IN an opinion piece which gets much right, Stephen Paton is being a little economical with the truth in the assessment of objections to trans people being excluded from single-sex spaces (Moral panic over trans rights fuelled by misinterpretation, June 7).

Rightly, Stephen states that exceptions can be made on the grounds of proportionality in order to preserve single-sex spaces like changing rooms, public toilets, women’s prisons and women’s refuges. But following on from that Stephen does not seem to believe there is actually anything which would be proportional enough to justify anyone actually being excluded.

It is not the case that “any form of trans-exclusionary policy” would land you on the wrong side of the Equality Act. The fact that the Equality Act specifically allows for proportionate exclusion is proof of that.

READ MORE: Stephen Paton: Moral panic over Stonewall and trans rights is fuelled by misinterpretation

Exclusion of trans women even with a Gender Recognition Certificate is proportionate if there are special reasons. These include objections from religious women who for the sake of their religion cannot or should not have to share intimate single-sex spaces with biological men. They include abused women who have fled domestic violence at the hands of men, and who would be horrified to find biological men in safe spaces intended for women.

Some women’s refuges have recently been defunded for not being sufficiently diverse to include men, even though 91% or more of domestic violence is by men against women. Would anyone really want their teenage or younger daughter/niece/friend to be in an intimate single-sex space like a toilet or changing room with someone who is still fully biologically male?

The terms “gender” and “sex” have become interchangeable of late, with the Scottish Government seemingly unwilling or unable to see the difference, which is bad news considering that they want to go to gender self-ID with no proof of any physical or hormonal transition to being a woman, and nothing but a self-declaration. Unfortunately, the Scottish Government do not seem to have considered the giant loophole which this provides to those who are not genuinely trans, but who are predatory men trying to abuse the law and thereby abuse women.

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Stephen seems not to realise that many lesbian women are as disquieted by gender reforms as are straight women, and this is not a manufactured outrage. The reason why there is so much said of late is that the Scottish Government did not exactly promote its plans until it was almost too late. It comes to something when the heroine of women’s rights was actually a Labour politician, Johann Lamont, who brought in a successful amendment to the Forensic Medical Services (Scotland) Act in 2020 which stopped abused women having to be examined possibly by a male self-identifying as a woman.

Whenever an incident in prisons or refuges or toilets is pointed out (and they have happened) they are immediately trivialised as one-offs, exceptions, or so rare as to be insignificant. This “insignificance” is the reason we are supposed to shut up. What is the going rate for an acceptable number of crimes against women and girls?

I believe Essex University under pressure admitted its mistake and apologised for de-platforming gender-critical academics for having the temerity to voice a counter opinion. I do not believe people generally are anti-trans, and it is people like Stephen who have blown the debate “out of all proportion”. The problem is, anyone who objects to the rights of less than 1% of the population (trans people) threatening the rights of 52% of the population (women) is castigated as a bigot or Nazi or even a TERF.

There is no manufactured outrage against trans people, just legitimate objections and concerns. But Stephen seems to think the tactics of the aggressive lobby who currently have sway are fine. You are either on the bus or under it. I wish Stephen would condemn their treatment of us as clearly as we are condemned.

Julia Pannell
Friockheim, Tayside