Widespread concern

A new hate-crime law in Scotland causes widespread concern


Transgender identity is protected; biological sex is not

Thank you for noticing and saying. That’s so unusual. The BBC and the Guardian take great pains not to notice and not to say. They take such great, and conspicuous, pains that I’m pretty confident they know they’re doing it, that they do it with malice aforethought, that it’s not mere clumsiness or absence of mind or confusion.

Scotland already has an offence of “stirring up racial hatred”. From April it will become a crime to use “threatening or abusive” behaviour with the intention of stirring up hatred on the basis of other characteristics, too—namely religion, age, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity. 

But not sex. Not sex. Definitely not sex. Women are fair game. Stir up hatred of women all you like – it’s not as if women are subject to violence, now is it.

“Discussion or criticism” of protected characteristics is acceptable, and a carve-out has been made that allows Scots to voice “antipathy, dislike, ridicule or insult” for religion. But the carve-out does not apply to the other characteristics named under the law. And some characteristics are not covered by it at all, most obviously sex and non-religious beliefs. That explains why some of the law’s most vocal critics are women who argue that biological sex should take precedence over proclaimed gender identity in areas from sports competitions to changing rooms to prisons. Many of them believe the new law will be weaponised by trans-rights activists to try to silence them.

And we believe that for damn good reason. Trans activists never stop trying to silence women who know that men are not women.

Another concern centres on investigations that do not result in a prosecution. These are still recorded against the person’s name as a “non-crime hate incident” and may show up on safeguarding checks for job applications. On March 25th Murdo Fraser, a Conservative politician, threatened to take legal action against Police Scotland after a tweet of his criticising the Scottish government’s policy on non-binary people was logged as a “hate incident”, even though no law had been broken.

Hate of what? The Scottish government? Non-binary people? The weather? Sheep? Haggis?

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