Scottish Tory manifesto backs women-only spaces in schools and swimming pools

The Scottish Conservatives have outlined support for women-only spaces in areas such as schools, parks and swimming pools as part of their local government manifesto.

Meghan Gallacher, the party’s spokeswoman on gender reform, said the proposals are essential to protect women’s rights and safety.

The policy also aims to protect women who require the support of rape crisis and domestic violence centres.

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But Ms Gallacher emphasised the policy aims to protect women from the “potential danger” of predatory men who would go to extreme lengths to harm women – not transgender women.

Meghan Gallacher MSP

Under the plans, safe spaces would be introduced in council-run venues across Scotland.

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The Scottish Conservatives are the first major political party to make the commitment in their 2022 manifesto.

The move comes in response to requests from women’s organisations seeking clarity on gender reform laws.

Ms Gallacher, an MSP for Central Scotland, said: “Our local government manifesto will include a commitment to protect women’s same-sex spaces.

“It is essential that we continue to respect women’s safety. We cannot allow long-held rights to be eroded.

“Many women feel that their place in society and their safety is under threat.

“Those views should be heard and respected, not dismissed, as they have been on too many occasions.

“It is particularly vital that women who need the support of rape crisis centres and domestic violence shelters feel they are safe from the harm of abusers.

“That potential danger does not come from trans women but from predatory men who may go to great lengths to hurt women.

“The recently published Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) guidance is very welcome.

“It provides the necessary clarity that allows organisations to protect women’s rights and safety.

“Our councillors will vote to provide facilities for trans women that fully complies with the EHRC guidance.”

JK Rowling is among the most high-profile names calling for the protections of women’s same-sex spaces.

The Harry Potter author reignited controversy over her stance by opposing the proposed Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which is currently going through Holyrood.

If passed, it would make it easier for transgender people to acquire a gender recognition certificate which legally recognises them as their chosen gender.

The existing process requires individuals to be medically diagnosed with gender dysphoria or go through a minimum two-year process.

The Tories also confirmed they will continue to support a ban on the “abhorrent” practice of conversion therapy.

This includes supporting a ban on the use of conversion therapy for transgender people.

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