A Guest Article from Denise Findlay in advance of the Women’s Conference.
It has been a hard few years for the women who support Scottish independence. The women have endured vicious bullying, name calling, doxing and rape threats simply for trying to stand up for their rights. All from those who are meant to on the same side in the independence debate. Women have now struggled for years against their own party and movement. Many honourable men have joined the debate giving women their support but still truckloads of abuse are heaped on the women’s heads every day.
Women’s concerns have not been heard. All parties in the Scottish Parliament are signed up in varying degrees to gender ideology.
The Greens and LibDems are irretrievably anti-women in hock to an ideology which is dangerous to the health and well being of women and girls. Andy Wightman resigned from the Greens due to their intolerance of any discussion of women’s rights claiming party leader Patrick Harvie is captured by Queer Theory.
Labour is unfortunately losing three MSPs who actually backed women; Johann Lamont, Jenny Marra and Elaine Smith and Anas Sarwar the new Labour leader is unwilling to take on the gender ideologues within his own party.
The Conservatives although they voted against the Hate Crimes Bill that was because of its general infringement of the right to freedom of expression and it is a sad day when it is the Conservatives who are our only slim hope.
The SNP leadership is fully signed up to the gender ideology and have a number of policies that are dangerous to women.
Just before recess the Scottish Parliament passed the Hate Crimes Bill (HCB). This bill does not give protection to women who as a sex have been ignored by this bill. A man dressed as a woman has more protection against hate than a woman. But it does pose significant danger and risk to women.
The bill introduces a new offence of ‘stirring up hatred’ which requires that behaviour must be judged “abusive or threatening” by a “reasonable” person.
Define ‘Reasonable’ when using the word ‘female’ can be judged transphobic. When our own justice secretary can’t say if there are two sexes and a judge in England ruled that belief in two sexes was ‘not worthy of respect in a democratic society’. When many women’s accounts have been suspended or banned from social media for stating biological fact.
During the passage of the bill amendments that would have given women a small measure of protection, were withdrawn due to an outcry by the trans lobby.
There is little doubt that women arguing on the basis of sex will be reported to the police, this coupled with doubts over the independence of the crown office will have a chilling effect of women’s freedom of expression.
Throughout the progress of the bill voices on the gender ideology side of this debate have been listened to, to the near exclusion of the those on the other. The grassroots women’s groups were permitted to attend one committee session where they pleaded with the mainly male committee to allow women to speak about their rights without facing jail but to no avail.
Recently women protested against the bill by leaving ribbons in suffragette colours, slates with messages and stickers at political offices, the politicians took to twitter to voice their outrage and let the women know that the police had been informed.
In two separate instances women who had scrolled chalk slogans on public buildings were visited by the police and one was threatened that, if it happened again, she might be charged with breach of the peace.
Women’s rights to political protest are under threat.
In the new parliament the SNP intends to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) which would allow a man to legally change his sex to female purely on his own say-so. The GRA was introduced prior to same sex marriage, it was to allow people who suffer from gender dysphoria – which at that time was a mental illness – and have changed their bodies to legally become the opposite sex in order to marry.
At the time it was understood that it impacted women’s rights because women’s sex-based rights are necessarily exclusive as they exclude males. But the European Court of Human Rights decided that the numbers were so small women could just accommodate them.
Over time same sex marriage was made legal which negated the original need for a GRA. A further ruling of the European Court of Human Rights meant that people would not have to change their bodies to obtain a GRA and the World Health Organisation (WHO) determined that gender dysphoria was not a mental illness.
This greatly increased the number of men who could claim to be women and the trans umbrella is now large, it includes men with gender dysphoria who have changed their bodies but also cross-dressers, men who have a sexual fetish about being a woman or being accepted as a woman, exhibitionists and men who believe they have a lady brain. As well as the increase in the number of men now considered trans and who feel they are entitled to access women only spaces and services there is also an issue of abuse of the system.
With self-id there is no gate-keeping so this opens it up to the risk of predatory men taking advantage. Male sexual offenders are identifying as women and being housed in women’s prisons, this is already happening in Scottish prisons.
The ramifications of self-id for women’s sex-based rights are considerable, already mixed sex toilets in schools are causing teenage girls to miss school in particular when they have their period, there are mixed sex changing rooms, mixed sex hospital wards, women’s refuges and rape crisis centres. All places where women are vulnerable and predatory men or men indulging their sexual fetishes can take advantage.
There is the effect on women’s sport, where women and girls are losing out on scholarships and medals due to having to compete against biological males.
Personal care where a woman’s dignity is not considered where she has no right to a female carer.
Regressive sex stereotypes being forced on our children in schools, with children told unless they conform to the stereotype, they are trans, the explosion of teenage girls wishing to become boys and the experimental and irreversible puberty blocking drugs given to them by our Scottish NHS.
And of course, women in the board room where only recently the government passed a Gender Balance on Public Boards act which redefined the sex class women to include males. This was challenged by a crowd-funded grassroots women’s group arrayed against this group was not just the Scottish Government but government funded 3rd sector bodies. On 25thMarch the case was lost.
There was despair, the future for Scottish women was bleak a SNP or a SNP-Green government dedicated to gender ideology and no one to take up our fight, no main stream party on our side.
The very real prospect of the complete loss of women’s rights in Scotland and the risk of a criminal prosecution if we complain.
Then into this hopeless situation strode hope.
Hope in the form of the Alba Party who just might save the rights of Scottish women and girls, while gaining us our independence.
This weekend it is the Alba Party Women’s Conference. Women will have a voice. All is not yet lost. We still have Hope.
My thanks to Denise for this article. I am very aware of how serious these issues are and the strong defence of women’s rights that are so badly needed. I hope the Alba Party Woman’s Conference provides the hope that Denise and so many others are hoping for. We have many top level women who have joined Alba including 18 excellent female candidates. I wish the Conference every success and hope that Alba will have a strong voice on these issues during the campaign and thereafter in the Parliament.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland
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