You may have missed it but yesterday was a significant day in the British Parliament. It almost passed me bye, but in the providence of God I happened to be watching the UK parliament channel (as one does) and saw the seeds of the coming disaster being sown. Bigger than Brexit, more dangerous than Same Sex Marriage, this story has gone largely unheralded and unannounced, except in a few in-house LGBT activist groups and the reliably liberal Huffington Post. The story is the first Transgender ‘debate’ in the UK parliament, on a report from the Women and Equalities Committee. Some people think that what happened in the House of Commons today is not very important at all – the BBC haven’t even reported on it. But according to some of the MPs who took part in the debate, it is one of the most significant debates in recent Parliamentary history. I am very much inclined to agree with the latter.
I watched – in increasing sorrow and horror- as the familiar pattern began to repeat itself. I was longing for someone to stand up and speak some sense. And then I hoped that someone would speak in the media – some politician or the Church of England or the Church of Scotland as our ‘national’ churches. But nothing. Nada. Silence. And I thought ‘you had better shut up too. You have spoken enough. Keep quiet. Go about your daily business. Don’t give the haters more ammunition. Go home.’ But I couldn’t. I have no illusions. Mine is only a very small voice but I have to use it and hope that it will be joined by many other small voices. If we do not speak out for the poor, the weak and the disempowered then who will? I really do not want to write this! I have no need to write it. I would so prefer to be writing about other things, but I am compelled by what happened today.
I don’t want to discuss the actual issue of transgender because much has been said about that already and I have nothing to add. And I also want to stress again that I believe that gender dysphoria is a genuine condition for which people need a great deal of help. It is not so much the issue that is important, it is the people who are transgender and need help, and the way that social ‘progressives’ are using this issue to undermine the whole question of gender at all, and to create a brave new world which in my view will result in devastation for millions.
What I want to look at in this article is the way that progressive tyranny unfolds – usually beginning at the top. As I watched the debate it dawned on me that there really was no debate. A minority of people are going to drive through something that will cause a profound degree of harm within this country and make the fuss over same-sex marriage look insignificant (incidentally one of the reasons I opposed SSM was because I thought it would lead to further consequences such as this. At the time I was mocked for the ‘slippery slope’ argument but it turns out to have been right – we are not on a slope, we are on a helter skelter to the pit). I would much rather not write anything about this, but if we keep silent when evil raises its ugly head, then what right do we have to complain when it prevails?
Before I go on to look at how this debate unfolded I need to say what it is about. The following summary from http://www.transgendertrend.com/transgender-equality-debate-in-parliament/ is helpful. This proposal is about two main issues –
The first is the move to self-declaration in order to change legal sex
Currently if a person wishes to change their legal sex they must be over 18, be diagnosed with gender dysphoria and have been living in their desired gender role for at least two years, and intend to do so for the rest of their life. The Committee’s report called for the removal of all three of these criteria, so that anyone could easily become legally a member of the opposite sex, without the need for any form of social or medical transition.
This would mean that any man would be able to declare himself “female” in order to gain access to facilities where privacy is crucial to the dignity, comfort and safety of women and girls, such as toilets, changing-rooms, women’s refuges, single-sex hospital wards, prisons, rape crisis centres and women’s support services. The obvious consequence would be that women would not feel safe to access the services and facilities intended for them. Any man declaring himself to be a woman would also be eligible to win awards previously restricted to women and girls specifically to advance women and level the playing field with men, for example in sports, prizes and awards, shortlists and quotas.
- The second is proposed legislation to amend the name of the protected category from “gender reassignment” to “gender identity”
This may look like just a change in words, but the implications are huge. “Gender reassignment” suggests a change, a process of moving from one thing to another. “Gender identity” legally enshrines the concept of an innate fixed identity that overrides biological sex as the distinction between boys and girls, men and women. In other words, there would no longer be any way of legally differentiating between the sexes; it would become a matter of personal unverifiable feelings. “Gender identity” would effectively replace the protected category “sex” which is the only protection women and girls currently have.
