Ann Widdecombe, representative of the private political lobbying company “The Brexit Party Ltd”, and recently very regrettably elected by idiots to sit in the EU Parliament drawing a salary because she’s a fucking hypocrite, comments on the Sophy Ridge show that she still really believes that gay people should be subjected to ‘gay conversion therapy’. This is a form of behavioural conditioning designed to make gay people suppress their sexuality and act in compliance with (in this case) Widdecombe’s idea of acceptable sexual norms.
This is, quite obviously, a deeply oppressive idea. Peripherally, it demonstrates the sort of regressive and spiteful attitudes that The Brexit Party Ltd will embrace as long as its prominent supporters are giving it money and shouting its name.
But the most breathtaking piece of intellectual dishonesty this time round is Widdecombe’s appeal to the existence of transgender people – and more specifically the public’s increasing acceptance that trans people exist – to excuse her advocacy of anti-gay conditioning techniques. Quoted here, she actually says that “There was a time when we thought it was quite impossible for men to become women and vice versa”.
So her reasoning, if such it can be called (it can’t), is that because we once denied the existence and reality of transgender people, but now society increasingly recognises and supports their right to express their lived experience, therefore it somehow makes sense for a society which by and large recognises and supports the right of gay people to express their lived experience to adopt a new policy of denying their reality and silencing them.
On a personal note, I must say I really don’t like Ann Widdecombe very much. This is a massive, massive understatement.
Gay conversion therapy is based on the claim that same-sex attraction is an illness that needs to be cured, and (a further groundless assertion even were that the case) that aggressive aversion conditioning is the treatment required. But the global medical profession doesn’t support the idea that LGB attraction is an illness. Widdecombe and people who argue as she does present that lack of medical support as a sign that society just isn’t allowing for the possibility that it’s an illness. They usually invoke some large-scale conspiracy or ‘agenda’ from the ‘LGBT lobby’ or somesuch, and imply this ‘lobby’ is trying to suppress the facts and prevent society from investigating the matter properly.
Here, though, she invokes trans people because, she says, until fairly recently society didn’t consider the possibility that someone could transition – and what we need is to apply that same willingness to think beyond assumed boundaries, and then we’d see that LGBTQ people are the sick people that she personally considers them to be.
She’s wrong in many different ways: trans people have been here all through history (though the terms trans and transgender haven’t), and the first medical reassignment procedures were being carried out at the turn of the twentieth century – assuming we don’t count hormone therapies which were used in the ancient world.
She’s also wrong that LGBTQ people are ill. They’re not. And the phenomenon of the ‘unhappy homosexual’ that she refers to is generally considered to be attributable to people’s difficulty in squaring with that aspect of themselves in a society which still stigmatises it – or which they expect to do so.
Finally, she tries to draw an equivalence between a process of increasing rights and the demedicalisation of the trans experience and her proposed system of medicalising LGBTQ attraction, and denying self-determination for LGBTQ people. In short she’s taking a this-way process for one group and using it to justify forcing another group through an opposite that-way process.
I’d call her an idiot but she knows exactly what she’s saying and why. There are far more fitting words for people like her.