Scottish Tories commit to single-sex spaces to protect women from ‘predatory men’
The Scottish Conservatives will commit to maintaining same-sex spaces as part of their local government manifesto.
The party said it was important to protect female-only services from “predatory men who may go to great lengths to hurt women”.
It follows concerns that reforming the Gender Recognition Act to remove medical gatekeeping for people looking to legally change gender would have unintended consequences for single-sex spaces, such as rape crisis centres and domestic violence shelters.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission published fresh guidance earlier this week on such services as they relate to the Equality Act 2010.
It confirms service providers wishing to limit services to a single sex are legally able to do so, provided the reasons are justified and proportionate.
Scottish Tory gender reform spokesperson Meghan Gallacher said it was important the views of women were heard, adding the danger “does not come from trans women but from predatory men”.
She said: “It is essential that we continue to respect women's safety. We cannot allow long-held rights to be eroded.
“Many women feel that their place in society and their safety is under threat. Those views should be heard and respected, not dismissed, as they have been on too many occasions.”
She added: “Our councillors will vote to provide facilities for trans women that fully complies with the EHRC guidance.”
Meanwhile, the party also said it supported a ban on LGBT conversion therapy, in contrast to the UK government which last week confirmed the planned ban would no longer cover trans conversion therapy.
Speaking earlier today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted there were “complexities and sensitivities” around the subject but added the decision did not “diminish our determination to tackle prejudice wherever we can”.
The move has caused a backlash from the LGBT community at large, with several organisations pulling out of the now cancelled Safe to Be Me conference – the UK’s first international LGBT conference which was due to take place this summer – as well as significant outcry from within the Conservative party itself.
Johnson also argued that “biological males” should not be competing in women’s sports, and that hospitals, prisons and changing rooms should have spaced “dedicated to women”.