by Joan Smith
Thursday, 24
November 2022
Debate
07:00

Will Nicola Sturgeon listen to detransitioners?

Holyrood is shamed by the testimonies of two victims of trans ideology
by Joan Smith
“Choose love. Choose a job…” Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

The disease most women fear is breast cancer. The loss of a breast, even to save life, is hard to contemplate, yet young women are being encouraged to have a double mastectomy in the hope of changing biological sex. Yesterday Sinead Watson, a 31-year-old woman from Glasgow who underwent such treatment and bitterly regrets it, spoke to MSPs at the Scottish Parliament. She was joined by another detransitioner, Ritchie Herron, a 35-year-old civil servant from Newcastle, who has been left infertile, incontinent and in pain after having his genitals removed.

Their testimony was no doubt harrowing but the Tuesday evening session was closed to the public. Herron felt it went well, tweeting ‘Nailed it tbh’ after speaking. Let’s hope so, because the Scottish government is in a headlong rush to pass controversial legislation that will remove virtually all safeguards from the process of changing legal sex. Social transition, which is what the bill is about, sometimes leads to irreversible medical treatment, as detransitioners like Watson and Herron have discovered to their cost.


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In any rational universe, their voices would have a powerful effect on law-makers, but we are talking about Holyrood here. In Scottish politics, anything but unquestioning acceptance of the tenets of gender ideology is treated by the SNP-Green coalition government as akin to heresy. “The voices of detransitioners have not been heard either by the Scottish Government in developing its proposals, or by MSPs who are considering this draft legislation,” Watson said before yesterday’s session. 

Significant numbers of Labour women voters have concerns about the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill. It removes the need for a medical diagnosis of dysphoria, reduces the period during which individuals have to live in their acquired gender from two years to three months, and drops the age limit for obtaining a gender recognition certificate from eighteen to sixteen. It exists in a sphere where teenagers have no doubts about their identity, and where no one would dream of lying about their motive for transitioning. Last week MSPs even rejected an amendment that would have required sex offenders and domestic abusers to provide ‘authentic evidence’ of dysphoria before acquiring a GRC.

Ministers have their fingers firmly in their ears, insisting that the bill will merely make life easier for an oppressed minority. Anyone who listens to detransitioners, however, might conclude that, far from being too onerous, the process of ‘changing sex’ is ludicrously easy. “When I told doctors at the gender clinic I hated my body and wanted to be a man, they never questioned why,” Watson said in an interview earlier this year. As well as having her breasts removed, several years on testosterone have left her with a gruff voice and facial hair. Herron’s story is similar: “I was diagnosed with transsexualism after two short appointments and underwent medical and surgical interventions, which have left me with life-long side effects,” he has said

In the current climate, such testimony may prove too explosive to change the minds of Scottish politicians. After all, detransitioners are the Achilles heel of gender ideology, their bodies literally bearing the scars created when vulnerable people are hurried into irreversible decisions.

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Margaret Bluman
Margaret Bluman
14 days ago

Sturgeon is using this bill to keep the Green Party onside as she needs their support to proclaim that the majority of Scots want independence. The majority of Scots don’t like this bill but she’s happy to deny the safety of Scottish women and children in order to go down in history as achieving Scottish independence. She may fund that the best laid plans of politicians don’t always work out.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
14 days ago

Hopefully she will suffer the fate of her predecessor at Fotheringhay.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
14 days ago

Why do Scots Greens support trans ideology? What’s it got to do with the environment?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
14 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Sexual eugenics. Self-castration. Less children.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
11 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

All kinds of behaviours can be found in nature, including situational homosexuality. But self-gelding? Most unnatural.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
12 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I suggest you do some worldview research and learn why trans ideology and environmentalism are linked.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
12 days ago
Reply to  Betsy Arehart

Are they though? I view trans ideology as mere fabricated nonsense, yet am quite sympathetic to minimising pollution. There’s no linkage for me. I’m not happy about vast amounts of plastic and sewage being dumped into waterways, for instance, and I struggle to see why hard right wingers are so complacent / seemingly uncaring about plastic pollution and sewage dumping.   

