Trans rights backlash: the Scottish-Canadian connection

May 24, 2019 by

by Shona Craven, Herald Scotland:

AT first glance it might not be obvious how the chanting and colourful banners outside Vancouver Public Library relate to some rather less lively evidence sessions about census questions at the Scottish Parliament. But the protests in Canada a week ago are part of the same global debate about identity as last month’s discussions about whether Scots should be required to declare their biological sex.

To listen to those leading the chants – including “No TERFs, not KKK, no fascists here today!” – you’d be forgiven for thinking headline speaker Meghan Murphy was some kind of racist and colonialist, prone to inciting violent acts against minorities. What would not be immediately clear is that Murphy’s crime, in the eyes of those who would silence her, is stating that men cannot become women.

In fact her opponents would argue this is not just a crime in their eyes, but also according to the laws of the land. The reach of these laws – some federal, others provincial – is currently being tested, including in high-profile legal actions that are making headlines around the world.

So why is a discussion on Gender Identity Ideology and Women’s Rights so controversial, and what can Scotland learn from Canada about how to legislate around the contentious area of transgender rights? Equally, what might Canada be able to learn from us?

Our two nations have a few things in common. Each has a neighbour to the south with a population about ten times higher, each is led by a self-declared feminist, and each governing party prides itself on being progressive, especially in comparison to those southern neighbours. The leaders of both countries are, accordingly, loudly and proudly committed to promoting LGBT rights.

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