Published January 31, 2023
When is transphobia not transphobia? Well, we now have our answer: when the political leadership class finds it convenient for it not to be so. Today’s Exhibit A: Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister.
For those unfamiliar with Ms. Sturgeon, she is leader of the Scottish National Party, and has been the first minister of the Scottish parliament since 2014. She is a progressive’s progressive, having presided over draconian Covid measures and, more recently, driving through the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which, among other things, makes it easier for Scottish people to change their legal gender. This last act has precipitated something of a crisis in U.K. politics, as the British government has used a provision (section 35) of the Scotland Act 1998 to block the bill from receiving royal assent and thus becoming law.
Of particular interest is the fact that members of the Scottish parliament last year defeated an amendment that would have prevented convicted sex offenders from identifying as women, although the final bill allows for the authorities to decide the matter on a case-by-case basis. Why do I say this is? Because this week, Sturgeon found herself reassuring the nation that a vicious convicted rapist, Adam Graham, will not serve his sentence in a women’s prison. Graham now goes by the name Isla Bryson and claims to be a woman. The sheer insanity of putting such a predator into a women’s prison has (thankfully) proved too much even for Ms. Sturgeon, and Graham will serve his sentence in a men’s facility.
Carl R. Trueman is a fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping civic leaders and policy makers better understand the deep roots of our current cultural malaise. In addition to his scholarship on the intellectual foundations of expressive individualism and the sexual revolution, Trueman is also interested in the origins, rise, and current use of critical theory by progressives. He serves as a professor at Grove City College.