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Scottish feminist group says trans protection laws could risk women’s rights

Scottish feminist group says trans protection laws could risk women’s rights

Europe's biggest trans flag carried through the streets of Glasgow group

A feminist group in Scotland that proposed updating trans rights into law risks eroding women’s rights. 

For Women Scotland has said that the Scottish government has failed to properly consider the implications of proposed updates to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004. 

The updates include allowing individuals to change their legal sex by self-declaration. 

The feminist group, which is comprised of activists and academics, made the comments at a public meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday (31 January). 

‘It’s very disingenuous’

The meeting was protested by intersectional feminist group, Sisters Uncut Edinburgh. 

‘While For Women Scot do a sterling job of making transphobia look respectable, their actions and statements do real damage to Scotland’s trans and non-binary community,’ the group said in response. 

‘As a trans woman, I feel this whole event is designed to make transphobia appear respectable, and it’s very disingenuous,’ said Cathy, one of the protestors. 

‘If a debate is what these people want, then there needs to be mutual respect.’

The meeting was attended by around 150 people, most of whom were women, the Guardian reported.

Speaking to the attendees, Susan Smith of For Women Scotland claimed that the group are not attempting to curtail trans rights, but that the proposed legislation might carry numerous caveats with it.

‘We are concerned that the Scottish government is sleepwalking towards a significant erosion of women’s rights, both in terms of proposals to reform the GRA to allow self-identification and the failure to prevent other organizations running ahead of the law and adopting policies which are in breach of the Equality Act,’ Smith said.

‘We’re not here to quibble about toilets and we’re not here to create trouble for those who have battled crippling gender dysphoria. We welcome extra provisions for other vulnerable groups that don’t involve dismantling existing rights. If we cannot see sex, then we cannot see sexism, we cannot define sexuality, and it is the most vulnerable women who will suffer from this.’

Polarising debate

The debate around trans rights in the UK has become increasingly polarising and divisive in recent years, particuarly on social media platforms.

High-profile cases have seen comedy writer Graham Linehan spearheading a campaign to revoke funding for trans rights charity, Mermaids.

In response, a gamer raised more than £338,000 for the charity by playing Donkey Kong 64 during a live streaming session which lasted 57 hours.

On Wednesday, two British anti-trans protestors interrupting a meeting to harras Sarah McBride, a trans woman and the National Press Secretary for LGBTI rights group Human Rights Campaign.