are.

          • James,

            “Nurture or nature – which is it?”

            For all we know, it may well be a combination of both. And developmental factors may include pre-natal factors other than genetics, as well as post-natal ones.

            Yes, no doubt we can control the environment to some extent, but if sexual orientation is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and even if we knew exactly what those factors were, we cannot, in the present state of our very incomplete knowledge, rule out the possibility that changing the environment, in an attempt to eliminate or diminish the homosexual population, might merely cause people with a different genetic profile to be homosexual instead – or even increase it.

            I agree that there are no real biological differences between people with “SSA” and people with “OSA”. Physiologically speaking, gay men are no different from straight men, and lesbian women are no different from straight women. Sexual attraction may be plastic to some extent, but while there are some convincing cases of people – usually women, men far more seldom – whose sexual orientation has changed spontaneously from homosexual to heterosexual and vice versa, most adults’ sexual orientation does not change, even if they want it to, and the evidence that such change can be deliberately engineered, e.g. through some kind of “therapy”, is poor. That is not bad news, however, since neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality is a disease or a disorder, and so neither needs “correcting”.

          • William, it looks like you are slowly coming round to my way of thinking about nurture and nature and the relative plasticity of sexual desire. See my reply to PC1 below on how environment can shape affections and personality- rather like imprinting. There is no gene that causes people to speak Chinese. It’s entirely situational.
            The fact that some women seem to acquire – or perhaps just express – SSA, often in mid-life or after marital breakdown – is a striking phenomenon that calls for explanation of some kind.

          • “Lorenzo disagrees strongly and quoted the Ngun paper from 2015 commended by Hamer. I countered with a much larger study from 2019.” You did no such thing. You compared apples with oranges, I claimed that the epigenetic of homosexuality are observable, not that there’s a ‘gay gene.’ And no, if a trait has no observable genetic origin, it does not therefore mean that it’s due to nurture.

          • James

            No, I can’t say that I am really coming round to your way of thinking. I have agreed that there is no single gene that causes people to be homosexual, just as there is no single gene that causes people to be heterosexual, but I don’t claim to know what it is that determines people’s sexual orientation. That it is a combination of “nature and nurture” is simply one unproven possibility which cannot at present be ruled out. No-one else knows either, however convinced they may be that their pet theory must be the correct one. As I’ve conceded, some theories are prima facie more plausible than others, but that it is all that they are: theories, opinions, beliefs.

            As for plasticity, I would say that, so far as adult males are concerned, relative LACK of plasticity more correctly describes the situation. Change of sexual orientation in adult males is very much the exception, not the rule, although it is more common in adult females. Attempts at deliberately engineering such change have rarely, if ever, succeeded – although some people who have been either unable or unwilling to accept their homosexual orientation have wasted years, sometimes even decades, of their lives – and often also large amounts of their hard-earned money – on chasing that chimera.

          • No, that’s quite wrong. Natural law tells us what the oughts are (there ought to be smooth untroubled development) and natural law and biology overlap greatly.

          • William, your summary of the science is very general and vague, whereas the actual studies that have been done are full of data, statistics, and cover many subtopics.

            How can we be sure that, in the fact of this discrepancy between your summary and the very specific nature of the studies (none of which you mention) you are not waving away other’s millions of hours of work with ‘Nothing to see here’?

          • Christopher, if you think that something that I have written is incorrect, I suggest that you tell us precisely what it is, instead of resorting to waffling.

          • When you speak of waffling, it may be more a case of your own lack of comprehension, which is just as likely to be down to the reader as down to the writer. However, my main point was that many detailed studies have made specific statistical findings. You, however, summarise what we now know in a vague and general way, including no specifics or statistics at all. What could possibly be less accurate than that approach?

          • You speak of the combination of nature and nurture as though it is one possible explanation for present orientation. This disregards decades of study which give other categories besides nature and nurture (volition; formative experience; culture; circumstance), and which, for example in identical twins studies and other genetic studies, not only work on the nature/nurture question but go some way to determining the relative importance of these factors.

