FWS Response to SNP Manifesto

As published in our Twitter thread:

Today @theSNP released their manifesto and, on the Gender Recognition Act, it was as bad as feared. Yes, there is obfuscation to mask intent, but intent is crystal clear. Especially if we judge the SNP by their record and all the things they have failed – and continued to fail – to address.

The manifesto commits to reforming the GRA while ensuring that it will not affect the rights or protections women enjoy under the Equality Act. But what, in reality, does that mean?

Currently, we are fighting the Scottish Government in the courts for their determination to redefine “woman” (EA2010 – female of any age) to include anyone and everyone who uses female pronouns who has a female name – whatever that might mean.

The SNP, laughably, would have us believe that it doesn’t affect women to define us as anything other than a nebulous collection of outdated offensive stereotypes. Indeed an MP is currently arguing on Twitter that it has “literally no impact”.

If @NicolaSturgeon means what she says, she would offer a commitment to the EA2010, she would #axetheact (GRPB), and she would save the money of thousands of ordinary Scottish women who are having to fund this action. Sadly, we don’t believe she will.

If @NicolaSturgeon meant what she says, she would commit to ensure there were no financial disincentives for those seeking gov funding for women’s services who wish to invoke single sex exceptions. Sadly, we don’t believe she will.

If @NicolaSturgeon meant what she says, she would explain how the Scot Gov policy that transwomen are women unless prevented by law came into being, & why, in light of that policy, she fought so hard against #sixwords, pretending that a legally explicit amendment made no odds.

Ms Sturgeon’s government & funded lobbyists have no respect for Equality Act. Women’s orgs in scotland openly advertise positions citing schedule 9 of the Act, but state they are open to transwomen. A transwoman without a GRC holds a senior post at RCS.

We are tired of the gaslighting and the dishonesty. So, Ms Sturgeon, cards on the table.
We are seeking clarity on the manifesto and on comments reported here by @wornoutmumhack:

When you say that you will convene meetings with women, who exactly, do you mean? The groups funded by your government who are already signed up to your agenda or the grassroots organisations with whom you have failed to engage and who challenge you?

Do you mean to address this openly in Parliament and committee, or do you intend to stitch this up – yet again – by appointing unaccountable working groups stuffed with lobbyists with a preordained agenda to preempt conclusions?

When you talk of “international best practice” what do you mean? Your preferred partners in government the SGP have pledged to incorporate Yogyakarta in Scots Law. Can you be honest and address if this is your aim? If so, you should read this article:

Direct link to article: https://archive.ph/CNi5Q

When you say “we also have to reassure any woman who thinks that making life better for trans people is a threat to women’s rights” do you mean to tell us that our well-evidenced fears are nonsense and that you know better?

You also, disgracefully, frame women as being opposed to making “life better” for trans people. Feminists have, for decades, supported minority groups. We will continue to do so, but not if it means sacrificing everything our mothers fought for.

.@NicolaSturgeon, #womenwontwheesht. This dishonest framing is an insult. We do not object to “making life better” for anyone, but we do object to vulnerable women’s lives being made evidentially worse.

Women, men and transsexuals are alert to this. Last year, there were meetings at parliament featuring senior, expert, individuals: medics, lawyers, women’s rights activists, and transsexuals who were all, rightly, worried about your policy. You attended none of them.

We have spent past years begging for scraps from Scot Gov. We fought – as have MSPs – to change badly conceived, illiberal, anti-women law in the teeth of opposition from your government. We have raised £150,000 from ordinary women in Scotland to stop you snatching our rights.

If you want a Scotland where women feel “safe and valued” you would have met us last year, you would meet us now. A “feminist to [her] fingertips” would have done so.

A “feminist to [her] fingertips” would have prioritised the tidal wave of hate against women in Scotland. She would have condemned the appalling abuse of her own MPs and MSPs by angry young men, which shockingly, included death threats.

This would have been a priority in Hate Crime legislation. A feminist would have worked with incredible women like @johannlamont on the sex characteristic. The speeches of Johann, @1_elainesmith, @JennyMarra@JoanMcAlpine were those of feminists. Your gov voted them down.

If you believe your case is strong, you can argue it. If we are ignorant, misguided or bigoted, then face us and expose us. Skewer the weakness in our argument – reassure us if necessary. We don’t think you will and that is to your detriment and to Scotland’s.

If you want to talk, we will talk. If you want to fight, we will continue to fight for women and we will never give up.

To use that suffragette phrase, #DeedsNotWords. The deeds have failed to match the words, but, to be blunt, both are lacking.