Archive | April 2016

“Don’t vote for ‘Satanic’ SNP” Minister tells congregation

Wee Free clergyman brands gender and child policies “evil”.

$$-AAA-0001In the run-up to the Scottish Parliamentary elections, a Free Church of Scotland minister has branded the Scottish National Party (SNP) as “Satanic” over their stance on gender fluidity and one of their key policies on children in an outspoken and strongly-worded letter to his congregation, asking them to think before voting SNP.

Reverend Paul Gibson of Knox Church in Perth, part of the “Free Kirk” or “Wee Frees” as they are known, published his letter online in the wake of the recent announcement SNP party leader and First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) that if re-elected, the SNP would restructure gender recognition laws in Scotland to bring it into line with “international best practice”. This would include individuals being allowed to change their gender on their birth certificates without medical consultation or authorisation from a committee, and for non-binary people to be able to state their gender fluidity on official documentation.

Insisting that “The Scriptures plainly teach that God is the author of all life (and therefore the sole designator of each person’s sex)”, Rev Gibson, also taking a side-swipe at same-sex marriage, insists that human beings are made male and female, that God “ordained the institution of marriage between a man and woman as the pinnacle of all human relationships”, and that “He has not only enabled the biological process of procreation but also given this married partnership a divinely ordained responsibility of raising their offspring according to His precepts.”

Continuing in what can only be called a rant, Rev Gibson states “We have already seen widespread celebration of the oxymoron that is same-sex marriage… …our authoritarian “progressives” want to take us further into the darkness by effectively disregarding the God-given authority and responsibility of parents, as well as allowing – if not even encouraging – all people to choose which gender they wish to identify with. You almost have to pinch yourself each time you even think about it – so extreme is the departure, not just from biblical morality, but basic wisdom and common sense. Can a government really be this foolish and that Satanic?! The answer, tragically, is yes.”

Conceding that “there is a good degree of truth to the statement, “they’re all as bad as each other” – at least from a Christian perspective”, Rev Gibson goes onto claim that “I for one have no burning desire to champion the cause of one party over the others within the church, nor to make out that one is worse than the others purely on the basis of some long held political bias”, but then continues, “However, when you consider the massive potential there is for the Named Person Scheme to be used as a means of interfering with the role of parents who seek to raise their children according to Christian values, coupled together with our government’s plans regarding gender, you would have to conclude that true believers need to think long and hard as to whether such a political party – one which seems intent on destroying any lasting imprint of God’s design – can honestly be supported in good conscience before our Creator.”

Really, Paul dear? You are trying to say your god is the designer and creator of all life, who decides the sex of every individual, that the same god ordained marriage between a man and woman for procreation and bringing up children, you call same-sex marriage an “oxymoron”, you brand the SNP as Satanic, say you have no bias, then state that “true believers” cannot support the SNP?

A lot to get through here, but deep breath…

The SNP are Satanic, and by inference anti-Christian?

For a great many years now the SNP have been funded by the deeply religious Stagecoach buses founder and owner, Brian Souter. That is the same Brian Souter who led a campaign to retain the deeply homophobic legislation, Section 28 (in England) / 22A (in Scotland), which made it illegal to ‘promote’ homosexuality in schools. That legislation effectively made it illegal for LGBT+ young people to mention their sexuality and thus further entrenched guilt and depression in many. Although I truly admire the SNP government in Scotland and am a firm supporter of Scottish independence, that they continue to receive money from Souter is one of the main reasons I refuse to join the party.

Every Education Committee in Scotland must, by law, have a religious, i.e. Christian, representative upon it. In ten years in power, and in five years of a majority government, the SNP have done nothing to change that, despite only 39% of Scots now counting themselves as religious, and church membership and attendance in sharp decline in Scotland.

The SNP administration have built more new Roman Catholic schools than any administration previous to them.

Every school in Scotland must offer Religious and Moral Education (RME), which parents can opt their children out of. Few parents are aware of this right, and when the SNP government were petitioned by the Scottish Secular Society to change this to an “opt-in” – whereby the schools would have to ask parents if they wanted their children to receive RME – they downright refused to do so.

John Mason MSP of the SNP in 2014 tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament stating that creationism should be taught in schools as science could not disprove it (yes, dears, he really asked science to prove a negative). The motion failed, but that it got as far as being considered underlines the fact that the SNP government is in fact riddled with Christians.

The SNP candidate for Central Scotland, Sophia Coyle, is a committed Christian and ardent anti-abortionist, and is also opposed to same-sex couples adopting children.

The Scottish government has an advisory committee on religion, which secular, humanist and atheist groups were not made aware of until 24 hours before it’s first sitting. The Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, Rev David A Robertson – effectively Rev Gibson’s boss – sits upon that committee.

God designates the sex of every individual?

Well firstly, biological sex, i.e. how we are born, and psychological gender are two different things. Gender Dysphoria is a recognised medical condition, which has been deeply researched by experts in the field, not “progressives”, and the conclusion of science is that a transgender woman is a woman, a transgender man is a man, and a non-binary person is a non-binary person – which is precisely what transgender and non-binary people have been telling cisgender people since time began.

Being transgender or non-binary is no more a choice than being cisgender is. If anyone disagrees with me, then I challenge them to present me with the peer-reviewed science disproving Gender Dysphoria, or stating it is a choice. And note I said “peer-reviewed science”. Do not even try presenting that dusty old book of Bronze Age goat herders campfire tales; that is not the proof, it is the claim.  And if anyone still disagrees and claims that gender is a choice, then tell me when you chose to be cisgender?

I think I speak for all transgender and non-binary people that while we are happy with who we are now, if we could have chosen to avoid the confusion with our gender identity, the mental turmoil, the mixed emotions, the depression, the ostracisation from family, friends, and society in general, the abuse, the threats and the actual violence visited upon us, we would have never opted for it. As it is we never got that choice, and all the psychological damage and abusive treatment we have suffered has been at the hands of others, not our own.

Of course the greatest place where Rev Gibson’s argument of his god designating everyone’s biological sex falls down is when intersex babies, with genitals from both sides of the gender binary are born. When an intersex baby is born, if God existed, would that then not be that God’s design? One wonders how Rev Gibson would cope were he father to such a child. Would he decide the child’s gender, and authorise surgery to assign his chosen gender? If he did so, would he not be interfering with God’s design? Or would he leave it to the child to decide when they were old enough which gender they were? If so, and surgery were carried out, would that child not then be interfering with God’s design? And would that child leaning towards one gender not then completely destroy Rev Gibson’s argument of gender being a “choice”? Or if the child grew to realise they were happly to remain intersex, which would be adhering to “God’s design”, would that not then completely destroy Rev Gibson’s arguments against gender fluidity?

