The Scottish Gender Recognition Reform bill was debated and voted on about a month ago – give or take a day or two. It passed with a majority of 88 to 33 votes and it’s been a hell of a month since.
I have been very busy – mostly on the backend of Trans Writes trying to get this place ship shape and bringing you as much content from trans writers who aren’t me as I can manage to find! So while a lot has been happening I haven’t managed to find the time to cover it all and I figured why not drop it all in one article real quick like.
Starting with mere seconds after the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Bill had passed. A member of the public gallery began yelling at Parliament with a diatribe about decency before lifting her skirt. In statements found after the event its claimed she planned this demonstration as an attempt to steal the moment away from trans people celebrating the passing of the bill.
gender critical transphobes: the tr*nnies want to flash ppl in public! they're disgusting!
also gender critical transphobes: pic.twitter.com/ptxOssHcih
— ֆʟօǟռɛ-ʟʏֆɮɛȶɦ (@SloaneFragment) December 22, 2022
Sadly some trans people did rise to the bait and started referring to this as public indecency and supporting a reported police probe (which has now been dropped). I didn’t have this take personally and mostly tried to remind people of how public nudity has been a form of protest forever and we – as people with highly controlled and stigmatised bodies – should definitely not be the ones to argue for more control over people’s bodies like that.
Though overrall the majority of the community didn’t have their joy stolen by this moment. If anything it worked more as an ehancement of the joy. The Scottish Gender Recognition Reform bill is such a tiny piece of legislation that drove someone to painstakingly sew a pubic wig into their tights and sit there with it under a skirt for three days, waiting for their moment to act upset for the cameras. That’s objectively hilarious – and I’m glad most of you saw it that way too.
Soon after that we saw multiple MPs and MSPs who, along with the mainstream media, attempted to make the idea that the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform bill “protects rapists” or sex offenders. This due to the failure of some ammendments surrounding whether or not sex offenders can change their birth certificates.
It didn’t really stick despite repeatedly accusing the MSPs who supported the bill of supporting rapists on Twitter, mostly women MSPs by the way. Nobody can actually explain why allowing or disallowing a sex offender to change what’s written on their birth certificate would make a material impact on anyone. There’s the usual misleading claims around spaces and the dogwhistle phrase “access to women and young girls” – but that’s simply not a function of the GRC. It’s just not what it does.
Bitterly disappointed to see SNP and Green MSPs vote down all of my amendments to GRR bill today.
These would have protected women and girls by making it harder for rapists and other criminals to exploit Sturgeon’s dangerous self-ID law.#GRRBill
— Russell Findlay (@RussellFindlay1) November 15, 2022
Then there was the lady who quoted Mein Kampf at a protest ran by Posie Parker, also known as Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull. Posie has attracted lots of criticism for embracing right wing activists and platforming right wing views. From interviews with those described on Wikipedia as “white nationalists” to her slogan “Right wing women are women” – but this one was a chef’s kiss moment for enjoyers of transphobe denialism.
In a video posted on Twitter a transphobe begins by telling the audience of “the big lie” which is in her own words “first described by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf”. She then proceeds to accuse trans people of telling “the big lie” and even goes as far as explicitly outlining what that big lie is; “trans women are women”.
Multiple transphobes attempted to defend this. Some argued she was simply stating that Hitler was describing how propaganda works with “the big lie” idea, but that’s not true. Accusing people of engaging in “the big lie” is in and of itself the nazi propaganda here. Hitler did so specifically as a means of fuelling hatred for Jewish people and it’s the same propaganda this woman was attempting against trans people.
Then there was the barney in Westminster. Where a transphobic MP stood up in front of the whole country and told a lie specifically aimed to associate sexual violence with transgender people. She claimed she has evolved to be afraid of using the bathroom alone with a transgender woman because of sexual violence against women alongside other comments such as claiming the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform bill would allow a loop hole for child sex abuse to occur, somehow.
Quite rightly, another MP was angry about this. This is frankly a disgusting smear and it’s absolutely wild that you can just do that in Parliament with no consequence. When raising his objection to this downright disgusting MP he, unfortunately, used a tone. An angry tone. He was also a man, which the transphobes felt was important to also point out repeatedly.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle's reaction to Miriam Cates(Tory MP) speech.
"That speech was probably one of the worst transphobic, dog whistle speeches that I've heard in an awful long time… you should be ashamed…" pic.twitter.com/KAlYtmh3Hw
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) January 17, 2023
So naturally, he had to apologise for that. Just another normal day in British parliament where lying to demonise a minority group is a-okay but being a human being about that isn’t.
Oh and a hearty congratulations goes out to Julie Bindel who finally got her attempts to associate Islamic terror groups with trans people on trending. Why Islamic groups in particular? I don’t know you’d have to ask Julie – she is the one who chose “Queer ISIS” and previously “trans taliban” too.
Comparing trans rights activists like me to "Queer ISIS" is a slap in the face to those who have lost their rights and lives to extremists. I don't even care about my own feelings here. I'm just upset that someone would equate the fight FOR human rights to… this. https://t.co/0AJBdHRTh9
— Mx. Amanda Jetté Knox (@MavenOfMayhem) January 22, 2023
She wrote this in promotion of an article where she attempted to argue that this anti-trans moral panic is totally different to the moral panic surrounding Section 28 and that we should stop associating the two. Please ignore all of the supporters of Section 28 who are now explicitly supporting the anti-trans panic.
