Photo by Constantine Johnny

“Mother” means something

Children deserve the truth about sex and parenthood

Artillery Row

Over recent years, the right-leaning press has made a sport of bashing seemingly bonkers rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). This week, though, the ECHR made a judgment that even Nigel Farage would find himself raising a beer to. The ruling concerns two German parents from separate families who wanted their children’s birth certificates to recognise their transgender identities, rather than the reality of their relationships to their offspring. The ECHR said, “No.

The dignity and legal protection of children aren’t celebrated in Pride parades

In the first case, O.H. v. Germany, a mother who identifies as a transman and her child claimed that designating her the “mother” violated their right to private and family life, as protected by Article 8 of the European Convention. In the second, A.H. v Germany, a father who identifies as a transwoman wanted to be recorded as “mother” on his child’s birth certificate. The Court emphasised in its decision that no human rights violation could be established and that a false entry in the birth certificates is at the discretion of the German state. 

Dennis Kavanagh is a legal commentator and director of the Gay Men’s Network. He welcomes the ruling and notes a potential shift in how such issues are addressed.

“The law is increasingly recognising that there is no ethical case for treating children as legal accessories to adult cross sex identification claims,” says Kavanagh. “Rule by case law may be finally abating in this area which is a democratic good.” 

Children’s rights aren’t fashionable. The humanity, dignity and legal protection of young people aren’t celebrated in Pride parades, nor have they have sparked the public imagination in the same way as campaigns like Black Lives Matter. Today in most mainstream right leaning and centrist outlets, commentators and columnists are permitted (within certain constraints) to expound upon the dangers of transgenderism to women. Similarly, the impact of gender identity ideology in schools, and the surge of youngsters presenting with gender dysphoria, is also widely discussed. Critiquing what happens to children at home behind closed doors remains a taboo, however. It is only when domestic matters reach the court that this clash of rights can be aired.

Emma Thomas runs Children of Transitioners, a blog site for people whose parents identify as the opposite sex. She says she is “relieved to see this ruling” but expects there will be further legal “attempts to chip away at the rights of children of trans people to have accurate paperwork”.

Using children to validate grown-up identities is grotesque

“We have lives of our own, and in time children of our own, and our personal history shouldn’t be sacrificed to validate our parents’ gender identities,” she adds.

Parents will often indulge children’s imaginations, whether in make-believe games or sticking an unidentifiable scribble of “daddy” to the fridge door. An adult shouldn’t expect a child to play along with their fantasy. The use of children by grown-ups to validate their identities is grotesque. Doubtless the impact of such a fundamental deception will have a social as well as a psychological impact.

The demand to change the meanings of words like “mother” and “father”, to reduce them to individual expressions of identity rather than descriptions of relationships, is a fundamental inversion of what it is to be human. Giving birth does not just create a baby; it changes the status of the woman to “mother” and the man to “father”. These biological facts are impervious to faddish cultural beliefs.

Such familial bonds are even written into language. “Mah” is the sound of mammalian nature; across the world and throughout time, it is the noise made when a baby moves its lips to feed from a mother’s breast. Linguists believe that’s why so many words for “mother” in a multitude of languages contain “mah” sounds; tellingly, “mama” means mama in both Swahili and Mandarin. It is a primal, biological urge made into a word, a unified feature of the human race’s heritage. 

At its core, transgenderism is fundamentally anti-human. In its effort to best mother nature, this movement not only cuts into the flesh of troubled people, it seeks to redefine reality in its own image. The truth is simple, and it is clear. Human beings can’t change sex. To sustain the lie that they can involves not only co-opting families, falsifying birth certificates and placing a polite gag in the mouths of co-workers, but suppressing the rights to freedom of conscience, expression and belief. 

This week’s ECHR ruling won’t undo the wrongs already enshrined in law at the behest of the well-funded trans lobby, but it will offer some protection to children who deserve nothing less than the truth.

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