If you’re reading this, Rev Gibson, I suggest you sit down and consider the above carefully – a large glass of perspective and soda may help. And while your at it, consider that the only person who is the ultimate expert on their gender is the individual concerned. And that applies to transgender, genderfluid / non-binary, and cisgender people.

Marriage was ordained by God as one man / one woman for procreation and bringing up families?

By ‘God’, Rev Gibson here of course means the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible. I can only take it by making such a statement that to add to his sins, the reverend gentleman is also a young earth creationist, who maintains that the Bible is to be taken literally as the unerring word of his God, and that the entire universe, the Earth, and all life – including mankind – were created in six days, 6000 years ago (someone forgot to tell the Egyptians, in the same region where the scriptures were written, and who have a recorded history going back 7000 years). Unfortunately for Rev Gibson, that has long been proven to be cobblers, and just as mankind long predates the Bible, so does marriage, which has been found in every culture on the face of the globe as a social contract between two people who love each other.

If Rev Gibson insists that marriage was instituted by HIS God, then I leave it to him to tell every married couple in Scotland who are Muslim, Hindu, some other non-Christian religion, or of no religion, that they are not married. And once Police Scotland are done with him for Religious Hate Speech, he may wish to look at what Scots Law has to say about marriage, and the fact that it makes little mention of religious faith.

Likewise for Rev Gibson is to claim that marriage is for one man / one woman is to be a hypocrite to his own faith. In the scriptures polygamous marriage is the most common form, with monogamous marriage being the exception rather than the rule. I often found it amusing that religious objectors claimed that same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy, which they called sinful, when it is so common in the Bible; just as the same people claimed it would lead to incest, when it is equally common in the Bible, and if creationists were to be believed, then we would all ultimately be the descendants of incestuous unions of the children of Adam and Eve.

If marriage is for procreation and bringing up families alone, one has to ask if Rev Gibson has ever refused to marry an elderly couple, or a couple unable to have children due to matters of physical disability? This is another piece of hypocrisy I intensely dislike from homophobic clergy, who bang on about procreation and family, yet will happily marry elderly couples and those who cannot have children. This entire argument falls down on the fact that people marry for love, and for companionship. My own parents often stated they married for companionship, my siblings and I came along later. So if a heterosexual couple marry for love and companionship, although they be elderly, unable to have children through physical disability, or even if one or both are asexual, then exactly the same applies to same-sex couples.

Rev Gibson calls same-sex marriage an “oxymoron”. He must agree then that it makes sense? Or is he just as ignorant as many others using that word are nowadays? An oxymoron is not, as many think, a mere contradiction in terms. Rather it is a contradiction which ultimately makes sense.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives this definition of ‘oxymoron’;

“A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true).”

We can see from that example that “falsely true” whilst apparently contradictory in this instance, ultimately makes sense. Likewise, Liverpool beat poet Roger McGough made wonderful use of an oxymoron in his poem The Fallen Birdman; “People gathered round the mess, in masochistic tenderness”.

Therefore, if Rev Gibson is asserting that same-sex marriage is an oxymoron, he is essentially stating that it ultimately makes sense.

If I am wrong on this one, I am sure the lovely Clare Flourish whom I follow here on WordPress, and who is much more learned in the English language than I am, shall soon put me right.

There is “massive potential… …for the Named Person Scheme to be used as a means of interfering with the role of parents who seek to raise their children according to Christian values”?

The Named Person scheme is part of the SNP policy of Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC). It is part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, which when going through the Scottish Parliament, had full support of almost every party, with only the Scottish Conservative Party (who are about as “Scottish” as a Wiltshire cricket pitch) opposing it. It has the full support of several children’s charities and Police Scotland, it is based on models from other countries and yet more countries are looking at GIRFEC and the Named Person scheme with views to emulating it.

GIRFEC recognises that every child is different and an individual and aims for them to achieve their best within their abilities, rather than treating all children as the same, and expecting them all to achieve the same standards. The Named Person scheme is not about interfering at all. Every child will have a Named Person within the education and / or social care systems whom the child or their parents can turn to in time of need. The Named Person equally shall be trained to look out for a child who is unhappy, failing, and how to help them, and the warning signs of abuse, and how to properly address that.

The only objectors to GIRFEC and the Named Person scheme are a tiny group of protesters, who are attempting to challenge it in court, and which is almost certain to fail.

I have to say, if Rev Gibson thinks that the Named Person scheme has the potential for interference in bringing up children, particularly in the Christian faith, then he must have a very dim view of Scotland’s educationalists and one can only wonder just how much contact he has had with Scottish teachers. It just so happens that through a job I was once in, I had quite a bit of contact with teachers in Scotland, and a surprisingly large number of them are in fact active Christians. Indeed, I find the number of Christian teachers quite disturbing and I would be more worried about them attempting to push their faith upon children irrespective of children’s wishes. These fears were realised a few years ago, when two head teachers at a South Lanarkshire primary school were dismissed after children had been presented with creationist literature at an after-school club ran by American evangelists.

If the Named Person scheme were such a worry to Scottish parents, then the tiny take up of the No To NP protest certainly does not bear that out. Likewise, the Scottish Tories have been extremely quiet about it in their campaign for the Scottish Parliamentary elections. The SNP won a majority government in the Scottish Parliament in 2011 – in a proportional representation voting system devised to make majority government ‘impossible’ – and are on track to win another majority government when Scotland goes to the polls on Thursday, 5 May, 2016. If Named Persons were really such a huge issue, then the Tories would be pushing that strongly, just about every parent in Scotland would be against it, and the SNP would be lucky to win a handful of seats. The fact that the same parents are fully intending to vote SNP tells it’s own story; that having been given the information about GIRFEC / Named Persons, they understand it, and they like it.

But then, in claiming he is not biased but given his strong opposition to Named Persons, Rev Gibson gives away that he is indeed biased, and given which party was the only one to oppose GIRFEC, it is obvious how he votes. He says it himself; “I for one have no burning desire to champion the cause of one party over the others within the church, nor to make out that one is worse than the others purely on the basis of some long held political bias.” Why even add that bit about bias unless he has one?

So what does Holy Wullie, sorry, Reverend Gibson, do? He effectively tells his congregation how to vote, stating that those “true believers need to think long and hard as to whether such a political party – one which seems intent on destroying any lasting imprint of God’s design – can honestly be supported in good conscience before our Creator.”

And goes further by calling the SNP “Satanic” and “evil”.

Want to see what a truly evil government is, Rev Gibson? It is one which tells severely disabled and terminally ill people that they are fit for work and takes benefits away from them. It is a government which seeking to make savings, goes after the poorest of the poor, while giving the obscenely rich tax breaks and incentives to make even more money. It is a government of one of the richest countries in the world which tells people who have paid into the system all their working lives that there’s no money in the pot for their pensions, and they’ll have to work for more years to come. It is a government which claims to be helping refugee children, taking only those from Syria, and turning a blind eye to the lone refugee children just across the English Channel, many of whom are at danger from trafficking and child prostitution. All that, and many other things visited upon the UK by the Tory Westminster government, are the epitome of evil.

