Equality Scotland Sex and sexuality The Church in Scotland

Everything that’s wrong with Scotland’s new gender recognition law – CT

This article was first published in Christian Today – you can read the original here.

Everything that’s wrong with Scotland’s new gender recognition law

(Photo: Unsplash)

December 21 is normally the shortest and darkest day each year in Scotland. This year, it coincided with one of the darkest moments in Scottish history. After three days of bitter debate, the Gender Recognition Reform Bill was passed in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday by 86 votes to 39 – with nine of the ruling SNP party voting against.

The Bill, which was supported by the Scottish Greens, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, allows transgender males and females to change their legal sex by simply signing a statutory declaration.

Why is this important?

1. It is state sponsored lying

The Bill allows you to change your birth certificate so that it lies about your sex. If you are born male and later decide you want to be a woman then you can change your birth certificate to say that you were born a woman. This is biological nonsense and a straightforward lie. But it is a lie that the government promotes – to such an extent that you can be prosecuted for speaking the truth!

2. It is a state sponsored attack on women’s rights

Feminist and author JK Rowling said before the vote that the Bill was “the single biggest assault on the rights of Scottish women and girls in my lifetime”. The writer Nina Welsch summed it up well: “Tomorrow, Sturgeon will preside over one of the most regressive, dangerous and frankly absurd pieces of legislation the modern world has ever seen. Last week, her government successfully managed to get the word ‘woman’ redefined from an adult human female to anyone to who has a piece of paper that says they are one.”

Two weeks ago, the judge, Lady Haldane, ruled that a gender recognition certificate (GRC) changes someone’s legal sex for the purposes of the 2010 Equality Act. Now that the Scottish Parliament have made it easy to get a GRC, this means that men who self-declare as women cannot, under the Equality Act, be excluded from women’s spaces or sports.

This contradicts claims by the proposer of the bill, Shona Robison, that this would not affect women’s spaces. In effect the Scottish Parliament has now redefined women as a mixed sex category and there is nothing that women can do about it.

To understand the depths to which so many politicians have become obsessed by this ideology, consider this astonishing fact: on Tuesday evening there was an amendment put forward which sought to deny sex offenders a GRC. This was defeated by 64 votes to 59. In other words, the Scottish parliament voted for rapists to be allowed into women’s prisons!

Michelle Thomson, an SNP MSP who bravely spoke of her own experience of being raped as a 14 year old, put forward another amendment which would have merely paused the process of sex offenders getting a GRC. But such is the lunacy, that this too was rejected.

Think of another consequence. As the journalist Kevin McKenna writing in The Herald warned, “No female victim of rape or serious sexual assault in Scotland can be reasonably confident that their request for a biological female to conduct an intimate medical examination will be granted. Instead, they risk being warned about having a hateful attitude.”

He was not exaggerating. Recently NHS Ayrshire and Arran put forward a policy which suggested that a female patient who did not want to share a ward with a man in the next bed might have to be removed and should be treated akin to a racist.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claims to defend women’s rights but steadfastly refuses, like Keir Starmer and other leading politicians, to tell us what a woman is. How can you defend what you can’t define?

3. It is state sponsored child abuse

Vulnerable children are being experimented on by clinics who provide gender realignment and other services. The Bill passed in Scotland has reduced the age of consent from 18 to 16. Despite the closing down of the Tavistock clinic in England and despite the warnings of people like Abigail Shrier – whose book Irreversible Damage provides clear evidence of the manipulation, indoctrination and harm to teenage girls – the MSPs remained committed to their ideology.

In this Brave New Scotland, to suggest that a teenage girl who is struggling with gender identity disorder should seek psychiatric help is a hate crime; to chop off her breasts is an act of love.

Children are being taught that they can choose their own gender. They are being indoctrinated into the Queer theory of the trans cult and there is nothing that parents can do about it. Indeed, Scotland has now moved to a situation where parents are not to be informed if their child wants to change gender. “This is our little secret” has always been the motto of the abuser. Now it is the motto of Scottish education.

