WE were concerned to see so many factual misrepresentations and hyperbole in the article by Stephen Paton on the decision by the SNP to allow a male candidate to stand on an all-woman shortlist (A trans woman standing for SNP would be huge victory, October 26). We also note that online comments – in the main factual – were first heavily edited and then closed completely, which does not seem to be in the usual spirit of your publication.

Paton obscures the fact that objections to Mridul Wadhwa’s candidacy in Stirling are not personal, nor related to trans status. They concern the breaking of the laws governing all-female lists which are supposed to redress the historic under-representation of women in parliament. Wadhwa has admitted they are not in possession of a GRC, meaning they remain legally, as well as biologically, male: by allowing this candidate to stand on a purely self-id basis, the SNP are in contravention of law. Potentially they open themselves to a suit from other male candidates (the comparator class according to the EHRC) who have been prevented from standing.

READ MORE: The election of a trans woman for the SNP would be a huge victory

Paton, of course, goes further in an extraordinary series of unreferenced assertions, arguing that puberty blockers are “safe and reversible” even though the NHS has updated its guidance to say: “Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers ... it’s also not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones. Side effects may also include hot flushes, fatigue and mood alterations.” Puberty blockers are powerful drugs, originally licensed to treat cancer. To encourage potentially vulnerable teens to believe them safe is reckless in the extreme.

Paton also claims there have been no issues in countries which allow self-ID. We can only imagine that Paton has been asleep or without the internet for the past two years. Only a few weeks ago, an extremely dangerous, homicidal individual with a stated desire to rape and murder women was placed in the women’s estate in Ireland.

Finally, Paton claims that pro-women’s rights organisations are “well funded”. Would that we were! At present we are crowd-funding to take the Scottish Government to judicial review for redefining women in the Gender Representation on Public Boards Act. We are wholly dependent on the generosity of ordinary people if we are to achieve this.

In an article heavy on emotion and manipulation, it takes some chutzpah for Paton to argue that the media have failed to challenge claims made by those who will “say whatever they need to win the point”. Perhaps Paton should not judge others by their own standards.

Susan Smith
Forwomen Scotland

STEPHEN Paton’s column was breathtaking in its bias and riddled with groundless assertions and accusations, not least regarding organisations and others who have genuine well-founded concerns regarding the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act. Paton also omitted to mention some highly salient points.

There are others who are far more able than I am to respond in detail to the fact-free statements contained therein, as well as the omissions. I do hope The National will give a right of reply to the LGB Alliance, among others – with equal space, ie a full page, allowed for responses, if necessary.

For what it’s worth, I’m extremely grateful to those in the SNP and in other political parties, as well as to the newer grassroots women’s organisations in Scotland and throughout the UK, and to individuals including columnists such as Ruth Wishart and Shona Craven, who speak out regarding the need to protect hard-won women’s rights and protections: they do so despite women who voice concerns regarding the proposed GRA reforms etc facing a barrage of misogyny on social media and elsewhere, including threats of violence and rape, and in some instances even death threats. One day we’ll hopefully have hate-crime legislation in Scotland dealing with misogyny.

Mo Maclean

STEPHEN Paton may be right in calling for a transgender woman to have equal opportunity to represent the community in parliament – that’s a fundamental matter of everyone’s right to equality – however I take issue with his general view of transgender matters.

For me – and I’m prepared to be shown where I’m wrong – gender dysphoria is a psychological condition seeking a physical remedy. On that basis not only can’t I support self-certifying of gender, I vigorously oppose it.

However, what disturbed me most about Paton’s outpouring is the use of puberty blockers to prevent a process where many internal questions may be answered. It’s reported that we now have children as young as six with gender issues, and some parents encouraging transition as the solution to the young person’s confusion. How on earth can this possibly be acceptable?

Social media and celebrity clearly have an increasing impact on young people, but how can a pre-pubescent child possibly fully understand such an issue when presented with the prejudice of external influences?

The issue of transgender is not cut and dried as Paton would have us believe. At least the column opens up debate; if we’re allowed to have one, of course, in our politically correct driven world.

Jim Taylor