J.K. Rowling today lent her support to Scottish activists who demonstrated outside Holyrood in opposition to contentious transgender policies.
In protest of the measures, For Women Scotland (FWS) demonstrators gathered outside the Scottish Parliament this morning for a demonstration, stating they are placing women’s rights “in peril.”
The drive to pass legislation that would make it simpler for transgender persons to be legally recognized as their chosen gender has been spearheaded by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
A watchdog warned this week that enabling individuals to self-identify might lead to “confusion” about their status in other regions of the UK. However, the ideas have come under fire in recent months.
As a committee meeting on the subject was conducted this morning, FWS leaders urged activists to “come, contribute your voice and convey a message that women count.”
Nicola Sturgeon, killer of women’s rights, reads the t-shirt that novelist and Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling posted online, showing her support for the organisation.
I stand in solidarity with @ForWomenScot and all women speaking up and demonstrating outside the Scottish parliament, she tweeted. #NoToSelfID’.
We think that there are only two sexes and that a person’s sex cannot be altered, according to a statement on the organization’s website. Women have a right to dignity, safety, and justice.
It comes after the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee’s majority recommendation today that the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill’s fundamental provisions be passed.
We think these significant revisions would enhance the lives and experiences of trans persons, said committee chair Joe FitzPatrick.
According to documents submitted with the bill by the Scottish Government, the number of persons asking for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) might rise from 30 per year to 250–300 as a consequence of the revisions.
The measure was supported by five MSPs on the committee, but Pam Gosal and Rachael Hamilton, two Conservatives, were against it.
The Bill reduces the age from 18 to 16 and outlines efforts to shorten the application process for a GRC.
There would be no longer be a need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, eliminating the need for physician reports.
A three-month “reflection period” would be added to the procedure, but the amount of time someone must have lived with their “acquired gender” before applying would be decreased from two years to three months under the law.
In a recent Scottish Government survey, it was shown that 60% of participants supported switching to a self-declaration system.
Because they “believe that trans persons know their own thoughts,” the majority of MSPs on the committee supported doing away with the need for any medical documentation or diagnosis.
But other committee members were “concerned that the elimination of the need for gender dysphoria and the necessity for medical proof may open the GRC procedure to a broader and more diversified group of persons,” according to the committee report.
That “may possibly imply the procedure is subject to misuse by bad faith actors, notably predatory males,” is what they worry.
Concerns have also been expressed regarding how the revisions may affect single-sex areas for women and girls, such as restrooms or locker rooms that are just for females.
According to the report, the majority of MSPs on the committee concur that, despite their “sincerely held” nature, these opinions, “including the option to exclude trans persons from single-sex services when proportional and appropriate,” would not be altered by the Bill.
“The majority is confident that the Bill will neither modify or eliminate women’s rights, make changes to how bathrooms and changing rooms work, redefine what it means to be a man or a woman, or change or increase trans people’s rights,” the committee report said.
When examining the measure, MSPs received a “broad variety of perspectives,” according to Mr. FitzPatrick.
It comes after the Equality and Human Rights Commission issued the UK and Scottish governments a list of issues with the idea, including access to services.
If the Equality Act is approved by Holyrood, the watchdog warned that “practical problems or uncertainty are likely to occur in cross-border scenarios.”
People who altered their gender in Scotland but in another region of the UK, according to the letter, would have issues with their “legal standing and rights.”
Regardless of whether the UK government acknowledged GRCs awarded in Scotland, officials would still face additional problems.
According to The Telegraph, it would be difficult for both services and employers to identify a person’s legal gender without resorting to “intrusive or insulting” procedures like requesting to see a birth certificate or GRC.
Before the law is passed, the watchdog asked both governments to “work constructively together” to resolve the concerns it outlined.