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
11 days ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Are the environmentalists concerned about plastic pollution? There was very little outcry from them over single use plastics waste during covid when the problem went through the roof via disposable masks, gloves and aprons overflowing from bins or simply discarded. Or when they “occupied” various spaces and left copious amounts of plastic sandwich wrappers and empty plastic bottles in their wake!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
8 days ago
Reply to  Betsy Arehart

Or you could summarise it for me Betsy – I see no logical link apart from Julian’s amusing riposte.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
14 days ago

I always thought that nonsense like this was confined to far away places, like cities and big towns, but no, unfortunately this madness knows no bounds, even for the ‘relatively’ level headed provinces.
On reading the local-ish paper this morning (The Northern Scot). I see that a local teacher (young woman, just finished probation, obviously) has won an award for diversity. Carrie said “ what makes all of the work worth it is knowing that as a teacher, you have created an environment where young people can show up as they are, as who they are, knowing they will be accepted in their entirety and will accept others as they are in return. I took it as a goal to ensure that the young people entering my class would feel valued and safe as themselves”.

That’s it, tomorrow my daughter goes in as a trans exclusionary radical feminist nazi stormtrooper. See how ‘diverse’ and accepting she is then !!!!

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
14 days ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

The real tragedy of that is the words are perfectly normal ….

as a teacher, you have created an environment where young people can show up as they are, as who they are, knowing they will be accepted in their entirety and will accept others as they are in return. I took it as a goal to ensure that the young people entering my class would feel valued and safe as themselves”

I mean, every teacher’s goal should be to make their students feel safe & valued
Its just there’s some ‘newspeak’ element to it that’s problematic – I think its the assumption that its not actually the norm – or the distorted interpretation of “show up as they are, as who they are” and “be accepted in their entirety” … its code

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
14 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

In my day, a teachers goal was to teach us the 3 Rs!
I’m tired of the teaching profession confusing themselves for parents of other peoples children!

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
11 days ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Quite right. Also, I think my teachers saw part of their job, if not most of it, as being to create change in their pupils, not to accept them in their entirety (whatever that means) and leave them there – or ‘affirm’ their unaltered state. But the change they sought was educationally centred, not politically imposed, nor ‘parental’ in the muddled modern sense.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

Exactly – as Orwell points out in his famous essay, groupthink always cloaks itself in pre-baked phrases.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
14 days ago

Even the UN, for once showing some common sense, disapproves of this crazy trans law – their rapporteur condemning it as dangerous for women:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-63730621
Rather funny too that the BBC which usually stridently supports trans activists has felt obliged to report its beloved UN’s view. Gosh it must have felt conflicted on that one!

Chris W
Chris W
14 days ago

This just shows that politicians are clowns. To borrow an idea of Douglas Adams, they should all be put on a spaceship and sent to another planet.

On arriving in this new world, the first thing to do would be to have an election to decide who was going to be the boss. The losers would then create another ‘country’, secede from the original group and have another election. Etc, etc.

But nobody would do anything about the wellbeing of the communities because all energy would go to winning elections. Slowly, the groups would become listless, lacking in aims, having to survive long winters without energy, worrying about houses to live in and food to eat. But the clamour for more elections would continue.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
14 days ago
Reply to  Chris W

All of that is happening with the exception of planetary colonisation.

In Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire for book fans), Stannis Baratheon observed that he was trying to become king to save a kingdom, when he really he had it all backwards. That’s another lesson our leaders should learn.

Daniel P
Daniel P
14 days ago

For the sake of those who a genuinely trans and dysphoric, they best hope the madness ends. Because at some point, given current trends, there are going to be a huge number of desperate, miserable people who detransitioned and they will become increasingly visible. When that happens, there are going to be a lot of people who will rage against those who pushed this and the backlash will be enormous.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
14 days ago

What is it, about the Scottish psyche, that drives them to try and be holier than thou (I was going to just say England, but I think it’s maybe bigger than that) ?

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
14 days ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

“holier than thou” will be written on Sturgon’s tombstone.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
14 days ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

I think it’s small country syndrome when you’re so close to a much larger neighbour. Ireland (understandably) suffers from it too. I guess they’ve more of an excuse.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
12 days ago

As a middle-aged N Irish bloke, I’ve been patronised all my life by posh English people for being from a terrorist community, with morals inferior to the English. And they may well be corrrect, I’ve no truck with morals.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
12 days ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I think most people are patronised by posh English people simply for not being posh English people or simply for not being posh people, may have little to do with being English. But as I always say, there is no such thing as a better class of @sshole.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
14 days ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

John Knox.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
14 days ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Knox Knox.

Who’s there ?

