Scotland's first 'period dignity officer' post scrapped after backlash of 'threats and abuse' for appointing man

7 September 2022, 11:26

Mr Grant had said he was "buzzing" about being appointed
Mr Grant had said he was "buzzing" about being appointed. Picture: Grainger PR/Alamy

By Will Taylor

A man who took up the role of "period dignity officer" in Scotland has seen his role get scrapped after an outcry because it was not given to a woman.

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Jason Grant, a former personal trainer from Dundee, was hired in Tayside last month on a salary worth somewhere around £33,000 and £36,000 a year.

His role included promoting access to free sanitary products after the Period Products Act came into force in Scotland on Monday.

But a backlash, which included former tennis star Martina Navratilova, has seen the role get scrapped after Tayside's period dignity working group said it had endured "threats and abuse".

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A spokeswoman for the group, which combines representatives from local councils and colleges, said: "It is regrettable that given the threats and abuse levelled at individuals in recent weeks, the period dignity regional lead officer role will not continue.

"Meanwhile, support will continue to be provided to the colleagues and students who have been subjected to personal attack. Their safety and wellbeing is of paramount importance."

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova described the decision to appoint him as "absurd", while British actress Frances Barber said she was "fuming".

Ian Blackford, who leads the Scottish National Party - which runs some of the councils involved in the furore - was critical of the appointment.

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"I think it is important that we do have officers in place to ensure that women are supported as much as they should be," he said.

"I think it is important we get the policy right, that we implement it, and that as a principle it would be far better that women are in these posts rather than anyone else."

"I'm absolutely buzzing about it," Ms Grant had told the Dundee Courier after his appointment.

"It's definitely pioneering as Scotland is the first to do this.

"It's about making people aware of the availability of period products for anyone of any gender, whenever they need it.

"And it’s important whatever we do is done with dignity, so people know that there’s no judgement."