Mr. President Sauli Niinistö
8 February 2023
RE: Gender Self-Identification Reform
Dear Mr. President Niinistö,
We are gravely concerned about the reform passed in the Finnish parliament on 1 February 2023 that will allow anyone in Finland to change their legal sex by self-identification (self-ID).
WORIADS is a coalition of concerned citizens, activists, and professionals from across Europe who insist that biological sex is real, important, and immutable, and that it should not be conflated with gender. While we commend the Finnish parliament for voting to abolish the inhumane sterilisation requirement for those who wish to change legal sex, we denounce the reform because, far from being a simple administrative measure to make the lives of transgender people easier, it will have profound effects on the whole of society.
Some men are predators - regardless of how they identify. Self-ID will create a legal loophole that will allow these men to access spaces and services designated for women and children, increasing opportunities for abuse. The reform will also give further weight in law the concept of gender identity, which posits that biological sex is not real or important. This has implications in other areas, including sport and quotas for equal representation.
While we defend non-conformity and the right of every citizen to express themselves and to live their lives in whatever way they choose; and while we recognise that many men find comfort by living in a social role stereotypically associated with women, those rights should never override the rights of other vulnerable groups.
The Finnish public were not consulted by policymakers on the self-ID bill, but polling carried out by activists in 2020 indicated that 66% of people were against it. Significant concerns were raised by feminist campaigners (and parents?), but any resistance from concerned citizens was labelled transphobia and scaremongering.
Ireland was cited as evidence that self-ID had caused no problems in the countries in which it has been implemented (including via in a front-page article in the country’s largest daily newspaper on the day of the vote).
However, the negative consequences of self-ID in Ireland were not covered in the Finnish press. Just as in Scotland, the reform of the Irish gender-recognition act was done without the knowledge of the public and polling in 2021 showed that just 17% agreed with the country’s gender-recognition law.
In 2020, Gabriel Gentile threatened to torture, rape and kill his mother, crimes for which he went to prison 2021. A gender-recognition certificate made him a woman called ‘Barbie Kardashian’ and he is now being held in the female wing of an Irish prison. There are many such cases in the EU, US and the UK. Indeed, in an appearance before the Scottish parliament, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur for violence against women and girls, Reem Alsalem, pointed out the dangers of self-ID laws.
Finally, but not least, social transition, reinforced by legal self-ID, puts children on the path of life-long medicalisation. No child is born in the wrong body.
We are asking you not to sign the self-ID reform bill in the interest of the rights and safeguarding risks as outlined above. Our name, WORIADS, stands for “Worthy Of Respect In A Democratic Society”. Our views on this issue are held by many people in your country and they deserve to be heard and defended.