Quote# 142241

Scottish feminist group says transgender laws risk women's rights

For Women Scotland says government is ‘sleepwalking’ towards erosion of rights

The Scottish government risks sleepwalking towards a significant erosion of women’s rights, according to a group of feminist activists and academics that held its first public meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday evening to discuss proposed changes to transgender legislation.

The group, For Women Scotland, claims that it has support from MSPs across the political spectrum who share their concern that the SNP government is failing to consider adequately the implications for the rights of women and girls of proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004, such as allowing individuals to change their legal sex by means of self-declaration.

When the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, originally pledged to radically reform gender recognition law for trans people in 2016, she said that the move would be as important in her next parliamentary term as equal marriage was to the last. But the proposals were not included in last autumn’s programme for government, which has been taken as an indication of the concern within the SNP.

The intersectional feminist activists Sisters Uncut Edinburgh organised a protest against the meeting, stating: “While For Women Scot do a sterling job of making transphobia look respectable, their actions and statements do real damage to Scotland’s trans and non-binary community.”

Among the 40-strong protest, Red, a charity worker, said: “Groups like this are selling a very weighted narrative, and obscuring the facts. For example, they say that changes to the GRA will allow trans women into women’s spaces, when actually they were allowed before. They are trying to make it seem an immediate and sudden threat.”

Another protester, Cathy, said: “As a trans woman, I feel this whole event is designed to make transphobia appear respectable, and it’s very disingenuous. If a debate is what these people want, then there needs to be mutual respect.”

Speaking to a largely female audience of about 150 within the meeting venue, Susan Smith, of For Women Scotland, said: “We are concerned that the Scottish government is sleepwalking towards a significant erosion of women’s rights, both in terms of proposals to reform the GRA to allow self-identification and the failure to prevent other organisations running ahead of the law and adopting policies which are in breach of the Equality Act.

“We’re not here to quibble about toilets and we’re not here to create trouble for those who have battled crippling gender dysphoria. We welcome extra provisions for other vulnerable groups that don’t involve dismantling existing rights. If we cannot see sex, then we cannot see sexism, we cannot define sexuality, and it is the most vulnerable women who will suffer from this.”

Thursday’s meeting marked the most public expression in Scotland of increasingly vocal concerns around transgender issues.

The meeting also discussed concerns about guidelines for schools, contained in a document, Supporting Transgender Young People, and written in partnership with LGBT Youth Scotland and Scottish Trans Alliance, which say that schoolchildren should be able to compete in the sports events and use changing rooms and toilets for the gender they identify with.

Another feminist campaign group, Women and Girls in Scotland, published their own children’s rights impact analysis earlier this week. It argues that the guidelines undermine 10 articles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.

On Tuesday, a group of 25 academics, activists and former MSPs signed an open letter calling on Sturgeon to commit to carrying out a full equality impact assessment of the proposed reforms to the GRA. It noted: “Many individuals responding to the consultation raised concerns about how the proposals could affect the practical operation of the single-sex protections under the Equality Act 2010.”

Last month, the Guardian reported on concerns amongst data experts that proposed changes to the question about sex, to be asked in Scotland’s next census, risk undermining the reliability of the survey and set a difficult precedent for equalities protection.

For Women Scotland, The Guardian 11 Comments [2/1/2019 1:48:25 PM]
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UGH! Now there's TERFs in Scotland!


....Time for some Scottish Housecleaning!

Thank you, Bala-Tik....You sexy space pirate lad, you....

....Gawd! You're so boyishly cute and elf-like! I wanna make myself like a rathtar all over you!

I can't help it, I have a crush on Bala-Tik....

....so weirdly cute, sexy and grumpy. *chuuuuuu*

2/1/2019 4:00:56 PM


Freaking TERFs.

2/1/2019 5:51:28 PM


Aw fuck it, every country has its shitnuts. As long as all they get to do is inane screeching, it's all cool.

2/1/2019 6:31:28 PM


I think TERFs are literally Female Supremacists. The root of it all is "Men bad!".

2/1/2019 9:16:40 PM


TERFs are to feminism what David J. Stewart is to Christianity.

2/2/2019 8:03:52 PM


I found an article that may explain this "TERF" thing....
....It's likely a wingnut "fifth column" thingy meant to discredit both feminism and LGBTQ+ Pride.

2/2/2019 10:09:27 PM


I don't know of any good reason to assume bad faith here, Spuki.

It's a common form of feminist rhetoric, or at least it was, that the only non-learned difference between men and women are their genitals, which shouldn't have any bearing on your social standing because your junk has nothing to do with whether you'd make a good president or mechanical engineer. That's the start and end of it: gender, like race, is 100% a social construct attached to an irrelevant physical characteristic.

Now some young cis lady, who's grown up in a sheltered home that accepts gender equality*, gets her first exposure to transgender issues through the news about "bathroom bills." The obvious question to ask is "Why would a man ever want to take on the social role of a woman?"** The "he's actually a she" answer is meaningless if you don't accept the existence of cognitive differences between the genders*** and they weren't born with ambiguous genitalia or whatever. While sexual dysphoria would be a perfectly sensible answer, the fact that transpeople do want the social role of their chosen gender, and some of them don't even get SRS, means it's not sufficient. Paranoia, driven by fear of the unfamiliar****, does the rest.

None of the above makes transphobia okay, but it does mean that you don't have a basis for accusing every TERF of being a G.I.R.L., an opposite-world Red Pill, or a conservative plant who's only pretending to care about the cause for women's rights. The root of the problem is fear, which leads to anger, which then leads to hate. The fact that transition has been proven in practice, but lacks a consensus theoretical basis, doesn't help.

* What third-wave intersectionalists would call "white feminism", since it essentially ignores anything considered "queer".

** She'll probably eventually discover the existence of F2M transpeople, but that's after she's likely to have already formed a first impression.

*** I support transgendered rights, and even I'm not convinced that brain sex has been demonstrated to exist. Minor correlations between the size of structures have been shown, but similar effects have been seen in taxi drivers. There's also a bunch of overlap, where self-identified cis men have woman-typical brains in various ways.

**** Once you've already accepted the possibility that men are lying about their experience in order to live out a fetish, "get familiar" isn't a workable answer. Anything they hear can be dismissed with "it's a lie; we cannot objectively prove one way or the other whether you're doing this to satisfy your lust, and the answer you're giving would potentially overturn the worldview that legitimizes my claim as a woman to deserve equal rights with men, so I'm going with the assumption that you are lying."

2/3/2019 1:53:41 PM



"gender, like race, is 100% a social construct attached to an irrelevant physical characteristic."

I agree with you that terfs aren't in bad faith, but this is not an accurate portrayal of their standpoint. I mean, they don't believe in gender I guess, but they definitely don't think genitals is the only difference. According to them, biology is the root of patriarchal oppression. Important points include the fact that women are generally smaller and physically weaker, also their reproductive role.

2/3/2019 3:17:58 PM

Doubting Thomas

Oh FFS... there's not a set amount of rights to go around. Giving other people rights doesn't take yours away.

2/4/2019 10:40:29 AM


@ Doubting Thomas

What are you talking about? I mean literally specify the rights. I don't think I neglected any major ones to this discussion.

2/14/2019 1:32:17 PM


According to them, biology is the root of patriarchal oppression.

Yeah, I know that what I posted isn't really in the radfem framework. A lot of people use the acronym "TERF" even for transphobic feminists who do not subscribe to radical materialism (like with the above quote, there's no sign that For Women Scotland self-describes as radical, but Spuki still called them TERFs).

2/15/2019 1:54:04 PM

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