Trans-indental retribution.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
14 days ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

… and the Covernanters in general.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
14 days ago

“Knowledge was divided among the Scotch like bread in a besieged town, to every man a mouthful, to no man a bellyful.”
Dr Samuel Johnson.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
14 days ago

The more I read about Nicola Sturgeon the more she comes across as the tyrannical Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter novels.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
14 days ago

I remember the comments that Angelina Jolie received when she said she wanted to get a preventive double mastectomy as she was at such high risk of developing breast cancer.
I wonder how she would be received today…

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
14 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Exactly this. It was such a shocking decision even when faced with such a high real risk to justify it.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
13 days ago

Postmodernists will defend the gender ideology hill to the death because they most. An ideology that says “realty is a social construct” can be falsified by demonstrating any instance in which our words actually identify something real. Thus, they can not accept that “woman” or “man” refer to anything real because then other things might also need to be acknowledged as real. And postmodernism says the real world is unknowable.

People think this is about the linkage between sexual biology and words. It’s not. It’s about the linkage between words and objective reality, specifically about whether the latter exists at all.

Last edited 13 days ago by Brian Villanueva
E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
11 days ago

Yes. Those who subscribe to the “ideology that says reality is a social construct” have already been deprived of something far more consequential than even their giblets.

William Loughran
William Loughran
9 days ago

The ideology that says “realty is a social construct” has missed the point. It is human conceptualization of reality that is the social construct. Reality is not an edifice of concepts just as a map is not the landscape. Reality and the landscape transcend their human representation.
And you’re a propos “… about the linkage between words and objective reality …” or we humans would never have evolved our objectifying, conceptualizing capacity and thrived with it. It works well enough.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
14 days ago

In the wider context of the United Kingdom, there is a parliamentary petition entitled ‘Review the Gender Recognition Act and Its Interaction with the Equality Act’ that aims to get the UK parliament to debate the negative consequences of the GRA: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/628099?fbclid=IwAR1ntWG2Dq1IMwhwocXFJNd_2RSU7DvdZxHGZ-_Ec4YtLGyUi9OrA97fKoM

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
13 days ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Thought I’d signed this but it has hardly any signatures – the one I signed had around 40,000 signatures – unfortunately I cannot remember the name of it but it was definitely on the official government petitions site.

Last edited 13 days ago by Nikki Hayes
Daniel Hamer
Daniel Hamer
13 days ago

As a person who has ‘mutilated’ their breasts and lives happily as a trans man I find the first few paragraph quite objectionable. First no one is being “encouraged” to get a double mastectomy. It’s damn bloody hard to do so: takes many, many months, if not years, and requires multiple physiatrics and clinical evaluations. I am and never was under the delusion I could change biological sex. I was never told I could do this by any doctors or clinicians. I was warned multiple times about the risks and effects. I signed contracts saying I understood these possible outcomes before I was granted any treatment, as would have both detransitioners cited. The only encouragement I needed was the knowledge there were trans people before me and there will be trans people after me.
I still think Scitland should drop the reform.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
12 days ago
Reply to  Daniel Hamer

Thanks for contributing. Great to hear form someone who is actually involved – and who is not just parroting a party line. Still – how long ago was your transition? Would you have the same experience today? Or tomorrow?

Dominic A
Dominic A
14 days ago

Tory self-boostering arrogance, and governing incompetence is second only to the SNP’s.

Tony Sandy
Tony Sandy
13 days ago

All Nicola Sturgeon is interested in is independence. She wants votes for this and is sacrificing education and everything else to this end, including the health of the next generation. She is Donald Trump in her idiocy and backwardness, giving contracts to shipbuilders in her own country, who are not up to the job anymore (the ferries scandal). Gone are the days of Glasgow supplying the world with ships. Gone is American ascendancy. Gone is the British Empire (the idiocy of Brexit and Cameron – don’t blame Boris for anything but the coup de grace: The British working class don’t want to work and the Europeans who do, have now been banned from working in this country. Madness? You judge). As for trans madness, where is the adult response-ability in trying to control and advise them that this sheepishness in following fashion, will be something that they will regret in later years (a generation incapable of breeding because this confusion of what sex their bodies are, will no longer be in doubt as they will end up as eunuchs in an otherwise empty harem).

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
12 days ago

I was somewhat bemused by the “too explosive to change .. minds” line; this rather implies that said minds are rather imperviously nailed shut.
When ideology is more important than reality- another age that has fallen into the rabbit-hole. How many more will it take until the very notion of ideologies is discredited?