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by Staff reporter
01 December 2022
Nicola Sturgeon defends gender recognition reforms

Nicola Sturgeon defends gender recognition reforms

Nicola Sturgeon has continued to defend the government’s reforms to the Gender Recognition Act after concerns about protections for women was raised at FMQs.

Douglas Ross urged the First Minister to acknowledge the views of the UN’s special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, who last week warned the Gender Recognition Reform Bill “would potentially open the door for violent males who identify as men to abuse the process”.

The Scottish Tory leader also asked why the government had not supported an amendment to the bill to ban convicted sex offenders from applying for a gender recognition certificate.

He asked: “Why does the First Minister believe that a convicted male sex offender should be able to change their gender when there’s a risk they will exploit the system to attack women?”

Sturgeon said the concerns raised were not “well founded”, adding she took the safety of women and girls “very seriously”.

Regarding the issue of male sex offenders, she said safeguards were already in place and the bill would not change those safeguards.

She added: “Any man who wants to abuse a woman… do not need to in some way pretend to be a woman to do so. And any who did feel that way, don’t need a gender recognition certificate.”

Meanwhile, social justice secretary Shona Robison has responded to the concerns raised by the UN’s rapporteur.

She said the planned changes were accompanied by an “appropriate level of safeguards and assurances”, including a new offence pertaining to fraudulent declarations.

She also pointed to self-ID systems being put in place elsewhere around the world, adding: “It is imperative that we develop policy and legislate based on evidence and we have not identified any evidence that the concerns raised by the [special rapporteur] have materialised in any other countries that have introduced similar reforms.”

The cabinet secretary is set to meet with the rapporteur next week.

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