Fatherlessness is a big issue; but until now it was uncontroversial to say every child has a mother. We don’t even teach our children this truth, they work it out for themselves.
But all that may be about to change. There is a case before the courts at the moment involving an individual who was born a woman but was legally recognised as a man by a Gender Recognition Panel.
Within days of this recognition, the person underwent successful fertility treatment becoming pregnant. Following the birth, the Registrar General said the individual must be registered as the mother, given the biological reality of what had happened.
However, the individual is challenging this decision in the courts demanding to be registered as the child’s father.
If they are successful in their bid to overturn the Registrar General, the child would be the first in the UK to legally not have a mother.
In a truly Orwellian move, lawyers for the Government have said “mother is no longer a gender-specific term that applies only to women”.
This case highlights the speed and significance of change in this area. It shows the extent of the biological gymnastics being attempted and the inevitable public confusion that follows. It would leave terms like man, women, mother and father devoid of any distinctive meaning.
The judge in the case asked the government to review how this person was eligible for IVF – in simple terms he was pointing out that you can’t have your cake and eat it. If you are going to transition to being a male, you have to live with the implications of being male.
There is a great deal of confusion in our culture around transgender. There is a desire to be sympathetic, but also a deep concern that children and young people, who can’t vote yet, can go on puberty blockers and even cross-sex hormones, which can have lifelong consequences.
There has been a significant rise in the number of people attending gender identity clinics, particularly amongst teenage girls. All the evidence suggests that this group is more likely to progress to medical transition, and there are increasing concerns about the influence of social media and online forums, which is causing a contagion effect.
There have been a series of stories in the media recently about people resigning from the Tavistock clinic in London, which is the main place for treatment in the UK. There have been repeated claims that trans activists are influencing treatment options and it appears that vital research is being stifled by a climate of fear.
This is a complicated area and the small number of people with gender dysphoria seem to be getting lost in the wider cultural trans debate.
As the debate is pushed to its limits – with a biological woman giving birth to a child, but demanding to be registered as father, not mother – perhaps common sense will prevail.
Every child has a mother and a father. Science may stretch our understanding of this, but to claim that the mother is now the father is to put the selfish desires of the parent above the needs of the child. We do not live as isolated individuals, but in relationship. The rights of the child seems to have been forgotten.
The male mother is a fiction, and the courts should not be afraid to say so.
If no adults are brave enough to speak an inconvenient truth we can be sure that, just like in the story of the Emperor’s new clothes, our children will.
Peter Lynas is the Northern Ireland director of the Evangelical Alliance lobby group