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You have until Friday night to say what you think of the proposed ban on “conversion therapy”

EDIT: The deadline for responding to this consultation has been extended to Friday 4th February 2022.

Original post follows:

This link takes you to the government’s “overview” of its consultation document on the topic of banning conversion therapy. It is not entirely clear from that page, but the type of conversion to which the document refers is any attempt to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. At the bottom of the page is the online form where members of the public can tell the government their views. The government’s own view is explained in more detail in this consultation paper. The consultation will close on Friday 10 December at 11:45pm GMT if anyone wants to respond.

The full consultation document (second link) says the following:

Our existing criminal law framework means that conversion therapy amounting to offences of physical or sexual violence is already illegal in this country.

So coercion is illegal. That is as it should be. But the next line continues,

However, we have identified gaps that allow other types of conversion therapy to continue. Having identified these gaps in the law, we are determined to close them.

So by “other types of conversion therapy” the government specifically refers to types of conversion therapy other than those involving the already-illegal use of “physical or sexual violence”.

To do so, we are taking the following action to introduce new criminal and civil measures:

Targeting talking conversion therapy committed against under 18s under any circumstance, or committed against those aged 18 or over who have not consented or due to their vulnerability are unable to do so, with a new criminal offence. Consent requirements for adults seeking out talking therapy will be robust and stringent.

My own view is that all forms of peaceful persuasion should be legal and that no mentally competent adult should have to sign a consent form before being allowed to hear speech.

43 comments to You have until Friday night to say what you think of the proposed ban on “conversion therapy”

  • Paul Marks

    It is not just Christianity that teaches against homosexual acts – it is also Judaism and Islam.

    Is this ban on traditional Christianity (under the name of a ban on “conversion therapy”) going to apply to Islam? If not – why not?

    It would be interesting to see the government trying to enforce a ban on Islamic teaching against homosexual acts.

  • Paul Marks

    “Conversion therapy” is the teaching that homosexual acts are wrong – it is not just traditional Christian ministers who hold this position, it is also (for example) the Islamic faith.

    I ask again – is this ban on Christianity going to apply to Islam as well?

    I suspect that even asking the question (and I have not expressed any opinion on the matter) invites PUNISHMENT.

  • Paul Marks

    As an obvious example – traditional Christian schools teach against homosexual acts, but so do traditional Jewish and Muslim schools.

    Is the government saying that Muslim schools will not be allowed to teach Islam to under 18s?

  • Stonyground

    I think that things should only be illegal if they cause real harm to a non consenting victim. I think that anyone who honestly contemplates their own sexual preferences must know that these things are hard wired and cannot be altered by any kind of therapy. If people are willing to subject themselves to this kind of thing voluntarily then I am opposed to laws that are designed to protect people from themselves. I suspect that those that undergo such therapy are being coerced. Maybe the law should be aimed against such coercion but I suspect that this would be impractical. Ultimately I come down on the side of no new laws because they will do more harm than good.

  • bobby b

    So, they’re shutting down the efforts of woke parents to “help” their prepubescent kids into turning trans? Cool. Long overdue.

  • I had a look at the ‘consultation’ document.

    “The United Kingdom is a global leader on LGBT rights and is committed to banning the coercive and abhorrent practice of conversion therapy. …We are committed to building a society in which conversion therapy no longer takes place.”

    In other words, your opinion is not wanted. Either you are 100% on-board with what the government is “committed to” and only want to talk about how to make it more effective, or you are advised to keep your loathsome and unnatural opinions to yourself – it will soon become illegal not to do so anyway (even more than it already was). This is spelt out:

    We have developed proposals to end conversion therapy, including a new criminal offence, as well as civil measures. To do this we have analysed the available evidence, listened to stakeholders, learnt from international counterparts and identified gaps in our legislation. The measures we are proposing are the most effective and robust way of ending conversion therapy in England and Wales. However, we recognise that this is not a simple matter and we will consider refinements to this approach based on the response to this consultation and further close work with subject matter experts.

    My bolding – don’t bother responding unless you want to make a mere ‘refinement’.

    The first part of document repeatedly mentions “the coercive and abhorrent practice of conversion therapy” – it is rarely just “conversion therapy” – but later on I did find the example above and this one:

    While the exact prevalence of conversion therapy is challenging to establish, it is the view of the government that one incident of conversion therapy is too many.

    So please don’t waste their time suggesting there are more urgent issues to address.

    “There is no justification for these coercive and abhorrent practices and the evidence is clear that it does not work: it does not change a person from being LGBT and can cause long lasting damage to those who go through it.

    I’m sure the degree of scientific rigour with which this kind of the-science-is-settled “evidence” was obtained fully matches the degree of grammatical rigour with which the conclusion is stated (“these practices”, “it does not work” – well, what about all the other “coercive and abhorrent practices”? Do they ever work? 🙂 )

    The National LGBT Survey 2017 found that 5% of respondents said they had been offered conversion or reparative therapy ‘in an attempt to cure them of being LGBT’

    Is “offering is criminal” the stage before “silence is violence”? The word ‘offer’ could cover a range of situations – but the document’s general tone does not encourage me to think it means anything but ordinary ‘offer’ here.

