Abuse and Women’s Rights

The following was posted as a long thread on our Twitter account 29 June 2020:

The past 24 hours have seen another fab thread from @jk_rowling which, inevitably, resulted in further abuse. However, senior politicians in Scotland have been more focused on promoting a post from Teddy Hope, a non-binary member of @theSNP.

The unverified account from Hope about a meeting which took place several months ago has been countered by members of @WomensPledge who were also present.

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Gender Recognition Reform Bill Consultation – FWS submission

We have submitted our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act as follows. A pdf copy can be downloaded here.

Question 1
Do you have any comments on the proposal that applicants must live in their acquired gender for at least 3 months before applying for a GRC?
Yes ✓
No ☐
If yes, please outline these comments
.

There is no clear definition in the consultation paper as to what living in an acquired gender means and the draft Bill removes the current requirement to provide evidence that this criteria has been met. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 defines the “acquired gender” as the gender in which the person is living, which, without a definition of “gender”, is both circular and meaningless. If the law is to be reformed it is essential that this term is clarified, particularly if an applicant is expected to declare under oath, subject to a potential criminal offence, that they meet this requirement.

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Count Women So Women Count

When will you start caring about data? About the importance of sex-disaggregated data? When will you start caring about the way in which we are already replacing data on sex with data on gender identity? When will you realise that it matters? That counting women matters or else they quite literally don’t count.

Maybe you will start caring when the newspapers report that there is an apparent explosion in ‘female’ sexual offending rates. Because it won’t take many transwomen being convicted of sexual offences to double or triple the offending rate.

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Women’s Rights and Academic Freedom – Part 2

On January 21st we published this blog post telling the sorry tale of how the University of Edinburgh is systematically promoting an uncritical acceptance of gender identity ideology, while allowing critical discussion of that ideology to be closed down. We included in that post nine questions we sent to University managers, some of which related to the postponed event on gender diversity in schools, and some of which related to the wider questions about academic freedom raised by the Guardian article on 14/01/20.

At the end of last week we received an answer from Gavin Douglas, Deputy Secretary of the University. His email, which would appear to be a circular one since we know others have received identical mails, answered none of the nine questions we’d asked. Nor did it indicate that university management have any interest in dealing with the problems documented in our last blog post.

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Women’s Rights and Academic Freedom

According to the tenets of gender identity ideology, every individual has an inner gendered self which manifests as gender identity (a sense of maleness or femaleness) – and this gender identity is the only accurate way of categorising an individual as a man, a woman, both or neither. Under this ideology, biological sex is reduced to a social construction and only gender identity is real. Such a way of thinking clearly has major implications for women’s rights which have been won on the basis of sex, and for the education and safeguarding of children.

You might think that universities are the very places where ideologies with far-reaching consequences can be critically examined, where arguments and counter-arguments based on evidence can be advanced, and where respectful discussion about ways forward in fields like law, criminal justice, health, education and social work can take place. But you would be wrong.

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Meeting with Scottish Government Officials

We were very surprised to see the consultation paper that accompanies the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill state that a member of Forwomen.Scot had met with Scottish Government officials – so keen were they to mention this meeting that it was repeated on three separate occasions throughout the document (pages, 114, 117 and 152), even including a reference to our website.

Which would have been nice – except we have never met any Scottish Government Officials.

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Funding Conditions

The Scottish Government funds organisations working towards the outcomes in their Equally Safe policy for eradicating violence against women and girls. Funds were last awarded in 2017 for a three year period to 85 organisations, including 33 Women’s Aid groups across the country, who each received an average of £148,000 per year.

A Freedom of Information response uncovered the following Eligibility Criteria which outlines the conditions that each organisation must meet before submitting a funding application.

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Sandyford

A recent Freedom of Information response, as reported in today’s The Times, has revealed that referrals for Scottish children to the Sandyford Young People’s Gender Service have risen by an unprecedented 705% since 2013, in comparison to a rise of 438% for the Tavistock in London over the same time period.

As of 2018 there are also an additional 470 children (aged 16.5 years or younger) on a waiting list for a first appointment.

The age group with the largest number of referrals is that of 15-16 year olds, for whom referrals have increased by 35% in the year from 2017 to 2018. Worryingly the number of much younger children referred has rocketed with a rise of 62% for 11-12 year olds, and a startling rise of 83% for 4-10 year olds between 2017 and 2018.

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LGBT Youth Scotland – Freedom of Information Request

In 2017, guidance for schools was published by LGBT Youth Scotland, entitled “Supporting Transgender Young People: Guidance for Schools in Scotland”. While its aim was to help schools support children who identify as transgender, the publication was heavily criticised for its failure to consider the specific rights and needs of girls and the negative impact that many of the recommendations made within the guidance would have on them. The production of the guidance was funded by the Scottish Government and it carries the Scottish Government logo prominently on its front cover. Despite this, the Scottish Government were reluctant to take any responsibility for the guidance stating, in response to the sustained criticism, that it would be inappropriate for them to review the guidance and that it had the full support of Ministers. However, in June 2019 the Scottish Government unexpectedly announced their decision to replace the LGBT Youth Scotland publication with guidance produced by the Scottish Government. This post explores the reasoning behind this decision, what we know about the development of the new guidance so far, and LGBTYS involvement.

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