Sex Matters

Ahead of the census debate we are concerned that the definitions of male and female in Scots Law and practice need to be robust and that appropriate protections can also be put in place for the trans community through proper data gathering. But conflating sex and gender serves no-one and hurts many.

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Gender Lessons in Schools

In August, The Scotsman reported on the new RSHP guidance (https://rshp.scot) which is set to be rolled out in schools.
https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/primary-one-children-will-be-told-your-gender-is-what-you-decide-1-4779133

Of concern was the section on gender in the level one guidance aimed at Primary One aged children. Despite a seeming ignorance about how sex is observed either before or after birth and by whom, this started off promisingly, telling children that they are not limited by their sex and that they can participate in any activities or wear any clothing. However, the guidance became muddled when it started to talk about gender, saying that “your gender is what you decide” and that sometimes when people grow up “they decide to change their gender so that they are happier with who they are, this is called being transgender”:

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Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

Press Statement – Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill – Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee Meeting, Scottish Parliament, 06 December 2018

Forwomen.scot were grateful to the CTEEA Committee for listening to our concerns regarding the proposed changes to the census in Scotland.

We believe that, to be robust, a census must capture the most accurate population data possible. Many of our providers – especially in healthcare and social services – have clear need for the most accurate demographic information. This is especially important when considering the rights of women as they are more likely to access public services in Scotland.

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Hostelling Scotland and Serco (Caledonian Sleeper and Northlink Ferries) Update

In June 2018, one of our/ManFriday members put Hostelling Scotland’s policy of “regardless of transgendered status, we will book an accommodation based on how our guests choose to be recognised” to the test by checking into Inverness youth hostel as a self-identified man.  See our earlier report and the Inverness Courier article.

We are now pleased to report that Hostelling Scotland have recently confirmed that all their hostels provide female only accommodation.  See the email reply to an MSP enquiry:

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Scottish Education – In transition or intransigent?

Whenever I go away for some training, or to meet other teachers, in corners and when chatting over cups of tea, we are all asking each other…do you have any yet? What is your Council policy? Is this right?

Well, I found out the policy of my local authority very recently when a pupil declared themselves to be trans to a colleague of mine.

I will say ‘they’, not because of any non-binary status – this pupil very definitely wants to embrace one side of the binary – but because I want to protect this pupil and my own job in one of Scotland’s largest councils.

So, what happened next?

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Response to Gregor Fisher Murray’s Resignation as Children’s Convenor

Since our letter to the First Minister, the SNP Councillor Gregor Fisher Murray has resigned from his positions as Children’s Convenor and Equalities Spokesperson.  However, he still remains as Councillor for Dundee and a member of the SNP.  See the article in the Courier of 10 August 2018:  https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/dundee/703892/childrens-convener-resigns-following-row-over-expletive-laden-social-media-outbursts/

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The Taboo of Sexual Fetishism

The following was contributed by one of our members, Evie Hill.

John is in his mid-fifties and is a middle-class, white professional. He enjoys frequenting women’s shops in order to satisfy his fetish for wearing women’s underwear. This is a true account of what he has told me.

John has found one particular women’s lingerie shop that allows him in early, and shuts its doors to other customers whilst staff attend to him.

He has spent a lot of money in this shop over a three year period, maybe longer.  They will do made-to-measure underwear, which he requires as he has the body of a man.  It is a specialist women’s lingerie shop run by women who are all expert dressmakers. Continue reading