    While conversion therapy is an issue that overwhelmingly affects LGBT people, we have developed interventions that provide fair protection for everyone. An attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or to change them from being transgender will be treated in the same way as the opposite and reverse scenario. Our proposed interventions are therefore symmetrical and universal, protecting everyone.

    I recall similar assurances being in the phrasing of Labour’s post-9/11 law on hate speech, and in the debates on it. However the first prosecution under that law had a Muslim prosecution witness testifying against a British engineer. The Muslim prosecution witness conceded on the stand that he had defended the 9/11 attackers and said all Americans deserved death. The accused, who had expressed contrary opinions in an insufficiently restrained manner, was pressured (by a plea deal versus threats of dire punishment) into pleading guilty. Thus the home secretary of the time clarified how the law would actually work. I therefore feel a certain suspicion – which this document’s strident tone does not allay.

    I suppose I could ask whether a child victim of same-sex pedophilia will be banned from asking for conversion therapy to remove an inclination they regard as an effect of it until they are 18. (Anyone else feel free to ask the like). The paper seems written to discourage such questions – or should I say, to discourage questions. (Thos who insist conversion therapy “does not work”, presumably regard the victim as beyond help anyway.)

  • Fraser Orr

    It seems to me the rule should be simple: can you change the channel? If you can it is legitimate communication, if you can’t it is coercion. FWIW, the biggest group who refuse to change the channel are the government.

    Having said that, I think the idea of someone lambasting another to change their sexuality is horrific, akin the the Nazis marching through Skokie. (Of course now I think about it much of the Catholic Church is about shaming people for their sin so that they will comply with the Church’s desire, which is pretty nasty too. Funny story, I was looking for a private high school for one of my kids and someone suggested a local Catholic school. Given my animus to Christianity I was hesitant, however, a flood of free-at-the-point-of-delivery education had driven the competition down to rather too few options. So, my son goes there on a tour, never having done the Catholic thing. He comes back afterward and tells me that they wanted him to go in a box and confess all the wrong things he had done. He said “I couldn’t think of any, so they gave me a list of suggestions.” I nearly fell on the floor laughing. Needless to say, he did not go there.)

  • bobby b

    “Having said that, I think the idea of someone lambasting another to change their sexuality is horrific, akin the the Nazis marching through Skokie.”

    Agree, and yet we spent a few days back in ’77 defending exactly those Nazis, and so I feel we ought to now be defending conversion therapists’ right to express their beliefs, for the same reasons. Not to defend Nazi-ism, not to defend the idea of conversion therapy, but to tell our woke believers in Original Virtue to STFU.

    (I share your feelings concerning Original Sin in the individual sense, but it would be an interesting exploration to examine which philosophy has helped or hurt humanity more – the idea that we are all flawed, or the new woke idea that one philosophy holds all virtue. Nothing is so dangerous as complete self-satisfaction in a faction.)

  • So, they’re shutting down the efforts of woke parents to “help” their prepubescent kids into turning trans? (bobby b, December 7, 2021 at 7:44 pm)

    Or, of course, to “hinder” them.

    The Public Order Act 1986 (sections 4 and 5) … however, its focus on private and public locations excludes dwellings and thus there is a gap in this legislation that means it would not apply to some examples of conversion therapy. [My emphasis]

    a new criminal offence … will capture talking conversion therapies. … a talking therapy delivered to either a person under 18 or a person who is 18 or over and who has not given informed consent, with the intention of … changing them to or from being transgender, should constitute a criminal offence.

    The reference to ‘dwellings’ makes me think the intent is that parents – woke or otherwise – be careful that talking to their children does not amount to any kind of ‘therapy’ (a word the paper attempts to define but without that much success – at least to my first-pass reading). However the literal phrasing does suggest that until (and unless) your child declares a wish to be trans, it will be wholly legal (as far as this law is concerned, at any rate) to give them all the “talking therapy” a conventionally-minded parent could wish to discourage them from doing so. If, despite this advice, they declare themselves transgender, then it becomes equally illegal to use any kind of “talking therapy” to encourage them to think again before progressing to drugs and surgery.

    That said, the word ‘parent’ does appear once in the document:

    The policy approach set out below will not impact everyday religious practice. An adult who wants to be supported to be celibate will be free to do so, parents will remain able to raise their children with the values of their faith, and simply expressing the teachings of a religion will not constitute conversion therapy.

    FWIW, Fraser Orr (December 7, 2021 at 8:47 pm), I saw no suggestion that parents expressing the teachings of an irreligion will be similarly exempt, so maybe you should rethink that Catholic school – if, that is, they would take your son despite his presenting as a boy without sin. 🙂

    (BTW, I don’t know how apt or not the school’s suggestions may have been, but if your son said he could think of no faults and you yourself were unable to offer him any suggestions, then you are indeed singularly blessed in your offspring. 🙂 )

  • DP

    Dear Miss Solent

    “Conversion therapy” says to me – surgically altering the privy parts© Homer (the The Odyssey bloke, not the Yellow One) to make the alteree appear to be a girl (if he started off as a bloke) or a bloke (if she started off as a girl). After all, you cannot get more ‘converting’ than wielding a scalpel, can you?

