James Morton: Gender debate exists and is ongoing

Cathleen Lauder is a 38 year old transgender woman. Picture: Greg Macvean
Cathleen Lauder is a 38 year old transgender woman. Picture: Greg Macvean
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TRANSGENDER folk are gaining acceptance, writes James Morton

On Tuesday Rev David Robertson claimed that transgender equality is progressing “without any debate”. This is nonsense. For years there has been protracted debate on this issue. The legitimacy of our gender identities is regularly debated by high profile figures, sometimes in a needlessly mocking manner. Transgender people have repeatedly had to justify our mere existence and human rights.

We don’t choose to be transgender people. We simply exist due to the natural diversity of humanity. Thankfully, we are gaining increased social acceptance. It is disappointing that Rev Robertson has decided to pretend the debate has not been happening just because his side is losing the argument.

There is consensus amongst Scotland’s main political party leaders that the issue of gender recognition should be dealt with in the next session of the Scottish Parliament. The Parliament’s open process of considering legislation will mean plenty of scope for public engagement, discussion and debate. No doubt, Rev Robertson will have the opportunity if he wishes to appear before the parliament to give direct evidence about the legislation. That does not mean that the parliament will agree with him.

As for the claim that people who oppose equality will be abused, experience shows that the boot is usually on the other foot. Some opponents of transgender equality have slandered parents as child abusers just because they allow their transgender children self-expression. Transgender people are still regularly ridiculed, falsely accused of being perverted and delusional, and threatened with violence.

One issue on which we agree wholeheartedly with Rev Robertson is that the inequalities between rich and poor need to be tackled. Setting the rights of those living in poverty against those of trans people is not a constructive way forward, especially since many transgender people live in poverty as a result of discrimination.

• James Morton, Scottish Transgender Alliance Manager