Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Gender Non-conforming Young People

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 9:54 pm ar 15 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Neale Hanvey Neale Hanvey Alba, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath 9:54, 15 Ebrill 2024

The subject of this debate has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks. Michael Shellenberger’s WPATHWorld Professional Association for Transgender Health—files report by Mia Hughes was published on 4 March, swiftly followed last week by Dr Hilary Cass’s eponymous report. Both make it clear that gender identity and sex are completely different things, but ideological capture has blurred the lines.

In the early 1990s, I was asked a question by a relative who was volunteering for the Samaritans and speaking to a transvestite male who was struggling with his mental health. Did I, as a gay man, have any advice? I was bemused by the question, because the only advice I could muster was that I had absolutely no insight whatsoever into cross-dressing behaviours, as most transvestites were heterosexual males.

The notion that there is such a thing as an “LGBT person” is ludicrous. Homosexuality is an innate sexual orientation centred on one’s natal sex. I am not a lesbian, bisexual or trans; I am a gay male. Working with others who are same-sex attracted on shared LGB rights has always made sense to me. As I have illustrated, there was a time in the not-too-distant past when heterosexual cross-dressers were confused with what it meant to be a gay male. There is little evidence of any T in the LGB. As they were then, what we now call gender identity and sex remain completely unconnected concepts, and they must not be confused.

I started working in the NHS when I was 19 years old. Since then, I have had a responsibility for child safeguarding that continues to this day. In 2019, I assumed that my professional knowledge and academic experience would have been of value to my then political party, the SNP, as it attempted to grapple with gender recognition reform legislation, but I was wrong. I was an SNP candidate and the chair of Fife Pride when I met my then friend Shirley-Anne Somerville for a coffee to discuss my safeguarding concerns about gender recognition reform. In addition to her Cabinet Secretary role in the Scottish Government, she was also covering the equalities brief. This was someone I had known for years—someone who knew my family.

I covered all the bases, emphasising exemplar cases such as that of local sex offender Lennon Dolatowski, also known as Katie, who had been accused of sex offences in Ms Somerville’s constituency and convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old in the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, which I was contesting. Despite assuring me throughout the conversation that she fully understood the concerns I raised, Ms Somerville concluded by telling me in no uncertain terms that the policy approach was Nicola’s priority, so I would have to keep my views to myself. In other words, I was being told to be silent on safeguarding. I told her that I would not be able to do that—I could not be silent on the matter of safeguarding children.

Soon after that meeting, the attacks from the gender-radical wings of the SNP, the Greens, Labour and the Lib Dems began. Since 2019, and indeed before that, people who have had concerns about LGB rights and the safeguarding of children and young people have been systematically silenced, and not just by the SNP. As recognised by the Minister for Women and Equalities, and again today in the Chamber by the Secretary of State for Health, there has been a deep-rooted capture within our institutions, with senior leaders ignoring the actual law and ideologically captured groups such as Stonewall misrepresenting it.