    So all those trannies are, metaphorically, fucked, aren’t they?

    No one can be suggesting that merely talking to someone is ‘conversion’, can they?

    DP

  • DP (December 7, 2021 at 10:03 pm), on first reading Natalie’s post I (like you and bobby b, I think) leapt to the conclusion that this must simply concern the actual physical act of taking drugs and/or being surgically altered – that the laws on underage consent to sex were merely being explicitly extended to underage consent to such invasive physical acts – and I wrote a comment placing sex-alteration-consent in the existing legal context of sex-act-consent before whipping it away at the last second minus one when reading the consultation document suggested to me that that was a very doubtful and partial explanation of what this new law would cover.

    No one can be suggesting that merely talking to someone is ‘conversion’, can they?

    At first glance, that is not nearly as far as I would wish from exactly what is being suggested.

  • bobby b

    Out of an abundance of paranoia (and recognizing that I need to use sarcasm tags more often), I certainly intended my comment as sarcasm. I know that the “conversion therapy” at issue has nothing to do with trans issues, but is specifically limited to convincing gay people they aren’t gay.

    You are only prohibited from converting in the cis-het direction. That was my only point.

  • Phil B

    “Having identified these gaps in the law, we are determined to close them”.

    In other words, we have made our minds up and nothing you will say will change things (unless you want to add more suggestions for coercion and “crack down” on people who oppose this).

    Trans people account for – what? – 1% of the population but society is reshaped to take into account only their feelz and wants. This is distorting society and will have a reaction against the nonsense.

    Now you know why the British people are forbidden firearms.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Trans people account for – what? – 1% of the population but society is reshaped to take into account only their feelz and wants.

    1% is vastly overestimating the percentage of the population that is actually transgender.

  • John B

    @Paul Marks. Conversion therapy is not teaching, nor persuasion. It is a psychological regime targeted at an individual, usually one with low self-esteem and easily manipulable, which may include intimidation, encourage self-loathing, even aversion techniques and agression.

    It cannot be compared with general religious doctrine, which incidentally is that all sex is a sin unless done with the intention of procreation. Teaching that or that theft or murder is wrong, sinful is hardly conversion therapy.

    By the by: the Spanish Inquisition used conversion therapy.

  • Stonyground

    Aversion therapy can work. I had it at school and my aversion to football has lasted my entire life.

  • Paul Marks

    I repeat – as traditional Christianity, which includes the teaching of under 18s that homosexual acts are wrong, is now to be banned, will Islam (which teaches the same thing) also be banned?

    To John B. and others – I have expressed no opinion, I have merely asked a question. And none of the comments have answered this basic question.

    I have expressed no opinion – I have asked a basic question, a question that needs to be answered.

  • Paul Marks

    “By the by: the Spanish Inquisition used conversion therapy” – no Sir they did not.

    Now answer the question – is Islam, which also teaches the under 18s that homosexual acts are wrong, to be banned? Why just Christianity?

  • Paul Marks

    A little while ago a nasty man was sent to prison for eight years for saying nasty (National Socialist) things (such as that he was glad that Jo Cox had been killed) and for having a book rather like the old “Anarchist Cookbook”.

    I repeat – he was sent to prison for eight years for saying nasty things and owning a book of a sort which vast numbers of people own.

    Who can have any faith in a legal system that operates like that. A legal system which, it appears, confuses “Conversion Therapy” with the practices of the “Spanish Inquisition”.

    How can any Christian, Jew or Muslim, or conservative atheist, expect justice from a legal system that thinks that their traditional teachings are the methods of the “Spanish Inquisition”. A legal system that sends a person to prison for eight years when he has done NOTHING – just said nasty things.

    Eight years in prison for doing NOTHING.

    “But Paul – the person sent to prison for eight years HATES people like you”.

    I know it does – but it is NOT a crime (in a just legal system) to hate me, or people like me.

  • NickM

    Excellent comments on an excellent post.

    Paul,
    The problem the “woke” will increasingly face is one of logic, and speaking as a recovering mathematical physicist… that is a foe that cannot be defeated. So, it’s wrong for an imam, priest, rabbi, whatever to say, “This is wrong because it says so in our holy scriptures which are the Word of Allah/God/Yahweh/Whatever”. OK, fine but you can’t hold that position alongside the position that criticising Islam is “racist”*. It’s binary. It’s black and white (I refer to the colours in the sense of the Pantone system and not ethnicity**

    *Anyway, Islam explicitly states it is the one true faith for all humanity. Criticise Muhammed as much as you want but he certainly wasn’t one to not think big.
    **Which from my experience is almost invariably the least interesting thing about a person. I do believe in logic – the black and white to which I refer – even though this football season has tested my faith in black and white to the limit 😉

  • Lee Moore

    Nick M : The problem the “woke” will increasingly face is one of logic, and speaking as a recovering mathematical physicist… that is a foe that cannot be defeated.

