Scotland has recently reformed the Gender Recognition Act to allow people without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria or evidence to be legally recognised as their chosen gender. Applicants will have to live as their acquired gender for a minimum of three months before applying and will have to complete another three months of ‘reflection’ before receiving a certificate.
Social Justice Secretary Shona Robinson said: “Trans men and women are among the most stigmatised in our society and many find the current system for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate to be intrusive, medicalised, and bureaucratic.
“Our support for trans rights does not conflict with our continued strong commitment to uphold the rights and protections that women and girls currently have under the 2010 Equality Act.
“This Bill makes no changes to that Act.”
She added: “The Scottish Government has always been keen to seek consensus where possible and to work to support respectful debate. That will remain a guiding principle.”
During the trans rights debate, Ms Slater remarked that the BBC had “only recently stopped putting on climate deniers because they required balance”.
She added: “We wouldn’t put balance on the question of racism or anti-Semitism, but we allow this fictional notion of balance when it comes to anti-trans [views]. The whole thing is disgusting.
Slater then added that grassroots feminist groups who plan to challenge the legislation are secretly funded by “certain right-wing American groups”.
The Minister’s comments have been labelled “grossly offensive” by Scottish Tory Meghan Gallacher.
The Scottish Tory spokeswoman on gender reform stated that Ms Slater’s comments were “deeply inflammatory” and would “heighten tensions on a difficult and sensitive issue”.
However, her remarks also caused conflict within the SNP-Green coalition.
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SNP MP and self-labelled feminist Joanna Cherry QC tweeted: “Scotland deserves better than this”
Olympian Brian Whittle called for her removal from Nicola Sturgeon’s administration in Holyrood as he tweeted: “There should be no place in Government for this kind of radical extremism.
“Surely, she must be removed from post?
“How many times is this SG minister going to get away with this kind of offence?”
For Women Scotland also took to Twitter to criticise the First Minister for not addressing the comments: “We would ask Nicola Sturgeon how allowing Ministers to make such incendiary claims is in keeping with Shona Robinson’s promise for respectful debate.
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“Does the First Minister have control of her Ministers, or does she approve this message?”
A director for the Scottish Women’s group, Susan Smith, added: “It is ironic she likens women’s rights activists to anti-Semites, racists and climate change deniers, when some might think her intemperate, incendiary, fact-free rant bears all the hallmarks of extremist bigotry as well as a denial of the fundamentals of biological science.
“Such bullying hectoring should concern any parliamentarian who wants an open, thorough examination of legislation.
“If Ms Slater wishes to continue to act as a political wrecking ball, she should resign her position.”