Those wishing to understand the agenda of Prof. Michael O’Flaherty, who has been shortlisted (seriously!) by the European Commission as one of the candidates to be the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s next Director, should urgently acquaint themselves with the “Yogyakarta Principles“, a propagandistic pamphlet of which he is the author. The purpose of the document is to feed in so-called “LGBT Rights” into the political process and at the same time immunitize them against criticism by making the spurious claim that they are part of a long standing “consensus” on “human rights” that all countries of the world have (at least implicitly) accepted long ago and are now obliged to implement.
O’Flaherty’s trick is very simple: in a first step, he recalls the principle of universality of human rights, i.e. that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, which of course includes “human beings of all sexual orientations and gender identities”. This principle is of course uncontroversial and nobody has ever doubted it: every human being has inalienable human rights. These rights must be respected irrespective of a person’s abilities or inabilities, qualities or deficiencies. That’s precisely why they are called “human rights” (and not “nice persons’ rights”, “good persons’ rights”, “clever and productive persons’ rights”, or otherwise…). That’s why not only persons with same-sex attractions, but also pedophiles, gang rapists, neo-nazis, al-Qaeda terrorists, Guantánamo inmates, or asylum seekers and illegal migrants have human rights that must be respected.
But then, in a second step, he goes one by one through a long list of generally recognized human rights and subjects them to a radical re-interpretation regarding what they might specifically mean for his preferred clientèle, i.e. people with unusual sex-lives. So, the sentence gays have human rights” is turned into “gay rights are human rights” – and this in turn means that what ever Mr. O’Flaherty and friends declare to be “gay rights” is immediately elevated into the rank of a universal human right that nobody is allowed to oppose or question. O’Flaherty dixit, end of debate, basta! Dare contradict him, and you will be labelled not only a “homophobe” or a “bigot”, but a “human rights offender” – and your recalcitrant views will be outlawed.
But people with unusual sex-lives do not have other, or more, human rights than anyone else. In other words, O’Flaherty subverts precisely the universality of human rights that he pretends to affirm.
For example, in all international human rights documents “marriage” has the same meaning for everyone: it is a union between a man and a woman. And “family” is defined through marriage and descent, not through anything else. What the Yogyakarta Principles in fact say is that because a small minority does not want marriage and family (in the traditional and universally accepted sense) for themselves, these concepts should be radically re-defined with effect for everyone. This would inter alia mean that the “right” of same-sex couples to be a family would cancel out the right of children to grow up with, and be cared for, both their natural parents.
In the same vein, O’Flaherty’s pamphlet claims that everyone has a right to freely choose his “gender identity”, i.e. a man must be legally treated as a woman if he so desires, and vice versa. But in fact international human rights law does not foresee such a “right” for anyone – neither for normal people nor for those with sexual identification disorders.
Particularly revealing is how O’Flaherty seeks to subvert the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion and conscience, two of the most important human rights. If he has his way, his “sexual rights” agenda will supersede both: only the homo-lobby will have full freedom of speech and self-expression, whereas nobody will be allowed to say or do something that might offend the homo-lobby. In other words, “human rights” (as per the Yogyakarta Principles) are not the same for everyone: there are first-class human rights for people identifying as “LGBT”, and second-class human rights for everyone else. Again, this means to undermine the very principle upon which he builds his own argument, the universality of human rights.
It is a self-evidence that appointing the author of such a pamphlet as Director of the FRA would fly into the face of the Agency’s stated task of providing “objective and reliable” expertise to policy makers. Mr. O’Flaherty has a proven track record that for many years he has systematically been doing the exact opposite: he is a political lobbyist with a very, very radical agenda. And that agenda not solely includes a few fanciful new “rights” for some, but also undermines the he rights of others.
Postscript: here is a link to a recent article by Prof. O’Flaherty for the Irish Times, in which he quotes his “Yogyakarta Principles” as if they were a legal standard that is binding for Ireland. The article is about the Gender Recognition Bill 2014, a radical legislative draft that was subsequently adopted and has made it possible to change one’s legally recognized sex nearly as easily as one changes one’s haircut. But for O’Flaherty the bill was still not radical enough, and therefore it (quite predictably) is found to be “in violation of international human rights law”…
It requires certification from a doctor that he or she believes an applicant “has transitioned or is transitioning [to the] preferred gender” and that he or she is fully satisfied that the applicant understands the consequences. This provision would undermine the autonomy of the applicant, may impede the exercise of personal choice and constitutes a disturbing intrusion into the private sphere. [What a strange understanding of “privacy” this is! In reality, what the “transgender” person wants is to make the public, i.e. the rest of society, officially and legally endorse the pretension that he/she belongs to the opposite sex. Whatever one thinks of this, it clearly relates to the public sphere.]
The Bill should be amended so that the sovereign choice of the applicant is acknowledged. Doctors need to be removed from the picture, as their involvement suggests that gender is a matter of biology. [That’s the nub of the matter: O’Flaherty believes that being a man or a woman is not a matter of biology – but of imagination. The reality must be discarded when it comes into conflict with a person’s “autonomy”.] It is only a small step from that to an insistence that people undertake “gender reassignment” surgery and treatments before being recognised in a new gender identity. This would violate the legal standard, reflected in the Yogyakarta Principles, that gender identity “may” but need not “involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means”. Or as I heard a transgender women put it recently: “How dare anyone insist that I be castrated?” [Only men can be “castrated”, women can’t.]
Give us a break. This man is a freak. Putting him in a position of responsibility would be outright dangerous.