Wednesday 10 January 2024

The SNP wants to jail you for speaking freely

The SNP is once more blundering into ordinary life with its usual lack of understanding of the complexity of human beings. Instead of recognising that issues around gender identity and homosexuality are complex and matters for individuals and families to deal with privately, the SNP seeks to enforce its own dogmas with the full force of the law.

The issue of conversion therapy for people in Scotland is a non-issue. There are not large numbers of transwomen being forced by evil converters to become men again. Likewise, there are not large numbers of gay men and lesbians being forced by evil converters to be straight again.

What there are instead are difficult conversations between parents and children, couples and friends which now may become illegal and subject to imprisonment of up to seven years in jail.

I think it is fairly commonplace to meet someone who was once in a heterosexual relationship or marriage who later decided to have a homosexual relationship. Let’s say a man is having a conversation with his wife and she wonders if she might in fact be a lesbian. His attempts to persuade her to stay with him could be viewed as conversion therapy.

So too it is well known historically that in single sex schools both girls and boys had flirtations and sometimes relationships with members of the same sex. If a parent of such a child said something like you are not really homosexual you were just going through a phase or learning about sex with the only people available, that could be deemed as conversion therapy.

This is really nonsense. Homosexuality just like heterosexuality is complex and not fixed. If heterosexuals can become homosexuals, then homosexuals can become heterosexuals or indeed people can be both homosexual and heterosexual (bisexual). But it cannot be a criminal offence for a wife to try to persuade her husband not to have a homosexual affair any more than it would be a criminal offence for her to try to persuade her husband not to have a heterosexual affair.

So too it cannot be a criminal offence for someone to point out to that husband that going off with another man would break his marriage vows and would be sinful. Nor indeed can it be a criminal offence for a priest or indeed an Iman to advise a questioning teenager that according to his understanding of Christianity or Islam that homosexual practices are sinful. You might disagree with these religious views, but freedom of religion requires that they cannot be illegal.

It ought in a free society be a free choice whether someone has a homosexual relationship. But equally in a free society people it ought to be possible to have honest conversations about the implications of choices and to persuade people to choose this path rather than that one.

The SNP assumes that sexuality is fixed. If a child once expresses that he might be gay, then he is for life. But asking such a child “Are you sure darling?” is hardly coercive, not least because sexuality has a degree of fluidity and covers a spectrum. In the end parents and friends, husbands and wives must accept other people’s choices on sexuality, but we must be allowed to have honest conversations without risking prosecution.

The situation with regard to gender is if anything even worse. No one questions that there is homosexuality, but many people question whether it is possible to genuinely change gender. In my view the idea that a man can become a woman involves a logical contradiction. I find the idea that gender is a feeling in your head rather than something fixed at birth to be absurd.

But this means that if a five-year-old boy tells you after a lesson at school that he is really a girl, I could be prosecuted for saying don’t be silly you are a boy.

If faced with a teenager boy who thinks that he is trapped in the wrong body, I were to argue that there is no such thing as being trapped in a wrong body and that it is impossible for boys to become girls, I might be prosecuted by the SNP’s legislation for attempting to convert the boy.

If I were a doctor faced with such a boy, I might be prosecuted for honestly explaining the medical consequences of hormone treatment and surgery. I might say for instance that you won’t be able to have children or that the treatment will be irreversible, and you might change your mind. I might also point out to the boy that another explanation for his gender dysphoria is that he is gay and that it is not necessary to change sex to have a relationship with another boy. All of these statements would risk prosecution as would merely suggesting he wait and see for a few years before deciding.

But just as with homosexuality gender dysphoria is complex. Children especially change their minds. Adults who have fully transitioned sometimes regret the decision. But if it is possible for someone to change their mind, then it ought not to be illegal to have honest conversations that might lead them to change their minds.

The SNP would make it illegal for a wife to try to persuade her husband that he is not a woman trapped in a man’s body. It would make it illegal for a parent to argue with their child that I’m sorry you are stuck being a little boy because of your body.

Of course, in a free society a man should be allowed to identify as a woman. I have no objection to his changing his appearance, changing his name and pronouns. I am happy indeed to go along with this and use them too. But if such a person asked me, do you think that I am really a woman, I would honestly answer No. But even this could be deemed by the SNP as me trying to convert him, which would mean my only alternative to prosecution would be to lie.

Living in a free society means that homosexuals and transgender people should be free to decide how they live, and no one should coerce them to be what they are not. But we already live in that society. All the SNP is doing is once more to try to criminalise the sorts of ordinary conversations that happen between Scots who don’t always share their dogma.

I don’t want any Scottish homosexual or transgender person to be coerced or converted contrary to their free choices, but I also don’t want to criminalise free speech where people for a variety of reasons express their disagreement. Human sexuality and gender are complex and there are legitimately different views and disagreements. If people can change, there can be nothing morally wrong or illegal in having a conversation about it which might involve persuasion.

Once more the SNP shows that it is the most illiberal and intolerant party and an enemy of free speech. Get rid of it quickly before it puts us all in jail.

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