MSPs have organised an event in order to launch a “Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights,” an unashamedly transphobic document. This declaration has been created by an international lobbyist group known as the Women’s Human Rights Campaign which believes that the rising tide of rights afforded to trans people is a threat to those of cis women…
The Scottish Parliament Will Host Transphobic Activists and Academics on International Trans Day of Remembrance
MSPs have organised an event in order to launch a “Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights,” an unashamedly transphobic document. This declaration has been created by an international lobbyist group known as the Women’s Human Rights Campaign which believes that the rising tide of rights afforded to trans people is a threat to those of cis women.
The document refers to international human rights treaty the Convention Eliminating Discrimination Against Women and claims that “it has long been understood in the area of human rights that the stereotyped sex roles of men and women are a fundamental aspect of women’s equality, and must be eliminated” – an issue that will not be solved by denying trans people the right to self-identify. The document also claims that attempting to “compel” people to refer to others on the basis of their gender identity is discrimination against women.
The so-called declaration is deeply transphobic, and perpetuates a horrifyingly insensitive narrative regarding the motivations of trans people in claiming their rights, and particularly trans women. It attempts to give itself some legitimacy by following the format used by many UN treaties on issues of human rights on international law, despite the fact it is dripping with falsehoods and hatred. However, the supreme irony here is that in order for this to be enacted as law, Scotland would have to repeal existing equalities legislation and breach international human rights obligations.
The event, organised by SNP MSP Joan McAlpine and Labour MSP Jenny Marra, will be held on the 20th of November, which is International Transgender Day of Remembrance. One of the scheduled speakers is Sheila Jeffreys, an Australian academic who has previously compared trans people to parasites.
The Scottish Government has been quietly embroiled in TERF-related controversy since proposals were made to reform the Gender Recognition Act to allow trans people to change the gender on their birth certificate without a psychiatric assessment. Edinburgh saw widespread protests when Canadian TERF Megan Murphy was invited to speak to MSPs in May.
There has been widespread condemnation of the event from other MSPs and various feminist organisations and charities around Scotland, including co-leader of the Green party Lorna Slater. Engender, Scottish Women’s Aid, Zero Tolerance, and the Young Women’s Movement have strongly criticised the “false narrative” that the rights of women and trans people conflict. In a response made to CommonSpace, the Scottish Government stated that “we remain committed to discussing different views.”
It is chilling that this event has been offered the ideological protection of being hosted in the Scottish Parliament, when what they advocate is pure and unabashed hatred. Scotland has been committed to recognising the rights of trans people to legally change their gender since 2005, and to host this event suggests an erosion of this commitment. Whilst the declaration claims that its aim is the promotion of women’s rights, there is little mention of any issues that women in Scotland are facing today, and instead demands solely measures that would roll back the rights of trans people.
This ongoing farce of “debate” around the rights of trans people, which they deserve as much as any other human, makes this writer embarrassed for the legislature of this country.
If anyone reading this is interested, various LGBT+ charities will be holding a vigil for Trans Day of Remembrance outside the Scottish Parliament on the 20th of November between 6pm and 7pm, further details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/412457943041559/