This post is a follow-up to my last blog: Why I resigned from Humanists UK.
I have said repeatedly that the society we should be striving for is one where the whole thinking around “gender” changes. Let’s discard stereotypes, roles and expectations based on biological sex and let people be free to express themselves however they like as long as they don’t pretend to be what they are not. The truth matters and truths are discovered through the scientific method, evidence, and reason – at least that’s what Humanists UK say on their website.
My opinion on the subject of personal identity has been much the same for more than four decades and nothing I have heard or read in the year and a half since I’ve been immersed in transgender issues has changed my mind. On the contrary, having both seen and experienced some of the hurt and harm caused by those promoting transgender ideology, my opinions have, if anything, become more entrenched.
I am now firmly of the opinion that a diagnosis of gender dysphoria should not justify the creation of a legal fiction, which is what the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) does. I am in favour of the Act being repealed or re-drafted in such a way as to protect transgender people from discrimination, without undermining women and without conflating ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. This means doing away with the nonsense enshrined in Gender Recognition Certificates that ‘male’ and ‘female’ are gender categories. They are not. They are the names we give to the two reproductive categories – the two sexes – in mammals. What the GRA does in effect is allow someone to legally change their sex.
However, it seems we are stuck with the GRA for the foreseeable future and the government consultation on whether we should make it even easier to create such fictions, is due to close in two days time. As I wrote in my last blog, I resigned my membership of Humanists UK (HUK) after 25 years because I understood – though they wouldn’t confirm it – that the organisation was supporting gender (effectively sex) self-ID. This is a position I feel is irreconcilable with humanist principles.
What happened to Angelos Sofocleous is but another scary sign of our times and it really isn’t an exaggeration to call it an Orwellian nightmare.
I have always considered myself a humanist ever since I first had the word explained to me by my father when I was in my teens, though it was only after his death that I discovered the British Humanist Association and joined the organisation. That was some 25 years ago. A decade later, I became the BHA’s first full-time officer dedicated to developing their ceremonies network. Later still, after retiring from full-time work, I joined that network myself and began conducting humanist funerals.
Eleven years ago, my husband, Alan Henness, and I created Think Humanism. Re-reading what I wrote back then about Humanism, I don’t think I got anything wrong in my explanation of what humanism is supposed to be and how humanists are supposed to act. If I were to re-write that piece today, I would probably highlight two particular things that I see many humanists (and, indeed, many sceptics who may or may not identify as humanists) failing at.