Nicola Sturgeon sparks furious row with independence bid
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Scottish women are ramping up their campaign to make the Scottish Government rethink plans to reform its Gender Recognition Act (GRA), according to Sarah Pedersen, professor of communication and media at Robert Gordon University. Under Edinburgh’s proposals, a person would no longer need to provide medical evidence or have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years to legally change it.
It would also allow reducing the age a person can apply for the change from 18 to 16.
In an article published by UnHerd, titled “The SNP won’t silence women: Feminists are fighting Sturgeon’s trans agenda”, Professor Pedersen said the proposed reform would usher in self-identification of gender.
Scotland’s SNP-led Government is expected to reveal its draft legislation in the next few weeks with Professor Pedersen saying that, for Scotland’s gender-critical feminists, the fight has “never been so urgent”.
Gender-critical beliefs refer to the view that whether a person is male or female is biological and that this cannot be conflated with whether they identify as a man or a woman.
She stated: “Women are united by concerns about the impact of the GRA reforms on women’s sex-based rights: the implications for women’s sport, refuges, prisons, and the myriad services achieved by feminist campaigners since the seventies.”
Professor Pedersen added: “Scottish women are focused on slowing down policy change, asking policymakers to think more carefully about how proposed changes will impact the sex-based rights of women and girls.”
She concluded: “Forget devolution — Nicola Sturgeon is about to discover there’s a new dividing line in Scottish politics.”
Stonewall Scotland supports the proposed reform to Scotland’s existing Act which requires medical evidence and for anyone who wants to legally change gender to have lived in their “acquired gender” for at least two years.
It argues the proposals would be an important step towards greater equality for trans people in Scotland by de-medicalising the process.
The rights charity maintains that gender recognition will become a less stressful process for many trans people as a result of the reform.
A new poll suggests most people in Scotland support reform of the GRA but are not overly involved in the heated debate around the issue.
The study by Savanta ComRes for the BBC found 57 percent of 2,038 respondents back the idea of making it easier to acquire a gender recognition certificate for people who identify as transgender.
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In total, 67 percent of those asked said they do not follow the debate closely.
The Scottish Government said it would look to pass a Bill that would simplify gender identification rules for trans people within the first year of the new parliamentary term.
The poll went on to show respondents are less accepting of specific proposals.
Support for allowing trans people to self-identify as a gender different to that of their birth – without the need for a medical diagnosis – sat at 40 percent, according to the poll. Opposition to the idea was close behind at 38 percent.
Just 37 percent support reducing the time applicants must prove they have lived in their self-identified gender, while 44 percent oppose it.
A majority of people (53 percent) oppose the possibility of dropping the age a person can apply from 18 to 16 while 31 percent support that proposal.
Polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice told the PA news agency: “On many of the questions in this poll we have got between a fifth and a third of people saying they are frankly not sure, don’t know, neither agree nor disagree with either option.
“In contrast to the online debate, which is undoubtedly deeply polarised, the general public are not particularly sure and only about a third are following the issue closely.”
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