God’s Reps Have Shown Up - Oh Dear
Dispatches from TERF Island
Religion is finally rearing its too-often ugly head in UK transgender news this week. Let’s take a look.
In a recent Dispatch (temporarily unavailable for technical reasons) I highlighted some of the differences in the nature of transphobia here in the UK and over in the US. I have ex in-laws and a huge number of friends in the US so the comparison was pretty easy to make. One major difference is that the UK is a massively secular country. Pick any God, doesn’t matter, we’re equally apathetic about them all. As a result, transphobia here in Blighty tends away from the frothy-mouthed expulsions from the pulpit that leads some anti-trans sentiment in the US.
However, down on the Isle of Wight (a delightful little island off the south coast. Holidayed there as a kid. I used to have fond memories…) a Christian couple are suing the UK government over guidance issued to local schools regarding inclusion of transgender and gender non-conforming pupils.
Nigel and Sally Rowe, both in their late forties, have two sons aged 13 and 10. They say they withdrew their eldest in 2016 because he was ‘distressed’ when a fellow pupil came out as a trans girl. And then in 2017 they withdrew their youngest, saying he was ‘confused’ because one pupil would sometimes be wearing male uniform and sometimes female uniform.
Yeah. You read that right. FIVE YEARS AGO was when they first objected to the guidance. But they’re taking legal action NOW.
Let me clarify a little more. They objected to the guidance in 2016, withdrew their eldest son. (Oh and home-schooling here is not a phenomenon like in the States. It’s largely unheard of, even for religious peeps.) Then they said and did nothing. In 2017, they pulled son number two, making a song and dance on the local news, then taking no further action.
So why are they back in the news? Why now? What’s changed?
The timing is not coincidental.
Announcement of the action comes less than a month after a court of appeal overturned a prior High Court judgment, Bell Vs Tavistock. Bell vs Tavistock led to a judicial review of practice at the Tavistock and Portman NHS trust GIDS (Gender Identity Development Service), The UK’s sole clinic for the treatment of trans and GNC minors. Following the review the court ruled that trans minors would need to seek the permission of the courts before they could access puberty blockers.
It was a deeply flawed and unethical judgment. I’ll outline the particulars in another piece because the case has figured so prominently in the trans struggle here in the UK for a couple of years.
That action, brought on behalf of a de-transitioner, Kiera Bell, and the mother of a child who could not be named in court, was fought by a man called Paul Conrathe. Conrathe is a Christian. And one whose practice benefitted from over £300,000 in funds raised on legal crowdfunding sites for cases defending transphobic stances (Again, more on this at a later date. Conrathe deserves his own profile).
Of note is that the Bell vs Tavistock ruling came in December of last year. Right before the Slate of Hate anti-trans legislative craze that’s swept America like Covid. I mean, hey, if the UK’s High Court could be persuaded into such a position…
I’d go back to my original point, but my inner cynic is still raising her too-many-be-ringed fingers for attention.
So it’s worth pointing out also that Conrathe works with the ProLife Alliance. He worked with them on challenging the homosexual age of consent (what that’s got to do with pro-life is anyone’s guess?!). But more worryingly he was instructed by them with regard to an abortion rights case. And it’s not the only such case he’s working on. The man has a raft of anti-abortion cases going on.
I mention Conrathe’s background because there’s a connection. Gillick Competency. That’s the link. Gillick establishes a minor’s capacity to guide and consent to their own medical treatment. The Bell vs Tavistock case was a catspaw in attacking the entire principle of Gillick. Having demonstrated that a minor could not/should not be allowed to consent to trans-related treatment, Conrathe and his cohort no doubt felt good about their chances of arguing similarly against Gillick in abortion cases.
Naughty, naughty. (Cynical Abbie cedes the floor back to plain old pissed-off trans bitch Abbie)
With Bell vs Tavistock overturned, and indeed a mockery made of even the initial request for a judicial review into the prescription of puberty blockers, Christian transphobes have had little to celebrate.
Then suddenly, after five years the Rowes decide they simply must act.
Those must have been some sleepless nights, wrestling with their consciences that long huh? Nah. They just getting backed by Christian Legal Action now. So they can afford to bring the suit.
I’ll be watching this one carefully and dropping updates, rest assured.
As for the guidance itself, meh, it’s innocuous ‘let questioning kids wear whatever’ stuff. A court challenge is likely to be laughed out of the courtroom but it keeps some folks busy, I guess.
I have to say though… Being upset at your kid coming home from school confused because another kid is wearing a dress seems a bit sensitive, considering quadratic equations exist. But that’s how crazy things have become on TERF Island.