YOU report on responses to the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act laws (The Herald, November 24). So is being male or female something that happens to us? Or is it something we choose? This can be a difficult subject to talk about. I have friends who are transgender and I am not wanting to upset them. But at the same time this is an important subject which needs to be discussed.

The consultation itself was a consultation .... not a referendum. As so often happens with government consultations, one side or the other claims to have more “votes”. Your headline was "Scots back new laws to allow people to self-declare gender". That is nonsense. Scots have not backed anything. The aim of a consultation is to get the whole range of views out on the table.

Certain physical facts like our height, race and date of birth broadly happen to us and are accepted as reality. I might want to be taller but I am actually 5ft 7in and have to live with that. However, my weight and career choice are much more under my control. So is being male or female one of those things outwith or within our control?

Does science have anything to say about this? Is there an objective test as to who is male and who is female? Or is this a subjective question and science should have no involvement? It does seem to me that normally science can tell at birth whether a human being or an animal is male or female. Are we trying to override science by saying it is possible for males to become females and females to become males?

I do feel that we need both truth and love when trying to answer these questions. We need to be loving towards those who are confused about their gender or dissatisfied with it and strongly desire to be the opposite gender than the one they were born into. But at the same time we need to be honest and look at what the science says.

So surely we need both to consider the individual’s feelings and desires but we also need medical and scientific assessment. Is a change to the other gender really in the best interests of a particular person? And that applies to people of all ages because we as a society have a duty of care for one another. But in particular it applies to our greater duty of care towards young people.

And another question. Is it possible for us to discuss all this in a calm and rational manner? Or is it inevitable that we revert to throwing names around for those who disagree with us? Does it help the discussion to call our opponents bigots or transphobes? I do hope we can all try to engage in a balanced and sensitive way.

John Mason,

SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston,

1335 Gallowgate, Parkhead Cross, Glasgow.

WE are told that the Scottish Government’s gender review attracted more than 15,000 responses, of which some 60 per cent supported reforms allowing people to change gender without a medical diagnosis or living for a period in the prescribed gender. On the basis of lobbying by interest groups, half of Scotland’s local authorities have accepted a report that advises that parents do not have a right to know whether their child wishes to change gender at school. This is all of a piece with encroaching state control within the family of which the Named Person project is a notorious part.

I have seen no information about who the 15,000 respondents were. Who was asked to contribute? Were they individuals or groups? If groups, were they groups which have lobbied for the promotion of transgender change? There seem to be moves afoot in Scotland to impose social changes which are the projects of specific interest groups but which do not noticeably have widespread public consent and which have not been discussed in the public domain.

Jill Stephenson,

Glenlockhart Valley, Edinburgh.

CAN I suggest that the Scottish Government survey on creating a third gender is pretty much irrelevant? Perhaps it should now have a survey asking how many people knew about the survey. I would suggest that those who responded were those with a vested interest.

Michael Watson,

74 Wardlaw Avenue, Rutherglen, Glasgow.