John Nicolson in the chair

John Nicolson MP is the witness today. KM is Karon Monaghan KC – Counsel for LGB Alliance.

KM – outlining the panel, fairly stringent requirements

Now going on to proposed reforms. 

KM – may apply for a GRC if 16,
JN – you can vote in Scotland at 16 that is the motivation
The use of the word child is ’emotive’ and that person has adult responsibilities.
KM – Legally ‘child’
JN – You would agree that a child is not allowed to vote
KM – I’m not here to answer your questions.

JN – repeats point. Then can we agree ‘young adult’.
KM – I will say child.
JN – I will say young adult.

Naturally. Words are magic; that’s the whole point. A man is a woman if he says he is; a kid of 16 is an adult if John Nicolson MP says she is. Meanwhile whatever you call the person age 16, the reality is that her brain is still a work in progress, and people her age are not generally fully equipped to make drastic decisions that will change the course of their lives for the next 50 years or more.

KM – brief discussion of interim vs full GRC (to do with persons who are married)

KM – prepare a declaration, born in Scotland, lived in your acquired gender for 3 months, intend to live in acquired gender. That is all. That is a fundamental change is it not? 

JN – the objective is to make it easier and less intrusive.
KM – and highly controversial

There are some things that shouldn’t be made easier and less intrusive for very young people. Driving a car for instance. Drinking gin. Owning a gun. Getting married. Having babies.

It seems John Nicolson talks too fast and not always on topic.

(Struggling to keep up with JN responses to KM questions)

JN – explains his role on parliament committee, and overwhelming support for LGBTQ persons.

KM – asks JN to focus on questions and answer them, interrupting JN to do so.

KM – (back to question) 

KM – asking the question again, ‘it is a model that is usually called self id or self declaration’
JN – yes
KM – it sets the bar lower for changing sex
JN – lower is an emotive word. Less intrusive is better.
KM – the concern is that it will erode sex based rights. 

Sir, sir, “less intrusive” is also emotive. It’s not the emo you object to, it’s the direction of emo. You want to direct the emo your way: in the direction of “being trans is awesome and teenagers should be encouraged to embrace it in every aspect.”

KM – when a person does not have a GRC they can be excluded from a single sex service with a lower bar. Do you understand that? 

JN – I understand that those without a GRC can be excluded.
KM – so getting a GRC is an important thing.
JN – It is such an important thing for someone who is born into the wrong body, that’s why it is such an important progressive piece of legislation. 

There’s no such thing as being born into the wrong body. That’s a fairy tale; it’s an absurd thing for adults to be invoking with a straight face.

KM – perhaps I will have to take you to what MM and the DoE say about the wrong body narrative.

JN – what do you mean narrative. It is their lived experience.

Oh good god.

KM – do you understand the view of LGBA is that sex matters and that this reform will undermine sex based rights. 

JN – I know that LGBA has expressed extreme views and tweeted abuse at me, calling me a pedophile and a rapist enabler.
KM – I do not believe there is one piece of evidence before the tribunal that supports that.
JN – of course they have, and it is a minority view.

KM – you understand that individuals are entitled to campaign and comment on matters in the public domain.
JN – refers to section 28 period, abuse in public, free speech.
KM – so I take it you agree that members of the public and civil society are allowed to comment. 

There’s some quarreling, during which the judge tells Nicolson to answer the questions.

KM – sorry, I meant, it is reasonable for them to express this view.

JN – yes, but some of things they express in this document are expressly false. Especially ‘danger to children’.

KM – I will come on to that. ‘Believe in respectful polite debate’. Nothing problematic there? 

JN – except its a very coy statement and it runs counter to how they are campaigning.
KM – are you saying there are hidden messages?
JN – they don’t want their supporters submissions to be rejected because they are aggressive
KM – next page sets out current position. 

JN – implies that people are whimsical in their decision to change their gender,
KM – says it will be much easier and become automatic
JN – you say easier but it is incredibly traumatic to change your gender.
KM – and access risk, with a GRC you can access spaces. 

Wait. It’s incredibly traumatic to change your gender, but young teenagers should be completely free to do it. Isn’t it possible that the incredibly traumatic part is a reason not to let children make irreversible changes to their developing bodies?

Skipping ahead a bit –

KM – do you agree that sex based rights are at risk?

JN – and I’m going to completely disagree.

KM – a male that gets a GRC, and is a heterosexual, does that make that person a lesbian? 

JN – I just do not understand this obsession with people’s genitalia, LGBA appears to think about nothing else from the moment they get up in the morning until they go to bed at night.

He talks like a Twitter jockey, not an MP.

KM – do you accept that changes in legislation should be debated and discussed in the public domain.

JN – ‘this will allow predatory men’, straight out of the Section 28 playbook, debate needs to be respectful, truthful and not hurtful.
KM – you accept that this is discussing men, all men, not gay men.
JN – men don’t need a GRC to access women’s spaces and they do it now. Nobody in my experience goes to M&S and is asked to prove their gender.

So blithely unconcerned with what women might worry about.

KM – you understand why there are women only spaces?

JN – I understand that lots of women do not want to be naked in front of men in public spaces.

KM – do you respect that ?

JN – I have always and will always respect that.

KM – do you understand that women are concerned that predatory men will use a GRC in order to access women’s spaces?
JN – Predatory men is scare mongering and no evidence from other jurisdictions that this is happening, there is no ‘epidemic’.

He will always respect that, except of course when he doesn’t.

KM – do you respect the views of women who worry about this?

JN – I always respect minority views.

Hey! We’re not a minority!

KM – do you respect their concerns?

JN – yes.

KM – this advertisement is not aggressive and uses measured terms.

JN – it dogwhistles aggression towards trans people and LGBA are whipping up fear and trepidation. Scaremongering, deeply offensive. 

So that’s a no.

JN – they are linking predators to transpeople, that is prejudicial.

KM – they are linking men to predators.

JN – prejudicial to transpeople.

KM – looking at these documents to see if we see anything aggressive. Making observations about sport, hospitals, GIDS and the impact of maligning lesbians who are concerned about this as transphobic. You profoundly disagree with LGBA and there is nothing problematic about that.
JN – full of false statements, untruths, scaremongering, trans people do not simply grow up to be gay.

KM – Have you read the Cass Review?
JN – I have read a short summary.
KM – asking for a break.
JN – I have other duties, we are 90 minutes in and we haven’t yet discussed their charitable duties.
KM – if the witness would answer the question we could finish more quickly 

They took a break at that point, so I’ll end the post here.

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