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by Staff reporter
06 March 2022
J.K. Rowling accuses Nicola Sturgeon of putting women at risk with gender reform

J.K. Rowling accuses Nicola Sturgeon of putting women at risk with gender reform

The author J.K. Rowling has accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of putting vulnerable women at risk over plans to reform gender recognition laws.

The new Gender Recognition Reform Bill will simplify the process for a trans person to change their legally recognised gender. 

Critics of the legislation say it undermines the safety of women-only spaces.

In a tweet, Rowling said: “The law @NicolaSturgeon's trying to pass in Scotland will harm the most vulnerable women in society: those seeking help after male violence/rape and incarcerated women. Statistics show that imprisoned women are already far more likely to have been previously abused.”

The author was responding to an article by the journalist Susan Dalgety, who had written about her experience of childhood sexual abuse and criticised comments made by social justice secretary Shona Robison about “predatory men” in a speech at Holyrood.

Introducing the legislation on Thursday, Robison said: “We must be clear: all of the evidence tells us that the cause of violence against women and girls is predatory and abusive men; not trans people. And importantly, we must not conflate the two. There is no evidence that predatory and abusive men have ever had to pretend to be anything else to carry out abusive and predatory behaviour.”

Currently, under the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, trans people seeking a gender recognition certificate must have a formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria and live in their “acquired gender” for two years. 

The new proposals would remove the need for medical reports and reduce the waiting time to a minimum of three months, with a reflection period of a further three months.

The age at which people can apply would be reduced from 18 to 16.

The new Bill would also require applicants to swear that they intend to remain in their acquired gender for life, with a false declaration being a criminal offence carrying a potential punishment of up to two years’ imprisonment.

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