          • Christopher, you are simply waffling again. To say that a combination of nature and nurture is one possible explanation for sexual orientation does not disregard anything at all. If you wish to propound some other explanation, you are free to do so.

          • I am not waffling, as is proven by the fact that all the words I say have meaning and all my sentences make points. The thing to do is address the points.
            ‘You are waffling’ is an excuse for those who (a) cannot immediately understand, or (b) want the debate not to happen, for fear they would lose it, or (c) both.

        • James, identical twins studies never have 100% concordance on anything. And the fact that sexual orientation is on a spectrum for some (few) does not mean that it’s malleable. You’re arguing all over the place. It’s an old thread now. Bye.

          • Lorenzo misunderstood my comment and failed to interact with the 2019 study. “St Lukes” adds nothing except a vague “I don’t agree”. Lorenzo is strongly at war with Stonewall , which is an interesting turn of events in the ongoing culture wars.

          • St Lukes, are you seriously saying that 100% and 0% are the only options? The least likely options more like. The point was not that. The point was that the concordance among identical twins was so low as to show genetic contribution is also low, as low in fact as is gauged already by other means.

      • James

        It’s largely a fiction. The vast majority of gay and lesbians support full equality for trans people.

        Dark money and the media are boosting gay anti trans voices (or sometimes just straight people claiming to be gay), but within real gay circles there’s no such battle going on.

  18. An insightful and thought-provoking piece that highlights the important intersection of religion, policy, and the wellbeing of children. A must-read for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of the Church of England’s handling of these sensitive issues.

  19. There are several [3] excellent articles on complex issues and their
    “resolutions” in/at the current issue of

  20. James

    In a comment above you state ‘The attraction that many homosexual men have to boyish or effeminate men is psychologically interesting as well.’

    I simply dont believe this reflects reality. I think most gay men actually dont find effeminate men attractive, the exact opposite of what you’ve said. And I speak from experience. And I also think that most gay men dont like it if they feel others view them as rather effeminate.

    What I would say is that many, including straight people, find overly ‘camp’ men as rather comical, but not sexually attractive. You only have to look at some male tv personalities who are gay and very popular, because they are just funny. But few would view them as sexually attractive.

    As for Mark Regnerus, Im all for research, but it should be thorough research using good methodologies and appropriate comparison samples. Many have heavily criticised his research and his conclusions based on what they view as flawed work.

    It is of course rather ironic that most gay people come from straight parents. I actually suspect that, for example, most boys raised by 2 loving gay men/fathers will likely be straight. It will be interesting to see research into that in the future when presumably there will be decent sample sizes.


    • James has never interacted with gay guys, I don’t think. It’s been a while for me, admittedly, but any dating app will prove him wrong. The whining about ‘no camp, no femmes…’ the gym rats, the idolising of masculinity.

    • No. The meta analysis of Stacey and Biblarz, American Sociological Review 2001, says that girls brought up by lesbians are at least 400% more likely to identify as lesbians when the time comes.

      • Yes, I have seen that. If a child is habituated to a homosexual world through parenting, it is very likely that he or she will imitate that world.

        • Seems commonsensical. The thing is that not only is copying of one’s parents/resident adults above par in general, but the reasons for this (perception of norms) are obvious and unavoidable.

          • James/Christopher

            I also know a *lot* of gay people and, for those who Im aware of their background, ZERO had gay parents. I’m not saying it never happens, but most gay people have straight parents, which creates difficulties for gay children that are not comparable to difficulties for other minorities. If you are Black or Jewish you likely have parents who are also Black or Jewish who can help you to deal with living in a world that’s unwelcoming to you.

          • That is anecdotal evidence. You are saying that we should accept small samples in preference to large ones. In this case very large ones, because it is a meta-analysis, and the rate is still 400%+.

            Does anyone agree with Peter that we should accept small samples in preference to large ones?

