Readers' Letters: Has Sturgeon transitioned into a transphobe?

It seems that our esteemed First Minister cannot help but get lost in a gigantic self-tied gender identity Gordian Knot. She has now decreed that self-identified female Isla Bryson is, in fact, “almost certainly” faking trans status.
Nicola Sturgeon seems to have turned her back on trans people, reckons reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Nicola Sturgeon seems to have turned her back on trans people, reckons reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon seems to have turned her back on trans people, reckons reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

I would like to know how Ms Sturgeon has come to this conclusion as one's self-determined gender identity is sacrosanct and not to be questioned, as to do so would be transphobic.

Indeed, the SNP's own transphobia definition states that “deliberately misgendering someone or using phrases or language to suggest their gender identity is not valid” constitutes transphobia. Surely a clear cut case of misgendering.

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I suspect that, prior to this farce, had any opposition politician stated such an opinion then Nicola Sturgeon would be shouting “transphobia!” from the rooftops. Unfortunately for her I do not see an Alexander coming over the hill to undo the knot she has made. Perhaps she should stick to stuff she is good at, like the education system, the NHS, ferries, named person legislation… oh dear, maybe not.

John McSweeney, Edinburgh

Mere misogyny

Why do we have separate men's and women's prisons? The reason is the same as why we have male and female toilets and changing rooms – to give women privacy, security and dignity away from men, and more specifically to protect them from the threat of sexual attention and/or violence from men. This is surely not controversial.

Yet this fundamental point – backed by common sense and countless studies into the prevalence of male violence against women – is ignored by Vic Valentine's opinion piece. The unstated assumption is that a man, by virtue of declaring himself a woman, leaves behind the class of men he belonged to, and deletes the statistical probability of being a threat to women that membership of that class signifies. If only that were true!

The contrast between transmen (natal women) and transwomen (natal men) is telling here. The violent anti-feminist rhetoric of trans activists comes overwhelmingly from transwomen. We hear a lot about sex offenders who are transwomen, but nothing about transmen rapists, paedophiles, flashers etc. This belies the suggestion that transwomen are somehow magically shorn of male aggression towards women.

This is the reason there is no place for transwomen, as there is no place for anyone born and socialised as a man, in female prisons. Women prisoners, as Valentine concedes, are highly vulnerable and very often survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The argument that they should be exposed to the threat of further abuse and violence in prison because “a transwoman is a woman” is thinly veiled misogyny.

Linda Holt, Anstruther, Fife

Same agenda

In the past seven decades I've been around I have met many people from various walks of life, and three of them stick out in my mind as they are part of what is called the trans world.

The first one, sadly now deceased, was originally gay and went from being a birth male to female gender; the second was a heterosexual male who also transitioned from birth male to female; and the third a birth heterosexual female who transitioned to male. All had extensive surgery to achieve the changes of gender.

I had the opportunity of putting the same question to all three – when you change gender, do your thought processes change and assume those of the new gender? All three said no.

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That is why I believe that birth males who are transitioning to the female gender, or who have done it, should never be put in female prisons, as they likely still possess male sexual urges and are a danger to women.

The first aforementioned person was a practising gay man who after transitioning sought only sexual relations with men. The second was heterosexual but after transitioning to female could only have sexual feelings for women. The third after transitioning from heterosexual female to male gender could only have gay feelings for men and never women.

So, you cannot change what is in people's minds and Nicola Sturgeon should get that into her head.

Andrew Heatlie, Duns, Scottish Borders

Sign of times

We were assured after the loathsome “DECAPITATE TERFS” placard was shown inches behind two prominent SNP politicians at a trans rally, that those responsible would be found by the Police and face the consequences. There has been no update and a couple of weeks have now passed. Considering those brandishing the placards made no attempt to disguise themselves and were in the full glare of TV and Press cameras, it surely does not need the services of Hercule Poirot to find those who did it.

Have Police Scotland instead got Inspector McClouseau on the job?

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Vegan trap?

I applaud Stephen Jardine's well-written Food for Thought article (“The ‘Plant Based Treaty’ won’t make us all vegan”, Perspective, 28 January). One key message was that people cannot be forced to eat food they do not want to eat. Please, then, spare a thought for hospital patients and care home residents for whom there may be no alternative to vegan-only food. I wonder how many care home residents request a vegan-only diet. I suggest it is significantly less than the 2-3 per cent of the UK population who are vegan.

Where does the ethos of person-centred care, individual choice and nutritional needs sit with Edinburgh City Council's directive?

Meals and mealtimes should be a pleasurable experience for this client group, not a means to awarding a feather in the cap of the council.

Anne Crawford, Drem, East Lothian

Too young

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Nicola Sturgeon “trusts 16-year-olds to make decisions”. As a 16 year-old, I would have wholeheartedly concurred with her confidence in my fully fledged, mature decision-making capacity. With the benefit of hindsight, however, I am grateful for certain checks and balances that, for instance, made it more difficult for a 16 year-old to walk into a corner shop and buy a litre of vodka.

The age of majority is 18 in every European nation but Scotland. The legal age for buying alcohol and cigarettes has been raised in the UK, including Scotland, in the last two decades. Gambling is heavily restricted in all European nations for under-18s. The minimum age for marriage will rise to 18 in England and Wales this month.

In other words, it is universally accepted that persons under 18 require particular guidance, protection and support, and that some decisions with life-changing consequences are best left until a bit later.

As ever, Nicola Sturgeon is happy to ignore both common sense and the very real risk of harm in the pursuit of her selfish agenda.

Peter White, Collieburn, Peterhead

Live life

With reference to Hamish Hossick’s letter (3 February) rejecting 16 year-olds I would add that any candidate for Parliament should have a minimum of five years real life work experience, this shouldn’t include working for a political party and posting leaflets through letterboxes.

Lewis Finnie, Edinburgh

Lower unit costs

The present concern about fitting pre-payment meters perhaps raises a more fundamental issue. Surely it would be correct for the energy companies to reduce the unit costs on these meters to match direct debit payments. There is no longer the question of additional collection costs to empty meters and all charges are collected up front. The only loss to the energy companies is that they don’t have the ability to build up big account credits as they do with direct debits. So come on – change the charging structure and give poorer families a favourable unit rate for gas and electricity.

James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

Price failure

The Scotsman editorial of 3 February made no mention of the failure of all politicians at Holyrood to read and digest the warning given by the CEO of Scottish Power to the World Forum of Climate Justice (21 June). In his address, Keith Anderson stated that “renewable energy is too expensive, especially for those in fuel poverty, hence politicians must put forward plans detailing how the poorest in society would not be left behind when gas, three times cheaper than electricity, is phased out in Scotland”.

The current problem with prepayment meters is due to politicians at Holyrood refusing to outline how support for those in fuel poverty will be protected from expensive renewable energy bills.

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Why the lack of focus at Holyrood when the CEO of a major power supplier in Scotland raised the problem four years ago and still no action has been taken by any political party?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway

Lazy youngsters

I would welcome the news of 45 million bus journeys being made by young people since they were given concession cards by the Scottish Government a year ago, if I thought it truly reflected a huge decrease in parents driving them to school.

However, has anyone looked at the average length of these bus journeys? In my experience, students who previously walked to school over relatively short distances, now catch the bus for two to three stops. Not good for their fitness, surely, and certainly inconvenient for adult commuters whose journeys are now taking much longer. And heaven help anyone who wants to catch a bus at school finishing time!

Sally Cheseldine, Balerno, Edinburgh

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