The implications of this are obvious. It is an attack upon children (encouraging children in this direction is a form of child abuse) and an attack upon women – which is why so many feminists are opposed to, or at least uncomfortable with this push towards moving away from gender recognition to gender self –identity.
This is a massive change within our culture – but one which very few politicians and even less in the media and indeed church seem to recognise or care about. And it will inevitably happen precisely because very few people recognise the importance of the subject and even those who do so are intimidated by the tyranny of the progressives.
Today’s ‘debate” is a classic example of how a small well-organised minority can create a social change which will do untold harm. This is how it works:
Step One – Dramatise and Talk up the Problem – There is no question that Gender Dysphoria is a real psychological problem for which a small minority of the population require help. Figures vary from 0.1% of the population to 0.3%. But this is now the cause celebre, the new shibboleth of progressive culture, the new anti-racism, anti-homophobia so it is of course ripe for virtue signalling and the emotive horror stories that no compassionate person would ever question. If you want post-truth, where policy is made by emotion, not by facts and empirical evidence, then this debate was a classic example.
We were told that Transgender people are far more likely to commit suicide (apparently 48% have attempted it) and that Trans women were 49 times more likely than heterosexuals to get HIV. That they are far more likely to suffer from depression and to engage in alcohol and substance abuse. No one bothered to ask if this is such a problem why are we encouraging and promoting such risky behaviour? The answer is just assumed. It is because Trans people are bullied, stigmatised, discriminated against that these things happen. But is that assumption correct? It becomes a completely circular argument, because if you dare to question it, then you yourself are transphobic and contributing to the problem. It’s emotional blackmail in its most vicious form.
Which then leads on to…
Step Two – Make sure that no proper debate happens – This was not a debate. This was, as one of the Labour MPs suggested, a celebration. Through a combination of indifference and intimidation only a handful of MPs actually turned up for this historic event. And all of them outdid each other in trying to show how sensitive, caring and compassionate they were about this issue.
Can you imagine what would have happened if anyone had dared raise the inconvenient fact that the vast majority of children who feel they are Trans in their teens, by the time they are in their twenties have reverted (IF they have not had medical procedures)? Or that the negative outcomes of Trans surgery are enormous? Or that telling children and young people that they can get to choose their gender is a form of abuse? Or that giving children puberty blockers is an invasive and harmful chemical treatment? Or that gender identity theory is a political/philosophical theory and nothing to do with the science at all? Or that to be classified as a hate crime, no crime actually has to be committed, no evidence is required, only the mere fact of reporting it means that it has to be classified as such? Cue lots of people trying to claim ‘hate crimes’. Even then, according to one MP, there have still been only 585 ‘hate crimes’ against Trans people this year. I wonder how many hate crimes there have been against other groups – including Christians…I could report dozens alone! But then I’m not lobbying for special privilege and government money – and I don’t have a government funded lobby group to do so for me!
Even more than in the Same Sex Marriage debate (for which Maria Miller, Conservative, one of the few MPs present, was largely responsible) – there was no discussion, no debate…just virtue signalling and politicians trying to outdo one another in showing how ‘progressive’ they were. If anyone had dared to point out that the Emperor had no clothes, they would have been shot down in flames. If you want to see what real hate is like, just try being the party pooper at a political progressive love in!
One MP stated – “I’m proud to be a member of a parliament and country that has the best LGB but we must now promote Transgender”.
Step Three – Use the Mainstream Media and Public Institutions – The Media were congratulated on taking up the ‘Cause’. We need more trans actors playing trans people (do we stipulate that only homosexuals can play homosexual people?). Channel 4, and the BBC were praised for their many Trans programmes and for recognising the importance of soap operas in normalising Trans. Although the BBC did not cover this non-debate yesterday, true to form they came up with suitable propaganda and gave us yet another pro-Trans narrative – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38132301
But social revolutions don’t just come through elites working through the media. They also need the public state institutions to come on board. And the MPs went on to insist that the government made sure that they all get with the programme. The government were told to use public institutions to push the Trans agenda. The police in Wales were congratulated for marching with LGBT badges, as were the British army for winning Stonewall/Pink News awards. Who cares whether we can catch criminals or defeat ISIS; at least our police and army are suitably ‘progressive’ and wear pink badges!
