Scottish Misogyny Law Sparks Debate Over Transgender Protections

The Scottish government's proposed misogyny law sparks controversy, with critics arguing it will provide "double protection" for transgender women. The debate highlights ongoing tensions between women's rights and transgender rights advocates.

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Waqas Arain
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Scottish Misogyny Law Sparks Debate Over Transgender Protections

Scottish Misogyny Law Sparks Debate Over Transgender Protections

The Scottish government's forthcoming misogyny law has ignited controversy, with critics arguing that it will provide "double protection" for transgender women. The legislation, set to be introduced by 2026, aims to address criminal behavior motivated by misogyny and protect anyone affected by it, regardless of their biological sex.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has defended the law, stating that it will safeguard both cisgender and transgender women from misogynistic abuse. "A man threatening to rape a woman should be seen as misogynistic regardless of whether the victim is a cisgender or transgender woman," Yousaf said. He accused "bad faith actors" of trying to turn the issue into a "culture war" and called for a debate based on facts rather than "deliberate disinformation."

However, author J.K. Rowling has criticized the law, claiming that Yousaf has shown "absolute contempt for women and their rights" by including transgender women. Rowling argues that the law will give "double protection" to transgender activists who have threatened women. She previously published a list of prominent transgender women on social media, referring to them as men, which led to complaints to the police, though no criminal action was taken.

Why this matters: The debate over the Scottish misogyny law highlights the ongoing tensions between women's rights advocates and transgender rights activists. The outcome of this legislation could set a precedent for how other countries address the issue of protecting both cisgender and transgender women from misogynistic abuse.

The decision to exclude the protected characteristic of sex from the recent Hate Crime and Public Order Scotland Act 2021 has also been criticized, as it is seen as not prioritizing the issue of sex-based discrimination and violence against women. The Scottish government has committed to bringing forward new legislation on misogyny shortly after the summer parliamentary recess.

Yousaf emphasized that the new law will not diminish protection against misogyny for those born as women. He stated, "The faux outrage claiming trans women have 'double protection' under the law is as ludicrous as being upset that a disabled, black woman has triple protection under the law." The Scottish government plans to introduce the misogyny bill by the end of the current parliamentary term in 2026, following a review by human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy KC.

Key Takeaways

  • Scotland to introduce misogyny law by 2026 to protect all women, cis and trans.
  • Debate over whether law will provide "double protection" for trans women.
  • J.K. Rowling criticizes law, claims it shows "contempt for women's rights".
  • Hate Crime Act 2021 criticized for excluding protected characteristic of sex.
  • Scottish govt. says law will not diminish protection against misogyny for cis women.