    I just read a bizarre article called “Is math racist ?” and then arrived at this post and comment thread about the sex/gender wars, culminating in Nick’s pithy sentence above. My brain instantly converted the stew of ideas into a slogan short enough even for today’s teenagers.

    “Is math racist ? No. Is reality sexist ? Yup.”

  • NickM

    I guess this is a bit meta to the original point but…

    It seems dogma now that sexuality is kinda fixed genetically or something like that in utero. To quote the Lady Gaga song, “We Were Born This Way”. Is this the case? Really? I don’t think anything as complicated as human sexuality is as simple as this and throughout the dismal history of pyschology and pyschiatry there have been many fixed ideas about this. From Freud basing an entire theory of human behaviour on the basis of interviews with a handful of neurotic middle-class Vienese Hausfrauen c. 1900 via the mid C20th idea that homosexuality was a psychiatric disorder to the now “The Science is settled” granite monolith that sexuality is immutable and defined by, I guess, genetics in the same way fruit flies having red eyes or not is. Except the genetics of the later is well understood and the former… Has anyone found a “gay gene” or similar? So “The Science” is not settled and quite frankly might as well cite a Lady Gaga song as any number of academic papers.

    There is an old joke in AI research – “But can you take it apart with itself?” I suggest that an ultimate limit on human knowledge is about ourselves and a very deep part of that is the nature of our sexuality. I suggest who we are attracted to is a complex mix of genetics (probably) and our experiences and interactions throughout life in a gloriously chaotic fashion. Speaking personally I have have met three women who – within a minute – I just knew I’d get into a serious relationship with. In all three cases this came to pass. I have never had that feeling about anyone else. I’m essentially 3/3 on love at first sight. I really have no idea how (un)usual this is. I don’t know the “why?” and I’m not interested in it either.

    My point is that given that sexuality – like all complex human behaviour – is an extremely complex emergent phenomenon so messing with it is almost bound to fail to produce the desired results. With respect to the OP I think the traditional ideas of religions and other belief systems are at least coherent in expressing a narrative of good and evil whereas the “scientific” ideas are not. I take a priest holding that same-sex marriage, say, is wrong is a much more defensible position than the bald assertion that sexuality is fixed by some vaguely defined biological mechanism. I also prefer the former because it intrinsically includes the idea of choice whereas the latter is very close to some form of biological determinism.

  • NickM

    “Is reality sexist?”

    Absolutely in terms of the fact that biological sex exists. Just in terms of our species there over 7.7bn examples of this.

    I have excluded from this number people with biological intersex conditions such as AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome).

    I Googled “how rare is intersex” and got this bizarre gem at the top…

    According to experts, around 1.7% of the population is born with intersex traits – comparable to the number of people born with red hair.

  • Paul Marks

    NickM – “it is wrong because it says it is wrong in our Holy Book” is not the approach of most Christian and Jewish thinkers over the last few thousand years – they have natural law arguments for their position. As the Scholastics were fond of saying “natural law is the law of God – but of God did not exist, it would be exactly the same”.

    I express no view of the matter here.

    As for the judges – judges who (in the case of Northern Ireland) could pull a “right to abortion” from nothing (from thin air), are certainly capable of stating that ANY statement of Christian teaching is “Conversion Therapy” and must be PUNISHED.

    This is what I tried to explain to John B. – violence and the threat of it is ALREADY ILLEGAL. So what is this new law intended to ban? It can only be there to ban Christian teaching – non violent statements of the traditional Christian position.

    It is totally mad to (de facto) say – Islam will be allowed to carry on teaching that homosexual acts are wrong, but Christians will NOT be allowed to do this. Under the excuse that any statement of Christian arguments is “Conversion Therapy”.

    And we know what is going to happen – because of what has happened to Christian bakers.

    Christian bakers compelled (by threats of STATE VIOLENCE) to bake cakes for homosexual events – but Muslims bakers NO, not compelled to do the same thing.

    Now I am NOT asking for Muslims to be abused by the state (certainly not) – but why should Christians be abused by the state?

    We know what the government courts are like – we have already seen what they like. Give them an inch -and they will take a mile.

  • Paul Marks

    “De facto banning the teaching Christian doctrines is not a ban on Christianity” – in case anyone wants to make that argument, I fully concede that the Arch Bishop of Canterbury would continue (prostrating himself on the ground to show how much he is ashamed to be British) and ditto the Arch Bishop of Wales – and the high personages of other Christian Churches.

    They would continue to dress up – and make speeches about how evil the West is, and how we must love mass migration, and love masks, and vaccine passports, and all the rest of it.

    The churches would continue to empty out – empty of people, and empty of religion.

