Scotland allows anybody’s gender (i.e., “legal sex”) to be determined entirely by self recognition

December 23, 2022 • 9:15 am

Yesterday reader Jeremy “Jez” Grove from England sent a news item about how Scotland now allows anyone to assume any gender (i.e., “legal sex”) they choose. Apparently, if you’re a full biological man, untreated medically, you can still change your legal sex to “woman”, and vice versa. Jez’s report is indented.

Today the Scottish parliament passed a new bill enabling people to change their legally recognised gender on the basis of self-identification.

Opponents of the legislation tried to pass amendments that would have prevented men convicted of, or facing trial for, rape and other sex offences from using the new Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) process to get access to women’s prisons,  but they were defeated. This matters because sex offenders are very overrepresented amongst transgender prisoners in the UK. See “Four out of 10 transgender criminals in prison are guilty of sex crimes, new data shows“. (Something similar is happening in the US prison system, too.)

I wouldn’t usually use the Daily Mail as a source, but sadly liberal news outlets like The Guardian and BBC just aren’t reporting on this issue.

[JAC: Jez later wrote me that that the Daily Telegraph reported on this too, though the article lacks the statistics given above.]

The UK’s Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, has released this statement:

It is also relevant that an astonishing 50% of men who identify as women in Scottish prisons did so only after being found guilty. (See this article in The Times.) Given that many of them then revert to their natal sex on release from jail, there is understandable cynicism about the motivation of these men.One argument used by the Scottish government is that nothing has changed and that the existing procedure for obtaining GRCs gave the same rights. Opponents use the following analogy (expressed here by poster NecessaryScene on the website Mumsnet):

“Well, the bill won’t change the protections or provisions in that’s it’s not changing what the GRC is. It’s just changing how easy it is to get one.”

So that statement is technically true in the same way as sending copies of your key on demand to anyone who fills out a web form doesn’t change anything versus handing out tens or hundreds of copies more selectively.You have exactly the same protection: anyone who doesn’t have a key can’t get in. You may be less secure, but you have the same “protection”, and your door operates the same way.Not that your “protection” was offering much security in the first place, but clearly your problem is now a lot worse.”

6’5″ transwoman Katie Dolatowski, found guilty of sexually assaulting a ten-year-old girl in supermarket toilets just weeks after filming a teenage girl in toilets at another shop, is currently in a Scottish women’s prison. He was moved there after assaulting a male inmate in a men’s prison. (You really couldn’t make this up.) Female prisoners are disproportionately likely to be victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence, and being incarcerated with men like that strikes me as horrendously cruel. These women have no escape—or even a vote to challenge the laws that enable their predicament.The new Scottish GRCs permitted by the bill have potential implications for the rest of the UK, and the Westminster government may try to stop the new legislation from receiving royal assent, effectively stopping it from becoming law. Doing so would rely on the bill exceeding the Scottish government’s devolved powers (most equalities law is controlled by the UK parliament in Westminster). The UK government might also just decide not to recognize Scottish GRCs at all, although in doing so it might need to stop recognizing certificates from other countries that use gender self-id too. It would create huge complications if someone was legally female in Scotland but male in England, of course…!

41 thoughts on “Scotland allows anybody’s gender (i.e., “legal sex”) to be determined entirely by self recognition

  1. J K Rowling is not pleased with this nonsense, although no knowledgeable person can be surprised that this is emanating from the SNP, not simply the worst political party in the UK, but one of the most odious in Europe (as well as a disgrace to the memory of all those rational “North Britons” who contributed so much, once upon a time, to the Scottish portion of Britain’s Enlightenment).

    1. ‘Odious’ is one way to classify the lot. Sinister is another one. A secretive party with no dissenting voices, manipulative, reluctant to release information, enemy of freedom of speech. People outside Scotland have little Idea of what’s happening here. Tempted to cite Orwell, but that’s been done too many times in relation to Scotland.

    2. Wings Over Scotland says:

      A huge 2:1 majority of Scots believe the Scottish Government’s proposed new “gender recognition” laws pose a safety risk to women. Tory voters think so by almost 9:1, Lib Dem voters by almost 6:1, and Labour voters by nearly 2:1.

      That can only partly be explained away by partisan party loyalty – Labour and the Liberal Democrats both support the bill, but their own voters are still strongly against. More noteworthy is the fact that (excluding Don’t Knows) even slavishly loyal SNP voters agree with the statement by a smaller but still clear 12-point margin, 56 to 44.

      So let’s say it unambiguously: most SNP voters think the SNP’s gender reforms pose a danger to women’s safety.