And I personally think Rev Gibson is crediting his Wee Free parishoners with far too much intelligence; if they were at all capable of thinking long and hard, they would not be in the Free Kirk.

I am an atheist, and I am also a secularist; I believe in removing religion from politics and public life as much as possible. I fully recognise that everyone is entitled to an opinion, even the unco righteous like Reverend Gibson. I am also fully aware that for many Christians, including dear Clare Flourish, their faith is a main driving force in speaking out against all sorts of wrongs, and I admire their passion in that. The Society of Friends (Quakers), the Iona Community and St John’s Episcopal Church in Edinburgh are certainly no slouches at speaking out against social injustice.  When any member of clergy tries to tell their congregation how to vote however, they cross the line from opinion to interference in politics, and that needs to be challenged wherever possible. I am fully aware that clergy pay taxes on their earnings, just like the rest of us, the churches as organisations however do not, and given that Reverend Gibson and his own Wee Free Moderator, Reverend David A Robertson, have both been very vocal recently about SNP policies on transgender and non-binary people, then I for one say it is time to remove tax exempt status from the Free Kirk.

As a footnote, given that Reverend Robertson has long stated his support for an independent Scotland, one wonders if he will pull Rev Gibson up for his attack upon the SNP? Given that Robertson recently published an “open letter” to Nicola Sturgeon, saying much the same as Gibson, I sincerely doubt it.


The full text of Reverend Gibson’s letter can be read here:

http://www.knoxchurchperth.com/letters/april-19th-2016

“Open letter” from Reverend David A Robertson, Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, to Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland:

https://theweeflea.com/2016/04/01/the-ultimate-april-fool-an-open-letter-to-nicola-sturgeon/

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Isle of Man passes Equal Marriage

$$-AAA-0001Northern Ireland last of British Isles to hold out.

The tiny Isle of Man has voted to allow same-sex marriage. The island in the Irish Sea, 221 square miles with a population of 84.500, is a UK Crown Dependency but retains autonomy over many aspects of legislature, which is overseen by the Manx parliament, the Tynwald. The upper house of the Tynwald, the Legislative Council passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill by six votes for to three against on Monday, 26th April 2016.

Famous for it’s TT motorbike races, tailless Manx cats, the last part of the British Isles to retain regular steam trains, and giving the world the Bee Gees (yes dears, the lovely Gibb brothers did indeed hail from the Isle of Man; betcha didn’t know that) the Isle of Man is surrounded by Scotland to the north, England to the east, Wales to the south, and Ireland to the west, all four of which can be seen on a clear day from the mountain of Snaefell, and thus has been at the crossroads of civilisation for millennia. Yet despite at one time or another being part of the Kingdom of Galloway, the Norse Lordship of the Isles, Scotland, and finally an English Crown Dependency, the Manx people have always been fiercely independent and insisted on doing things their own way, and in the Tynwald boast the oldest continual parliament in the world, dating back to the 8th century.

The Isle of Man was the last part of the British Isles to legalise homosexuality, which was hotly debated before finally being passed in 1992. Today the island also boasts the fact that the Chief Minister of Mann, Alan Bell, is openly gay. It is thought that England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland passing same-sex marriage have been the catalyst which have pushed marriage equality in the island through much quicker.

The main Channel Island dependencies of Jersey and Guernsey have also given the green light to same-sex marriage, which now leaves the Province of Northern Ireland to be the last part of the British Isles where it is still denied.

Poor old NI. I really don’t know what we are to do with them. Sectarianism between Protestants and Roman Catholics remain and sometimes still erupts into violence, but on both sides of the religious divide, the people can remain fiercely conservative, particularly on matters of sexuality, abortion, and other matters where religion is allowed to interfere; an exhibition at the Giant’s Causeway, hexagonal basalt chimneys forced up by volcanic pressure, claim that they were formed like that in the Noachian flood. The Protestant majority of NI, fiercely loyal to the UK and the Crown, are trying to cling onto a form of British political Calvinism which really no longer exists, while the Roman Catholic minority hold by the strict religious conservatism of their faith, while even the Irish Republic most of them long for the province to be reunited with is gradually releasing itself from church clutches. Northern Ireland is a prime example of just how deeply religion can poison people’s lives.

Yet, I hold out hope yet. I have met people from NI – Protestant, Roman Catholic, atheist – who are really downright decent and accepting of all, and now that it stands as the last official bastion of homophobia in the British Isles, change is inevitable and it too must sooner of later fall.

Meanwhile hats off and raise a glass to dear little ‘Ellan Vannin’, and congratulations to the Manx LGBT+ community.

Little girl wears dress – Exclusive!

12916358_528128304036105_7884043778344331367_oDo we really need stories like this?

Oh dear. Oh dearie, dear. A 4-year-old transgender girl has started school, in – GASP! SHOCK! HORROR! – a pinafore school dress. It’s the end of the civilization as we know it. The perverts are coming for our children. Michty me, we’ll a’ be murderit in oor beds by the communists!  Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?

The story broke in the media on 21 April 2016, and why it is even a story is beyond me. But nonetheless, three UK comics masquerading as newspapers covered the story, with the usual hyperbole and ignorant and loaded headlines one has come to expect from the British gutter press, and the usual uninformed and abusive comments from their scumbag troglodyte readership (yes dears, I am no slouch at hyperbole myself).

The story surrounds little Logan Symonds, who at age 4 is starting school with her twin brother, Alfie. The only difference is that Alfie will be wearing a boy’s uniform, and Logan will wear a girl’s pinafore dress – and having seen their pics, they are BOTH as cute as buttons. According to mother Emma, Logan has identified as a girl from the age of 18 months, has always played with “girls” toys, and wanted to dress as a girl. Emma says that Logan wanted to wear dresses from an early age, would throw tantrums and even become aggressive when she tried to dress her in boys clothes and even said she hoped her penis would fall off. Eventually she relented, tried letting Logan wear girls clothes, and noticed a great improvement in behaviour from the child. For the twins fourth birthday party Alfie was dressed in a superman outfit, while Logan was dressed in a ‘Frozen’ princess dress  (EEP!  She’s ADORABLE!). Before starting school, Logan told her mother she wanted to be in a dress “like the other girls”.

And so as the media ran with the story, they inevitably ran their headlines, with male pronouns and implied outrage. First off the rank was that darling rag of the British right-wing, the Daily Mail. “Mother allows one of her twin boys, four, to wear a DRESS to school because he has believed he is a girl since he was just 18 months old – while the other son is happy to remain a boy” ranted the headline in the Mail, which was also quick to point out that Emma Symonds is a single mum. Repeating the Mail story almost word for word was the Daily Mirror, supposedly a left-wing newspaper, whose headline thundered “Supportive mum lets son, aged 4, wear skirt to school: ‘It’s a big step for us all”, and the following day the story ran in the Mirror’s Scottish edition, the Daily Record, with the headline “Four-year-old twin boy starts school in a dress after his mum agrees to let him live as a girl”. In all three newspapers, the stories continually refer to Logan as a boy, and with the common use of “he”, “him”, etc.