    The funny thing is that I (the evil bigot) respect Muslims much MORE than the establishment does – Muslims would not accept Islam being mutilated by the “liberal” establishment. And I admire Muslims for that.

  • bobby b

    “I also prefer the former because it intrinsically includes the idea of choice whereas the latter is very close to some form of biological determinism.”

    You lost me here. The nature-v-nurture argument has become clouded by the switch of social status of homosexuality from “banned and perverted” to “brave and natural.” Certainly there are those people who have chosen to act gay simply because it grants them social points and status that they otherwise wouldn’t have, but the core group, I believe, simply has no choice over what triggers their autonomic responses of lust.

    I experience specific physical responses when tripped by specific visible or tactile triggers. I cannot imagine being able to train myself to experience those same responses when viewing the other sex. I was born this way. Pretty sure they were, too. For too many years, it was pure hell being gay – I cannot picture so many people choosing such a life, if they could in fact choose.

  • Lee Moore

    bobby b : Certainly there are those people who have chosen to act gay simply because it grants them social points and status that they otherwise wouldn’t have, but the core group, I believe, simply has no choice over what triggers their autonomic responses of lust.

    I don’t have much doubt that many gay people have no real “choice” over their sexual orientation, and that consequently it is – for them – pretty much hardwired. Whether the wiring was done genetically or in utero, in or infancy, or a mixture thereof, I cannot say. However I think there are also more fluid types who can be aroused by either sex according to the opportunities available.

    And going right off into rank speculation, I think there are probably also plenty of folk who just want to get laid, or even just want some companionship. I know we are supposed to believe that all males (I’ll stick to males here) who have sex with other males are rich, terrifyingly good looking, well dressed and coiffed, and smell lovely too – but in my own much humbler acquaintance I have met several “gay” men who seem to be to be simply of very low mate value from (my estimation of) the female point of view – small, ugly, not self confident and easily pushed around. They’re incels-on-toast. So, given that men are quite happy to have sexual relationships with – their right hand, sheep, bicycles, vacuum cleaners etc – it doesn’t seem odd to me that some men would be happy to have sex with other men, because they’re at least getting something that isn’t electronic and doesn’t say “Baaa ! Stop that right now !”

    And then there’s lonely – some people NEED other people. Neither Mrs Moore nor I have any imaginative connection with such folk, but they do exist.

    I’m not sure this works quite so well for female “incels” who might try gay to get something. Cos it’s way harder to be a female incel. With few exceptions, pretty much any woman can get herself laid of a Saturday night, without too much trouble. Not married, but laid. The same cannot be said of men.

    As for the lack of sexual attractiveness of men to bobby b (and to me) I expect that’s often fairly hardwired too. But that doesn’t mean that all men are wired that way. I expect there’s a decent cohort that has adjustable wiring.

  • NickM

    “it is wrong because it says it is wrong in our Holy Book” is not the approach of most Christian and Jewish thinkers over the last few thousand years – they have natural law arguments for their position. As the Scholastics were fond of saying “natural law is the law of God – but of God did not exist, it would be exactly the same”.

    I express no view of the matter here.

    I wish you would Paul. What precisely is natural law? How is it the same with or without a higher power? I think you know me well enough to know that I really want to know more of what you think of this. It matters.

    I dunno how well or badly I expressed myself as to the fact that I prefer a coherent structure (even if I disagree with it) to a half-assed and intrinsically incoherent system that supports gay or trans rights whilst also defending those who would stone such individuals to death (because it’s their cultcha innit). It makes no sensense.

    I guess, at some level, there is a heck of a lot of difference between disaproving of something and actively criminalizing it. This is, if anything, the fundamental issue. I think gay conversation therapy is at best daft – and possibly segues into the nasty but unless it involves breaking extant and well understood laws then… like, whatever. It is certainly no issue for the state. The same state that allowed a small child in the Midlands called Arthur to be systemtaically tortured to death. Yeah, that state. The same state responsible for the Middlesborough child abuse scandal. To put it bluntly those kids hadn’t had anything stuck up their arses until the NHS carried out totally unnecessary rectal exams. Drs Wyatt and Higgs got off very lightly – they weren’t even struck-off!

    To not know the state is at least as morally fallible as us individuals is to believe in Leviathan.

  • Lee Moore

    NickM : I have excluded from this number people with biological intersex conditions such as AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome).

    But this, as with most other disorders of sexual development, is not a contradiction of the fact that reality is sexist, but a confirmation of it, in spades.

    Reality, aka Mother Nature, has set up her production factory to produce units of two different sexes, where the primary sexual charateristics – the gonads – then drive a chain of develoment of secondary sexual characteristics, which – usually – agree with the primary. But the factory screws up from time to time and the secondaries, or one or some of them, don’t agree with the primary. And the result is often – not always – people with a cruel disability, and often infertility. It’s hardly any surprise that suicide is sometimes the way out.

    But all that proves is that Mother Nature is not only sexist, but a total bitch.

  • NickM

    Lee,

    Try this one for size…

    Now that is at the far end of the curve – I hope!