Some of the more extremist politicians in the Parliament spoke of ‘dangerous’ parents who might not affirm their child’s transitioning. Again, in today’s Scotland to refuse to do so could result in you being convicted of abuse and hate crime. This will be even more so when the politicians pass anti-conversion therapy legislation.

4) Scotland is becoming more authoritarian

The passing of this legislation is one step further on the road towards an authoritarian Scotland where the trans ideology is given free rein to intimidate and bully. Recently students at the University of Edinburgh managed to close down the screening of a feminist film, Adult Human Female, claiming it would make trans students and staff feel ‘unsafe’. What about the real safety issues that women face? They are to be sacrificed to the tender feelings of the trans ideologues who don’t feel safe being told what a woman is!

The level of intimidation in politics, media, academia and business life in Scotland is quite chilling. Maggie Chapman, one of the Green MSPs who strongly pushed the Bill, said that those who oppose the legislation are a transphobic presence – and we all know what should happen to transphobes!

5) It will harm relations with England and the rest of the UK

Sex offenders from England could cross the border and get a GRC in Scotland but will it be recognised in England? Can someone be a man in England and a woman in Scotland? The Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, has suggested that the UK government may withdraw consent for the Bill on the grounds of the harm it would cause to women and children, and its undermining of the 2010 Equalities Act. As a Scot, it pains me to say it but I hope and pray that the UK government will come to our rescue.

Those in support of the GRA made great play of the fact that some other countries have similar laws. They boasted about how 350 million people in the world live under these laws and that it was ‘best practice’. Apart from the fact that this means that 6.5 billion people don’t live under those laws, who is to determine what ‘best practice’ is? The arrogance and hubris of Western ‘progressive’ imperialism is breathtaking.

Why did the political parties do it?

Opinion polls show that at least two thirds of Scots are opposed to these new laws and yet, with the exception of the Tories, the other parties commanded their MPs to support it. Why? As the writer Melanie Phillips has observed, Scottish society, like other Western societies, is in the midst of a mass derangement. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is largely our civic elites who are under this derangement.

The elites tend to think of themselves as a class above everyone else. What does it matter what the plebs think? Take for example the Cambridge Dictionary recently stating that using female to refer to a woman or a girl was, except in scientific writing, “something which most people find offensive”. Most people do not find referring to a female as a woman or girl as ‘offensive’, except perhaps in the academic ivory towers of Cambridge!

I was involved in the early stages of this Bill and at one point had a meeting with the then Scottish government minister Shirley-Anne Somerville. I suggested to her that if she and I had a debate in any area of Scotland in front of an audience of parents, 90 per cent of the audience would agree with me. She did not dispute that. Instead, she made the arrogant and dismissive comment, “That’s because parents are ignorant.”

At a meeting with Scottish government civil servants that same day they told me that they had been instructed to ask me if I would ever support this GRA, and if not what would I look for? I told them no – and that I would look for three things – 1) womens spaces be protected 2) that children not be indoctrinated into Queer theory and 3) that I would not go to jail for saying that a man could not become a woman. They basically told me that all three would be difficult but especially the latter. It was a clear warning to me.

How did the Churches respond?

While Churches like the Free Church, the Catholics and others made clear their opposition to the Bill in the submission stage, there were others like the Church of Scotland who shamefully supported it. But even those who are opposed have been silent over the past week. I looked at the Baptist Union website, the Free Church, the Catholics and others and there is not a word. One of the most significant anti-Christian, anti-family, anti-poor, anti-children and anti-human acts ever passed by a parliament has gone through without a word from the representatives of the vast majority of Churches. In this regard the feminists have put the Church to shame. They are more prophetic and courageous than we are.

Where do we go from here?

Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Greens, chillingly warned that this was just the beginning. The trans activists won’t stop here. They will seek more and more power and control. We have to stand against this evil. I think of the many I personally know who have been so affected and harmed by this ideology. Trans people need help, love and prayer. They don’t need our condemnation, nor our affirmation; they need our compassion. But those who are using this ideology for their own particular ends deserve all the condemnation of Christ (Mark 9:42).

