THE movement for trans liberation in Scotland is a lot like a Greggs vegan sausage roll, in that both have upset a lot of people whose lives won’t be affected at all by the existence of either.

I suspect that if you made a Venn diagram of people upset by a baked good that caters to the needs of others, and those upset by the idea of a trans person going for a wee in peace, you’d have something close to a perfect circle.

Still, the fact that the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill will only impact a small number of trans people hasn’t stopped rampant misinformation from turning benign legislation into a culture-war touchstone, and in doing so has gifted to the Conservatives a chance to play two of their favourite historic games – attacking the LGBTQ+ community and undermining Scottish devolution.

As reported last week, the UK Government is considering a challenge to the Scottish Government’s plans to simplify the means by which transgender people declare their gender identity, despite this being wholly within the devolved powers of our Parliament and it having already been successfully implemented in other nations around the world without issue.

And failing an outright challenge on the legislation itself – legislation that could be considered the most consulted upon in the history of Holyrood – the Tories have instead threatened to ignore certificates issued in Scotland in a move that would relegate both the democratically elected Scottish Parliament and the transgender community in Scotland to second-class status; beholden to the culture war whims of a political party that we have not voted for in almost 70 years.

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Westminster’s self-importance is shown in how the Conservatives view the borders of our alleged family of happy nations – as a one-way door in which its influence freely travels outward only.

One-sided borders have always been a tool of the political right and bloody empires in enforcing their worldview on those outwith their hallowed lands, a free-flowing exportation of people and ideology outward, and only outward.

That power takes many forms, whether through making it difficult to cross into different parts of the UK to access reproductive healthcare services, or through US Republicans attempting to undermine the legitimacy of same-sex marriage certificates across state lines.

Bodily autonomy is, after all, a recurring sticking point for the political right, and transgender healthcare, along with self-declaratory systems, have found themselves a target as a result.

The Tories have spent years pressing their own ideology across borders, passing legislation such as the UK Internal Market Act which specifically allows UK ministers to get their sticky fingers into devolved areas in Scotland. Devolution, and by extension the democratic will of the Scottish people, are viewed more as a hindrance than a line that cannot be crossed.

The latest attack on the Scottish Government’s plans to modernise the process of obtaining a gender recognition certificate comes from a long heritage of disdain for Scotland and the SNP/Green government. “Anti-woke” sentiment is all the Conservatives have, having tanked what reputation for fiscal responsibility they had left after a decade of ideological cuts and inhumane austerity budgets.

While the United Kingdom slumps its way through the consequences of a mishandled Tory Brexit, the Conservatives have found in the trans community a convenient distraction from their corruption and wholesale failings.

Liz Truss may have come and gone faster than England’s chance of winning the World Cup but even in her blink-and-you’d-miss-it premiership she still found the time to set lawyers looking into the means by which they could block gender recognition legislation in Scotland.

The fact that reform is supported by a majority of MSPs only emphasises the disgracefully undemocratic nature of the UK Government’s threats.

Speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson for the UK Government stated that Nicola Sturgeon wanted to portray Scotland as a “haven of inclusivity” in comparison to a “nasty Westminster”, revealing the blinkered outlook of a government treating this legislation like a game of constitutional chess, rather than something with a very human cost.

Perhaps if the Tories wanted to avoid being called the “nasty party”, they could start by showing a shred of the compassion that the Prime Minister promised would guide him and his vicious government.

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Given that the UK already recognises equivalent birth certificates from transgender people from all EU/EEA countries, including those with a de-medicalised model of legal gender recognition, this latest strop is clearly nothing more than an attempt to throw its weight around with the backing of Britain’s infamously regressive press – a press that never miss a chance to play up the culture war for their declining readership.

It did the same by running to a Conservative MP for a huffy comment when it discovered that Greggs, alongside vegan bakes, also now had name badges that included the pronouns of staff if they chose to display them – while conveniently downplaying that not only had staff asked for them, but that they had been well received internally.

Autonomy – to wear a name badge, or update a certificate or eat a vegan sausage roll – without interference from a regressive state is so little to ask for. But for the Conservatives, it’s seemingly worth undermining Scottish democracy to deny.