Men who claim to be women are being allowed to use single-sex changing rooms and attend female-only sports sessions at leisure facilities across Glasgow.
Glasgow Life’s transgender policy applies not only to people who have undergone reassignment surgery, but all those who say they identify as the opposite sex.
Staff are told to “sensitively” explain the rules to anyone who objects, and register incidents as a hate crime.
Staff at the council-run sports centres have been told that anyone who identifies as the opposite sex must be allowed to use the changing rooms of their choice.
The guidance also states: “The person is entitled to participate in single sex sessions and cannot be excluded from their chosen gender.”
Critics say the policy will render single-sex spaces meaningless, and could deter women from taking part in sport.
Concerned women say the council has failed to consider the rights of other visitors and have misused equality law.
Susan Sinclair, from Scottish Women, said the guidance “is yet another example of a policy change by our Public Authorities that misinterprets the 2010 Equality Act”.
“Single sex changing rooms and showers are permitted under our Equality law, and this would include the exclusion of trans people of the opposite sex.
“Yet Glasgow Life wrongly state that the Equality Act 2010 allows trans people to choose their changing and showering facilities.”
Sinclair added: “This is extremely alarming and is wide open to abuse from sexual predators.
“Glasgow Life needs to urgently review their guidance with a view on how this negatively impacts on women and girls who have sex based protections.”
Critics also argue that the policy could discourage children, people with a history of trauma or abuse, or people from different faiths and cultural backgrounds from attending the centres.