Readers' Letters: Birth certificates are part of historical record

Mention of altering birth certificates to indicate that a person has identified as being of a different gender from that in which s/he has lived since birth perplexes me.

The birth certificate states the sex of a baby that is observed at birth. This is a historical record. Altering it retrospectively negates the entire identity of the person concerned and also falsifies that historical record.

Professor Lord Winston, who knows more about these things than pretty much any of us, says categorically: “You cannot change your sex. It is in every cell in your body." Scientists Britta N Torgrimson and Christopher T. Minson, in the Journal of Physiology, 1 September 2005, tell us that “female and male sex-based research is not the same as gender-based research… Avoiding synonymous use of the terms sex and gender serves to avoid misusing the concepts of sex and gender across disciplines of science.” They go on to say that sex refers to a person’s biological construction and gender refers to a person's “self-identity and/or social representation”. It is clear, therefore, that what is entered on a birth certificate under "Sex” is the immutable biological nature of the newborn. How this can be changed to indicate something completely different, gender, is beyond understanding.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

A change of gender should not allow the 'Sex' box to be altered on birth certificates, says reader (Picture: Adobe)A change of gender should not allow the 'Sex' box to be altered on birth certificates, says reader (Picture: Adobe)
A change of gender should not allow the 'Sex' box to be altered on birth certificates, says reader (Picture: Adobe)

Skirting issue

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As a boy I was raised on stories of the heroics of Robert the Bruce and Rob Roy. Later I was told of the bravery of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and The Black Watch regiments. Perhaps too many of my heroes wore kilts as everyone in Scotland now seem to be “Trans”.

M Stroud, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Pooled funds

I’m pleased Scotsman reporter Stephen Mcilkenny appreciates the benefits of Gourock’s outdoor pool (21 December), but I’m not sure he appreciates the scale of the financial crisis facing Scottish councils.

Inverclyde’s councillors don’t want to reduce the opening times at Gourock Pool or close other leisure facilities.

Inverclyde Leisure (IL) operate leisure facilities on behalf of the council and receive a subsidy to meet the difference between their operating costs and what they raise in income. Over the past two years the council has had to significantly increase its subsidy as income has fallen due to the impact of Covid and costs have risen dramatically on the back of the cost-of-living crisis.

If the council decides to provide IL with the subsidy it requires to maintain all the current facilities this will mean even greater cuts to other services run by the council.

Mr Mcilkenny’s solution appears to be that we “should use the new powers granted by the Scottish Government” to raise council tax to meet the costs of keeping Gourock Pool open on its current basis.

There have been no new powers granted by the Scottish Government. The power and duty to set council tax rests with Scotland’s 32 democratically-elected councils.

Currently around 85 per cent of my council’s revenue income comes from Scottish Government Grant, with 12 per cent coming from council tax and three per cent from fees and charges. Over the next two years our estimated funding gap is £16 million. This is equivalent to a council tax increase of just under 50 per cent.

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So, Mr Mcilkenny’s claim that restricting the operating period for Gourock Pool to six weeks of the summer “would be disastrous for the local economy” needs to be balanced against all the other cuts to services that are currently being considered, including teaching posts, classroom assistants, community wardens, street sweepers and parks staff.

(Cllr) Stephen McCabe, Leader of the Council, Greenock, Inverclyde

Iran ignored

Yes there have been compelling items to dominate the news in recent weeks (notably the World Cup), but barely focusing on the ghastly situation in Iran beggars belief. What we are witnessing is hypocrisy. If such an uprising occurred in a former Soviet republic there would be considerable coverage.

Iran is locked in a war between its medieval Islamic theocracy and, remarkably, Generation Z. What civilised regime turns its guns on teenage schoolgirls, who are protesting or not wearing the hijab? Yes we noticed Iran in the World Cup not singing their National Anthem. We are not being made aware of the 15,000 writers, musicians, actresses, rappers, teachers, nurses, sports stars languishing in the cesspit prisons. There is open revolt in all 31 provinces as teenage girls, empowered by 30 months out of Covid-hit high schools, have missed out on indoctrination. Our news media, shamefully, do not take seriously the proposal in the Iranian Parliament that all 15,000 be executed .Their average age is 15 in a country where 60 per cent are aged under 30.Where are the #metoo marches for the dead Iranian teenage girls? There is always attention given to girls in London marching about climate change.

We in the West cannot ignore this. Clause 282 of the Islamic Code states that a crime against God is punishable by hanging, crucifixion, amputating a hand or amputating a foot. Some prisoners have already been shot. This does impact on our lives. Frigate HMS Montrose has just returned from the Gulf after four years spent intercepting thousands of tons of illicit drugs destined for here and components for drones headed for Ukraine. The infrastructure of Ukraine is being pummelled by the Mohajer 6 drones with Farsi markings.

Rishi Sunak must activate UNSCR2231 leaving Iran isolated in the world.

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing Fife

Off the rails

The resignation of Chris Gibb from his role leading Scottish Rail Holdings raises yet more questions for the Scottish Government on its mismanagement of transport in the country. However, one thing that stood out was that Mr Gibb's contract was due to expire at the end of March but he will finish his role at the end of this month “due to outstanding annual leave”. He only started the role in November 2021, so how exactly does he have three months of annual leave outstanding just over a year later? That would indicate that taxpayers are funding incredibly generous holiday allowances for transport executives.

Like so many things involving the Scottish Government, something just doesn't add up about how things are running (or not) on our railways.

J Lewis, Edinburgh

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