Step Four – Use the Education System to Indoctrinate Children – The aforementioned Maria Miller said we needed to use education to prevent hate crimes.
And all the sheep agreed.
The MPs saw that education (by which they mean indoctrinating children in schools in the new morality) is the key. “Inclusive education does pay off in long terms….young people are the key to transforming our society.”. Make no mistake. Our progressives want to transform society and they want to use our children to do so. The education system is no longer seen as a place where children are educated, but rather where they are victims of social engineering – engineered by the great and the good, who just know what is best for the rest of us.
They went further. They want a more ‘trans-inclusive’ environment in higher education.
I recently visited a University that was plastered in trans posters. Today I got a message from that same University where the student Christian union are being threatened with in effect being ‘no-platformed’. They may not be allowed to hold events on campus. This is the ‘all-inclusive’ environment our Universities are creating.
Step Five – Legislate and get the Government to spend more money. Much more money must be spent by the NHS on Transgender clinics and practice. Never mind the fact that people are struggling and suffering because of cuts in the NHS, we are a caring and compassionate country and if you don’t spend lots of money on this particular issue, then you are to be condemned. I found it more than a little ironic that as the government were committing to spending many more millions on this tiny percentage of the population (and the Scottish government will follow suit), BBC Scotland carried a news story about the number of Lollipop ladies/men being drastically cut by councils, in order to save £800,000. So whilst many children’s road safety is really threatened by these cuts, the government will still find that money (and much more) to indoctrinate and promote the Trans agenda.
Step Six – Intimidate – Tell people that they are ‘on the wrong side of history’. One MP talked about how there ‘are great changes in attitudes occurring in this country’. So, we had better get with it!
Tell people that if we do not step up to the mark then we will be a backward country, like all those African/Asian/Eastern European and now American countries. Ruth Cadbury of Labour warned that we have to keep an eye on America. Apparently we are now the moral police of the World. Feels good doesn’t it? To be the storm troopers of progress, bringing light to the rest of the regressive world! Trumps all!
The irony here is that in the name of tolerance our progressives impose their intolerance and tyranny. There is apparently no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to gender, and yet there is a one size fits all when it comes to educating children and indeed the whole world in the new progressive morality. Everyone in society is to be treated fairly and with dignity – except those who don’t agree with the progressive agenda! It’s ironic that those who argue for non-binary gender live in such a binary world when it comes to politics and morality. They genuinely believe that they alone have the truth and that anyone who doesn’t accept the Trans agenda is guilty of hate crime.
Let me give just one small example of how this intimidation works. During the debate Labour MP Caroline Flint questioned whether trans-gender toilets would be dangerous for women and cited the example of an incident at the University of East Anglia. http://www.newstatesman.com/2016/11/whats-missing-transgender-debate-any-discussion-male-violence
She was of course immediately slapped down and just for good measure Pink News outed her as a possible Transphobia and demanded that she retract her comments – http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/12/01/labour-mp-caroline-flint-claims-trans-friendly-toilets-are-dangerous-for-women/
Perhaps one other. I was asked to appear on Radio 5 Live as a newspaper reviewer. This was to be a monthly gig. So I went down to do the first one at midnight on a Friday. They gave me the papers and told me the likely stories. But when I went on I was asked what I thought about the previous programme (yet another one of these propaganda pieces about a ten year old boy who was Trans). There ensued the following programme – https://theweeflea.com/2015/08/22/1712/ I was asked to make my comments which I did. The programme itself went well – we had a good discussion involving all kinds of people. And then I was banned from doing any further programmes. I was never informed of this (apparently there were LGBT groups who were opposed) but I was just quietly dropped. No more shows. Inclusive Britain where all are included does not include those who don’t agree with the latest zeitgeist morality. The thought police rule.
By the way if you listen to this programme from 18 months ago you will find how much things have moved backwards since then!