One thing we can all do, if we are UK citizens is sign Maya Forstater’s petition, “Update the Equality Act to make clear the characteristic “sex” is biological sex.

But we need so much more than that.

This week I have been listening to a Scottish preacher, the Baptist minister Alistair Begg, who in an extraordinarily brave, compassionate and profound three-part series on Romans 1 explained what is going on. It’s a good job for Alistair that he is now based in the US because his sermons would run the risk of prosecution in his native land.

He showed that what is happening demonstrates the destructive power of idolatry and evil. Thinking ourselves to be wise, we have become fools. We have rejected the truth of God for a lie, and so we end up believing the lie that you can change your sex by changing a bit of paper.

The answer for the Church is surely in repentance, prayer and prophetic proclamation. We must speak up in defence of children, the vulnerable and for women’s rights, even if that costs us some government relationships. What’s the point of having the light if you refuse to let it shine?

Free Church Press Release 22nd Dec 2022 – Free Church Response to the Passing of the GRA Act

The Canary in the Coal Mine – Why Tasmania’s Proposed Anti-Conversion Law Matters


  1. I have been seriously considering working with 20 Schemes as a one year intern. I am a donor and love their work. But, as a Christian and American I’d be hard pressed to be able to work in Scotland under those conditions, if I was even allowed to go.

  2. Tonight it looks like the UK government is stepping in. One point sturgeon didn’t realise is, that it is illegal to change the sex of one’s birth on a UK passport, and at the moment thank God (not said in a blasphemous way) Scotland is part of the UK.

  3. Excellent article David. When is Scotland going to wake up? It’s as if the country is sleepwalking to the abyss! It’s only God who can turn this nation around and all Christians should be doing their bit.

  4. What wickedness! David, thank you for your informative article and passionate appeal to the church to stand up.

  5. Trans people need help, love and prayer. They don’t need our condemnation, nor our affirmation; they need our compassion.

    A statutory declaration with no need for a diagnosis, or a minimum two-year wait, or a decision by a panel of qualified legal and medical professionals. That also comes with a new unlimited fine and a jail term for abuse… however it is that the government will enforce this.

    Let’s pretend that we’re not dealing with the ideologically indoctrinated, or children. We’re dealing with those who have gone through extensive therapy, those who are epistemically and ontologically responsible, etc. etc. etc. What is the objection then? That it’s a ‘lie’ on a birth certificate? That it’s simply unnecessary? That those with Aristotelian chromosome scanners in their closests will always have access to the truth (Cartesian doubting bombs they might be. That’s a Dark Star reference fyi)?

    The HMRC also requires a GRC, and a mismatch between information in different systems can be problematic (e.g. when one can simply self-decare their sex on a passport (with a support letter from a doctor) or driver’s license). Of course, men don’t need their spaces protected from trans men, for some reason.

    If this speeds up a process, what’s the salient objection given that someone like me will be doing what they would have been doing anyway, just, with the process easier than before? Is it going to come down to what you think is the best course of treatment, vs. what I think is the best course of treatment, having gone through many courses of treatment? That it’s unnecessary? That dysphoria is always and without exception some special instantiation of some reading of Romans 1? That I’m merely confused and deluded — call me Chuck and give me a space blanket?

    1. Katja….I empathise with those who have GID – but I cannot condone lying. Creating a false birth certificate is a lie. Making it easier to do so is not helpful. And no we are not dealing with those who have gone through extensive therapy – that’s the point of the new legislation. You can just self ID without any therapy!

      1. Creating a false birth certificate is a lie.

        It’s revisionary, certainly. It’s also an aspect of the broader system within which there’s both (1) a state-level onus regarding identification and personal information and (2) the social tension between what a form of ID might say and how one might look.

        If on a driver’s license, the ‘M’ or ‘F’ refers to the biological sex of the individual only, then updating this is also a lie. If it refers to social perception, then there are more questions to ask. The sex on a driver’s license is trivial to change, and if it doesn’t match social presentation, the risk is complicated situations. The same is true of a passport, dealing with HMRC, etc. Some of these things require an updated birth certificate because that’s what the government requires. Perhaps the government is forcing me to lie, but if it means that I don’t have to sit in a room with border agents or the TSA, then…?

