RSHP Education

The national resource for relationshipssexual health and parenthood (RSHP) education for children and young people has changed quite considerably since it first came online at rshp.com, when the Scotsman reported on parents concerns about 5 year-olds being told they could decide whether to be a boy or a girl (see our earlier blog post).

This aspect, along with several others, has thankfully now been removed, and we welcome the improvements. However, there are still considerable concerns over the content.

Mr Ben (on Twitter @crit_gen) sent us the letter that she wrote to John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Education, outlining the main issues. We have reproduced it here with her permission to help other parents write their own letters – Mr Swinney can be emailed at DFMCSE@gov.scot

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Speakers Corner

Sick and tired of being banned from social media and cancelled for telling the truth, women are taking back the public square, one corner at a time.

At 2pm on Sunday 2nd August, women will gather at the foot of the Mound/Princes St in Edinburgh, reviving the tradition of free speech at the site of the historical Speakers’ Corner.

In the current climate of cancel culture, there is a new urgency to demonstrate the right to free speech. Women will describe how they have been harassed, threatened, silenced and fired for daring to define themselves.

Social distancing will be strictly observed and guest speakers will also be live streamed on For Women Scotland YouTube for those who prefer to stay at home.

After the live stream ends, all women are invited to speak for approximately 2 minutes.

Hate Crime Bill – Call for Views

The National Secular Society has some excellent guidance on how to submit a response on the Hate Crime Bill. They have concentrated on concerns regarding free speech with respect to religion or belief – but of course, the proposed law also seriously endangers our ability to speak up about women’s rights, oppose reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, and question the concept of gender identity.

The Hate Crime Bill and Public Order (Scotland) Bill can be found here, and information on how to submit your views to the Justice Committee is here.

Our full submission is here.

We have called for the characteristic “sex” to be added to Part 1 (aggravated offences) of the Bill and outlined how Part 2 (stirring up hatred) would seriously compromise the work of our group and everyone’s freedom to speak about women’s rights. Amendments such as removing the term “abusive” or adding freedom of expression protections for transgender identity will not fully mitigate the risks, so we are calling for Part 2 to be removed from the Bill.

Please email your views to justicecommittee@parliament.scot by the 24th July 2020.

Review of our #BinTheBill GRA Consultation Campaign

On 17th December 2019 the Scottish Government announced the launch of a three month public consultation about changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004. Powerful government funded transgender interest groups were lobbying hard for full deregulation of the legal transition process to allow for any man to change his birth certificate on demand to say he was born female. In the two months prior to the statement about the GRA in June 2019 Stonewall Scotland had meetings in Parliament with 22 different MSPs, including several with the Cabinet Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville. Women’s groups were denied similar access or any input into the framework of the consultation, with Ms Somerville turning down our requests to meet until the end of February, three weeks before the end of the consultation period.

Despite the obvious conflict with female sex-based rights, the public consultation was set to proceed amid a climate of fear which has prevented many women speaking openly about their concerns. Our group has received violent threats for leafleting and our meetings often heavily protested, resulting in the need for an expensive security presence. One meeting at the University of Edinburgh was aggressively protested, resulting in a speaker being attacked by a transactivist. A subsequent meeting was indefinitely postponed as the University could not guarantee the safety of participants. It is perhaps unsurprising then, that unlike other public consultations, the Government did not plan on holding any public awareness meetings throughout the country.

It was against this backdrop that Forwomen.Scot decided to launch our own public awareness campaign to ensure that women’s voices were heard and listened to during the public consultation.

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Demonstration

Scottish Parliament, Saturday 7th March 2020

Thank you to each and everyone of you who turned out for a marvellously successful afternoon of demonstrating at the Scottish Parliament – all of you who didn’t let the wind, cold, short notice and the threat not only of protest but coronavirus stop them from showing up to protect Scottish women’s rights.
#IWD20 #BinTheBill

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Demonstration – 7th March

Please join us for a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament at: 
2pm on Saturday 7th March
(to coincide with the Scottish Women’s Convention and the day before International Women’s Day).

All women and men welcome. Placards provided. Fancy-dress encouraged (suffragettes, witches, whatever!).

Let’s get the Scottish Government to answer some of our questions!

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Census Email Campaign

*** This is an urgent action for TODAY! We hope everyone, male and female, will join in – we’re aiming for a high number of people all sending emails. ***

The CTEEA committee will take evidence from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) in Parliament this Thursday, 12th September 2019.

We are concerned that, despite Parliament voting unanimously for a binary sex question in the census (male and female only, with no “other” option), the NRS is still testing for the guidance to advise answering on the basis of self-identification.  If this were to go ahead as the final guidance it will mean that the census returns inaccurate information regarding the protected characteristic “sex”, and duplicate and confusing information on “gender identity” (as there will also be a voluntary question on this).

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Lesbian Strength March

Blog post by: Shereen Benjamin

Photo credit: @claireOT

Yesterday I had the honour and the privilege of taking a beautiful banner, on loan from Magdalen Berns, down to the Lesbian Strength march in Leeds. I’d seen pictures of the banner previously, but it wasn’t until I saw it for real, up close, that I saw the love, the joy, the defiance, the humour, and the determination that’s been embroidered into its fabric. One of my highlights of the day was getting to meet the wonderful woman who made it as a gift for Magdalen. The banner pretty much sums up the feeling of the day for me – it was a day of lesbians coming together in friendship and sisterhood to say (and sing) out loud and proud that we intend to defend lesbian rights, and have some fun while we’re doing it.

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