Jane Meagher, Labour candidate for Edinburgh City Council (Portobello and Craigmillar Ward) tells us that she’s had more emails on the subject of sex and gender identity than on all other issues put together. She’s given us permission to share her response here. On the doorstep, voters in this Scottish ward have been asking Jane about sex and gender, and about her views on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill currently making its way through the Scottish parliament. Good luck, Jane!
“My views on sex and gender are grounded in my experience as a founder member of Edinburgh’s Rape Crisis Centre and former Board member of Zero Tolerance. As the sister of someone who endured extreme domestic violence by her husband before finding safety in a women’s refuge, I am acutely aware of the need for single-sex spaces. Single-sex must mean single-sex where it matters for reasons of safety, dignity, boundaries and fair competition. Politicians must provide reassurance to the women and girls who want and need single-sex provisions and resources, and to the parents of children who, for a variety of reasons, are struggling with their identity. We cannot allow a situation in which, for example, biological males who visibly present as men are allowed to access women’s single-sex spaces. This is especially worrying in situations where vulnerable women cannot choose to leave, such as prisons, psychiatric wards and hospitals.
What concerns me greatly is seeing attempts to debate the terms of the current Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill being labelled as transphobic in order to stop the discussion. Measures such as reducing the age at which a young person can apply for legal gender recognition from 18 to 16, increasing the pool of applicants from the originally intended gender dysphoric population to a wider group including anyone who believes themselves to be of the opposite sex, and removing medical safeguards, will foreseeably have a range of intended and unintended consequences. These need to be the subject of full, frank, evidence-based debate which to date the SNP has failed to undertake.”