Scottish civil servants told biological sex is a 'falsehood'

1 July 2022, 12:58

A trans rights march in Glasgow demands reform to the GRA
A trans rights march in Glasgow demands reform to the GRA. Picture: Alamy

By Gina Davidson

Scottish Government employees have been urged to consider biological sex a "falsehood" which was invented by the medical profession to "reinforce white supremacy and gender oppression", as part of an LGBT+ training course.

The course, which aimed to give civil servants an insight into transgender policies and global rights, as part of Pride month events, pointed them to a "trans language primer" which is claimed to be in use by many US universities and other organisations.

It describes women who object to self-ID as FARTS - feminism appropriating ridiculous transphobes - and TERFS - trans exclusionary radical feminists - a word which has been branded a slur.

The primer also states that women critical of gender stereotypes are part of a “trans hate group” and have an "unhealthy fascination with trans kids", in reference to campaigns against medical procedures and drugs for children.

It goes on to say that recognising different physical attributes between men and women is an "outdated understanding of sex" and that trans women are "mistakenly assigned male at birth."

Further, under "biological sex" it states it is a "binary system (wo/man) set by the medical establishment to reinforce white supremacy and gender oppression, usually based on genitals and sometimes chromosomes."

It also claims that biological sex is the "driving force behind the debates around trans people in sports, even though all research shows there’s virtually no difference between them and their peers."

The link to the primer was sent to staff by a senior official from the Scottish Digital Academy, a Scottish Government body which delivers training across the public sector.

The staff member has responsibility for “course development” and “quality assurance” at the organisation.

However some women's groups, who have raised concerns about "ideology capture" within the Scottish Government as it bids to reform the Gender Recognition Act and allow self-ID of gender in order to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate, say advising civil servants to adopt such definitions was "shocking" and some of the information went against UK equality law.

Susan Smith, a director at the For Women Scotland campaign group, said: “How are women to believe that civil servants, potentially including those drafting legislation like gender recognition reform have any care for our rights when they are being trained to call us offensive names and told we are hate groups?

“On top of this, the material manages to be highly offensive and inaccurate about gay people, transsexuals and those with DSDs [differences in sexual development].

“Perhaps the Scottish Government think they are above the Equality Act and other laws on discrimination in the workplace - they are not. An apology and a review are urgently needed, although we imagine that many women’s rights activists will be hard pressed to ever trust this government.”

Another claim in the document is there is “virtually no difference” between sporting performance of transgender women and natural women, which has been proven inaccurate.

The Scottish Parliament committee scrutinising the government's Gender Recognition Reform Bill, has been challenged on its decision not to invite female athletes to give evidence.

The email directing staff members to the trans language dictionary was leaked to an online Scottish nationalist blog, Wings Over Scotland, which was once supportive of the SNP, but is now hostile to the party.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "This was an informal awareness raising event, held during Pride Month and within working hours, run by LGBTI+ network community members which colleagues can voluntarily choose to attend.

"This was not an official Scottish Government training event and is not part of the SG Diversity and Inclusion curriculum."

However, the LGBT+ network is heavily promoted to civil servants on Scottish Government platforms and Leslie Evans, Scotland's previous top civil servant, has in the past said it had helped shape internal policies and enjoys “active support from our most senior leaders”.

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