But if the ignorance of the red tops were not enough, comments from the readers are truly depressing. I was actually quite surprised at the amount of support from Mail readers, much more than the supposedly ‘socialist’ Mirror and Record, but there were still the fair amount of idiots in the Mail.

“This is a psychiatric problem that should have been addressed long ago. That poor little boy has been let down by his mother.”

One wonders just what qualifications this person has in psychiatry, particularly when mum Emma is addressing a psychological issue with Logan in allowing her to be who she is?

“Why all of a sudden these gender issues are coming up? Honestly I’d love to hear from folks who wanted to be the opposite gender when they were kids (for example, this boys age) and how it was handled back then. And how they’re doing now. It’s only these past few years ppl are believing they’re the opposite gender from what they were born and the rest of us are being held hostage to those beliefs and demands.”

It’s coming more to the fore nowadays as society is becoming more educated and accepting of gender issues, and we fought bloody long and hard to achieve that, without any help from the cis community. How was it handled back “then” is easily answered; you were TOLD what gender you were, you had to suppress that and hide it from society, from your friends, even from your family, for fear of rejection and punishment. The results were imprisonment for some, being cast out from family and friends, depression, suicide, and even murder for others – just as it is for a great number of transgender and genderfluid people to this day. You want to hear from folks who questioned their gender from an early age years ago? Try listening to / reading what we have to say.

“18 months old when he declared he wanted to be a girl. Totally ridiculous.”

“Crikey, he could talk well for an 18 month old child then!”

Because of course, had Logan declared at 18 months “I am a boy” that would have been equally “ridiculous” and his vocabulary would have been questioned, wouldn’t it? 18-months-old can express themselves quite clearly; it is adults who only need to listen to them.

From the Mirror:

“I wanted to be a super man when I was a child ? my parents didn’t send me off to space or something.”

More’s the pity they didn’t, dear. And learn some English grammar – PLEASE!

“It sounds genuine but she could be one of those liberal nuts forcing the child.”

Yeah, because that happens all the time, doesn’t it?  No, wait.  It’s the opposite – transgender kids being told they are cisgender – which happens all the time.

“What is going to happen if this carries on, then his hormones kick in and he realises he’s a boy. It’s going to cause nothing but confusion and heartache for all involved. Let him play with what he wants and dress up however, but don’t take him out and let it become who he “thinks” he is.“

The only heartache is when the hormones do kick in, when Logan’s biology is at odds with her psychological gender, and she has to deal with them. The only confusion and heartache worth any consideration are Logan’s – it’s none of anyone else’s damned business. Nooo, don’t take her out. Keep her indoors, allowing her to dress up only indoors, thereby compounding her confusion and heartache over who Logan knows she is.

“my son played with his sisters cars and loved dressing up in dresses at preschool then next minute he would be dressed as a fireman and his sister vice versa.”

Dressing up to play, which children will soon tire off, and wanting to dress according to the gender one identifies with are two completely different things.  Likewise, if it were a ‘phase’ then it’s one that has apparently now lasted 2½ years.

“My daughter has always hated girlie and that is fine, i would not buy her pink clothes and expect her to wear them, at 11 she has a short hairstyle and is happier to wear girls trousers etc but she is a girl and wants to be a girl.”

Or have YOU decided she wants to be a girl? And how shocked are you going to be if she comes out as transgender or lesbian?

I leave the last to the Daily Record, and Scotland, I am so sadly disappointed that you have given the most vitriolic responses:

“Obviously, once Mummy found out she was having twins, she decided she wanted a boy and a girl ! I wonder how she worked out which one she wanted to be the girl, given she gave them both boy’s names ! It’s a worry !”

Because of course mum Emma wanted a daughter so much (except that Logan and Alfie already have an elder sister) that as a single mother, she decided to give both of her twins boys names, when she could have easily have given one of them a girl’s or even ambiguous name, such as Lindsay? I why should it be a worry when it’s not any of your business?

“This four year old probably wants to be superman too. Maybe she should put his underpants on outside his trousers and see how that goes!!”

Perhaps you should put your underpants over your trousers – seeing as a keyboard warrior you have nothing to fill them with? See point above about the difference between dressing up and identifying.

“Fatherless families are destroying the fabric of social order. Men are no longer wanted in a feminist driven society and this story is just another example of it. Guilt oriented women showering their children with ‘support’ because their life choices caused a fatherless family.”

Yes, single mums and the feminists are all to blame, because children need male role models and men are “no longer wanted” (depends on the man, dear – check out my vast collection of Johnny Depp movies; he’s certainly wanted). What a misogynist twat. The person stating this went under the name “Dambustersgm”, which is a reference to the bomber crews of World War II who bombed dams. So, had Logan’s father been in the armed forces and killed in action, would Emma being a single mum still be so offensive to him?

“you are nothing more than a pervert and a peadophile enabler…no doubt you are common purpose or working for an agency… your time is coming.. this is nothing more than abuse and targetting young children….you are nothing but scum” (in response to one supportive commentator)

The overwhelming vast majority of paedophiles (notice I can actually spell it), even those who prey upon little boys, are in fact cisgender heterosexual men, with cishet women second, although the incidence is far lower. Transgender and homosexual men and women are right at the bottom of incidences of child sexual abuse, and a child is much safer in the company of LGBT+ people than in that of the cishet mainstream

“This is irresponsible parenting or at worst child abuse I think it’s the mother that needs professional help.”

Nope. Child abuse is when you force a child to be something they are not, which if mum Emma had forced Logan to identify as male, then she would have been abusing her child. It’s people like this who need professional help, and educating on gender issues.

If I have any issue with the story of Logan, then it’s why it should even be in the media in the first place. Emma Symonds appears to be a very well-informed and supportive mother (although she does still use male pronouns, but I’m guessing that’s a hard habit to break), so if I have any criticism, it would be to ask if she is actually courting this publicity, and if so, just why? And should she read this, I’d like her to understand that’s not in any way an attack, but merely a genuine question.

The stigmatisation of transgender and genderfluid individuals, particularly childwill only end when it is fully understood and accepted as normal. When that happens, the media will not run stories like this, because there will be no copy value in them. But as long as they are ran, complete with ignorant and transphobic headlines and hyperbole, then society is always going to respond with outright bigotry. In the end, the gender of anyone, any child, is nobody’s business but their own, and the only expert on anyone’s gender is the individual themselves, no matter how young or how old they may be.

Stephen Fry may just be right

$$-AAA-001FryWords taken out of context?