      But that’s not the disturbing bit. The disturbing bit comes next:

      Because by a margin of 3 to 2, SNP voters who have an opinion either way also say that the reforms make them MORE likely to vote for the SNP.I

      So let’s put it all together and spell it out: when taken as a whole, SNP voters say they’re MORE likely to vote for the SNP specifically because of a policy that they themselves think puts women in danger.

      Indeed, less than one in five of the party’s supporters are troubled by the fact. 53% of them merely don’t care that women will be put in danger, while 28% of them are actively enthused by the idea. (And of that 28%, two-thirds say they’re MUCH more likely, not just a bit more likely, to vote SNP as a result.)

      I really don’t know what to say.

      1. The terrible teeth and gums that Scots are notorious for must be causing an epidemic of dental abscesses, which have seeded their brains with pus. Tongue piercing can do this too.
        It’s the only explanation I can think of.

  2. Maybe the only way through this to a sensible process is to have abuses occur and have people realize this is a problem and eventually put safeguards in place. It’s unfortunate but it often happens this way.

    1. The abuses are part of the plan. That’s how the Left knows that its plan to destabilize society is working: abuse and chaos.

      1. No I don’t think so. The left does care about society, they just can be blind to some things, as we all are. This is one of them and they will eventually come to better position on this but harm may be done in the meantime.

        1. Come back and tell me that after the lights go out when the wind stops blowing. Of course there will be no Internet so you’ll have to write me a letter by candlelight, and have a guy on a horse deliver it.

          1. So you are a climate change science denier so like flat earthers I feel no obligation to heed anything you say. Life is to short to entertain nonsense.

            1. Red cards for ad hominem and straw-manning, Mike.

              OK, I believe at least some of the earth’s inhabitants are heading for climate catastrophe. (I really do.) Now tell me how the lights are going to stay on when the windmills stop. You True Believers haven’t figured any of this out yet, have you.

              I’m not just bickering with you. My point is the Left doesn’t care that weather-dependant generators won’t work above about 30% of penetration and they impose large intermittency and subsidy costs on consumers even at that level. But you don’t care, any more than Scotland cares, while they know it’s true, that violent men keep on raping after they call themselves women.

              You leftists don’t get off the hook by saying, “Oh, some abuses and suffering have to occur before we find the right balance. Pawns lost to the game and all.” No. You people own this.

              I’ll leave this here.

              1. Climate change is upon us, but I think it is not our greatest environmental disaster though, that is loss of biodiversity. And although climate change may contribute there, the greatest devils of biodiversity loss remain habitat destruction and hunting-poaching in the first place.

              2. Red card for you for calling me a ‘true believer’. I am not a ‘true believers’ because belief means acceptance without evidence and there is plenty of evidence that wind, along with other fossil fuel alternatives, can provide reliable energy alternatives.

                As to the Scottish situation I certainly don’t agree with it but I’m afraid that it may take reported abuses to get people to formulate a more sensible policy on trans. I don’t like it but it’s often the truth. It’s like climate change. Thing will have to get much worse unfortunately for some people to take it seriously and learn about many alternatives rather than the status quo.

        2. The topic is being steered by queer theorists, who very much want to create disorder and chaos.
          It is being supported by a lot of left leaning folk, who think they are doing the right thing, even if doing so requires a bit of suspension of common sense.

          The package is wrapped with pretty paper and a nice ribbon. The paper is decorated with rainbows and lots of positive sounding buzzwords, like “empowerment” and “equity”
          But when you open it, the only thing in the box is a ratty old paperback copy of Envers “Reject the Revisionist Theses – Uphold Marxism-Leninism!”

          If you polled a bunch of left-leaning people about their impressions of queer theory, you would probably find that they favor it. Asked to explain it in any depth, they would be unable to do so, or might say that it is about empowerment and affirmation.
          But it has never been about that, or even about making the lives of LGBTQ people better, or accepted as part of society. It a plan to use such people, in ways that are not in their best interest, to achieve political goals.
          The same left leaning parents, with signs in their yard and stickers on their car attesting to how powerfully good they are, do not actually want their little girl dressing or showering at the public pool with Aqualung sitting in the corner watching them with his John Thomas out.

          1. I tend to agree with you, but could you expand on those political goals? And how the present PC-DEI cabal would supposedly achieve them?

            1. It is a convoluted business.
              I suppose at the most basic level is the idea that binary systems are inherently hierarchical and oppressive. Not just male and female, but normal and abnormal.
              “Queer” used to be a pejorative, but here it becomes a verb, meaning to “unsettle or complicate normative practices, spaces, or discourses.”
              (Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice, Thompson, 2015)
              Or to “upend the entire hierarchy of value and propriety upon which social convention rests.”
              If you have a strong stomach, you might look at “Towards a Gay Communism” (Mieli, 1977) as a look at the emerging theory back when homosexuality was considered transgressive.
              Even then, normalization of transgressive practices was not the goal. As soon as they become normal, they become new targets of disruption. Miele predicted that the revolution against hetero-capitalism would include the practices of necrophilia, zoophilia, and of course pedophilia.

