Sturgeon cautioned over radical gender proposals

Nicola Sturgeon is under pressure from her party to abandon plans drastically changing the law on legal ‘sex swaps’.

Her 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.

One of the First Minister’s former advisers, Kevin Pringle, called for the SNP’s new gender recognition Bill to be delayed until after the next Holyrood election in 2021, fearing the divisive issue risks damaging the Government.

‘Legitimate concerns’

Writing in The Sunday Times, Pringle said the proposed changes raise “profound issues, not least the sex-based rights of women and protection of female-only spaces”.

The Scottish Government’s consultation on the proposed changes closes on 17 March.

But he accused trans activists of “belligerence” and “intolerance” and an “aggressive style” in seeking to push through the radical changes.

“If campaigners aren’t prepared to engage with critics and discuss legitimate concerns patiently and respectfully, all with a view to winning their case among the wider public, then Scottish ministers can ill afford to expend finite political capital on their behalf.”

It follows news that politicians in Westminster are expected to shelve similar plans in England.


SNP MP Joanna Cherry highlighted the abuse she and others have faced within the party because they believe changing the law puts women at risk.

Last week, she said: “The online abuse does take its toll but I am more worried about the cumulative and detrimental effect on what it does for the role of women in politics and in the media; young women in particular.”

She added: “The attacks on me and other women in the party are clearly a breach of our code of conduct and must be dealt with.”


The SNP Women’s Pledge, a group of party members and supporters who disagree with the proposed change, said last week they are being “silenced with threats of violence” and left “very much out in the cold”.

Caroline McAllister, who heads the group, said members are dismissed as bigots and are demonised for raising “perfectly reasonable concerns”, while the activists pushing for change “receive millions of pounds” in government grants.

The Scottish Government’s consultation on the proposed changes closes on 17 March.

Also see:

Scot Govt trans reform unleashes ‘gender free-for-all’

Scots sex swap plan raises prospect of ‘transgender Gretna’

Speak out against sex changes on demand

‘After gruesome trans surgery, I’ve returned to my birth sex’

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