This is our email update from 28 October
Scotland takes a step towards self-ID
Yesterday the Scottish parliament held the first stage debate on the Gender Recognition (Reform) Bill. This is the SNP government’s proposal to change the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for people to change their legally-registered sex and get a new birth certificate.
Three changes are proposed
1) The removal of the need for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and no medical panel to approve applications. Instead of a measure to be granted for those in severe distress, it will become an on-demand service for anyone who wants it.
2) People have to ‘live in acquired gender’ for three months rather than two years. No one can explain what living in an acquired gender means, other than social signifiers like changing your name.
3) The age when someone may change their birth certificate to be lowered from 18 to 16, an age at which they may not buy an alcoholic drink or get a tattoo.
Strong opposition is being mounted by Scottish women’s groups. We are supporting them, lobbying the UK government to recognise and address the serious cross-border issues which will arise if this bill is passed. It will affect us all, schools and prisons in particular, as this article explains.
The bill passed its first reading by 88 votes to 33 against with 4 abstentions. It was encouraging that seven SNP members defied the whip and voted against, as
reported by The Times. One principled woman, Ash Regan, resigned as a minister because she could not support the SNP government’s position. It is important that we resist this reckless move. We will keep up the pressure at Westminster while Scottish women do so at Holyrood.
Sex by deception
The Crown Prosecution Service is consulting on new rules for when a person who claims to be transgender is accused of sex by deception. This would set a terrible precedent for sexual offences, in which the feelings and claimed identity of the perpetrator could determine whether or not they face prosecution. Prosecutions for sexual offences are already worryingly low. We should tell the CPS that a person claiming to be trans doesn’t get a pass.
You can respond to the consultation online from now until 19 December. Here’s how.
Defending women’s sport
We hosted a panel of impressive sportswomen at FiLiA, Europe’s largest feminist conference, last weekend. An audience of over 500 in the main auditorium at St David’s Hall in Cardiff heard from Olympians Sharron Davies MBE and Mara Yamauchi, in conversation with former Welsh rugby international and current Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi. Then we heard from two elite masters athletes who also work in sport. We took a deep dive into the US swimming debacle from earlier this year when a male swimmer was allowed to win a women’s event in the national universities championships. We were joined on stage by the brave American woman who spoke up anonymously at the time, and who is now campaigning to protect women’s sport in the USA. We had an interview with Riley Gaines, a college swimmer who raced and tied with the male in another championship event.
Find out more about “Swim Mom” and what she did next.
You can make a difference. Most people agree that only those born female should be eligible to play and compete in women’s and girls’ sport. The UK Sports Councils issued new guidance a year ago saying that the inclusion of males in female sport could not be fair, and recommending that sports bodies review their policies. Most are now reviewing. Tell them what you think.
It’s not just sport. The sex-based rights of women and girls are being eroded across all areas. If you want to take action, there are suggestions and email templates here.
How did sport get here?
Who could have imagined we would have to argue that female sport should be for female people only!