              Marxists have sort of absorbed much of the movement, as they do. To them, the family itself is a competing economic unit. My personal view is that much of this germinated in the DDR in the mid 60s where it was believed by some that shame itself was a tool of bourgeois societies, used to control people’s thoughts, behaviors and sexuality. They did not put boys in dresses and teach them pole dancing as we do. Instead, they had them perform sex acts on adults and each other.

              Selling Aqualung on revolution through transgressive sexual practices is not a hard sell. Nor is selling children on just about anything.

              This is my understanding of some of the facets of the subject.

  3. There’s an article about transwomen reverting to being male on release from prison here: “Anger as trans inmates revert to males when they leave Scottish prisons” –

    Again, I wish it wasn’t just right-leaning news outlets covering these issues. The lack of unbiased liberal news coverage allows arguments against gender ideology to be waved away as a right-wing culture war rather than acknowledged as reasonable concerns that need addressing.

    One of the recurrent disputes during the passing of the new Scottish legislation was about the relevant data. The Scottish government argued that lack of data shows a lack of any problem; meanwhile, as per Tim Minchin’s confirmation bias sketch posted by our host earlier, it turned a deaf ear (sorry, Stanford!) to the data that it didn’t like that was presented to it. The Scottish parliament then defeated amendments that sought to mandate the collection of the data necessary to measure the outcomes of the new law. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”, of course, but Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister is doing her best to duck that.

  4. In regard to comment #1 and its assent—please remember that “crazy” is on every standard list of forbidden words, because of the >harm its mere use does to an unfortunately marginalized population. The correct term is neurodiverse.

    The sociology of the Scottish National Party is worth discussing. Surely, it cannot be that a majority of its officials are themselves individuals who claim to belong to a different sex, or different species, from that “assigned” to them at birth. Then what motivates their political choices on this? Do they imagine that Biology is a tool of Sassenach oppression? Do they imagine that trans activists are a powerful voting bloc north of the Tweed? Is the SNP’s super-wokeness on this stuff a matter of adaptive mimicry, like the ACLU and the academic committees that compile lists of forbidden words?

  5. A reader who doesn’t comment here emailed me and asked me to add the following comment:

    I notice your report on the Scottish trans thing. I was originally on the fence about this, but I decided it was a reasonable step forward, and was glad when it passed. What doesn’t get reported is that someone has to first live in their new gender for 3 months, and they need make a legally binding declaration with an attorney or justice of the peace that this is their choice of gender henceforth. There are legal penalties for violating the law (i.e. they can’t switch back and forth on a whim). There is protection for women’s ‘safe spaces’ and it brings Scotland into line with Ireland (!) and other European countries. And Kemi Badenoch is a nasty piece of work – she is ultra right wing amongst other things. I would really hesitate to take the Daily Mail as gospel on any of this.

    The so called feminist backlash, as pictured prominently in the news, has been a bit weird as it is clearly orchestrated in some way (they wave expensively produced and coordinated signage). One woman in that camp displayed fake female genitals in the parliament last night, and in front of children too. It is perfectly possible to be a feminist and support the new legislation.

    As they say, most crimes against women are committee by hetero men. In the news today is the sentencing of a man who murdered his ex-partner, her 2 young children, and one of her children’s friends.

    I am sure that sports and other issues will need to be grappled with in due course, but it seems that the numbers involved are not huge, and it will allow some people greater acceptance in society. And of course I don’t think that biological sex is something that can be changed.

    1. Regarding: “The so called feminist backlash, as pictured prominently in the news, has been a bit weird as it is clearly orchestrated in some way”.

      Oh, tell me that the campaign of radical trans activists to erase the political significance of biological sex is not “orchestrated in some way”.

      Regarding women’s sports: It is irrelevant that the number of trans athletes involved are not huge. The real issue is “whether we still think it’s important for cisgender women to have a place where at least a few of us can experience the thrill of victory” (Megan McArdle: We need to be able to talk about trans athletes and women’s sports. Washington Post, Jan 13, 2021)
      Also, you write that inclusion of trans women (ie, biological males) in women’s sport “will allow some people greater acceptance in society.” This begs the question why women should bear the costs of allowing some people greater acceptance in society. What if we said that we impose a quota in men’s sport for how many medals (and how much prize money) trans men must win in men’s sport (without such a quota they will not win any medals/prize money at all)? I predict that many men would find this unacceptable. But imposing costs on women – not a problem.