    But to you and bobby, well… I really don’t believe we are “born this way”. I went through a childhood development which went-

    1. Mewling and that.
    2. Lego.
    3. ZX Spectrum. (a C64 is almost acceptable)
    4. Amiga. (an ST is OK, I guess)
    5. Girls, beer, bosons and bongs.

    Note, the first four phases have nothing to do with sex really and I’ve known a few gay lads for whom only one of phase 5 needs a change! I suspect – see earlier comments on this post – that sexuality only really gets it’s boots on with puberty and even then that’s quite a walk. So, gay, straight or whatever is not built in. It is the result of that immense garden of forking paths we travel through in life.

    You ever read those “Fighting Fantasy” or “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? I bet you kept your thumb in for some choices – I know I did. Real life isn’t like that and for good or ill we become what we choose, even if what we choose is partly what we just ARE. But unlike the FF cheat there is no going back. It is the arrow of time. You may love someone as intensely as you did twenty years ago but are you still the same person (are they?) as when you proposed marriage?

    I guess what I’m saying is sexuality is at least as much how you spend your XP as the character develops during the course of the game as the initial stats you roll-up.

    And BTW. Despite my use of utterly geekish simile and metaphor I have never been incel.

  • NickM

    Lee,
    Mother nature isn’t a bitch. She’s utterly indifferent. That is why we are special as a species. Onto the quantum howling we somehow manage to sing as Josiah Willard Gibbs’ Grand Cannonical Ensemble*.

    Anyway, AIS is very treatable although it usually involves complicated surgery to create a neo-vagina. What is interesting is most people with AIS identify as heterosexual females despite having being chromosomally XY. I suspect this is largely because they are brought up and interact as females (the condition is usually diagnosed when puberty doesn’t happen).

    *Available for weddings, birthdays, bar-mitzvahs…

  • Lee Moore

    sexuality only really gets it’s boots on with puberty and even then that’s quite a walk

    Kinda, though efforts to get little girls to play with tanks and trucks, and to get little boys to play with dolls are, on average, less successful than the “it’s 100% nurture, 0% nature” crowd would like. Little boys will play with dolls, but mostly as targets for their artilery pieces. On average.

    But, anyway, the point is that if “sexuality” only gets its boots on at puberty that does not mean that there’s no genetic component. Lots of genetic effects are expressed at different times in development and not at other times. Including the bodily changes during puberty.

    Nor is it just genetic effects that can have a delayed effect. Mouse research shows that female mouse embryos that are positioned in utero between two brothers, turn out to be more masculine in their behaviour as adults (though still reproductively functioning females) than a sister who was not next to a brother. ie the local testosterone dose varies according to position in utero, and it has an effect in adulthood. Not genetic, but hormonal. But also delayed action.

  • Lee Moore

    Anyway, AIS is very treatable although it usually involves complicated surgery to create a neo-vagina.

    Treatable cosmetically, sure. But enabling fertility, not so much. Though this :

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/and.12126

    suggests that some treatment might be available for infertility in some PAIS cases. In the male fertility direction, of course. Being a fertile female is not an option for AIS sufferers.

    What is interesting is most people with AIS identify as heterosexual females despite having being chromosomally XY. I suspect this is largely because they are brought up and interact as females (the condition is usually diagnosed when puberty doesn’t happen).

    Perhaps socialisation is relevant, though the John Money experiments are hardly propitious. Much more likely is a mixture of socialisation with a substantial dose of genetic / hormonal effects stirred in. ie to the extent that testosterone acts to drive sexual differentiation including in the brain, genetic males who don’t have working androgen receptors are likely to finish up with a brain more like the average female than the average male. Which likely includes “gender identity” and sexual orientation. On average.

  • I’ve only known one AIS person, and she was definitely a woman, XY or no. (I may have met others, but didn’t know about them.) She was a large woman, but definitely a woman, and married to a man.

    Nature’s quality control is less than 100%. You can’t really say there is nothing other than male and female – there are too many counter-examples that got past the inspections. Some of them are even quite functional. Then there are the others with other genetic problems. Progeria. A tendency towards cancer. The dyslexic, the autistic, those with Asperger’s syndrome. All kinds of characteristics.

    Einstein is often quoted as having said “God does not play dice with the universe.” (It was an argument about quantum mechanics. Quite Bohring.) God may not play dice, but Mother Nature does, with reproduction, of all creatures.

    Quality control has costs and benefits. That includes human reproduction. Over many, many ages, evolution has found a balance. We’re mostly functional; but perfection would cost too much for us to have it.

    And human laws and governments ain’t even that good, so we shouldn’t get carried away,

  • Lee Moore

    Nature’s quality control is less than 100%.

    Nature does let mistakes through, but She mostly kills them early. Or in the sort of cases we are discussing, usually ensures that the mistake is not passed on to the next generation. The killing and the infertility are not bugs in Nature’s quality control programme, they’re features.

