Scotland’s Catholic bishops who have come out against the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.
By a Democrat reporter
In a strongly worded response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on its Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, Scotland’s eight Catholic Bishops have unanimously opposed the proposed legislation.
Following a meeting of the Bishops’ Conference, they released the following statement: “Together with a growing number of voices in society, the Church believes that sex or gender cannot be reduced to a mere construct of society that is fluid and changeable.
“Denying the biological reality of sexual difference and redefining something as fundamental as male and female is not within the purview of government or parliamentarians.
“Like marriage, it is part of the natural law: an unchanging principle of human existence.
“Sex is constituted by biological organisation and reproductive functioning, and is recognised at birth, not assigned.
“The government should not proceed with radical legal reforms or expose children to radical treatments. Caution and sensitivity is required.”
The bishops also point out that: “Gender dysphoria is a condition that can cause significant distress and anxiety.
“The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, of the American Psychiatric Association, continues to recognise gender dysphoria as a genuine, troubling medical condition.
“By de-medicalising legal transition and moving to a self-declaratory model, as proposed in the consultation, society may fail to provide the necessary support for those affected by gender dysphoria in the form of contact with health professionals.
“De-medicalisation removes a vital protection and safeguard for vulnerable individuals, exacerbated by the proposal to reduce the time a person is required to live in their acquired gender from two years to just three months.
“By supporting these changes, the Scottish Government risks failing vulnerable people.”
The Church’s consultation response points out that since the Scottish Prison Service issued guidance effectively allowing self-identification, the number of prisoners identifying as transgender has risen significantly, to the point where the incidence rate of men identifying as women is 350 times higher amongst the prison population than it is in the general population.
The bishops conclude by saying: “The proposed changes risk creating medical, social and legal complications which will be difficult to resolve and damaging to those involved, particularly children and women.
“Accordingly, we have written to the First Minister [Nicola Sturgeon], highlighting our concerns and urging her to not to proceed with the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.”