I am writing to you all as my elected councillors, MSPs, MP and First Minister.
My reason for writing is my growing concern at what is happening within Scotland as a result of the current Gender Reform Act bill due to be put to parliament. The current debate on transgender and transsexuals rights is neither new nor a direct result of this bill being brought forward, however, I believe the lack of considered debate to be the cause of the majority of issues causing concern.
I have previously (maybe shamefully) tried to avoid the GRA issues as I have witnessed the toxic environment it has caused, most notably on social media. In some cases this has led to death threats, rape threats and threats of violent actions, with guilty parties on both sides of the argument.
But when I read the attached article of unisex toilets being implemented at Jedburgh Grammar School without consultation with pupils or parents – and it not being the first time this has happened. In August, pupils of Culloden Academy had similar issues. It struck me that if this was to happen at a school where I had a family member I would be furious and outraged.
I can not nor would I attempt to speak about how it feels to be a teenage girl in school, especially when going through puberty. I can only imagine that it’s a worrying and confusing time during the early days of puberty with their bodies going through changes entering into womanhood.
I understand teenage girls can be just as bad as teenage boys when it comes to bullying, making fun of and mocking other girls and boys in school, but in all my school days I can honestly say I do not remember a girl in school making fun of another girl for puberty related things.
However… teenage boys, that is something I can speak about. I can’t say how I would have behaved had uni-sex toilets been implemented at my school, I think we would all like to believe we would be respectful but both teenage boys as with teenage girls can be guilty of doing things they think are cool and things that will “make them fit in” without thinking of consequences.
But the difference is all teenage girls will go through puberty so understand what each other go through. Teenage boys do not have this understanding or knowledge of what a girl goes through and as seen in some of the stories in the attached article this lack of understanding risks a lack of respect to the issue.
My second issue with this bill in its current form is my understanding that it would allow transgender men or men who self id as women to become advisers at women’s support services that offer support to domestic abuse survivors. A number of women survivors of either physical or psychological abuse will often hold a fear of all men and struggle to trust men in the early stages of their recovery.
I welcomed Johann Lamont’s amendment to the Forensic Medical Services Bill to secure the right of sexual assault survivors to choose the sex rather than gender of the person examining them. I believe this also needs to cover issues around not just sexual assault, but domestic and psychological assault.
During the tragedy of the murder of Sarah Everard and the campaign that followed I was horrified, shocked and left feeling ashamed after hearing stories of female friends, family and loved ones of the daily fears women have, I heard stories of clenching keys walking home “just in case”, racing hearts anytime a car slows down, phoning taxis due to fears of some man making worrying comments from the other side of the bar.
I always knew women worried more in bars and nightclubs, but never comprehended that the daily fears that they have. And after hearing all these stories along with the recent spiking outrage in nightclubs, I really can not understand why we would want to remove one of the limited places women class as a safe space.
I understand transexuals, transgenders and non-binary people do of course deserve the right to live their lives as we all do in a civil Scotland and I agree with the sentiment of reforming the gender act BUT we can not do this by removing the rights of our women and children.
I would urge and plead with the Scottish Government to put a hold on passing the current GRA Bill to allow a citizens assembly to listen to all concerns. Those of women, men, teenagers, parents, teachers, women support services, transexuals, transgenders and non-binaries and then allow the citizen assembly to write up a new GRA Bill to be put to parliament.
My ask and plea to you all is this:
As First Minister and MSPs, to encourage your parties to push the above, delay the bill and launch a citizens assembly
As MPs, to encourage your party to support the above
As Councillors, to reject any proposals of implementing uni-sex toilets in schools until the citizen assembly findings and use any means you have as elected councillors to encourage the government to do the above.
For the sake of our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunties and all women in Scotland I plead with you to take some action.
I look forward to your reply
After it was brought to my attention how part of this letter reads I want to apologise for my mis-wording, I do not believe there are guilty parties on both sides making death, rape and violent threats, My intentional meaning was some from both sides can be guilty of the toxic social media environment. I have posted the letter as was sent to councillors,msp’s, mp’s and first minister as I thought important to publish original letter without edit but after re-reading I would change my wording on this. Apologies for any offence caused in the original letter
Note: I have made this an open letter and plan to send to local media and share on social media. Not to anger or even enter the toxic part of this debate but to raise awareness with members of public who might not be aware of what is going on in certain schools in Scotland and might not fully know the implications of the GRA bill if passed.
I would urge anyone reading and wanting to find out more to do your own research and if you share my concerns, please email them to your own Councillors, MSPs, MP and First Minister.
ATTACHED ARTICLE A
I have published this to demonstrate that it is possible to conduct debate in a reasonable fashion, without smear or name calling. i hope those he has contacted reply in the same spirit. Scotland is ill served by those whose idea of debate is vilification of everyone else. This is going to be a huge issue in the months ahead. We would all be wise to follow this example.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland.
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