Scotland's Dates With Destiny - Eva Comrie
Contextualising the significance of Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform legislation is vital. Paused in 2019 following women expressing fears of its impact, revived in 2021, the climate for critics is dangerous and aggressive. Meantime promises of progress towards Scottish Independence have been made, broken and rehashed. The SNP’s popularity lost 20 points. The #WomenWontWheesht movement blossomed despite irresponsible smear campaigns. Innumerable YES voters from 2014, alarmed at the prospect of independence if leadership remains intransigent in the face of legitimate concerns, feel forced to choose between women’s rights and their desire that Scotland regains the status of a normal independent country.
The reach of gender ideology is immense. Its impact on our nation’s destiny cannot be ignored. Concerns though about its effects on the rights of women are about sex, specifically maleness, not about people’s trans status.
In 2021 I renewed my Enhanced Disclosure Certification. The application form did not ask sex but gender. I sought clarity. Below is the response provided.
"In the context of the Disclosure Scotland document that you have received, it is understood that this question is asked to confirm a person"s identity. In the wider context, the term sex refers to the physical differences between males and females, whereas a person"s gender identity is not restricted to being either a male or female. As some people do not identify with any gender or identify with multiple genders asking for their gender is more inclusive than asking for their sex.
Whilst there is no legal requirement to ask for gender, it would potentially be discriminatory to people who did not identify as either male or female if they were only asked to provide their sex. On that basis, it would be seen as good practice within local government to ask for gender rather than sex on any particular type of form. In addition to this general observation, the Council has various duties as an employer under the Equality Act 2010, therefore asking for gender rather than sex would be promoting this duty in this particular context."
Further enquiry of Disclosure Scotland led to this :-
"A gender is required on the application. The applicant should use their present name and gender on the form.
They do not have to answer yes to the part of the form which asks for previous names, unless they had other names that do not relate to a previous gender.
Even though they do not need to disclose previous names on the application, they’ll need to provide these to Disclosure Scotland separately by email.
In this e-mail, they would confirm the application reference number
Their contact details
Details of their previous names
(These will not be included on the certificate)"
We have Disclosure to ensure that those working with the vulnerable are safe to be around.
Contrary to what some Government Ministers appear to believe, predators don"t have "PREDATOR" tattoo'ed on the forehead. Children"s panels and Sheriffs appoint professionals to interview children. Self evidently anyone coming into contact with those children must be trustworthy, beyond reproach. You’d expect that truthful, honest and accurate personal information should be demanded.
Reliance on self-reporting is flawed. We now risk the tragic situation whereby a little girl abused by a man to be interviewed by a stranger has no guarantee that her interviewer will be female. Why enable the telling and recording of false information? Who benefits from the taking of unnecessary risks?
Scottish hospitals guidance narrates that if a female patient objects to a transwoman on her ward, nurses should ‘work to allay the patient’s concerns’ and ‘reiterate that the ward is female only and there are no men present.’ A female patient in England was raped by a trans identifying male yet hospital authorities initially refused to disclose to police the presence of a male trans patient on the female ward.
Women’s prisons - in Autumn 2022 a 6’5” male with sexual and assault convictions was remanded to Cornton Vale. Women protested; Holyrood’s politicians stayed silent. Several trans identifying males remain in female wings in Scottish prisons. Our First Minister thinks that one such, now in the male estate, was ‘at it.’ He torpedoes thereby the argument for which he voted, namely that we should believe people when they tell us who they are.
The 6’5” sex offender inhabited a women’s refuge in England last year. Women seeking solace then may have claims against the refuge. Women reluctant to share refuge with trans identifying males in Scotland were required to ‘leave their prejudice at the door.’ Women battered by men risk retraumatisation in refuge or counselling with males. Women in Scotland imprisoned with males have a case to argue cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.
Scotland’s schools build gender neutral toilets. Girls are legally entitled to their own toilets - by virtue of the School Premises (General Requirements and Standards) (Scotland) Regulations 1967. We will see legal challenge where there is inadequate separate private provision for girls.
Women’s arguments for single sex provision were not ‘valid;’ there followed accusations of bigotry for not welcoming males into female spaces. Males have screamed abuse - Witch! Witch! Witch! - and intimidated women at peaceable events. Not one such male was arrested; despite claims that the ‘warning’ would be used for minor offences, an assailant of a woman in Aberdeen was not prosecuted but simply ‘warned’ - notwithstanding corroboration of violence. Warnings have been issued for sex offences. Our female Justice Secretary claims relevant rules are publicly available but FOIs show absurd levels of redactions.
The draft Misogyny Bill will likely include trans identifying males as a class of victim; there is no intelligible explanation on why misogyny was excluded from the Hate Crime Act.
Why have faith in pronouncements on combatting violence against women and girls, promoting women into public boards and elected politics when men can take women’s places, boys can play in girls’ football teams and youths use girls’ toilets?
These developments are painful to observe for those of us who spent a lifetime campaigning for independence.
Support for the SNP plummeted since December 2022 ; some women consider we’re safer in the Union where Tories pretend to be on our side. Rank hypocrisy considering the two-child rape clause but Tories as ever opportunistic.
The gender war in Scotland has not only jeopardised women’s rights; it damaged the lives of transpeople thrust into an unwelcome spotlight. Nobody seriously suggested before these days that it was possible to change sex nor, in the context of commission of sexual offences including rape, had anyone considered the enforced use of female pronouns.
For religious and cultural reasons, decency, safety, peace of mind, recovery, women need single sex spaces. Removing a medical diagnosis as a prerequisite to obtaining a GRC and contending that a GRC changes sex for all purposes, as the Scottish Government has done, only harms single sex rights; in essence male feelings trump the rights of women. Equality is about balancing and respecting the rights of all.
Same sex marriage conferred rights and corrected a wrong; a powerful message of principle and fairness.
The best ending to the current confected argument with Westminster is a negotiated conclusion whereby the GRR Act is nullified. A government elected to deliver independence should concentrate all minds on that goal. Scotland’s people deserve a commitment to a written constitution in an independent Scotland where single biological sex rights, protections and exceptions are enshrined. Once that is achieved our cause will be reenergised and we can march together with confidence and hope towards the freedom which will transform the future destinies of Scotland’s people.