Who is going to stand up against this intimidation? The combination of virtue signalling politicians, (trying to outdo one another with their grandstanding), a compliant media, big corporations equally wanting to show how for ‘equality’ they are (as long as it’s not equality of income or opportunity!), and the social media mobs stirred up by well funded lobby groups, means that there will be little opposition to this from the elites. And ordinary people won’t get a say – because we don’t have the money, the connections, the celebrities and anyway we are just a bunch of (probably religious) backward, nasty, cranks.
The Stepford Politicians – There were three stand out speeches for me. Not because of their quality, but rather because of what they revealed. Lets start with Hannah Bardell of the SNP. The SNP by the way were well represented. And like all good ‘the party is always right’ parties, all of their MPs were on song, congratulating and giving way to one another. No dissent, discussion or debate in this party. As I thought about this I realised that most of the MPs there could be described as Stepford politicians – they were like clones of one another!
Hannah told us that this was an historic moment and that the contributions across the house had been incredible (I agree – but for a different reason!). We need gender equality training. People must have the ‘proper’ information (in this post-truth society this has nothing to do with facts, or reason – it just means the information that agrees with her agenda) and the State must be used to provide that. We cannot afford to have any member of our society marginalised (unless they happen to be the kind of person who thinks that male and female are something to do with our biology- then they need to be re-educated!). There are not enough LGBTI role models. As a new member of the LGBTI community she had to learn a new language and the rest of us should do so as well. We should all be working towards the day when we are all assigned the term MX not Mrs/Mr/Ms (the fact that no-one challenged this indicates how deeply the group think is!). We need an end for the requirement of medical and psychiatric evidence (because evidence is such a pain when you just know you are right). We must make the House of Commons as forward thinking and progressive as we can. It’s about doing what is right (and what is right is what the progressives tell us what is right – and if you don’t agree with that you are wrong).
Although she didn’t quite reach the standard of Hannah, Sarah Champion, Labour Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, did her best. Apparently the current procedures were based on outdated medical criteria (she of course was proposing that there would be NO medical criteria). Terms like gender reassignment and transsexual are now offensive and so these terms need to be updated (and in another couple of years these updated terms will have become outdated and offensive and will need to be updated again, in order to fit in with whatever astonishing new revelation the Progressives will have dreamt up for us).
Finally in stepped the governments Caroline Dinenage – Women and Equalities minister. She reported on behalf of the committee and accepted the recommendations. This is of course because we continue to be recognised as one of the most progressive countries in Europe (by whom? ourselves?). We committed £2.8 million to schools to educate people in terms of LGBT bullying. We want to see gender recognition less medicalised and less bureaucratic (one of the few times any government wants less bureaucracy!) but we will not at this stage be moving to self-declaration until we see how other countries (Ireland and New Zealand) get on with it. But don’t worry the self-declared most progressive government in the world (Scotland) will lead the way.
‘The world has moved on incredibly since 2004’
One thing that Caroline Dinenage got right was her statement that ‘ the world has moved on incredibly since 2004’. Indeed it has. Or at least that part of it which considers itself to be progressive. You see that’s the trouble with being progressive…you are always progressing…you never actually get there. And so as you move towards this elusive and fanciful paradise you keep having to find new progressive causes to make the world a more ‘equal and fairer’ place. You keep congratulating yourself, demonizing others, and looking for further self-justification for your self-labeling! Being a progressive is such hard work!
A tiny minority of MPs in an unheralded debate have set the country on a dreadful course – one that will do far more harm to the people of these islands, than any consequences of Brexit or Trump. Will anyone stand up against this madness? The progressive ideologues (who are in a minority) will of course be well organized. They have the power, the money, the celebrities, the corporations and the political parties on their side. The majority of politicians will think this is a largely inconsequential issue and one which is not worth risking their careers over. So they will be lobby fodder for the progressives, either through ignorance or cowardice.
And the few who actually get it? Will they speak up? Will they be allowed to speak up? Or will they be intimidated into shutting their mouths and eyes and hoping against hope that it all just goes away or peters out? Why did they stay away today?
