TONI Giugliano links women’s rights and the extension of trans rights by claiming “you can support both” (Those who support rights of women AND trans people will not be silenced, Sep 24). This ignores the fact that extending trans rights will end women’s rights to single-sex spaces. If women do not have an absolute right to single-sex spaces, it is not a right at all. And in opposing the extension of trans rights, we are not taking away trans rights, but are refusing to extend them at the expense of women. Toni claims we have a common enemy of toxic masculinity and domestic abuse, but this is a red herring.

The Equality Act allows exemptions based on our sex, not our gender, if they are a proportionate means to a legitimate aim, in this case protecting females. Since women are 52% of the population, this is proportionate. The acquisition of a Gender Recognition Certificate does not allow transwomen a general right to override this provision, but allows individual exemptions. Already these rights are compromised by the presence of men in changing rooms and toilets, prisons, hospital wards and women’s refuges, as well as women’s sports. All-women shortlists have listed biological males.

Many women are killed by men they are or have been in a relationship with. But according to the Femicide Census, one in 12 murders of women is by a stranger. Allowing biological males to compromise single-sex spaces will make life more dangerous for females, and even easier for predators. To be clear, we do not regard trans people as predators, but recognise the danger of predatory men using self-identification to access women and girls.

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The debate has been muddied by the Scottish Government itself. First, they declared that “transwomen are women”, ignoring that a woman under the Equality Act is a “female of any age”, not a male identifying as a female. The biological reality of sex does not change even on acquisition of a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which only allows a person to be treated as their chosen sex in some circumstances.

Second, the Scottish Government has replaced “sex” with “gender” by stealth on official forms and guidance to public bodies. Third, it is pressing headlong for “self-identification” of males as females. Why does the Scottish Government not comprehend why women are so angry?

Toni repeats the claim that trans people suffer poorer mental health and are at greater risk of suicide than any other group. It is emotional blackmail intended to make gender-critical women back off and accept losing our rights. He does not comment on the headlong affirmation of gender leading to hormone treatment, irreversible surgery, and probable sterility. Woe betide anyone who suggests counselling as a first step.

He blames women for the angry tone of the debate by juxtaposing “intimidation and distortion of the truth” alongside “trans people ... paying the price” and claims women are worrying about hypothetical GRA reforms. But they are not hypothetical, and most people do not want gender self-ID or simple affirmation followed by hormones and surgery for young people, certainly not school-age. Adults are meant to protect the young, not affirm magical thinking. Does he approve of the new schools guidance to affirm children as young as four in their chosen identity?

He said nothing about the aggressive trans lobby. Lesbian women being told to “get over their genital preference” and date biological males or be called transphobic. He did not comment on the head of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre saying that female rape victims should “reframe their trauma” and accept biologically male transwomen into single-sex spaces or be regarded as bigots. Self-ID poses major safeguarding issues to women and girls, as does guidance allowing schools to keep children’s new gender identity secret from parents.

Single-sex spaces and exemptions were the Equality Act’s safeguard for women and girls. Allowing biological males into women’s spaces will increase the damage and danger to them. Until Toni can show us how to identify predatory males just by looking at them, women will continue to fight against self-ID and the erosion of single-sex spaces and exemptions, as well as returning spaces which are currently compromised to being single-sex.

Julia Pannell

Friockheim, Tayside