LGBTQ

Miller, Hasse, and academic freedom

In discussing the case of David Miller and Bristol University, I chose the example of Helmut Hasse, a celebrated mathematician sacked by the British occupation authorities in Germany in 1945 because of his right-wing nationalist views, as a comparison test case. Partly because I knew about it, but partly because no reader is likely to find Hasse's views other than vile. Hasse, to my mind, provides a test case for how Miller's could be considered wrong even while denouncing his political views. And likewise we can criticise Sussex University professor Kathleen Stock's noxious trans-sceptic...

In defence of "Gillick competence" on blockers

The decision in the Gillick case allowed doctors to decide when children were able to consent to medical treatment. Doctors are also generally trusted to decide which treatments would be of benefit to their patients. In the case of puberty blockers, the practice established by the NHS specifies that both the child and the parents must consent to treatment. Jack McDonough (Solidarity 608) argues that in defending the idea that children can consent to medical treatment including puberty blockers (Gillick competence), I am also proposing that under 16s should be able to consent to sexual...

"Blockers" and age of consent

The article by Angela Driver welcoming the Court of Appeal’s overturning of the Tavistock vs Bell judgement (Solidarity 607 ) is headed “A win for teenagers’ rights” and states that the decision “is good news for young trans people under 18.” In fact, the decision applies to children under the age of 16 who are struggling with their identity and considering gender reassignment. I have to say that I have serious doubts about the Court of Appeal’s decision and think the judges in the Tavistock vs Bell case made a good point when they said there would be enormous difficulties for young children...

A win for teenagers' rights

The Court of Appeal have overruled the Bell v Tavistock judgement. This is good news for young trans people under 18. It means that they are no longer legally obliged to get permission from the court to receive puberty blockers. It is also good news for other young people whose ability to make choices about medical treatments rests on “Gillick competency”. “Gillick competency” is based on a legal case in 1985 in which Victoria Gillick was defeated in her attempt to rescind NHS guidance which allowed under 18s to access contraception without parental approval. The original Bell v Tavistock...

Momentum Internationalists Labour conference briefing

Thanks to Momentum Internationalists for this briefing on Labour Party conference (25-29 September, in Brighton) Who are Momentum Internationalists? Momentum Internationalists was formed by activists from the left anti-Brexit campaign Labour for a Socialist Europe, L4SE, in early 2020 to continue the fight for left-wing and internationalist politics after the Tories finally forced through Brexit. We ran candidates in the Momentum NCG elections of 2020 and promoted motions in the Momentum policy priorities ballot of 2021. We are not just a caucus within Momentum. We have been active on the...

It's time for Georgia to choose

Two weeks ago, far-right thugs attacked the LGBTI community’s “March for Dignity” in Tblisi, Georgia. Dozens of people, mostly journalists, were badly beaten. It was a tragedy that could easily have been foreseen — and prevented. And it has triggered a historic fight led by the journalists’ union with the full support of journalists’ unions around the world. The attacks were orchestrated by supporters of the ruling party in Georgia, whose leaders bear some responsibility for what happened. Prior to the march, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said it was “not reasonable” to organise such an...

Three protests on 26 June

As the well-advertised, heavily union-backed People's Assembly (PA) march moved off on 26 June, I cycled from it to join the trans rights protest assembling at Wellington Arch. It was a good few thousand. It was smaller than the PA protest but not that much smaller. It was younger and livelier; and, as far as I could judge from literature sales and conversations, pretty much as left-wing on "average" but in a more positive, less addled, way. There were contingents (small contingents, but contingents) from a clump of National Education Union (NEU) branches (Haringey, Waltham Forest, Newham...

Who will stop Orban?

The European Union is expressing itself more forcefully than usual over the issue of LGBTQ+ rights in Hungary. 16 EU leaders have signed an open letter vowing to fight discrimination. Not content with banning material that supposedly “promotes” homosexuality, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán now conflates homosexuality with paedophilia. A bill passed by the Hungarian Parliament last week bans gays from being depicted on prime-time TV, educational programmes and much else beside. Hungary’s stance on gay rights clearly contravenes the EU constitution and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte went...

Pushing back for trans rights

Trans Pride in London is on 26 June (2pm from Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner). The organisers are emphasising that it is a protest. There is a lot to protest about. Formally the Equality Act legislates against most forms of discrimination that trans people might face. The Gender Recognition Act (GRA) allows birth certificates to be issued in the acquired gender. The NHS provides hormone treatment, and surgery to help with “gender reassignment”. But in reality trans people face a huge level of persecution even today, even on the streets of London. Public humiliation, harassment, and violence...

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