Scottish Catholic Church Resists Move to Streamline Gender Switching

People gather for the 24th edition of the 'Belgian Pride', a manifestation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender oriented people, Saturday 18 May 2019 in Brussels. BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK (Photo credit should read NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images)
NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images

The Catholic Church in Scotland has taken a stand in opposition to proposed legislation that would streamline the process of legally changing gender in the country.

The Scottish government has proposed a bill for “gender recognition reform,” claiming that the current system is viewed by many applicants as “demeaning, lengthy, and stressful.”

At the moment, a person can legally change gender if they have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, have lived under their “new” gender for at least two years, and intend to continue to do so for the rest of their life. A Gender Recognition Panel then issues a certificate allowing them to modify their birth certificate to reflect the new gender.

The reform proposed by the Scottish government would remove the medical requirements and the appeal to a Gender Recognition Panel, while shortening the time required to live in one’s “new” gender from two years to three months, as well as dropping the age limit for changing gender from 18 to 16.

In response to the Government’s consultation on the subject, the Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan, said the Catholic Church believes that “gender cannot be reduced to a mere construct of society that is fluid and changeable.”

“Many people do not believe that gender identity is a matter of choice, or something that may be entirely divorced from the biological sex in which we are born,” Mr. Horan said, “and the right to hold this view must be protected whatever the outcome of the consultation.”

Horan also warned that the government proposal seemed to lack “solid scientific evidence.”

“Gender dysphoria cannot be politicised to the point where the science is side-lined,” he said.

Pointing to a real-life case of gender reassignment run amuck, Horan brought up Karen White, “a biological male and convicted rapist who, following his incarceration, self-identified as female and applied to be moved to a women’s prison.”

When White was eventually moved to a women’s prison, he sexually assault a number of the female inmates.

In an article published Monday by Crux, a U.S.-based Catholic online news site, an unnamed spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland is cited as saying that the Church is deeply concerned with the unintended side effects of de-medicalising gender dysphoria.

Moreover, redefining something as fundamental as male and female “is not within the purview of government or parliamentarians,” the spokesman told Crux.

Allowing young people under the age of 18 years to legally change gender “puts them on a dangerous path towards irreversible medical experimentation,” he said, adding that the long-term effects of using puberty blockers are “largely unknown” so politicians “should not proceed with radical legal reforms in this area.”

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