A ROW has erupted around the campaign group For Women Scotland after one of its directors shared a stage with the Scottish Family Party at an event calling for “education not indoctrination” in schools.

The group has been accused of ­taking part in a “festival of hate” after its director Marion Calder spoke on the same stage as the Scottish Family Party’s Richard Lucas.

For Women Scotland was accused of undermining its stated aim to “promote the interests and rights of women in Scotland” by supporting the organisation of the event which included people who campaign for a ban on abortion, among other human rights issues.

The controversial event was due to be held at Civic House in Glasgow before the venue cancelled citing ­concerns that it contradicted values held by LGBT+ staff members. It was instead held at The Tron Church.

The National: Richard LucasRichard Lucas

The event listing claimed: “Through the Scottish Government’s new sex-education curriculum, very young children are being exposed to overtly sexualised material. In the name of ­inclusivity, a new LGBTQ+ ­vocabulary (cisgender, transgender, bisexual, non-binary and gender fluidity) is ­being taught in primary schools, and sex and gender classes and content is being provided by third-party groups.”

A spokesperson for For Women Scotland said that Calder had told the event it is “crazy to tell children they can change sex or be born in the wrong body”.

They added that the group would be happy to set up a round table for people who had concerns to “resolve this in a more constructive fashion”.

One primary school teacher who spoke to the Sunday National raised concerns that the content of the event was leading to real-life abuse of ­people in their profession.

They rejected the claim that young children are “being exposed to ­overtly sexualised material”, ­calling it “misinformation” and linking it to ­incidents which they claimed have seen teachers called perverts or groomers in the street, abused as “paedophiles” over the phone, or in the case of some LGBT+ teachers, forced out of the ­profession altogether.

“I think it’s very worrying that there are people who would want children to not get proper comprehensive sex education,” the teacher said. “We know from the World Health Organisation that children who get proper sex education, they actually don’t get sexualised or corrupted as [the Scottish Family Party] claim.

“What actually happens is they become sexually active at a later age and they are safer, they understand contraception better, and they’re less likely to have teenage pregnancy. So it scares me that anybody would want to deny young people that ­information that they do need.”

Fraser Sutherland, the chief executive of Humanist Society Scotland, said the event appeared to be aiming to “spread a conspiracy that LGBT inclusive education is secretly about indoctrinating pupils rather than building awareness”.

“It’s clear that many still cling to the hope that Clause 2A [which banned the promotion of ­homosexuality in schools] can be resurrected and ­teachers banned from discussing LGBT relationships and people,” Sutherland added.

Scottish Green MSP Maggie ­Chapman said that For Women ­Scotland “claim to be a feminist ­organisation, but their words and ­actions have never reflected that”. “No feminist would give this festival of hate the time of day”, she added.

The MSP went on: “They claim to speak for all women, but as a ­woman, and one who has worked in the ­women’s sector in Scotland, they ­certainly don’t speak for me or the people I’ve worked with and ­supported.

“And no organisation that ­campaigns for gender equality or works towards the end of gender-based violence, such as Engender, Rape Crisis Scotland, or the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre, will ­entertain the disinformation and scaremongering about the long-overdue gender recognition reforms currently being discussed in Parliament.”

A spokesperson from For Women Scotland said that videos of the event would be released in future for people “who actually wish to judge based on facts rather than smears”.

They went on: “The subject matter was education and schools. Marion spoke about the issues around some of the guidance being sent to schools and the signposting to disgraced ­organisations like [transgender ­support charity] Mermaids.

“She also said it was, frankly, crazy to tell children they can change sex or be born in the wrong body, and downright wrong to socially ­transition children behind their parents’ backs which is not a neutral act – a view shared by experts like [former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health] Hilary Cass.

“If Humanist Society Scotland or others have concerns, they are more than welcome to talk directly to us and we can resolve this in a more constructive fashion. We are happy to attend or set up a round table. We believe that public debate matters and is the only way to resolve issues in a democratic society.”

The Scottish Family Party’s ­Lucas said his party did not “object to sex education”, only to “vulgar and ­corrupting sex education”.

In response to claims that his party is “committed to removing ­human rights”, Lucas said: “I just don’t know what they’re talking about. ­Defending the lives of unborn ­children does ­involve restricting the right of women to kill their own new ones, but we don’t generally grant to citizens, men or women, the right to end innocent human lives.”

He added: “If any of these people would like to engage in debate with us, instead of churning out simplistic and inane sound bites, we’d be happy to oblige.”

The Glasgow event was arranged by Hands Up (Scotland) in ­association with a range of other organisations including For Women Scotland. It formed part of the “Battle of Ideas” festival, which saw other events in London, Buxton, Leeds, and ­Liverpool.

Penny Lewis, from Hands Up (Scotland), denied there had been a backlash and called the suggestion that the content of their meeting could be linked to abuse of teachers “fanciful”. She said it was “the invention of someone that wants to close down the public debate on the politicisation of education”.

Lewis went on: “There may be a small handful of people that feel threatened by the fact that a large number of people with very ­differing beliefs could come together for a thoughtful public event on education. We find it a source of great optimism.

“Do these folk think that only ­educational professionals and ­government officials should be ­allowed to discuss what we teach our kids? Our education system is ­failing and ­everyone should be involved in the debate about how to make it ­better.

“The fact that For Women ­Scotland and the Scottish Family Party shared a platform at the conference ­(despite their very different views) ­demonstrates just how passionately committed they are to an open and tolerant exchange.”