I have to admit to deeply liking Stephen Fry. Erudite, educated, highly intelligent, extremely funny, a brilliant actor, comedian, presenter and orator, a biting sarcasm, and very outspoken about things he is passionate and cares very deeply about, including LGBT+ rights and atheism, what is there not to like?

He has now come out with a statement however which one can only hope are ill-chosen words. It certainly seems like that. But if not, then he perhaps needs to take a good long look at himself. Speaking on censorship and online attitudes, Stephen Fry appeared to tell rape and child sexual abuse victims to “just grow up”.

“There are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape,” Fry stated on US chat show, The Rubin Report.

“They’re terrible things and they have to be thought about, clearly, but if you say you can’t watch this play, you can’t watch Titus Andronicus, or you can’t read it in a Shakespeare class, or you can’t read Macbeth because it’s got children being killed in it, it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because uncle touched you in a nasty place, well I’m sorry.

“It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place – you get some of my sympathy – but your self pity gets none of my sympathy because self pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity.

“Get rid of it, because no one’s going to like you if you feel sorry for yourself. The irony is we’ll feel sorry for you, if you stop feeling sorry for yourself. Just grow up.”

I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but nonetheless I am going to attempt to be charitable and give Stephen Fry the benefit of the doubt. I think I can see what he is trying to say, just that on this occasion he did not express his views as clearly as he should have.

I think what Stephen is trying to say is that rape and abuse survivors, and I count myself in this, cannot expect the world to fit itself around them. Plays, films, shows, other media and even everyday things will indeed spark of memories, but we survivors cannot expect that to change just to fit us.

Fry, who quit Twitter earlier this year, calling it a “stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous”, is referring to is that scourge of the internet which is now finding it’s way into mainstream society, the SJW – Social Justice Warrior. There are people sitting at their computers just ready to be offended by the slightest thing and to speak out against it, whether it is something which affects them or not – nine times out of ten it does not.

The SJW culture reminds me of the 1980s and my days of running with the hard-left, ‘alternative’ crowd. Every day was a verbal minefield, where I had to watch every word I was saying, because there was always some arsehole just waiting to be ‘offended’ – usually on behalf of others – and ready with accusations of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, misogyny, or any other “ism” or bigotry they chose to dream up. And trust me dears, make them up they did. I was once accused of being “speciesist” for believing that human life outweighs animal life – guilty as charged. At times, purely to fuck with the minds of such people, I would deliberately come out with things like “That separates the men from the boys.” or “I wouldn’t want to be blackballed.” (a Freemasonry reference, and nothing at all to do with race).

SJWs are ever ready to don the shining armour and jump on the white charger to fight for others. Worse still are those precious little snowflakes who are all too ready to let others do their fighting for them; these are the self-pitying. And when they are not doing that, then they are expecting the world to change and make accommodation for them.

George Bernard Shaw once said “There are two types of men in this world; the reasonable man, who adapts the himself to fit the world, and the unreasonable man, who adapts the world to fit him. Therefore all progress counts upon the unreasonable man.”. Now, I am first to agree with that; one need only look at world history to see that on a great many occasions it has been the unreasonable, the radical, the progressive, the eccentric, the oddballs and the complete nutters who have advanced and enhanced the world for the common good (I don’t have enough money to be eccentric – I’m just plain barmy). But there are limits to that. When society bans something because a minority may be offended or may feel uncomfortable, that same society takes it away from the majority, which unfairly deprives their enjoyment. Oh, and of course, Shaw would immediately be castigated by SJWs and radical feminists for his “sexist” statement, which refers only to “men”.

How far do we take this? I am old enough (as much as I hate to admit it) to recall actually seeing Disney’s Song of the South. It’s never shown nowadays, because it was deeply racist. That’s fine – Africans are not a minority. But then, as Stephen Fry says, do we ban Titus Andronicus because of rape? Do we ban Macbeth because of child murder? How about The Merchant of Venice, which could be seen as being deeply anti-Semitic? How about Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist for exactly the same reason due to his portrayal of Fagin? Some have called for Scotland to have a new unofficial national anthem claiming that the present one, Flower of Scotland, which speaks of the army of Robert the Bruce routing the invading forces of Edward II of England is anti-English. I personally think it’s a dirge, but guess what, it’s never going to change (there is also something deeply satisfying about watching Princess Anne, Patron of the Scottish Rugby Union, singing along to Flower of Scotland with the rest of the fans). Hey, here’s an idea; as a republican and an atheist, I find the present British national anthem, God Save the Queen, offensive – let’s ban it.

Stephen Fry himself, presenting the wonderful TV show, QI, once mimicked Scots accents. As a Scot was I at all offended by this Englishman of minor gentry parodying my people? Not a bit of it. Rather I almost peed myself laughing at him because it was so damned good. He gets away with that for three reasons: one, every word he said was true; two, he was so damned accurate at it; three, he is Stephen Fry.

And then how far does it go? Ever watched Mel Gibson’s movie of Passion of the Christ? No matter how well made it is – and I will grant Mel Gibson that it is well made – it is brutal in the extreme, and many may be offended by the deeply traumatic scenes of violence in it. But then, rather than the gospels, the movie is based not upon the Bible but rather a medieval play, which attempted to place the killing of Jesus squarely upon the Jews. Also on the Christian faith, what of Jerry Springer, The Opera; an extremely funny stage show which sells out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every August, and which includes the role of Jesus in a nappy (diaper) saying he is a little gay and hitting a woman, and that of God singing “It ain’t easy being me”, and asking Jerry Springer to help him. It is always, and I mean always, protested when it’s shown, and given that a recent poll showed only 39% of Scots consider themselves religious, should that show be banned for offending a minority?

See how ridiculous it could get? And online that’s exactly the way it is going. There are too many SJWs and others online who have the pitchfork at the door, just ready to grab it and head out for an old-fashioned lynching. They see these issues in black and white, with no room for the many shades of grey (no apologies for what is not a racist reference). They are waiting and wanting to be offended because it makes them feel superior, when in fact their petty victories are empty and meaningless. Worse still, they are actually detrimental to the very people that those who are offended claim to be defending.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have to live every day with what was done to me, and it can indeed take the slightest thing to kick that off. I hear or read stories of other kids being abused, and suddenly I am right back there. If I read a novel, watch a movie, a show, or a play with that subject matter, then it affects me deeply and can indeed be deeply traumatic. As an adult, I read up about paedophilia in an effort to understand it (there is no understanding it – it is not a mental illness, it is just sick selfishness), and that was bloody hard for me to do. But it was important for me to do so. Just as it is important for me to face news stories, books, movies, and shows in which paedophilia is part of the plot line, because as disturbing as it is, like all society should, I am facing the fact that it happens. If I did not face that fact, I would indeed be self-pitying, and would still be seeking pity, and because of that, I would still be a victim. But I am no longer a victim – I am a survivor.

