A senior churchman has criticised what he calls today’s “transgender, non gender specific world”.
In his “end of term report” the Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, Rev David Robertson, hit out at women’s sport and suggested that the “madness of the modern world” means that failing male sportspeople would simply “do a Bruce” and instead compete as women.
In his blog, The Wee Flea, Mr Robertson said: “I thought it was a bit old fashioned that we had male and female prizes in sport. In this transgender, non gender specific world should we have these gender specific prizes?
“My mind also wandered to wondering about the Womens world cup (which for me is like watching paint dry – but the good old BBC is doing her best to tell us that it is just as good, exciting and important as the mens) and Wimbledon.
“If men and women have to be paid exactly the same prize money why have separate mens and womens tournaments at all? And the thought also struck me – if Andy Murray begins to realise in a couple of years that he is not going to win any more mens tournaments, why can’t he just do a Bruce, say he feels like a woman, call himself Andrina and enter the women’s Wimbledon and get the prize money that way? If we can’t have gender specific toilets why should we have gender specific sports tournaments? Thats the madness of the modern world.”
Robertson’s thinking on transgender issues is further exposed in a recent podcast produced by the SOLAS Centre for Public Christianity. While admitting that transgender issues are “very complex”, Robertson and Al Smith argued that the Caitlyn Jenner situation was “abhorrent in the extreme”. “The manipulation, the whole reality TV thing…is the pit of our culture and society.”
They continued: “He’s not brave, he’s delusional. It’s not the wrong body he’s in, he’s got the wrong thinking in his head…the reality is that God made us male and female…Bruce Jenner is a man.”
Suggesting that trans people have a poor grasp on reality – indeed, seemingly comparing them to an “older person looking in the miror seeing an 18-year old athletic footballer” or someone who “feels like a black person in a white person’s body” – they concluded “the Bible says we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds – this is the only transformation that will bring true joy. This is the Western liberal elite…[attempting] to dehumanise humanity, taking away from us not only sexuality but also gender”.
Hugh Torrance, executive director of LEAP Sports, was keen to dispel the myths about transgeder participation in sport. He told KaleidoScot: “Transgender is an umbrella term for many different individuals and we need to recognise that every single person’s journey is different, and that many Transgender people are already participating in sports around the country. IOC rules do not need to be applied at community grassroots level, nor indeed always at national level.
“Most of the current narrative around Transgender participation in sport is very narrowly focused. As this focus tends towards those who are male to female Transgender people, those sports which would be seen as ‘gender-affected’, and those who compete at professional or elite level, then we risk failing to remove the barriers that prevent most Transgender people from being included and participating in sport at a recreational level. If sport is to be truly inclusive of all Transgender people, then this discussion needs to change.”
Spencer Fildes, Chair of the Scottish Secular Society, told KaleidoScot: “David Robertson represents a belief system that, from a societal standpoint, is completely incompatible with a modern, progressive Scotland. He fails to recognise that we stand for equality under the law, human rights and the religious freedom he so enjoys, whilst ignoring the enchantment of reason, logic and truth.”
Garry Otton, secretary of the Scottish Secular Society, added: “Robertson’s misrepresentations, arrogance, pomposity and belief in his own self-importance know no bounds. Quite what Robertson thinks he can add to the highly complex subject of transgender I have no idea. Robertson remains blissfully unaware that some of his words and actions might cause others great pain. Not just to those outside his church as Moderator, but sometimes to people within his own congregation as their minister.”
The Scottish Trans Alliance has, so far, not responded to our request for commentary.