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Women this Week

Gender hilarity

          A 66-year-old Scottish male found himself first bemused, then angry, when he attempted to give blood at the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service in Stirling on Wednesday last week.  He was asked to fill in a form which asked if he was pregnant or had been pregnant in the previous six months.  He complained that this question could not apply to him and he should be able to just ignore it on their mandatory form, whereupon the clinic decided on safety first, and refused his blood, making him so angry he has left and vowed not to return.  Considering the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service are looking for MORE donors, alienating the ones they have is definitely not the best strategy.

          Some common sense, perhaps?  If the health service does not know for a fact that pregnancy is impossible for a male, we are in more trouble than we thought.

          But then, it wasn’t so long ago that some Scottish NHS boards were gaslighting women by telling them there were no males on their hospital wards when there were.  Should have gone to Specsavers.

Jennifer Lopez

          was apparently banned from using the female gender symbol during her Super Bowl show.  The show’s director Hamish Hamilton apparently felt it was too unsubtle, not artistic enough and not inclusive. But he seems to have had no problem with child dancers performing in cages.  Very subtle.

          Not quite clear, though, why the multi-millionaire J-Lo could not have defied him and used the symbol anyway. Many ordinary women with a lot at stake and no millions in the bank are daring to stand up to the male aggression surrounding trans rights.

Sport

          FINA, the World Swimming governing body, has banned trans identified males from competing in women’s events unless they have completed their transition by age 12. FINA consulted athletes, coaches and scientists in coming to its decision.  It will be setting up an ‘open’ category in addition to male and female, where trans athletes will be welcome to compete.

          International Rugby League have announced a ban on trans identified males in the female teams pending further research.

          But World Football seems to have veered in the opposite direction. FIFA have reversed their existing rules by saying now that anyone who identifies as a woman is welcome to play in women’s teams, even if they have not taken any testosterone suppressants. 

Young Scot

           which received almost £1 million from the Scottish government in the last financial year, seems not to have got the message about calling women ‘women’.  In an advice leaflet for young people about periods it speaks of ‘those of us that have both our ovaries and a womb’. It does not mention ‘girls’ or ‘females’ on menstruation advice, using the word ‘women’ once only when it claims ‘it’s not just women that get periods’.  So poor grammar as well.  ‘That’ makes females sound like inanimate objects.  They refer helpfully to ‘half the world’s population’ without specifying which half, or alternately just to ‘people’.

          Free sanitary products are available to ‘anyone who menstruates’, but then goes on to specifically mention transgender men and non binary individuals, so why not specifically mention ‘women’ as well?

           Contrast with the advice to boys about their voices breaking, talking about getting a ‘deep, manly voice [what’s a man?] …. being one of the changes boys go through as they grow into men’.  Susan Smith of For Women Scotland is angry, calling the description of women dehumanising, reducing women to body parts.

Women’s Health Ambassador

          The UK has recently appointed a women’s health ambassador, Dame Lesley Regan, while Scotland cannot do so ‘for years’. The UK appointment to close health inequalities in care and treatment came six months after its original plan, whereas Scotland’s Women’s Health Plan recommends such a position, but it will take three years to fill.

How to conduct an enquiry

          Professor Alison Britton of Glasgow Caledonian University conducted an inquiry into how the government investigated mesh implants, reporting in October 2018, after the mesh inquiry descended into chaos when it emerged that all four clinical experts and three other members on the 20-strong inquiry had links to mesh manufacturers.  The inquiry allegedly also failed to consider any of a whole chapter of factual data and evidence about mesh’s adverse effects.

          Her enquiry was meant to define the way in which enquiries were to be conducted in future to ensure fairness, but as yet none of the 46 recommendations she made have been implemented.  These included obvious recommendations such as those involved in making recommendations having no conflict of interest by virtue of outside involvements.  The Scottish government says it will be publishing guidance in parliament.

Julia Pannell  21st June 2022

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