And this too is important, for all too often the ‘newspeak’ of the internet is to not use the word ‘victim’ at all, but to always use the word ‘survivor’. I could not disagree more. There is a distinct difference between victims and survivors of abuse, any abuse, and only we survivors fully understand the enormity of that distinction. To try and lock things away from us, to protect and shield us, so that we may never see things that may upset us does not help one victim. Keep doing that and the victim will always be the victim.

Certainly, where things are deliberately and intended to be abusive, they need to be challenged and shot down. But the same cannot be said where things are not intended to be directly offensive. Whether you be a rape victim, abused, a racial or ethnic minority, LGBT+, physically or mentally disabled, elderly, young, female, whatever, don’t go looking for your “safe place”, because there are no safe places. And as long as you continue to seek one, as long as you attempt to lock the real world out,  you are continuing to make yourself the victim – you’ll never move on to be a survivor.

That is what I believe Stephen Fry was attempting to say but unfortunately went about it in an asshat way, and could have chosen his words a little better. Ironically, Stephen is now coming under fire for his words, from the very people he was talking about and with exactly the same attitudes he was referring to. And no doubt I shall receive flak for exactly the same.

Of course, I could be very wrong about that. It’s not the first time that Stephen Fry has come out with a highly controversial and asinine comments. On an edition of QI once, whilst supposedly speaking about the larynx, Fry stated “Basically, a good ladyboy can imitate almost anything female, in terms of how they hold their legs and you know…anything like that.” and “A dainty ladyboy can easily fool and often has”. Needless to say, the LGBT+ community was up in arms about Fry’s comments. But hold on, was he actually speaking of transgender people, or merely those who are androgynous? Again, I think it was taken out of context. He did indeed say “ladyboy” and may well have meant just that, s transgender people were never once mentioned. Hands up here how many trans / genderfluid people here identify as a ladyboy? Nope, thought not. He concluded the segment “The truth is, without undressing them or testing their DNA, you can’t be sure what sex someone is. So be careful out there.” Well, ain’t that a fricking truth, and one which all of us who are either transgender or genderfluid are all aware of. But if there are people going to be so upset, perhaps the Edinburgh Fringe should ban another of it’s sell-out shows; The Ladyboys of Bangkok, which is a revue show made up entirely of Thai drag queens (who are all stunningly beautiful, by the way).

Even if he did mean everything he said, guess what peoples? Stephen Fry is a human being, with human failings just like the rest of us. If there’s anyone here who has never said and never does say anything foolish or ill-chosen, then being so bloody perfect and superhuman, you alone have the right to criticise others. But even then, nobody will like you, because you’ll be an arrogant prick  – and a boring bastard no doubt. Also, as intelligent and well educated as Fry is, and a celebrity does not make him superhuman, nor would he ever claim or wish to be. Another disturbing aspect of this is today’s cult of celebrity, where people hang upon every word of the rich, the famous, those in the media, and expect them to be perfect, when they are anything but. Some people need to take the message from the Strangler’s song No More Heroes, which is you shouldn’t have heroes, as being human, they will only let you down.

Fry’s work were indeed ill-chosen and illustrate he has no idea just how traumatic childhood sexual abuse and rape are. I don’t need to “grow up” as Fry puts it, I grew up a long time ago, while I still should have been enjoying my childhood. Do not ask me to recount my childhood because my mind has blocked out most of it – it is lost and gone forever. And no, that’s neither self-pity nor seeking pity; it is merely illustrating just how extremely traumatic it can be. It can indeed take the slightest thing to remind you, to set you off, or put you back into that dark time, and that is not for today, not for tomorrow, it is for your whole life, which is precisely why moving past the victim stage to become a survivor is so important. As long as you let it affect you, your victim is still ruling your life; moving past that removes that power and puts you in control.

But then, if there is anyone who should realise that, it is one gay English actor who happens to be bipolar, and who once had a West End show which received so many poor reviews that he basically spat the dummy, stormed off in a huff, and petulantly locked himself away for weeks.

Now, who was that again?

Oh yes – it was Stephen Fry.

NZ schoolgirls told to cover knees – from teachers

$$-AAA-001In 1955 Vladimir Nabakov wrote his controversial novel Lolita. The novel tells the story of the antihero, Humbert Humbert, having had a sexual encounter at an early age, becomes obsessed with young teenage girls, takes up a career as a school teacher, and marries a woman in order to gain access to her 14-year-old daughter Dolores, aka Lolita, with him he has become madly infatuated. After the mother’s untimely death, Humbert takes Lolita on the road with him, until she goes missing from a hospital, leading to Humbert hunting her down for two years. Very dark in it’s subject matter, the novel tells of Lolita fleeing an abusive partner, ending up pregnant, Humbert killing her abuser and Lolita dying in childbirth.

In the novel it is Humbert who insists that it is Lolita who manipulated and seduced him, when properly interpreted, it is she who is the victim of men unable to control their lusts. Since it’s publication in 1959, “Lolita” has been used as a common term for sexually promiscuous and manipulative teenage girls. And there is a common thread which goes right back to the novel; blaming the victim, which is an all-too-common trait sexual abusers of children.

So as both a feminist and survivor of childhood sexual abuse, when I heard the story of Henderson High School in Auckland, New Zealand, I immediately recognised a culture of blaming a victim, and worse still, became somewhat alarmed at the mention of adult males in the context of the story. This school has dictated to it’s female pupils that skirts must be worn below the knee, to prevent the male pupils becoming distracted. Now, it is not uncommon to hear this; it has happened in schools all over the world, and roundly needs to be criticised as it is the boys who need to stop looking upon the girls as sex objects; there’s the blaming the victim right away. What singles Henderson High out however, is the rather disturbing way they have gone a step further, and stated that this rule is also to prevent male teachers becoming distracted – by girls who could be as young as 13.

Sade Tuttle, a student at the school, states that a group of 40 girls were told by Deputy Head Teacher Cherith Telford after an assembly that the rule to keep skirts below the knee were necessary to “keep our girls safe, stop boys from getting ideas and create a good work environment for male staff”. And should anyone think that is but one teenage girl trying to stir up shit against her school, then it appears that her story has been corroborated, by no less than the Principal of Henderson High, Mike Purcell, who has stated that rules around school uniforms are “regularly enforced to ensure that all students and teachers can focus on their learning and feel comfortable in the school environment. All families are made aware of them when they enrol students. The rules include a stipulation that the hemline of female students’ skirts must be on the knee, no higher. This rule is in line with most New Zealand schools where uniforms are worn.”