          • Christopher

            It’s the hundreds of gay people I know or have met versus nothing because you don’t actually have a large sample! You’re just making it up.

          • I don’t have any sample because I am not a researcher.
            Stacey and Biblarz don’t have one sample but many samples because they conducted a meta-analysis, large scale by definition.
            I am making up Stacey and Biblarz’s meta-analysis, and also making up all the prior studies that they meta-analysed, am I?
            Among all your odd claims, this one is the least true, and raises questions about your level of understanding.

        • In addition to which, vast swathes are not experiencing a homosexual world as their daily norm so will not be promising candidates for being drawn that way. Nature of family and nature of peers (and societal norms) account for so much.

          • Christopher

            Neither me nor my husband were raised in environments where gay people were even talked of positively. In addition I did all my schooling under section 28.

            This kind of environment can delay “coming out” but it doesn’t make you straight

          • You are not so old as to be pre sexual revolution. Therefore you will have lived in a world where such things were positively viewed by much of the culture and many of the authorities.

      • Christopher

        They copied results from an even earlier study, which looked at 25 children of lesbian parents in young adulthood and used having a same sex relationship as a proxy for orientation. From about 35 years ago, before such relationships were even legal in most of the United States.

        My sample is more representative, uses a better measure of orientation and is much much larger

  21. Of course Regnerus has been criticised – for daring to be a heretic in the Holy See of the Sociology Department. Have you any idea how secular and anti-Christian the modern university is? I think you do.
    If you don’t like what he says, then prove him wrong. But the figures from mental health pathology are a little difficult to explain away.

    • I’m a Christian and have given up on a career in academia. Regnerus has not been criticised for being critical of the Holy See, so called, but because he’s a cook. Thew figures from mental health pathology do not prove me wrong at all.

    • It’s not for me to like or dislike his conclusions, but it appears many have criticised his research because of its methodologies and sample group. I doubt all such criticism is unjustified.

      • Then you need to study it carefully to point out its flaws.

        To be fair there isn’t ANYTHING is sociology – or educational psychology or its related fields – that isn’t contested by someone, somewhere. After all, it’s chiefly about people reporting their feelings or experiences, using imprecise language. We are not talking about laboratory experiments in chemistry that can be replicated or refuted by following precisely the same procedures in another laboratory. You will always get different results in any sociology and educational psychology because the data cannot be replicated. And John Ioannidis of Johns Hopkin extends this critique to medical research as well:

        • Even the research you quote above says ‘Overall, genetics account for between 8% and 25% of a person’s same-sex attraction,’ and ‘The results did show that genetic variation has a stronger influence on same-sex sexual behavior in men than in women’. The latter might be part of the explanation why there appear to be more gay men than women.

          That sounds like quite an important factor, even if not the most important. It is yet further research that indicates that multiple factors may influence sexuality. I dont think that’s a surprising finding.

          • I think of it like this, PC1.
            If I was 17, slim, 6 feet 5 and my father was a basketball player, there is a high likelihood that I would become one as well. If I was 5 ft 3 and overweight, not likely. If I was 6 ft 5 and a Masai cattle herder, not very likely either. That’s what I mean by the interaction between genetics and environment. Some people are more predisposed to acquiring certain feelings than others but nothing apears to be determined in the way that skin and eye colour are. A friend who is SSA (and a married father) says he has searched all the scholarly literature and he doesn’t know how his SSA developed. He has a twin brother who is not SSA. Everyone’s story is unique in some way, typical in others.

          • It is possible that there are very brief windows in a life cycle that become strongly determinative of the future.

          • James

            But what are the environment types that join with genetics to form homosexuality?

            My biggest problem with the environment/nurture claim is that gay people come from a full spectrum of different environments.

            My second biggest problem is that when you push this claim (with no evidence for it!) there’s an spoken or unspoken implication that the cause is faulty parenting. Gay people blame their parents, their parents feel guilty and it drives another wedge into driving the family apart. On no evidence.

