Sturgeon challenged to debate the definition of ‘woman’ by her own MP

An SNP MP has challenged Nicola Sturgeon to a public debate on the definition of women.

Writing in The National, Joanna Cherry QC criticised her party leader for previously refusing to answer questions on the issue, saying: “I’ll debate these issues with you in public. Name the date and the place and I will be there.”

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government tabled legislation to allow Scots as young as 16-years-old to change their legal sex merely by self-declaration. The Scottish Parliament’s equalities committee’s call for views on the Bill runs until 16 May.

‘Bullying, intimidation, harassment’

Cherry slammed politicians for ignoring “the bullying, intimidation, and harassment of women in public life who do not agree that anyone should be able to self-identify as a woman”.

She explained that “many of us have the experience of working with survivors of male violence and sexual abuse to know that we are right to be fearful”, yet “no SNP conference has ever properly debated these issues”.

Asserting you are right and refusing to hear opponents is not an argument

Quoting women’s rights group For Women Scotland, Cherry told the First Minister: “Asserting you are right and refusing to hear opponents is not an argument”.


It comes as Disclosure Scotland, a Government agency which conducts criminal background checks for employers, came under fire for not disclosing the biological sex of job applicants.

Maggie Mellon of the social workers group Evidence-Based Social Work Alliance asked: “How can the Scottish Government guarantee the right to single-sex service provision and safeguarding of children if employers are not to be told the actual sex of people who complete enhanced disclosure?

“The processes adopted by Disclosure Scotland seem to directly contradict assurances given that single sex provision is not threatened by accepting gender identity beliefs.”

The Scottish Social Services Council reported that it had been informed of the policy and was considering the issue.

Also see:

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Labour frontbenchers unable to define ‘woman’

Scot Govt Minister slammed for comparing gender self-ID critics to racists

Court of Session rules term ‘women’ only applicable to females

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