It is with some relief that we have just heard that the Lamont Amendment to the Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) bill has passed. Briefly, the amendment seeks to provide victims of sexual offences the opportunity to request that the person carrying out the medical examination of a victim of sexual assault be of a specified sex rather than gender which is the current wording of the bill. The two terms were rightly seen to be different, ‘sex’ being objectively defined under the Equality Act 2010 as a “reference to a man or a woman”; a woman is a “female of any age“. Gender can include nebulous concepts such as the subject’s feelings of femininity or masculinity. This is of course a huge difference in the field of women’s sex-based rights.
If we are being generous, it may have been careless drafting by the Scottish Government, that they did mean ‘sex’ rather than ‘gender’, but in view of the SNP’s devotion to extending trans rights at all costs, it is more likely the SG hoped no one would notice. They ignored their own Committee who recommended the change at Stage 1. Women were palmed off with vague statements on ‘developing guidance to ensure health boards understand better how to ensure that the rights of women and trans people can be collectively realised’. Judging by the SG leadership’s recent public spats over minority rights, and venom against anyone who opposes trans orthodoxy or any other agenda, women still have much to fear.
The fight to protect women’s sex-based rights is often trivialised as not wanting a transwoman in toilets or changing rooms. That is disconcerting enough, as I know from personal experience. But other intrusions into single-sex spaces strike at a woman in a particularly vulnerable state, for example, emergency treatment in mixed-sex hospital wards, and of course potential forensic examination by a trans woman. The SG seems to care little for the opinion of women in such situations.
The supreme irony now, of course, is that unionist MSPs have proved to be far better defenders of women’s rights than the SNP, who make such a show about increasing the number of women and having all-women shortlists and so on, but by generally conflating the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’, they are deliberately muddying the waters and doing women no favours. The SNP are still adamant about amending GRA time limits and doing away with the need of any objective proof of transitioning.
Hopefully the ISP will make the difference after May 2021 on matters where we think it is safe to say the majority of the people of Scotland think the SNP have gone off their trolley. The sad thing is we have to spend energy and time countering things the SNP obsess about, instead of poverty and the probable Depression to come. Judging from social media and other sources, the SNP has misjudged how ordinary people feel. Maybe they will live to regret it?