Church of Scotland apologises after gender self-ID backlash

A Church of Scotland representative has apologised for implying female survivors of abuse have been ‘used or confused’ into voicing concerns over the Scottish Government’s plans to allow people to choose their own legal sex.

Revd Karen Hendry apologised to Holyrood following a backlash over comments she made to its equalities committee in support of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

If passed, the Bill will allow Scots as young as 16 to change their legal sex merely by self-declaration.


During a committee session, Hendry had told MSPs: “The rights and safety of women and girls as survivors of abuse, along with the safeguarding of single sex spaces, have been used to justify arguments against reform.”

She added: “We are concerned that the voices of survivors are being used in this way, which risks confusing vulnerable women and demonising another vulnerable group”.

But she has now apologised “for any offence caused”, saying: “Survivors have legitimacy and all voices in this debate should be listened to with respect and dignity.”

The representative also admitted that she was wrong to claim her evidence reflected “the broad majority of views in the Church of Scotland”, rather than one of its working groups.


Earlier this month, women’s group For Women Scotland blasted Hendry for attempting “to delegitimise voices of survivors distressed by the presence of males in women’s spaces”.

The group tweeted: “We are appalled that women who have spoken up at meetings in the press, who have been vilified as bigots or for ‘weaponising trauma’ are now dismissed too foolish or confused to understand their trauma.”

Also see:


Wales’ First Minister offers a ‘trans-inclusive’ definition of ‘woman’

Church of Scotland votes to allow same-sex weddings

Scot Govt slammed for ‘accepting gender self-ID’ amid risks to women

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