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Malta leads the way for gay and transgender rights in Europe

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The map is misleading as it looks as though gay rights in Northern Ireland are more progressive than in the Republic of Ireland. It doesn't take into account that there are different laws for the nations of the UK.


There is a problem about this kind of approach, in the sense that some things which are highly contentious - e.g. 'recognise people as belonging to whichever gender they say they do' - are bundled in, as if they are simply to be take as part of what liberalism involves. But gender is prima facie in part a matter of biology, in part a matter of social convention, and the idea that it is something that other people should accept on the basis just of a subjective decision by an individual is, to say the least, highly contentious. It is a demand which, these days, is frequently voiced. But it is simply not clear that a cogent case has been made for it, and the idea that it should be up there with issues which have been extensively and cogently argued for is, I'd have thought, something which should be resisted.

This is not to say that there should not be the greatest compassion for those who find themselves in awkward positions over gender, and it would seem to me that there is every reason for making our conventions here as flexible as possible, and doing what we can to accommodate the wide range of characteristics that people may manifest. But this is quite a different matter from our being railroaded, without adequate discussion - and on the coattails of matters which have been much more extensively explored - into the acceptance of things as a package which, it seems to me, need to be disaggregated and approached with a lot of care.