She, and many others like her, seem to have this idea that LGBTQIA+ movements of yesteryear were as trans-exclusionary as she has always been. They’re proven wrong time and time again, the LGBTQIA+ community has always been sidelined together and we’ve always fought back in the same way; together. If you weren’t invited, ask yourself why. (It probably has something to do with helping to link gay men to paedophiles during Section 28, Julie.)
Then we have all the threats of section 35. Truly I was in disbelief that they would go through with it, I’m not going to lie. As someone who watched all three days of Holyrood debating the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform bill, alongside the 7 or so years of discussion outside of chambers; it’s pretty clear that the MSPs anticipated interference from Westminster and worked to avoid it.
Genuinely, on the day that section 35 was officially announced I had – mere minutes before the announcement – pressed submit on an article I sent to a publication about Scottish Gender Recognition Reform bill. The take I originally gave was “I don’t think they will actually go through with it, I think the lawyers will tell them they don’t have a case and they’ll back down.”
Embarrassing UK Government u-turns on LGBTQIA+ issues happen several times a year at this point. Last year a series of them in short succession over conversion therapy bans lead to the collapse of the #SafeToBeMe conference and embarrassment on a global stage. So yeah, I really thought they would see sense and not go through with this obviously ridiculous move.
But they did, with a ridiculous statement that many legal experts quickly pointed out was doing them no favours – and which the trans community pointed out essentially boiled down to “we don’t want there to be more trans people though”. With statements like “it will affect the equality act” not standing up thanks to an ammendment by Pam Duncan-Glancy which literally includes “this does not affect the equality act” on the face of the bill.
No joke like half of this is saying that its bad how it will be harder to exclude trans people from spaces etc https://t.co/DGPfjZ4Zpe
— Rose Schmits, Trans Kiln Witch™ (@RoseSchmits) January 17, 2023
Rishi Sunak and Alister Jack’s decision to push forwards with Section 35 lead to a tidal wave of social media commentary about the future the UK. With polls showing support for an independent Scotland having tipped in favour of the yes vote. It seems like undermining the democracy of a country who already doesn’t like England very much was not a smart move for the newly unelected Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.
One which, when ordered by Scotland to appear in Holyrood to justify, he instead opted to send Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Women and Equalities. A peculiar decision, given her position and also Sunak’s overriding of Badenoch to push through a trans-inclusive conversion therapy ban. Naturally, Badenoch didn’t bother to respond to the request to show up; much in the way she and Truss didn’t cooperate with the Women’s and Equalities Select Committee over England’s GRA reform.
Then we get to the protests! Obviously, the UK Government deciding to cause a constitutional crisis over the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform bill was all the excuse trans people needed to go pound pavements and hang out with each other for a bit. I sourced a piece from the lovely Owen Hurcum for Writes covering the English side of the protests and I’m still waiting on our other lovely writer to cover the Scottish side – but they are very busy so I don’t want to rush them at all.
Meanwhile; two MSPs had their photograph taken at the protest and behind them were some signs that were a bit mean about the bigots. You know, the same bigots who we just covered were quoting Mein Kampf and associating us with child sex abuse for their hatred? Yeah. A couple of signs saying “I eat TERFs and Tories” and “decapitate TERFs” with a drawing of a guillotine were the cause for a lot of outrage this weekend.
Many MPs and MSPs have fallen over themselves to condemn the signs – including the trans inclusive ones – which is a bit disappointing if I’m honest. Those same people have largely been quiet on the many threats trans people receive on a daily basis, whereas threats against transphobes regularly make the news.
Good grief @NicolaSturgeon, should your MP & MSP @kirstenoswald & @kaukabstewart really be standing under a banner with a guillotine and this the slogan ‘Decapitate Terfs’? And this is meant to be ‘progressive’? pic.twitter.com/aus04hrEmX
— Murdo Fraser (@murdo_fraser) January 21, 2023
On Twitter I got a bit flowery with it and said they were holding up a mirror; showing cis society a tiny fraction of the abuse and hatred we are treated to as trans people every single day. To me its not unlike things like “die cis scum” or statements made by legendary feminist Mona Eltahawy; “how many rapists must we kill” [before women are safe]?
Mona isn’t literally arguing to start murdering rapists any more than these signs were ordering the deaths of TERFs. It’s a rhetorical device meant to make a point and in both cases its about how the safety of a community of people rests on us not protecting bigots and abusers above those they are bigoted and abusive about.
I think that just about covers everything that’s happened in the last month since the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform bill was passed in Holyrood. It’s kind of an embarrassing clown show from the UK government who are utterly insistent on pandering to an extremel vocal minority of bigots; likely at the behest of conservative think tanks like those based out of 55 Tufton Street.
There’s still about a week left of January and I don’t expect anything will be slowing down soon. I’ll try to get back onto a more regular writing schedule and also finally get us that Terraria game up and running I promised like a month or two ago.
In the meantime, I hope you’re all enjoying the wonderful trans led content we’re able to deliver and thank you to our generous donors over at LGBT+ Consortium, The National Lottery, and all those who’ve responded to our crowdfunding attempts too. You make Trans Writes happen and it’s some of the most fulfilling stuff I’ve ever done. Thank you so much.