        So let’s say we can acknowledge the epistemic concern and that the concern is proper, but doing so doesn’t erase the pragmatic difficulty. There is a therapeutic dimension as well. If we understand GID medically (and surely it is a medical issue), then the question of care and treatment is relevant. Is it helpful for the person who struggles with GID to be called a name or pronoun they don’t want to be used? Even if we think that poor people like myself suffer from something akin to electromagnetic hypersensitivity, what is the long-term play? What of those people who are well aware of their circumstances but who say that these things help regardless — even if it is just in their heads? (And to be clear, having played experimental endocrinologist on myself I’m reasonably certain that it’s not just all in my head.))

        Updating my birth certificate to reflect the biological sex I wasn’t born as is to disconnect the marker from reality. So much for truth and its correspondence. But I’d still need to do it. I can refuse, but it would make my life more difficult. And not necessarily because I’ve gone out of my way to look like this-or-that. We all have to live around other people, and assumptions are made.

        You can just self ID without any therapy!

        Yes, but also, if anyone has been through extensive therapy (I have been), why should we have to go through the current process? A 2+ year wait and a panel review on top of multiple NHS assessments (parts of which would constitute sexual harassment in any other area of life). Perhaps a GRC could be easier to get after therapy and NHS assessments, but those now take a minimum of 5 years from referral. So, the system is broken in more ways than one. 5 years here, 2+ years there… That’s the opposite of a standard of care.

        …but that doesn’t matter to the broader argument anyway, which is that a GRC is fundamentally a lie. It’s a piece of paper that plays pretend, allowing one to play pretend with other pieces of paper (or bytes, perhaps). There are social challenges to looking like a man but having ID that says ‘F’ or vice-versa.

        And no we are not dealing with those who have gone through extensive therapy

        Well, we’re dealing with those people too. It’s just that the philosophically sophisticated trans person like myself gets swept to the side with platitudes and messy treatments.

        I’m not in favour of self-ID, by the way. I’m also not in favour of mental healthcare that takes 5+ years to access. Between the two, I’ll take the former. In an ideal world, the former wouldn’t be necessary because the latter would commence within 18 weeks of the referral or whatever period it’s meant to commence in — or quicker.

        This is to say that we’re not all unsophisticated children drowning in ideology. Some of us, despite the best efforts of literally everyone, have to contend with the diagnosis. We’re just not sensational.

  6. What ‘wickedness’, indeed! It is shocking to read of the further downward spiral of the moral and spiritual life of Scotland. Some of our forebears would ‘turn-over’ in their graves! Collins Dictionary illuminates this phrase: ‘If you say that someone who is dead would turn or turn over in their grave at something that is happening now, you mean that they would be very shocked or upset by it, if they were alive.’ https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/turn-in-their-grave

    Iain H Murray discerningly wrote: ‘God and his Word elevated this little land and gave it the position it came to occupy in the world… (but) National character is not permanent. Scotland was a witness to what the Bible can do, and she has since shown how, without that light, a people once godly, serious and upright, can become as earth-bound and frivolous as any other nation…’But ‘the end is not yet’…!’ (from ‘A Scottish Christian Heritage’, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2006 pg. 391).

    Maybe, there is some shaft of light coming via the UK Government, as Myra suggests above. How we need God’s light in revelation, to arrest and awaken.

  7. Sturgeon claims to be a woman, but she does not know what a woman is, yet she knows that trans women are women. What kind of delusion or evil is at play here? Dr Paul McHugh, who worked with John Money, the inventor of the trans ideology, had Money excluded from seeing his patients because of the harm he did to them. McHugh has also stated that Trans is a delusion that should be treated with talk therapy.
    There is a petition to the Westminster to repeal the Gender Recognition act. I signed it today. I earnestly pray that the Westminster authorities will block this bill from receiving Royal Ascent

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