THE article in Friday’s National by Joanna Cherry was like a breath of fresh air in a stuffy cellar (This is why I have real concerns around conversion therapy legislation, Nov 19).

It was, for me, the first time I began to get a clear picture of an issue I have been hearing so much about recently yet could not grasp what all the friction was about. Joanna’s explanation of this from her own personal view point is extremely helpful and clear. I believe I now have a much better understanding of this issue and I entirely agree with Joanna’s approach to this, which I consider to be progressive and correct.

My own personal experience is very different from Joanna’s but may be more common for the majority of people. While growing up I do not recall any doubts or concerns about my male sex, it just seemed natural to me, and growing up in a Glasgow slum during the war it was not an issue which seemed of much importance to me with bombing, possible gassing and hunger being very real problems. I just believed that some people were males and some females and that this arrangement was natural and entirely acceptable to everyone, of both sexes.

READ MORE: This is the reality of conversion therapy, I've lived it

I never even knew about homosexuality until much later in life because it was a big secret which was not much discussed. So when eventually I heard about it, I could not understand it and was very prejudiced against it.

Over time, and as I started to realise that homosexuality was a lot more common than I had thought, and when I started to hear people speak of this, I began to recognise that my opposition to the very idea was irrational prejudice and I started to change my mind and to adopt a more tolerant attitude to homosexuality even although I did not understand it.

Later in life, and some years ago now, my wife and I had the experience of having the confidence of a young teenage boy who for a while told us he thought he was changing to female and wanted to discuss it with us. The lad concerned had other problems and changes taking place in his life at that time, and at that age was not entirely sure about a number of things.

We had never faced this question before, but we were aware of the problems teenagers go through about changes in their lives so we cautioned him about making a quick decision. We told him that there were no “right” or “wrong” decisions in this regard that it was for him to take his time and consider his own feelings and that in time he would know what was right for him, and when he was sure we would support him whatever his decision was.

READ MORE: Mhairi Black: Why I stand against conversion therapy in all its guises

He eventually decided to remain as he was, and this seemed to be satisfactory to him in the longer term. However, this experience changed my wife and I quite significantly. This taught us that this question of gender transition was an issue which some young people have to struggle with. For the first time we met this “problem” in a real person we knew and loved and it became a real problem to be addressed.

This is not a situation in which there is certainty. I do not profess to know precisely what should be done in these situations but I am certain that bullying and aggression is most unhelpful.

I think Joanna has got this right, her approach makes sense to me and I can’t understand why anyone should challenge her position, but if they feel they must, please set out their views in a calm and rational way in an article like Joanna has done and let us see, and possibly understand, their concerns and what is driving the frustration and anger.

Andy Anderson