Wings Over Scotland | The depths of madness

Yesterday we watched the first day’s proceedings of For Women Scotland taking the Scottish Government to court over its definition of what a woman is.

The topic is really very niche but will affect us all if the judge rules for the government (we won’t know the outcome for at least a month or two), so here’s the short version of what it’s all about.

Let’s say there’s a male, called John, and he feels uncomfortable in his body for some reason. Under the Scottish Government’s proposed new process which involves no checks of any kind, he acquires a free Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which allows John to change the sex on his birth certificate to female. We’ll call this John’s “certificated sex”.

The Scottish Government says that this GRC makes John female in ALL respects. So you ask for a female doctor to do your smear test and John turns up to do it because his certificated sex is now female. You attend a rape counselling session (the service advertised the job as for females only) and you find John runs it, because all the provisions in the Equality Act that create single-sex spaces for females for reasons of safety or privacy or dignity now include John.

(Below left, on a girly shopping expedition with his mate Dan.)

Conversely, let’s imagine a female called Alice who also acquires a GRC, so her certificated sex is now male. The Scottish Government says Alice is now male in all respects. Alice immediately loses any rights and protections in law under the Abortion Act, because it specifically applies to women (meaning females) – because only females can get pregnant or need an abortion – and the Scottish Government says Alice is now male.

So should Alice get pregnant from being raped, she’ll have no right to an abortion. Should she get pregnant by choice (because a Scottish GRC requires no change of body, dress or behaviour in order to change your certificated sex so of course male Alice can get pregnant), the legislation that protects her from discrimination during pregnancy, or after it – eg while breastfeeding – refers specifically to women, females.

So should Alice’s employers cut her pay to less than the males in the company doing the same job as her because she’s taken maternity leave, Alice has no recourse in law because she’s now male and is no longer being sexually discriminated against.

On the other hand, should Alice need IVF to get pregnant she can’t have it, because males can’t get pregnant. But there’s good news too! Should Alice want to be a surrogate mother – to provide a baby for John and Dan, perhaps – she can do whatever the hell she wants because the surrogacy legislation also refers and applies solely to women, meaning females. Alice is outside the law because her certificated sex is now male, so she can have a baby and hand it over to whoever she wants.

And at any point in these events, or if Alice needs treatment for any other gynaecological issue, she can be excluded from the female-only gynaecological ward (if such a thing even still exists in Scotland in 2022), but John and his fully-intact, fully-functioning penis WOULD be allowed on that ward.

(All the pronouns we’ve used here to refer to John and Alice will soon be hate crimes.)

Is your mind blown yet?

What was of particular interest yesterday was that the body created to look after the implementation of the Equality Act, the Equality & Human Rights Commission, are supporting the Scottish Government’s legal defence in court. You read that right. The body given the job of upholding the law covering nine protected characteristics of vulnerable groups believes that a GRC grants the holder a certificated sex in ALL respects. John becomes female and Alice becomes male and everyone else has to live with the consequences.

From the age of 16 – even as low as 12, if their coalition partners the Scottish Greens get their way – the Scottish Government wants any male to be able to acquire a GRC with no medical diagnosis, no gatekeeping and no safeguarding, and be legally female in every way.

So young girls and women will have to accept John as female at all times, even when giving us internal examinations, or mammograms, or serving time in a female prison, on our hospital wards or in our changing rooms and toilets, whereas the Alices of the world will be forced to be male in ALL aspects. Alice will be placed in male prisons, in male hospital wards, and have males examine her.

You probably don’t pay much attention to things like judicial reviews. They don’t get on the news much. But you should with this one, because its potential to impact on your life is truly huge.


Scottish Feminist Network can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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