The butterfly effect describes how the flapping of tiny wings in China may cause a hurricane in the Caribbean a couple of weeks later. The hurricane tearing through social policy in Scotland at the moment also had small beginnings: not in China 14 days ago but in Yogyakarta, Indonesia 14 years ago. This, however, was no accident of chaos — it was deliberate and planned.
Future historians may marvel how that meeting of human rights groups in Yogyakarta established gender identity as an innate human quality and decided that it must be protected in law. At the time, in 2006, political commentators at home were more concerned with the so-called Granita Pact, and whether Tony Blair would ever resign in Gordon Brown’s favour. But Yogyakarta triggered a chain of events that would eventually challenge the use of biological sex to divide humanity. While the definition of gender identity was vague — how can you define what is in essence a feeling in our heads? — the vision was grand.