Photo of ridea at an amusement park.

I was prompted to write something about this because Lolsy mentioned it in her own post this morning, and it kind-of triggered something in my head.

She was talking about, but, to summarise, it was a lawsuit regarding giving so-called “puberty blocker” meds to teens. These meds, as the name implies, block puberty, for people who might ultimately want to transition to the other gender.

Lolsy saw this as a sexuality issue, but the judges just said that they thought someone under 16 would be unlikely to give informed consent. I think that “sexuality” came into it as far as realising that this is big-deal treatment, but I think that’s as far as it went.

I have to say, the judges sounded about right to me. The idea of an u16 giving informed consend about anything of this magnitude seems unlikely. In this country, you’re not even allowed to get a tattoo until you’re 18, so the judges were certainly being consistent with existing law. It seems dumb that somebody could start this treatment, but is too young to decorate their bod with Popeye!

But it does raise an interesting issue for me.

The age of criminal responsibility here is 10 years, driving is 17. You can’t start smoking, or drinking, until you’re 18 (smoking was 16 in my day). Also in my day, you had to be 21 before you were allowed to stand for parliament, although that’s also been set to 18 now. And talking about parliament, when women were first given the vote here in 1918, the age was 30. Women gained parity in 1928 (age = 21) and this universal age was dropped only in 1969 (to 18).

My point here is that all these numbers are different. And, seemingly arbitrary.

On the flip-side, we’ve had stories of politicians publishing some quite hateful things, some time ago, and excusing them as immaturity. I was young then (early 20s) but I’m older and wiser now.

So it’s kinda interesting. At what age are we responsible? (who’ll be the first to say “never”?)

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed IT systems in finance, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing mainly health-related software from home, plus some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

16 thoughts on “Responsibility”

  1. Interesting post. Legal ages can be not only arbitrary, but vary from country to country, and alter over time. Child brides were not uncommon in the past, and still exist in some countries.
    On a lighter note, I’m in my mid sixties and still act and feel like a big kid sometimes!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great thought-provoker. I’m likely way down the line, but “never” seems about right to me. The allowed to carry a rifle but not allowed to vote or drink beer thing started the question for me back in the stone age (rifle=sling rocks). Now I suspect the folk really needing guidance in the case of your illustrations are the parents of a prepubescent projecting their confusion onto their children. Which raises the question, “at what age should people be allowed to breed?” Geeze, man, I dunno. If it was up to me… Fortunately in most cases, it’s not.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s funny you should mention parents because somebody’s parents actually brought this case. They were upset that this is really “last resort” treatment, but that their child was straight on in there. And, because the child was in their teens, the parents were excluded from the medical process. The parents were quoted as saying that it’s not the transition itself, but the possibility of getting all this wrong. That’s about where I am, too.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. But while I’m happy for the treatment to be made available to those who qualify, I’m rather less keen on the taxpayer footing the bill. I guess it is the same there, but an insurance co rather than the state. If they agree to fund such treatment, everybody’s premium goes up.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. My mother used to say men never grow up, so probably 16 for girls and 56 for men ha ha. ! 16 year olds should be treated as adults, even if they are still at school getting child allowance! It seems odd you have to prove you are over 25 to buy a knife in a shop – I think I’ve got that right! But puberty blockers sound so wrong, especially when everyone is jumping on the band wagon. I was a tomboy, but I certainly would have regretted it if Mum had whipped me off to the gender change clinic, ovaries taken out at eleven etc. If we didn’t smother little girls in pink and let them be tomboys perhaps they wouldn’t feel the need to change sex. I want to say to the girls who want to become chaps; You don’t have to get married, you don’t have to have babies, you can do anything you want, without years of painful surgery. When you are an adult then if you are really certain, you can get sterilised, have a hysterectomy to avoid periods and be as free as the chaps…. Don’t get me started on the middle aged blokes who suddenly announce they are women, at the genteel coffee morning stage, having avoided forty years of bleeding and the dangers of childbirth!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Love this post and reading everyone’s comments. I don’t believe these puberty blockers and the ‘operations’ should be done until these kids are way past teenage years. Yes, it costs lots of taxpayers money but what about the costs to the individual who realises they’ve made a ‘mistake’ and want to change back. I’ve worked with many and had friends who’ve had the ‘ops’ and then regretted it.
    My young hairdressers of many years had most of the ops, apart from the final one, where he’d lose his penis. He just didn’t want to go that far yet…….. in case he changed his mind.
    However, I do know that he had several long-term relationships with boyfriends who loved him just the way he was. He didn’t like that his boyfriends’ appreciated all his bits and boobs. He was so confused! I haven’t seen him for about ten years now so I don’t know the outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I had a complete about turn, in my beliefs only, fortunately, between about 16-20, so I’m kinda wary to cast anything in stone so young. But putting “me” aside, I’ve read things, like Vic says above, about physiologically, the brain hasn’t stopped developing until mid-twenties.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I know all the ages for smoking, drinking, having sex, voting etc are all so very different in different countries too. So it’s all quite confusing. But I’m with Vic, and the brain not developing fully until out of the teens. I believe youngsters (and their parents) should wait a while before they make huge sometimes unchangeable decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve tended to come to that view, too, over the years. It’s interesting, isn’t it, because in the UK we regularly hear clamours to reduce the voting age, especially, to 16.
      It’s interesting, too, that the criminal age is so much lower. Maybe we need to bring two ages into law: the age you should know right from wrong, and the age where you know your own mind.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Crikey, I can’t imagine knowing or caring who to vote for at 16 – maybe todays kids are more grown up?
        Criminal age is a tricky one, me thinks. Look at the Bulger case – they should have known right from wrong and each known in their own mind that the other one was doing wrong?

        Liked by 1 person

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