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Senator: “I have difficulty accepting that there are many genders”

An Independent Senator has said he has “difficulty” accepting that there are more than two genders, and called for a national debate on the issue.

The remarks were made in an opinion piece this week by Senator Michael McDowell, in which he responded to the news that the HSE is developing a new policy on transgender issues and “gender dysphoria” – the feeling that one’s gender is different to their biological sex.

McDowell said that “it is by no means clear” that the HSE is “competent” to create a policy in this area, and said that there must be an “urgent” debate on the issue.

“The great majority of Irish people are not activists in relation to gender issues,” he said.

“But the airwaves and newspaper columns seem to be dominated by activists who seek to frame the discussion in terms of the denial of human rights and discrimination against the small minority who have dysphoria, or who consider themselves to be “gender fluid,” or who argue that the conventional male/female binary gender distinctions in society are oppressive or unjust.”

While he said he was “very sympathetic” to those experiencing gender dysphoria, he continued: “I have difficulty accepting that there are many genders.”

“Gender is important,” the Senator said.

“Maleness and femaleness are realities for the great majority of people, including gay and lesbian people. The great majority is not obliged morally to simply discard fundamental social and psychological concepts such as masculinity or femininity because a minority find those concepts limiting, challenging or even offensive.”

He added: “The linguistic chaos of using the plural pronoun to describe a single individual is, I think, contrived.” He further said that the use of plural “they/them” pronouns “confuses and distorts meaning.”

“The idea of a broad LGBTQI+ coalition is fine,” he said.

“But I have been struck by the number of gay men and lesbian women who privately dissociate themselves from some of the demands of trans activists.”

He went on to say that children must be protected, citing the controversial Tavistock clinic in the UK, to which Irish children as young as five were sent by the HSE.

The clinic isl now set to be closed down by the NHS over safety fears, after an independent review found that its methods left young people “at considerable risk” of poor mental health and distress.

“The Tavistock clinic experience highlights the risks and dangers of irreversible and inappropriate interventions, from puberty blockers to reconstructive surgery, for highly vulnerable minors and for their parents,” Senator McDowell said.

He went on to highlight the link found by the National Gender Service, which identified a very high correlation between young people seeking gender transition, and autism.

“It is not simply good enough to dismiss that correlation by saying that young people with autism have the same rights as anyone else,” he said.

“Of course, they do. This correlation needs to be explored and understood.”

The Senator concluded by urging a “fact-based objective approach,” as well as a “national, inclusive debate,”

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