I also have another suggestion. It has puzzled me why this has received so little media coverage, compared with the SSM debate. I think the reason is similar to SSM. Before the 2010 election there was very little discussion about the subject and it was not mentioned in any party manifesto, and yet by the end of the parliament, this major change to society had been enacted. The reason it was not mentioned is that the elites did not want people discussing or voting on this issue. They wanted to decide the policy, then consult with themselves, then vote it through…thats how the new autocracy works. Its the same with this – the few politicians will decide amongst themselves. The compliant media will bombard us with propaganda (no discussion), the educational establishment will indoctrinate children and the general population will be ignored – until they have been softened up enough to say yes to a loaded question in an opinion poll! But if this became a topic of discussion and debate amongst ordinary people the elites would lose – so for now they keep it fairly quiet….
And the Church? What will we do? Many are just the Progressives at Prayer and will do whatever their zeitgeist masters tell them. Others will react with fear and loathing – condemning and speaking to themselves about how terrible everything is out there (and if you think that is what I doing here I apologise – that is not my intention at all). Still others will take the Benedict option, retreat into self-contained Christian communities (disgusted both with the identification of the church with political movements and the compromises that come from that). Attractive as that latter option is, I can’t go there. Why? Because I think we are meant to be salt and light in the world. And we are meant to be a prophetic voice. We cannot withdraw. My concern is not that Christians will be persecuted, or that Christendom is gone. My concern is best summed up in the words of Jesus –In Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”
And in case you think this is just academic, politics, philosophy. It is not.
I think of the 14 year old boy, suffering from depression, who comes home and tells his mother, that he had seen a school counselor who had suggested to him that his depression might be because he is a girl trapped in a man’s body.
I think of the seven year old girl who comes home from school confused and telling her parents that the teacher had said they get to choose if they are a boy or a girl.
I think of the middle-aged transwoman, depressed, broken and confused – despite all the blockers and surgery.
I think of the young student confused and hurt about issues of identity deciding first of all to change sexuality, then to change gender, then to change sexuality again. Result – more confusion and more depression even as they are cheered on by the ‘progressives’.
I think of the secondary school teacher who is worried about the teenage pupil who suffers from psychological ‘issues’ but has decided that she now wants to be a boy. It is after all the cause celebre of the culture. She has read the Internet and seen the documentaries. Maybe this is the way to be cool? All the teachers are agreed to play it low key – but not the head staff. Because they want to announce that they have a trans pupil in school and look how progressive they are! Why, they may even get that worthless Stonewall award and certificate. So the teenager has to be sacrificed.
I think of the primary teacher whose head is determined that their school gets one of those Stonewall certificates and who insists that children be taught from Trans and pro-homosexual books and that posters putting up this indoctrination are left in the class rooms.
I think of the doctor who no longer wants to be involved in trans re-assignment because over the years they have seen 80%—90% ‘negative’ outcomes. They of course cannot say anything about this publically because they would lose their job.
I think of the University student struggling with cross-dressing issues who cannot find any real help and is instead swamped with posters all over the University telling them that what they recognize as wrong, is right.
I think of the father wondering what has happened to his student son who has discovered that the way to escape his problems is to have a new identity. The poor father is accused by ‘professionals’ of being an unloving parent because he questions this transition. After all what does he know? He’s just the father.
I think of the young man accused of rape and sent on remand to prison where he suddenly discovers that he is a woman and demands to be kept in the woman’s prison cell.
All of the above, apart from the last, I know personally – and there are more. I know something of the pain and the difficulties involved. And I have been involved in this kind of pastoral ministry for decades. Which is why this latest political/philosophical trend is so upsetting. I have seen and experienced directly the harm this ideology does.
The New Tyranny of Progressivism
I am of course concerned for the children and young people in my congregation – as an under-shepherd of the flock of Jesus Christ, how can I not be concerned for his lambs? But I am also greatly concerned, for the thousands in my city and the millions in my country, who ‘do not know their right hand from their left’. I am concerned for the teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and politicians who are facing increasing pressure to conform to the new morality. I am concerned that they are coming under the tyrannical heal of this new intolerant Progressivism. We cannot stand by and let this tyranny and darkness swallow up the people of this land. This is not an irrelevant issue. It’s time to speak up.
St Peters Free Church
2nd December 2016