The UK’s central government came close to pushing a gender reassignment bill in 2018. Two years later, the plan was ditched. Fast forward to March 2022 and the Scottish government announced plans to introduce similar legislation. The bill is currently going through the Scottish assembly and first minister Nicola Sturgeon believes that it will make it easier for people to ‘change’ their legally ‘preferred’ gender.   
The foolish plans involve scrapping the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria – what the NHS defines as a mental health condition that brings about “a sense of unease that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity” – prior to applying for a change in a person’s legally recognised gender. 
In recent days, the hugely popular British author, J. K. Rowling, has once again been pushed into the firing line after backing last Thursday’s “Scottish Women’s Rally”. The demonstration saw women come out in force to oppose the in-progress gender recognition bill. At the same time that the For Women Scotland– organised protest took place outside the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh, Rowling posted a selfie on social media that showed her wearing a t-shirt calling Sturgeon the “destroyer of women’s rights.”  
The planned legislation, officially titled the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, is facing stiff opposition from women’s rights campaigners as it risks undermining designated women-only spaces such as hospital wards, gyms, schools, and public toilets. Hundreds of campaigners including Rowling have criticised the bill as being flawed in its aims.
“I stand in solidarity with @ForWomenScot and all women protesting and speaking outside the Scottish parliament. #NoToSelfID” 
Naturally, the Scottish government claims that the planned legislation will make it easier for people to identify as their ‘acquired’ gender, but it opens the door to endangering the safety, security, and sanctity of women-only spaces. Sturgeon herself has suggested that the bill would make the process of ‘self- identification’ “less degrading, intrusive and traumatic.” However, the Scottish government at large is clearly ignoring the fact that gender dysphoria is a mental disorder that requires appropriate treatment. 
To give a sense of perspective as to the farcicality of the bill, if a person were permitted to identify as a woman after being a man their whole life, and without the need for a medical diagnosis, how would places such as hospitals, public toilets, gyms, and schools be protected from or policed in order to prevent sexual predators accessing women-only areas?
One toilet for all, all toilets for one
The central Westminster government has made clear that it has no intention of following the lead of the ruling political party in Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP). Just two years after Prime Minister Theresa May started the ball rolling by pushing for people’s right to ‘self-identify’, the consultation was ditched in 2019. And in a July 2022 press release – closely following the developments in Scotland over the previous months – the government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said on the issue of public building washroom facilities, “all new public buildings should have separate male and female toilets.” 
The department for Levelling Up also noted that,
“The rise in ‘gender neutral’ toilets raised safety concerns from women who feel they are losing privacy and being unfairly disadvantaged. Separate unisex (or universal) toilets should be provided if there is space, but should not come at the expense of female toilets.” 
The press release further added,
“The approach will mean women, who may need to use facilities more often for example because of pregnancy and sanitary needs, have appropriate facilities. The move follows a call for evidence which gathered a wide range of views, including from pregnant women, older people, disabled people and people who come under the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.” 
Can the bill be stopped?
Absolutely, the bill can be stopped. The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill is currently in stage 1 of the parliamentary process. This means that the foundations or the “general principles” of the bill are being discussed and examined by MSPs (members of the Scottish parliament).
As of 11 October, various MSPs have spoken in committee meetings regarding the bill. The parliamentary website lists thirteen different sets of minutes for meetings that have discussed the bill, and the lead committee released its stage 1 report on 6 October. 
The next step is for the bill to be reviewed “line-by-line”. Any possible amendments can be made at this point. After stage 2, there will be a prolonged period of back-and-forth with amendments, followed by consideration of said amendments, before potentially being passed by the assembly. The final step is Royal Assent by the monarch, Charles III. However, this rubber-stamping exercise remains a long way away. 
You can help prevent this disastrous bill becoming law by lobbying your MSPs and sharing this article. Easily find your respective MSPs and their email addresses on the Scottish parliament’s official website. For helpful Islamic-oriented parental and kids’ resources on sex and relationships education (SRE), check out SREIslamic.
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