Nobody is for one moment disputing the rules surrounding the length of school uniform skirts in New Zealand. It is the handling of this matter by Henderson High School which seriously needs to be called into question. Ms Tuttle said it best; “The rules themselves aren’t the problem; the problem is when these codes target girls specifically because their bodies are sexual and distracting”, as did another student, who stated that she went to school to be educated – not to be sexualised. A former pupil went further; “How about you stop telling 15 year old girls – that aren’t even legal to have sex – how sexual their knees are and how they need to cover themselves up because its a risk and distracting to male staff,” she posted on Facebook, “How about you don’t hire staff that are going to get aroused by a teenage girls knees?”

One has to ask what prompted Ms Telford and Mr Purcell to word the ruling in this manner? Were there male pupils who had made complaints? And worse still, were there male teachers who voiced their concern? In both cases, it is the boys and men who need to be educated not to look upon the female pupils as sexual objects. But if any adult male has brought the matter up, I would suggest that the professionalism of that teacher immediately needs to be called into question, because frankly, that is setting off a whole load of alarm bells in my head.

I am not for one moment denying that some teenage girls can be little minxes – it happens. Some girls can, do and will push the envelope wherever possible and see how far they can hitch their skirts up. Equally, young teenage girls can and do become infatuated with boys and even male teachers at schools. Just as some young teenage boys can and do become infatuated with girls and female teachers. And yes, they will go out of their way to dress in a way to show off their bodies – and their bulges (oh, hide it, for goodness sake – nobody’s impressed). Human beings are sexual creatures and in the nightmare of puberty, when our hormones completely screw up our minds and we start discovering our sexuality, it is quite common for this to happen. But when this does happen, the onus is always – always – upon the adult to behave like an adult and gently put the child down. And that is never more important than when that adult is a professional entrusted with a duty of care to those children. Anyone who denies that is behaving like Humbert, attempting to shift the blame onto Lolita. And if anyone cares to search the internet for court cases involving paedophilia and hebephilia (sexual attraction to pubescent or post-pubescent teens – Humbert was a hebephile, not a paedophile) then they will find that most defendants attempt this line of blaming the victim.

Some may think I am making quite a jump from school uniforms to actual convictions of child sex abusers. I say prevention is better than cure, and one has to watch out for the warning signs. If any teacher, or any professional entrusted with a duty of care to children, looks upon their charges with any degree of sexuality, that person is not fit for the post they are holding and needs to be removed and investigated. Should anyone think I am overplaying this, then consider that in the 1970s the rather sick Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) – who sought civil ‘rights’ for paedophiles and hebephiles – had a list of suggested careers for paedophiles; top of the list was join the clergy, second was to become a school teacher.

The whole issue goes deeper however, and surrounds the way that girls are sexualised from an early age. I recall once reading an article in one of my mother’s magazines which utterly horrified me. It was written by a mother trying to justify buying her daughter “frothy” undies, because “she just wants to be just like mummy”. There again was an adult acting without any sense of proportion, but then when there are firms and stores which produce and sell ‘sexy’ lingerie for little girls, it is yet one more symptom of the overall sickness. And no, I am not blaming the victim here, merely saying that adults need to act with some sense of propriety. Every little girl likes to make herself look pretty, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But when that crosses the line from making herself look pretty for her own self esteem, to making herself ‘attractive’ for the attention of males who can’t control themselves, it immediately becomes a problem. No young girl becomes “Lolita” on her own; it is adults who make her so.

Yet society too owes a responsibility to that. The fact is that girls and women, are sexualised, sexually harassed, abused, and raped from tiny babies to the extremely elderly, at all times of day, in all kinds of environments, whether they are attractive or plain – and in whatever they are wearing. Even nuns in habits and Islamic women in full burqah and niqab are not immune from from the unwelcome sexual advances of men. And then of course, one has to ask what does and does not constitute seductive clothing. Well this can cover a great many things, including lingerie, mini skirts, boob tubes, basques, stockings, nurses uniforms, ermm – nun’s habits, and of course – school uniforms. Doubt the latter? Stores and online outlets selling sexual cosplay gear make a fortune out of ‘naughty schoolgirl’ costumes, Britney Spears got a number one on the back of a video of girls in school uniforms, Japanese anime is full of them, and the St Trinian’s movies (old and modern) did indeed sexualise schoolgirls in uniforms, as did The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

So, if school uniforms are already sexualised, if girls are already sexualised, then the Deputy and Principal of Henderson High School have openly discriminated against their female students and are now trying to hide behind the dress code for most New Zealand schools. They are in fact further blaming those who are already victims, when in reality they seriously need to address their own behaviours, as well as those of their male students, and more importantly still, their adult male staff, whom they may well wish to examine more closely, in order to root out any potential ‘Humberts’ – before it’s too late.

Scottish Government proposes Non-Binary legal recognition

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Nicola Sturgeon MSP – First Minister

And more good news for Trans Scots.

The current Scottish National Party (SNP) administration in the devolved Scottish Government has pledged to overhaul LGBT+ legislation, which will effectively give legal recognition to those in Scotland of non-binary gender.

Speaking before a hustings meeting co-hosted by LGBT+ rights groups including Stonewall Scotland and the Equality Network, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, a former reciptient of the Scottish LGBTI Politician of the Year Award, laid out a five point plan intended to reform Scotland’s gender recognition laws “bring it into line with international best practice”, should the SNP be returned to power in the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 5 May 2016.

Proposals include to allow non-binary and transgender people to revise their birth certificates to reflect their gender, without the current need to seek approval from a tribunal of lawyers and doctors. Revised birth certificates will then be valid for passport applications, as well as for use in other legal documentation. If implemented, the changes would make Scotland the third country in the European Union, after Malta and Denmark, to recognise non-binary gender. The status is also recognised worldwide in Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Argentina.

The changes come after a recent survey carried out by the Scots LGBT+ campaign group Equality Network, found that 300 participants described their gender as “non-binary”, although it is believed the true figure could be as much as ten times higher.

The commitment was welcomed by Nathan Gale of Non-Binary Scotland, who said: “By making a commitment to reform gender recognition law the Scottish Government is ensuring that all trans people, no-matter what their gender identity, will be able to be themselves, in all aspects of their lives.

“Trans people who don’t identify as men or women have just as much right to have the gender they identify as recognised and respected as everyone else.

“I hope that the next Scottish Government will truly aspire to international best practice and provide for a third gender, alongside male and female, to be recognised in Scottish law.”

The five points of Ms Sturgeon’s commitment are as follows;

“Expect all new, guidance and promoted teachers to undertake training on equality so they are confident in tackling prejudice-based bullying.

“Promote children’s health and well-being right throughout early years, primary and secondary education, so that all children and young people learn tolerance, respect, human rights, equality, good citizenship, to address and prevent prejudice and about healthy relationships through refreshed, age-appropriate strategies and resources.

“Work towards every professional working with children being trained on equality, addressing prejudice-based bullying, attachment, child development and child protection.

“Review and reform gender recognition law for all Trans people to ensure it is line with international best practice.

“Aim for all police officers to receive appropriate training on the investigation of hate crime.”

