Nicola Sturgeon may come to regret rushing through gender self-ID legislation

The Scottish Government has outlined plans to speed up and simplify the way its citizens can change their legal gender. Currently, people must apply to a UK gender recognition body, provide a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and live in their acquired gender for two years.

The proposed new law would allow Scottish citizens to self-identify as their chosen gender without the need for a medical diagnosis. It would also reduce the time someone in the “acquired sex” has to live from two years to three months.

The Scottish Government argues that the current process is too difficult and invasive and is causing distress to an already marginalized minority group. But critics of the new legislation say allowing access to women’s spaces for anyone who identifies as a woman could put women at risk.

Balancing the rights of two vulnerable groups is a complex undertaking that requires sensitivity and nuance. It is widely recognized that trans people should be able to lead full lives, free from discrimination, harassment and violence, and to express themselves in the ways they choose.

But the Gender Recognition Reform Act (Scotland) in its current form would go further: it would enshrine in law a whole new definition of what it means to be male and female.

Nicola Sturgeon has been publicly criticized for failing to condemn attacks on women politicians in her own party, including Joanna Cherry, a campaigner for women’s rights.

This sweeping and controversial legislation does not have the support of some SNP MSPs and is poorly understood by the public. Pushing it through to please a small but vocal group of activists is another step in the wrong direction. Nicola Sturgeon may come to regret rushing through gender self-ID legislation

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