Gender 'self-identification' puts women at risk from 'predatory' men, Scottish Government told

The Scottish Parliament In Edinburgh(Reuters)

Plans to allow Scots to 'self-identity' their gender have been met with concerns that it may open the door to 'predatory' men accessing women's spaces.

Respondents to a Scottish Government consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 said women would be put at risk in toilets, changing rooms, hospital wards and shelters if access is granted to men who say they identify as women.

In a report, the Scottish Government said women's safety was the most frequently raised issue by respondents who feared that gender self-identification would be open to 'abuse, exploitation and false declarations'.

There was particular concern for women who were victims of rape or domestic abuse, or who were serving prison sentences.

'Where respondents explained their concerns, it was often to suggest that the proposal would allow 'any man', 'predatory men' or 'biological men' to gain access to women's spaces where they could pose a potential threat to women's safety,' a Scottish Government report said.

In addition to safety, respondents raised concern about an erosion of the identity and rights of women.

'More specific concerns were raised that trans women would be eligible to take natal women's places on all women shortlists, on the boards of public bodies, or for other employment, quotas or awards,' the report said.

'Potential problems for the future of women's sport were noted, including at both a professional and amateur level.'

However, out of the more than 15,000 respondents, 62 per cent supported changing the law to allow a 'non-binary' gender classification that would give legal recognition to those who do not identify as male or female. 

Gender self-identification is just one of the proposals on the table from the SNPs in their bid to make it easier for Scots to change genders. It is also considering lowering the age at which an individual can legally change genders from 18 to 17 or 16.