The Scottish Government’s plans to allow people to change their legal sex based on self-declaration “will harm the most vulnerable women in society”, JK Rowling has warned.
The Harry Potter author tweeted that it will threaten “those seeking help after male violence/rape and incarcerated women. Statistics show that imprisoned women are already far more likely to have been previously abused.”
If passed, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would make it much easier for Scots to choose their own legal sex, including reducing the minimum age to 16.
Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, has come under fire for claiming: “There is no evidence that predatory and abusive men have ever had to pretend to be anything else to carry out abusive and predatory behaviour.”
JK Rowling called her comments “astounding”. But she praised the response of Scotsman columnist Susan Dalgety who wrote: “I have no idea why Shona Robison and her close friend and boss, Nicola Sturgeon, refuse to believe women when we say we fear the consequences of a law that redefines what it means to be female.”
She added: “What I do know is that on Thursday, two of the most powerful women in Scotland betrayed every other woman and girl in the country. All 2.7 million of us.”
Police Scotland’s policy that it will record criminals’ sex based upon how they “present or self-declare”, including in cases of rape, is also being reviewed following criticism.
Scottish Conservative MSP Meghan Gallacher criticised Green Party co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie for claiming JK Rowling was “not helping” the debate on transgenderism.
Two of the most powerful women in Scotland betrayed every other woman and girl in the country. All 2.7 million of us.
Gallacher said that “JK Rowling and the thousands of other women with serious and reasonable concerns about this Bill should be treated with respect”, suggesting that “these government ministers apologise to JK Rowling and instead of trying to silence her, they listen to her”.
The Daily Telegraph commented that rushing the Scottish Government’s Bill through “in a bid to satisfy a small but vocal group of activists is another step in the wrong direction”.
According to SNP Government sources, Ministers will be required to vote in favour of the Bill.
Currently, Scots wishing to ‘change sex’ must have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and live as if a member of their chosen sex for at least two years.
The 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.
Campaigners for safe single-sex spaces have been likened to racial segregationists in an Equality Impact Assessment accompanying the Bill, which referenced Professor Suzanne Eckes’ work on transgender access to school restrooms.