Specify the rights

Amnesty UK last week:

On the recent statements published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the governments’ consultation on conversion therapy, Amnesty International UK disagree unreservedly in the EHRC’s assessment of separating protections for LGBTI people and specifically excluding trans people from initial legislation.

These statements are actively damaging to the rights of trans and non-binary people in the UK, and we find them to be disappointing and deeply troubling.

Emphasis very much theirs.

But what are these rights? What are these rights that trans and non-binary people have that mustn’t be separated from the rights that lesbian and gay people have? Amnesty UK of course doesn’t say. It doesn’t even mention. We’re just supposed to know.

Nor does Amnesty UK explain how it damages the rights of trans people to talk about them separately from those of lesbian and gay people. Again we’re just supposed to know.

And that’s a problem, because sometimes some claimed “rights” of trans people encroach on the rights of lesbian and gay people. Bullying lesbians who don’t want to couple up with men who identify as lesbians, for instance – there’s a place where the rights of lesbians clash with the putative rights of men who identify as lesbians. I say “putative” because I don’t think men who identify as lesbians have any right to bully lesbians, or demand “validation” from them, let alone any right to order lesbians to have sex with them.

So what rights are we talking about here? Why doesn’t Amnesty UK spell out exactly what those rights are? Why does it just repeat formulaic guff about “protections for LGBTI people” and leave it at that?

Probably because it knows that spelling out “trans lesbians have the right to demand sex from lesbians” would look a bit off.

We encourage the UK and Scottish Governments’ to continue to show commitment and leadership on human rights by delivering on their commitments to reforming the Gender Recognition Act and introducing a comprehensive legislative ban on conversion therapy that protects the whole of the LGBTI community, including those who are trans and non-binary

But “conversion therapy” for lesbian and gay people is not the same thing, or the same kind of thing, as asking questions before agreeing with people who claim to be the opposite sex. There are many differences. To take the most obvious: lesbians and gay people don’t have to do a single thing to their bodies either to be lesbian/gay or to be happy to be lesbian/gay. Not one thing. People who claim to be the opposite sex often want to do very drastic things to their bodies, and many of them are very young. That’s a huge difference right there.

And then, sexual orientation just is. There’s no element of fairy tale or woo – it’s just that some people fancy the other sex and others fancy the same sex. Who fancies whom and why is maybe a little bit complicated, but it’s not outright Let’s Pretend.

At least some of the adults at Amnesty UK must know all this, yet they carefully hide it in this stupid obfuscating statement. It’s appalling.

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