Some gender law opponents using women’s rights to ‘hide’ transphobia

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there are Gender Act opponents who are using women's rights to hide their transphobia (PA).

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there are Gender Act opponents who are using women’s rights to hide their transphobia (PA).

Nicola Sturgeon has claimed that some opponents of gender-recognition reform are using women’s rights as an “admissibility cover” for transphobia.

However, the First Minister stressed that not all opponents of his Government’s Gender Recognition Reform Act hold this view.

The UK Government blocked the bill from enactment, citing its impact on equality legislation across the UK, triggering a constitutional dispute likely to go to court.

In an interview with Global’s The News Agents podcast, Sturgeon said: “In the past, I’ve heard people who I’ve never heard of defending women’s rights, politicians claiming to be advocates for women’s rights.

“Actually, I’ve heard of some support policies… that go against women’s rights.

“We have a law that appears later in this Parliament on criminal justice reform to try to deal with low conviction rates for rape and sexual assault, we will be dealing with the law in months to get around the abortion buffer zones.

“In the context of the trans debate, it will be interesting to see how many so-called women’s rights advocates don’t suddenly think that all women’s rights really matter.

“There are some people I think have decided to use women’s rights as a sort of cloak of acceptability to cover up what transphobia is.

“Now, again, it’s not everyone who opposes this bill. I want to be very clear about this.

“However, there are people who oppose this Bill, who takes the guise of women’s rights to make it acceptable, but you will find that while they are transphobic, they are also extremely misogynistic, often homophobic, and possibly racist in some of them. ”

Rachael Hamilton, a Scottish Tories equality spokesperson and one of the Bill’s loudest opponents, described the First Minister’s comments as “disgusting and hopeless allegations”.

“The last few days have shown Nicola Sturgeon’s gender identity reforms to be legally questionable, highly unpopular, and potentially harmful to women,” she added.

“Nevertheless, Nicola Sturgeon prefers to launch unfounded defamation attacks on those who disagree with her, rather than deal with criticism and admit she’s wrong.”

The First Minister also said she was no longer certain that the UK Government would not dissolve the Scottish Parliament, given the use of the Article 35 mandate to block gender reforms.

“Over the years I’ve heard people who have been on my side in the independence debate say, ‘Conservatives can dissolve the Scottish Parliament or take away important powers entirely,'” he said.

“I have always resisted this, this is exaggeration, let’s not go down that road.

“Now, I still don’t think they’re going to try to dissolve the Scottish Parliament – ​​am I 100% sure of that now? No.

“But other than that, I think it’s a concerted effort to undermine this parliament, undermine its legitimacy and remove its powers.”

He added that some within the Conservative Party “absolutely” thought they wanted to eliminate Holyrood.

Elsewhere in the interview, Ms Sturgeon said it needed “reflection” about the appointment of BBC chief Richard Sharp.

Sharp’s appointment is currently under review amid disclosures about his role in helping Boris Johnson get a loan.

When asked if Sharp would resign, the SNP leader said: “There are people in the queue of people in public office who probably need to resign above him now, and one of them is a former chancellor, but I think he should be, considering what has come up about his role or his alleged role. I must say, when brokering a loan facility for an incumbent prime minister, then perhaps he should consider himself the head of the BBC.

“Does this help the BBC? … I think the process of appointing the future chairman of the BBC should also be considered.”

Talking about the BBC’s impartiality, he said: “Is there a perception of bias in the BBC?

“I think it’s a real danger for the BBC that’s starting to be the case, and the Richard Sharp saga, whatever you call it, I don’t think it’s going to help.”

The First Minister was also asked if he had read the Duke of Sussex’s memoirs.

He said: “I think people, especially those who want to preserve the monarchy, better listen and think.

“They probably don’t agree completely. But, you know, she’s describing her childhood trauma, grieving deeply, you felt like she was living a life that she couldn’t handle or be herself.

“He felt that the relationship between the royal family and the media was a bit toxic.

“I think there’s a lot out there that shouldn’t be overlooked.”

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