Twenty-One & Not Counting

Will Gender Ideology Derail Scottish Common Sense?

Last year, officials from the National Records of Scotland made some eyebrow-raising recommendations for their 2021 census forms. In a new "guidance" for the compulsory question about whether one is male or female, respondents would be instructed to answer with how they choose to "identify."

Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Kenny Gibson asked: "How does that help capture accurate data if folk are effectively encouraged to put on whatever they wish?"1 He also said that sex and gender are not the same, yet the guidance assumes they are identical. MSP Joan McAlpine "reiterated her position that the census should ask questions based on biological sex."2

Salvo has always insisted that male and female are categories of sex, not gender. Sex is biologically determined, not constructed or imagined. Expecting parents view a sonogram of their baby in utero to find out whether it's a boy or a girl. If a sonogram is inconclusive, after birth the sex will be obvious to everyone.

Surprisingly, criticism of the Scottish proposal has come from the academy and has been reported by the media. In late December, the Guardian reported, "Eighty senior academics signed a letter sent to census authorities, the prime minister and Scotland's first minister arguing that the draft guidance . . . would effectively transform the longstanding sex question into a question about gender identity."3

The move to include in the census both the male-or-female question and a gender-identity question is proving complicated. A proposal was made to add an optional section where respondents could also select their sexual orientation from a list of four categories: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or other. But in October officials expanded the list to include 21 "sexualities": androphilic, androsexual, asexual, bicurious, bisexual, demiromantic, demisexual, fluid, gay, gynephilic, gynesexual, homosexual, heterosexual, lesbian, pansexual, polysexual, queer, questioning, skoliosexual, straight, and unsure.

One MSP said, "Most Scots will think it's ridiculous to have 21 options" and will be "baffled." Others have said that the list is absurd and bewildering and would leave the census open to ridicule. One critic pointed out that "other" would have sufficed for 17 categories on the list. And Dr. Kath Murray of the University of Edinburgh noted that "demiromantic" (one who "only experiences romantic attraction after developing [an] emotional connection beforehand") "does not tell us whether a person is gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual."4 So it goes.

Signs of Decadence

It remains to be seen what the Scots will include in their 2021 census. Perhaps some of the criticisms are a relic of the widely influential Scottish Enlightenment of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, which extolled reason and common sense.

Common sense tells us that a nation whose people base their identity on how and with whom they wish to achieve orgasm has become obsessed with sex. (A sure sign of this obsession is an addictive consumption of pornography.) History teaches that nations that prioritize gratification of any sexual desire over self-control, and personal "rights" over obligations and responsibilities, are in the final stages of decadence. They have forgotten that men and women are creatures of both body and soul, created in the image of a loving God.

We need only dwell on this decadence long enough to realize where it is taking us; the wise will then turn away from it and follow the signs to the path of salvation. The slow train wreck of the sexual revolution has now advanced to the point of asserting multiple "sexualities," with no end in sight. The proper response to the wreckage is to salvage what we can and rebuild. Salvo seeks to save.


is the executive editor of Salvo and the  Director of Publications for the Fellowship of St. James.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #52, Spring 2020 Copyright © 2024 Salvo |


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