Over 150 arts professionals have signed a letter expressing “whole-hearted support” for the Scottish Poetry Library’s defence of free speech under pressure from transgender activists.
Last month, Glasgow Women’s Library denied access to a women’s group whose members do not believe people can ‘change sex’ by self-declaration.
The Scottish Poetry Library issued a statement supporting writers’ free speech, including those who have been bullied online and no-platformed at literary events for expressing their views on gender self-identification.
The Library’s statement read: “What we do not support, and will no longer ignore, is bullying and calls for no-platforming of writers in events programmes and in publishing”.
Director Asif Khan added: “We are the first arts organisation in the UK to speak up on this but we will fight for freedom of expression as a core value of the organisation”.
The artists praised the library for its stand, writing: “From universities, to arts organisations, libraries and government departments, the no-platforming and bullying of anyone holding views not actively endorsing extreme gender ideology is destroying our cultural life.”
They added: “The first step of an ideological takeover is to alter language to suit ideological aims. We all know our Orwell: meaning is the battle ground for freedom of thought”.
the no-platforming and bullying of anyone holding views not actively endorsing extreme gender ideology is destroying our cultural life
It comes amid growing pressure on the Scottish Government to abandon its plans to drastically change the law on legal ‘sex swaps’.
The Scottish Government wants to reduce the time taken to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate from two years to just six months, and to allow people to change their legal sex from as young as 16.
But, writing in The Times, Jenny Marra MSP said the legislation is “badly lacking” in “diligent and detailed analysis”.
The proposals were expected to be implemented before the 2021 Holyrood election, but may now be delayed due to the rapid spread of COVID-19.