  • Paul Marks

    Simon Webb (“History Debunked” over on YouTube – till YouTube-Google ban him) has reminded his viewers that the “Anti Conversion Therapy” Bill also makes it “unlawful” to point out to a “trans” person that what their biological sex really is.

    In short this Bill does not “just” ban Christian teaching, it also bans biology – at least no one will be allowed to state basic facts of biology in relation to someone who does not like those facts.

    Anyone who supports this Bill is most certainly NOT a liberal – as the word “liberal” was traditionally understood.

    I remind people that violence IS ALREADY BANNED – this Bill is about banning SPEECH.

    “I support Freedom of Speech – apart from speech I do not like” is the same as “I am AGAINST Freedom of Speech”.

  • For too many years, it was pure hell being gay – I cannot picture so many people choosing such a life, if they could in fact choose. (bobby b, December 8, 2021 at 11:17 pm)

    Try. 🙂

    Consider, for example, the woman I called Moira in a recent post, who choose the wretched soon-to-end life of a lowest-of-the-low drug addict – until a heroic effort by someone else (when everyone else had given up) revealed that she indeed had still the power to renounce the life she had indeed chosen.

    Consider, for example (one example from thousands in history), the Polish resistance-fighter girls who defied the conversion methods of Stalin’s secret police at the end of WWII –

    But none of this persuaded them they were wrong. They died with medallions of the virgin on their broken chests, and hatred in their eyes.

    – although we none of us imagine that either Catholic belief or Polish patriotism are innate identities, incapable of change.

    On the other side of the coin, look at cases where conversion “talking therapy” works, despite the consultation document’s insistence it cannot. The post in which I spoke of Moira also mentioned the evangelical church who sought to rescue Glasgow-centre hookers. They also reclaimed others – for example, a late-30s man who had been a very active homosexual. He, like the recently-ex-hooker I described in my post, could sometimes surprise a staid member of their congregation by mentioning his lively, repented past. (He also once described how a man he had slept with in the past turned up at his door seeking a shared bed for the night. He offered the bed but explained he had left the life in which it could be shared – whereupon the visitor became so ideologically enraged at this example of conversion therapy that the host had to take refuge in his safe room.) Similar examples are not hard to find.

    Anyone who has observed large numbers of teenagers going through puberty knows that underage teenage sexuality can occasionally present in a way unlike later life. Clive Jame’s autobiography describes how he never doubted he was fundamentally heterosexual despite acting “as queer as a coot” in his teens.

    None of this proves everyone has a choice – it merely suggests to me that your counter-argument is insufficient.

    That said, I think we both object to a law against free speech, whoever is right about the above.

  • most people with AIS identify as heterosexual females despite having being chromosomally XY

    The tiny Y chromosome is simply a giant switch. There are a few dud Y chromosomes out there, whose switch never operates. Just as one would expect, if the switch is not thrown, the person is female – much like the also-known case of an X-nothing female (there are also XXX females). The X-dudY female, like the X-nothing female, lacks the possibility of heterotic X alleles and so shares certain male vulnerabilities (e.g. if the sole X carries haemophilia), and a quarter of their fertilised eggs will be unviable, but naturally in almost all ways is female.

    Think of ordering a car from a robot factory, using a form where you tick a box to get a Maserati and otherwise get a Ferrari. If the scanner fails to read your tick, you’ll get a Ferrari, with your form and its unscanned tick under its windscreen wipers.

  • Lee Moore

    The tiny Y chromosome is simply a giant switch. There are a few dud Y chromosomes out there, whose switch never operates. Just as one would expect, if the switch is not thrown, the person is female

    This is not quite correct for AIS.

    Strictly it is the SRY gene – almost always but not always on the Y chromosome – which is the basic switch. And the on switch makes the bipotential gonads go down the male path (if there’s a functioning Y gene); otherwise the off switch causes the bipotential gonads to go down the female path. But this switch only affects the gonads – you get testes or ovaries (or in rare unfortunate cases a messy non functional mixture thereof.) The bipotential reproductive duct system (Mullerian for female and Wolffian for male) is differentiated by another hormone product of the testes, anti-Mullerian hormone. AIS folk do not lack anti-Mullerian hormone uptake, so the Mullerian system (the female ducts) is nuked.

    After that though, the SRY gene has done its work, and the testes start producing testosterone in large quantities, and it is the testosterone that masculinises the rest of the body – inc willies, hairy chests etc

    Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome – the name is on the tin – results in XY males with a functioning SRY gene, being insensitive to androgens (ie testosterone) because the androgen receptors are faulty (because of faulty androgen receptor genes on the X chromosome.) So there is testosterone production in the testes, it just doesn’t get taken up by the faulty androgen receptors.

    Thus in cases of complete AIS, the body (inc presumably brain) doesn’t develop all those willies and hairy chests because the androgens are being produced but not used, and so develops in the female direction. So a CAIS XY person will look female. Only careful inspection of the nether regions will reveal internal testes, absence of uterus and related plumbing. Hence the need for surgery, to snip out the internal testes which can turn cancerous, and to create a prosthetic vagina to allow copulation (but not reproduction.)