In more detail, the proposals include the right of transgender young people of 16-17 year old to change the gender on their birth certificates, with parental support.

The proposals also have the potential to reduce the incidence of transgender people in Scotland convicted of crimes to be sent to prisons according to their birth gender. Regular readers will know this is a particular bugbear of mine, so I fully applaud the SNP administration in the Scottish Government for this move.

Speaking on the proposals, Ms Sturgeon stated “I’m proud that Scotland has made significant progress on LGBTI equality in recent years; however, the very fact that we are still having debates like this at election time just underlines that there is still much that we need to do.

“In particular I want to see a renewed focus on areas such as education – both for young people themselves, and those responsible for their emotional and educational wellbeing.

“Tolerance, respect, inclusion – these are attitudes and principles we want to encourage and foster in modern, fairer Scotland.

“Enabling young people to make informed choices about their gender and sexual identity is about supporting them to be themselves so that they might fulfil their potential.

“I am hopeful that in the next Scottish Parliament, we can build as much consensus on LGBTI issues as we did in this session – and take another leap forward for equality.”

Not everybody is happy however, and the loudest of the dissenting voices comes from the Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, Revered David A Robertson, who stated in an article in the Daily Mail, “Not content with the destruction of the traditional Christian ideas of sexuality and marriage, it appears the SNP are now seeking to destroy the traditional idea of gender. We do not believe that this will lead to the Brave New World envisaged by the proponents of the multi gender doctrine. It is destructive of humanity and will cause chaos in our society. The SNP seem to be working on the unproven and somewhat bizarre notion that children get to choose their own gender and sexuality.”

Rev Robertson is no stranger to such bigotry, and worse still, it is not as if he is ignorant of the facts. He is an educated man, a theology graduate, and has been well-informed, many times, of the facts about sexuality, marriage, and gender. He is correct when he speaks of Christian “ideas” of those subjects, but does not accept that they are merely that – ideas, not facts. He does not recognise that Christianity does not have a monopoly upon marriage, or that marriage originally was a social contract with no religious overtones, but he is more than well aware that nowhere in the Bible is marriage defined as one man / one woman, but rather that polygamous marriage (which is one thing Rev Robertson claimed SSM would lead to) is the most common form of marriage in the Bible, with monogamy being the exception, rather than the rule.

So likewise are his foolish notions of sexuality and gender merely Christian “ideas”, and when it comes to that, “ideas” shared by him and his minority “Free Kirk” (or Wee Frees, as they are known), which fly completely in the face of scientific research. I offer my heartiest congratulations to Rev Robertson, who stated in his blog, The Wee Flea, that he has recently become a grandfather. However, in the same article, The Ultimate April Fool – An Open Letter to Nicola Sturgeon, whilst claiming not to be transphobic, and to be an SNP supporter, he repeats the bigotry he voiced above and, going further, states of his new granddaughter, “My granddaughter was not ‘assigned’ gender at birth, as though she were being given a name. She IS a girl. She is not one of several genders that she can get to pick and choose as she pleases later on, according to some societal construct or government edict.” You could not make it up. Rev Robertson at first states that his granddaughter was not assigned gender, then later affirms “She IS a girl”. This of course neither Rev Robertson, his wife, nor the parents yet know. Yes, she has been assigned female, according to biological sex – not gender – at birth. But for all anyone knows, she may yet grow to identify as transgender or genderfluid. Only time will tell. And if that is the case, will Rev Robertson and the parents then drum into the wee one that she IS a girl? Yet the Scottish Government, and the LGBT+ community are apparently the ones ‘harming’ children. Bigots like he and his Wee Free followers do much more harm than those who, while cisgender themselves, at least are trying to understand trans and genderfluid issues.

Rev Robertson is certainly right on one thing; we do NOT get to choose our gender. Neither I nor any other genderfluid person chose to be so, just as no transgender person ever chose their gender. We were born with it. But then, no doubt the Rev Robertson chooses not to believe that, just as he no doubt does not believe that anyone is ever born intersex, with both sets of genitals. Or if he does, no doubt he believes that the parents should decree which side of the gender binary that child should be, according to their whims on whether they wanted a boy or a girl, and an operation reflecting that carried out, rather than leaving it to the child to decide when they are old enough which – if either – side of the gender binary they most identify with.

Having experimented since I was a child, I never came to terms with being genderfluid until I was “over 40” (don’t ask dears – I’m not telling), following years of depression and self-hate. I can therefore assure the hateful minds of the likes of Rev David A Robertson that despite his fine words, he and those who think like him are indeed transphobes, and do a great deal of harm – much, much more than they will ever know.  And should he be reading this, I will go further with a personal message – you are a bully, Rev Robertson, and in the nature of the bully, a gutless coward at heart.

Another dissenting voice came from the Time for Inclusive Education campaign, who are seeking compulsory inclusive sex and relationship education. A spokesperson stated;

“Only very small steps have been taken here regarding education – Nicola’s strategy here does not go far enough in protecting LGBT+ young people and this does not reflect the motion that was passed at conference. In order to ensure that our schools are inclusive of LGBT+, teaching staff must receive LGBT+ specific training – what Nicola proposes here is blanket equalities training, which will not do enough. Ourselves, SNP Youth and SNP Students expect and hope that the SNP’s manifesto will go much further than this and truly reflect the expectations of the membership who unanimously backed our campaign. If this is the strategy that will be taken into the next parliament, then we still have a very long way to go. We would urge the SNP to work with us on this, because the next strategy has to be the right one.”

I tend to agree the measures do not go far enough with regard to LGBT+ young people. In the run-up to the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, legislation was brought in to reduce voting age to 16. Likewise at 16 young people in Scotland can work, pay taxes, have sex (straight or gay), get married, live alone, order an alcoholic drink with a meal, and join the armed forces. To then say that they require parental approval to change their birth certificate to reflect their gender is to strip them of their rights as young adults. Likewise I agree with TIE that teaching staff need to have specific LGBT+ training to address LGBT+ issues, otherwise they won’t know what the hell they are talking about.

Yet these are but devils in the detail. These proposals from the SNP are to be welcomed and congratulated. The SNP formed the last devolved Scottish Government in 2011 with a majority, in a form of proportional representation voting which was supposed to make majority government an impossibility. They are currently riding very high in the polls, and look set to be returned with another majority government in May, and we can therefore see Nicola Sturgeon’s words as a solid commitment. I am not an SNP member, but I am certainly sympathetic to them, and after the election I shall expect these measures to be implemented as soon as possible.

As we did with Same-Sex Marriage, Scotland is indeed entering a “Brave New World”, but unlike the gloom and doom envisaged by the transphobes, under the wonderful and simply lovely Nicola Sturgeon it is going to be a much better Scotland, inclusive of all who live here no matter their background, and this Scot could not be all the more proud of her country for that.