The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has urged the Scottish Government to consider the “potential consequences” of its controversial gender reforms.
Melanie Field, an Executive Director at the EHRC, was giving evidence to the equalities committee on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.
If passed, the Bill would allow Scots as young as 16 to change their legal sex merely by self-declaration.
Field told the committee that “more detailed consideration is needed before legislative change is made”.
“Questions continue to be raised in different quarters about potential consequences. For example, in relation to the collection and use of data, participation and drug testing in competitive sport, measures to address barriers facing women and practices within the criminal justice system.”
Maya Forstater, founder of campaign group Sex Matters, warned that the Bill could also create “an extraordinary state-sponsored invisibility cloak”, as it would be a crime to reveal what a person’s legal sex was before they applied for a Gender Recognition Certificate.
She said this “removes the ability to check whether a person already appears in the safeguarding database under another identity”. Forstater highlighted that a person could repeat the process, “returning to their biological sex, with a new identity that has no public link to either of their previous identities”.
Earlier this month, an SNP MP challenged Nicola Sturgeon to a public debate on the definition of women.
Writing in The National, Joanna Cherry QC criticised her party leader for previously refusing to answer questions on the issue, saying: “I’ll debate these issues with you in public. Name the date and the place and I will be there.”
Cherry slammed politicians for ignoring “the bullying, intimidation, and harassment of women in public life who do not agree that anyone should be able to self-identify as a woman”.