    AIS does not have to be complete though – the androgen receptors may be not completely duff, but just inefficient. The more efficient they are, the more the maculinisation of the secondary sexual characterisitics and the rest of the body will proceed. And so how AIS folk look and feel about themselves is likely to vary with the degree of androgen insensitivity. And also treatments – a mildly AIS person may want to be dosed with lots of androgens to give the inefficient androgen recptors more to work with.

    A CAIS person will look female, and very probably feel female, and for social purposes can be treated as female. But biologially “she” is male, because of the testes. Consequently “for social purposes” does not include bearing children. Adoption is your friend here.

  • Lee Moore (December 9, 2021 at 6:07 pm), thanks for the AIS-specific detail.

    Returning to the OP topic, what does one say to one’s government – specifically, to whoever will read and summarise (statistically and/or with content) these responses to the minister.

    In the interests of balance, let’s look at some more quotes from the consultation document.

    In the minister’s foreword (my bolding), I think the paragraph,

    It is also vitally important that no person is forced or coerced into conversion therapy, and that young people are supported in exploring their identity without being encouraged towards one particular path. This is especially the case for those who are under 18 and where this might result in an irreversible decision.

    would read better if it only/mainly had the bolded words and the paragraph came first as the main intent, not an ‘also’ afterthought of this law against “talking therapies”. Not forcing or coercing people, especially if under-age, into an irreversible clinical act seems a more defensible area of government concern than banning “talking” therapies to over 18s who have not signed a sufficiently ‘stringent’ consent form.

    The thought is not quite phrased the same way in the main body:

    The government is determined to ensure that no person is put on a clinical pathway that is not right for them, and that young people are supported in exploring their identity without being encouraged towards one particular path. Forcing or coercing a person into this position would be considered conversion therapy.

    Again, I’m all for not forcing or coercing, but the active ‘supported in exploring’ as opposed to ‘not prevented from exploring’ does remind me of the old saying about “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. The special importance of age and of “irreversible decisions” we had a hint of in the minister’s foreword has changed in this (civil servant’s, I assume) expansion of it. Not being on “the right clinical pathway” could equally relate to any decision to delay making an irreversible one.

    Instead we meet “talking conversion therapy” (see OP) and these coercive and abhorrent practices (see my first comment) – the suggestion one might want to show they are in some way coercive and find less abhorrent any that were not seems to have vanished. The attempt at evenhandedness is also less evident:

    it does not work: it does not change a person from being LGBT

    To be consistent with earlier text, we should also be reading of how abhorrent coercive practises are that try to change people to LGBT, but the civil servant seems to have forgotten that.

    3. Background to conversion therapy

    rather frankly admits to having no robust idea of prevalence, but what had been “coercive and abhorrent practices” have become being “offered” a talking conversion therapy.

    Section 5 is where the attempt is made to define “talking” conversion therapy.

    Legitimate talking therapies that support a person who is questioning if they are LGBT do not start from the basis that being LGBT is a defect or deficiency.

    That seems pretty clear to me – and all hint of forcing or coercing seems to have vanished. A criminal “talking” conversion therapy will be one which dissents from the mandated view.

    our proposals will protect young people regardless of whether they have freely entered such counselling. Providing such counselling to under 18s or vulnerable adults will be an offence.

    The offence will address gaps in the law

    not all conversion therapy practices use sexual imagery or offensive language [or are] repeated and unwanted by the victim [or occur] outside the home

    However, they do restrain themselves a bit.

    We recognise that some believe that an adult cannot consent to non-coercive and non-forced talking conversion therapies even when fully aware of the potential for being harmed.

    but HMG will let you sign their ‘robust and stringent’ consent form if you absolutely insist.

    So what does one say to the civil servant who wrote that (or their underling) who provides to the minister (who wrote the foreword) a statistical or content summary of the responses. I guess you could contribute to the ‘opposed’ number in the statistical summary – which may be taken as indicating how necessary it is to make such dissent a crime.

    I suppose you could always try saying “The minister’s foreword and the main body do not sound quite the same to me.” I wonder how they’d summarise that.

  • Lee Moore beat me to it by eight minutes (in a timezone an hour ahead). 🙂

    BTW, it is one of many examples that “conversion therapy”, a.k.a. continuing to love your daughter and talk calmly to her from your more mature viewpoint while she goes through a teen phase, can work. The paper claims that “conversion therapy” cannot work but what the woke hate about what the paper calls “talking therapies’ and normal people call conversations is that talking to people can broaden their mind till it overflows some ideological box it fell into.

  • In Denmark, it is a mandatory jail sentence for the responsible government minister to separate muslim child-bride immigrants from their husbands (h/t instapundit).

    I think this event relevant to the general issue of laws criminalising any failure to follow the PC view of such cultural issues – even if their ideology appears to have some internal contradictions.

    The “impeachment court” that gave her the sentence was specially set-up for the task. Even the BBC is calling her party “centre-right” (the standard “ultra-far-right” label seems to be absent for once).

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