          • Of course ‘gay people come from a full spectrum of different environments’. But some are statistically more likely for them than others. The only reason they come from a full spectrum is that there are so many of them. That was never the relevant dimension; the relevant dimension was whether there are environments that increase or decrease likelihood.

  22. On the question of transgenderism evincing signs of cultic behaviour, a full length article by Kathleen Stock in the Times newspaper on Saturday, 13th April, titled, ‘How the NHS was captured by cult-like gender fanatics’. Among other comments on the Cass report, she says, “No wonder nearly every indicator of cult membership is present among so-called affirmative clinicians and their hapless patients. Among the most telling signs are a fervent belief in a transcendental new way of life; induction into a mystical world of occult symbols, flags and lanyards; the love-bombing of new recruits with affirmative language and talk of “queer joy”… Relatedly, there is a lot of what cult specialists call “hate-bonding” – that is, framing critical voices as evil enemies to be automatically discredited, a process that neatly shuts down intellectual curiosity while solidifying group cohesion in one fell swoop”. There is much more she says in a similar vein.
    Now one does not have to agree with all she says, nor sometimes the language she uses. However, it is interesting that a person of her scholarly standing * should interpret transgender convictions in terms of false dogmatic creeds promoted by a kind of inquisition against those who are non-believers. It is not beyond the bounds of credibility to try to make sense of transgenderism using research conducted on a variety of kinds of cultic phenomena.
    *Kathleen Stock is the author of ‘Material Girls: Why Reality matters for Feminism’ (2021). She resigned as a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex in 2021 after a vicious campaign by transgender activists calling for her dismissal by the University.

    • I think it would be more striking if there were no academics anywhere who opposed trans rights.

      Note she’s a philosopher, not a hard scientist

      • A facile Statement Of The Obvious.
        Where is the hard science?There isn’t any on this issue – that’s the point.
        Except that the the hard and easy (O level and A level biology for me) science is male and female with rare intersex.
        Stock is ssa, I think.
        She wasn’t driven out by hard scientists, but by intransigent and hostile idealogues, philosophies.

          • Firstly, our brains develop as a result of our activity as well as prior to it.

            Secondly, if a self described trans person did not have the said brain structures, you would still accept and affirm their self description.

          • Christopher

            Yes and yes.

            My point is that there is solid scientific research out there, but you guys aren’t interested in it because it doesn’t say what you want it to say. So instead you pretend a smattering of philosophers and novelists are the only authority on the matter.

          • But you are once again completely wrong. When I published on the topic I quoted loads of papers and not a single one was by a philosopher or novelist. Why would they be by philosophers or novelists? I generally included all large scale studies known to me. They were largely by social scientists.

            What Are They Teaching The Children? chapters 10-11.

          • And your second yes is a wrong yes. It is a yes that says no-one has ever lied and (even stranger) no-one has ever been wrong about anything.

  23. Is there any official response from the CoE?
    The Bishops aren’t shy in coming forward and opining on many matters of national, public import. This is one such matter involving the health and wellbeing of children.
    It would be good to hear from both Archbishops. It is highly unlikely that the CoE will resile its position as erstwhile promoters of Mermaids.
    Dr Bernard Randall has been shabbily treated by the CoE, it seems to me, though it is improbable that there would be repentance and where necessary, restitution.

  24. PT,
    A mere hypothesis, guess. Is there any disclosure of conflict, of vested interests?
    A hypothesis can be disproven but not proven to be true
    Please stop misrepresenting
    by implication, as scientfic fact.

  25. A couple of refs so far to the unity of body and soul. That feels like an important theme.

    Asking as an amateur and without a dog in the fight: If a Christian believes they’re a male soul in a female body (or vice-versa), does scripture/tradition/reason teach that they’re wrong, and if so where and how is it taught?

    For example, I don’t think Jesus’s discourses on marriage and divorce are the answer to this.


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