UK: A new gender recognition law risks entrenching identity politics

UK: A new gender recognition law risks entrenching identity politics. By Owen Polley.

The existing law is built around an acceptance of a medical condition, gender dysphoria, experienced by those who, from childhood, feel like they are trapped in the wrong body. This is a sensible and humane approach, and there is nothing wrong with reviewing the legislation to see if it could be made more humane still.

Yet, the Government’s aim is apparently to “demedicalise” gender altogether, allowing people to alter the sex recorded on their birth certificates without any supporting diagnosis and without evidence that they’ve been living according to the identity that they claim. There’s even a suggestion that there will also be an option to designate one’s gender as ‘X’, which covers a smorgasbord of other alleged, non-binary orientations.

This comes perilously close to satisfying the wilder proponents of left-wing identity politics, who want to destroy distinctions of sex and gender entirely, alongside other categories that we use to order and understand our society. …

There is a growing suspicion that the genuine concerns of a small number of intersex people and those with gender dysphoria are being exploited by campaigners motivated by more extreme ideas. It might be tempting to dismiss this as a conspiracy theory, but read around the debate a little, particularly as it is articulated in universities, and you will quickly fall down rabbit-holes of the densest, most nonsensical political jargon.

The transgender lobby is deeply postmodern, in the sense that when it attacks the idea that the medical profession can determine a person’s sex, it is rejecting the very existence of objective truth, claiming instead that gender is a merely a phenomenon of individual experience. It also challenges directly some of the assumptions that underpin modern Western society –- our ability to distinguish between nature and culture, the separation of public and private life and the idea that theories must be tested against observable facts.

hat-tip Matthew