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Scots trans Bill could cause mayhem


TODAY the Scottish Parliament will debate, and very possibly approve, the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. This Bill will allow anyone to be given a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which recognises a change of gender, purely on self-identification without any medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

The Bill would establish the criterion for legal status of sex as a matter of simple self-declaration of ‘gender identity’. If passed, the Bill will erode the scientific, biological basis for the protected characteristic ‘sex’. All rights and protections of women and girls as the female sex will be affected. The legal and cultural definition of ‘woman’ will be changed from a person who is of the female sex to a person of either sex who has a feeling of being a woman. 

Last Monday Court of Session judge Lady Haldane confirmed unequivocally that in the eyes of the law a biological male with a GRC becomes legally female and gains significant rights. She found that ‘sex’ is not limited to biological or birth sex, ‘but includes those in possession of a GRC’.

The Bill would allow any person to gain legal status as the opposite sex, for whatever reason or motive, based on their self-declared identity which no one would have the right to question. Any male aged 16 or over and who has ‘lived as a woman’ for three months and who claims he’s a woman may be issued with a new birth certificate to say that he was born female, which would be an outright untruth.

If Scots law says a man is a woman based solely on his self-declaration, how can service providers prevent any man who says he’s a woman from accessing facilities supposedly only for girls and women? J K Rowling, a formidable opponent of the Bill, said the First Minister’s changes could be to blame for cases of ‘voyeurism, sexual harassment, assault or rape’.

This Bill poses a huge threat to single-sex spaces and would undoubtedly create a powerful new weapon which predatory men can exploit to harm women and girls. Hospital wards, changing rooms, toilets, all will become open to men claiming to be women for whatever reason, and a woman resisting their encroachment will potentially be guilty of a hate crime.

The draft Bill states that a false declaration would constitute a criminal act, punishable by up to two years in jail. This places a risible reliance upon the honesty of a sexual predator. The reality is that a law based on self-declaration contains no mechanism by which one person’s feelings may be assessed as ‘true’ and another person’s as ‘false’. If gender identity is based solely on how an individual feels, how could a court prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a declaration had been made in bad faith?

The proposed law would affirm a confused adolescent’s belief that their gender identity is their true sex, an idea which teenagers are learning online and through teaching materials produced or promoted by transgender lobby groups. 

If this Bill is passed, children who are uncertain about their gender will be encouraged to believe that their emotions are reality and their actual sex is immaterial. The likely outcome is that an increasing number of vulnerable youngsters, particularly girls, will undergo life-changing medical intervention before their identity stabilises. If the law says a 16-year-old girl is really a boy because she identifies as a boy, how can a clinician or counsellor do other than affirm that identity? 

Official figures show that transgender prisoners are five times more likely to carry out sex attacks on inmates at women’s jails than other prisoners. Yet Nicola Sturgeon in effect maintains that there will be no danger to women who are locked up with possibly predatory men. One such is convicted paedophile Katie Dolatowski who has twice targeted young girls.  Dolatowski, a 6ft 5in man identifying as a woman, assaulted a fellow inmate while detained with male prisoners in January last year and was subsequently transferred to an all-female prison. Ms Sturgeon trusts the good intentions of such a man.

The Scottish Prison Service’s gender identity and gender reassignment policy introduced in 2014 was developed with the Scottish Trans Alliance and Stonewall. Another of the architects of the policy was former Barlinnie prison officer Gordon Pike who was convicted in 2018 of possessing 22,000 images of children being abused.

One reason for the urgency with which Sturgeon is rushing passage of the Bill is her Finance Minister Kate Forbes. Forbes is a member of the Free Church of Scotland and as a convinced Christian strongly opposes the gender Bill. She has been on maternity leave since June and Sturgeon is pushing for a vote before Forbes returns and votes against it. Sturgeon has refused to allow the SNP a free vote and would have to sack Forbes, widely acknowledged as the most able member of Sturgeon’s cabinet.

The Scottish Greens are wholeheartedly behind this Bill which perhaps explains why a party which got only 1.3 per cent of the constituency vote and 4.9 per cent of the total vote (constituency plus regional) got two seats in Sturgeon’s cabinet. Scottish Greens display little concern about the environment; they are however obsessed with independence and LGBTQ etc issues. Unless there is an unusual display of backbone amongst SNP members at Holyrood, this Bill will be pushed through with the assistance of Scottish Labour and Scottish Lib Dems.

This article appeared in A Grain of Sand on December 19, 2022, and is republished by kind permission. 

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Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack
Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack
Campbell is a retired Presbyterian minister who lives in Stirlingshire. He blogs at A Grain of Sand.

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