The SNP’s new hate crime legislation is bad news for women. Yet the sad reality is that too many feminists have failed to speak up about the importance of free speech – and now we may all end up paying the price.
The legislation creates a new offence of ‘stirring up hatred’ on the grounds of religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or transgender identity. But while it provides a power for Scottish Ministers to make regulations adding the characteristic of sex to this list, for now, sex is not included. This leaves women like me, who don’t agree with the emerging gender identity ideology, in danger of being targeted.
It is also not hard to spot the inconsistency with the legislation: males who wish to identify as women will be offered additional protections under the law; but those born female will not benefit in the same way. Of course, trans-identified people should be protected from abuse and discrimination. But why not women too? Does the SNP think the minority of individuals who choose to identify as transgender are much more at risk than women and girls? Women suffer disproportionally as victims of rape, domestic abuse, FGM, child marriage, and femicide around the world, yet in Scotland this seems to count for little.
To be fair, not all members of the SNP are on board with the new law. The party’s MSP Joan McAlpine has spoken out in opposition:
‘The thing that finally turned me to my current position was the government’s decision to expand the definition of transgender identity to include cross-dressers who are not trans-identified … It will seem bizarre to many people that men who enjoy cross-dressing are protected from hate crime, but women are not.’
A number of female MSPs and women’s organisations in Scotland have also voiced their objections. For Women Scotland said this new legislation could mean voicing opposition to gender identity ideology itself is now framed as ‘hate’ and criminalised as a result. This