      You say that the Scottish legislation provides for “protection for women’s ‘safe spaces’”. Please tell us more about this.

    2. “most crimes against women are committee by hetero men.” indeed, by men, who overwhelmingly commit (violent) crime, but are also overwhelmingly ‘hetero’, so obviously. My point is they are violent because they are men, not because they are ‘hetero’ men.
      Those prisoners that have this sudden (3 f**ing months?) conversion are just still men, ‘hetero’ men, prone to violent crime (if not they wouldn’t be there). The notion they are women is farcical, and giving in to this farce is, well, basically crazy, as Norman stated at 1.

    3. I notice your report on the Scottish trans thing. I was originally on the fence about this, but I decided it was a reasonable step forward, and was glad when it passed. What doesn’t get reported is that someone has to first live in their new gender for 3 months, and they need make a legally binding declaration with an attorney or justice of the peace that this is their choice of gender henceforth. There are legal penalties for violating the law (i.e. they can’t switch back and forth on a whim).

      There was extensive debate about how how someone’s declaration can be proved false, given that no evidence is required to back up their original assertion. The Scottish government also couldn’t offer a definitive answer of what it means for someone to “live in the acquired gender”. Suggestions on the government’s website include, but do not mandate, changing pronouns, titles (it gives Mr and Miss as examples, the latter a rather outdated one given that Ms has been around for decades now), and the name listed on utility bills. Sceptics believe that “living in the acquired gender” amounts to the reinforcement of reductive gender-based stereotypes about clothes, hairstyles, and behaviour and that the guidance is so vague because it is seeking to be careful to avoid confirming this. It is certainly difficult to understand how a man can “feel like” a woman without reference to these stereotypes, since they lack any genuine “lived experience” as a member of the opposite sex.

      Under the existing Gender Recognition Act 2004, which the new legislation replaces in Scotland, someone wishing to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate has to:

      * Obtain a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from two doctors, one of whom must be a specialist in the field of gender dysphoria.

      * Have lived in the acquired gender throughout the period of two years ending with the date on which the application is made.

      * Intend to continue to live in the acquired gender until death.

      The new legislation removes the need for any medical diagnosis at all and reduces the period of living in the acquired gender from 2 years to 3 months for adults and 6 months for children aged 16 and 17. For children, the qualifying period can start at the age of fifteen years and six months, enabling a GRC to be issued on their 16th birthday. So a child too young to buy alcohol or get a tattoo is able to irrevocably change their legal sex. You might think this is sensible. I respectfully disagree.

  6. This may be of interest to some readers here. A new documentary:

    Adult Human Female. 2022, 92 mins (directed by Deirdre O’Neill and Michael Wayne)
    Publisher’s description:
    This is the first UK documentary feature to look at the clash between women’s rights and gender ideology.
    In record time, gender ideology has captured the big institutions.
    The police, the political parties, the media, the universities and major corporations have taken up the cause in the name of inclusiveness.
    Gender ideology allows men to identify into the female sex. But is that really harmless?
    Is it progressive for doctors to modify the bodies of young people in the name of changing their ‘gender’?
    There has been a manufactured confusion around sex and gender. At the same time we are told that ‘there is no debate’. Dissenters are cast as ‘haters’ and cancelled.
    This is not only a struggle to defend women’s rights. At risk is safeguarding for children and young people, biological reality, reason and even democracy.
    Reality denial comes at a price.

    I watched it and found it informative.

    1. Yes, it’s an interesting documentary (not sure about the segment with the copulating squirrels, though).

      A screening and discussion at the University of Edinburgh was cancelled after students prevented it from going ahead. I believe that one of the trans rights activists involved has since been arrested for attempting to spit on one of the would-be attendees. Given that the film discusses how women have been threatened and prevented from talking about their sex-based rights this bullying behaviour was only to be expected, I suppose.

      1. The activists claim that standing aggressively in a doorway and preventing people from entering is just a form of protest. No.

        That said, I watched the video with the alleged “spitting” incident. As far as I can tell, he didn’t spit. A man who wanted to watch the film told the protester his breath stank, so the protester turned his head and breathed a puff of air towards him. Childish on both parts but not, I think, criminal.

        Arrest him for blocking the doorway.

  7. I wouldn’t mind one bit if this triggers a wave of jury nullification of female defendants. They want male offenders in female prisons? Then they shouldn’t complain about female offenders walking free.

    1. Is there a chance that something like this ends up being the silver lining?

      If I understand right, there’s some tension as what Scottish certificates will now mean in the rest of the UK. One way to resolve that would be not to care — to declare that (for the purpose of law in England, and UK passports, etc) all that matters is your sex. What you call yourself to your friends, and whether men wear skirts north of the border, could be ruled irrelevant. Too much to hope?

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