Self-ID is dangerous lunacy that threatens women's rights

When asked what sex the prisoner Adam Graham, aka Isla Bryson, was, the First Minister refused to say, insisting that he or she was simply a rapist. It seems we’ve now got three sexes in Scottish prisons: male, female and rapists.

There we have it, though I’ve never heard of that biological classification and there’s a clue in the crime, which can only be perpetrated by a male. The new definition was echoed by another Scottish Government minister, no doubt seeking to maintain the First Minister’s fiction. Trans women are women except when they’re rapists is an Orwellian absurdity.

But there’s a lot of cant and hypocrisy from the Tories. Whatever concern Rishi Sunak has for females in Scottish prisons, it doesn’t seem to apply to those in English and Welsh ones. As I’ve written before, the number of males there in the women’s estate who are simply self-identifying as female, while still being physically male, dwarfs those in Scotland and predates our current debacle. I share the PM’s concern but maybe he should sort out his own prison service first.

As a former Scottish Justice Secretary, I think it’s ludicrous to suggest that Graham’s initial incarceration in Cornton Vale women’s prison was a decision made solely by the Scottish Prison Service. The organisation’s an executive agency, though at one stage and before my tenure it was inhouse at St Andrews House. It’s outside now, but the close liaison continues.

Besides monthly meetings with the chief executive, there is regular contact even out of hours when deaths in custody or disturbances happen, and prisoners and issues are discussed. There’s no way that this wouldn’t have been discussed or carried out against the minister’s will. As for risk assessment, that happens with every prisoner to some extent and that excuse is a smokescreen.

Of course, the Justice Secretary isn’t appraised of everything as administration and operational matters remain with the service which is why when transgender reform first commenced in 2014, I wasn’t informed. It was viewed then as routine and even, no doubt, uncontroversial. Some change was needed, and the actions were viewed as well-intentioned.

But then came mission creep and the ‘Stonewall Agenda’, as it’s called. By 2019, issues began looming. Realising what was happening both former governors and feminists began to call it out. Self-ID was coming into the equation and fears for women prisoners’ safety were growing. By then ministers on both sides of the Border would have been aware and should have acted to stop this. But in Scotland and even Westminster, the push was on for the new agenda. Nicola Sturgeon, like some ministers south of the Border, signed up for it. Indeed she’s become an evangelist for it.

It’s not just the danger to female prisoners but future policy as gender data essential for planning’s rendered absurd, with men recorded as women and statistics compromised. Moreover, those pursuing this agenda decided to start with prisons as if they could secure it there, they could achieve it anywhere. It’s access to female spaces that they seek.

Women’s toilets are controversial enough but just wait ’til the issue hits care homes and hospitals. This absurdity must stop. Trans rights are one thing, self-ID is dangerous lunacy. Women’s, not just women prisoners’, rights need protected.

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