An array of concerned women is uniting in opposition to Scottish Government plans to allow people to choose their own legal sex.
In a respected Scottish journal, Aberdeen University Professor Sarah Pedersen has documented the rise of an “army of women” ready to support those who call out the dangers of giving men access to single-sex safe spaces.
It came ahead of the Scottish Government tabling a Bill to make it much easier for Scots aged 16 and over to choose their own sex.
Danger to women
In an article published in the Scottish Affairs Journal, Prof Pedersen said that a national “constellation” of capable women had emerged in “direct opposition to Government plans”.
Participants in the research project included “women researchers, politicians, journalists and creative artists, and grassroots activists”.
The academic said that words “such as ‘danger’ and ‘alarm’ were used by interviewees to describe their feelings about how the proposed changes might impact on women’s sex-based rights”.
She said some interviewees believed that many “established women’s organisations in Scotland” were pandering to the Government over this issue because of their reliance on its funding.
In keeping with Prof Pedersen’s findings, representatives of more than 15 women’s groups from across Scotland have formed a coalition calling for “single-sex services” to be valued.
The Single Sex Providers Network claims many working in the sector “have concerns about speaking publicly for fear of losing funding for their services in the name of inclusivity”.
It believes that there are “more workers out there who feel silenced and compromised by the cultural changes” driven by an officially adopted “gender ideological stance”.
According to the network’s webpage, the group first formed in 2021 “to offer support and to discuss the changes to the law that were being suggested in the Gender Recognition Bill”.
Women’s groups are threatening legal action, following the introduction of the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill last week.
Currently, Scots wishing to ‘change sex’ must have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and to have lived as if a member of their chosen sex for at least two years.
The new Bill proposes ditching the requirement for the approval of two doctors. If passed, it would also reduce the waiting time to just six months and lower the age that people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate from 18 to 16.
There is widespread concern among campaigners that allowing people to change their sex based on self-declaration would trample on women’s rights and compromise women’s safety in single-sex spaces.
Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS) has recently been criticised for “betraying women” in pursuit of supporting transgender rights.
The charity, which is funded by the Scottish Government, now claims to provide safe spaces for “women with a diverse range of lived experience and views, including trans women and girls”.
However, Ros Whyte, a founder of the rape crisis centre in Glasgow from which RCS emerged, told The Times: “Women must be able to have access to single-sex spaces away from men.”
Whyte said that, although “times may have changed” since the first centre was founded, the “fundamental nature of rape has not”. Men, she argued, should “never be a part of” safe spaces for women.