Nicola Sturgeon has resigned as leader of the SNP and, therefore, as First Minister of Scotland, after eight years as Scotland’s most powerful politician.
In most political Fallouts, the impact tends to be localised to those in the blast zone; this time, it will not only be Sturgeon and her team that suffer from her resignation.
After weeks of pressure over the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, Scotland woke up to the shocking announcement of Sturgeon stepping down.
I was never a fan of Sturgeon or the SNP in particular; any party with nationalism in its politics has always concerned me, but in my view, losing her means the loss of a rational voice in the debate on trans rights.
As the debate was being focused on the danger trans women pose to the safety of women, Sturgeon argued, “I think that a rapist should be considered a rapist. That’s what I think,” when being asked about the case of double rapist Isla Bryson.
Fears over women’s rights being eradicated have led to the delegitimising of the identity and lived reality of those in the trans-community.
This is not to dismiss women’s rights or disregard their fears; I understand the need to protect women from all forms of abuse. Events such as the murder of Sarah Everard have brought to light the sexual abuse women have experienced at the hand of police officers.
Only ignorance could prevent someone from understanding the concerns women have over the Gender Recognition Reform Bill; if we cannot already protect them in places where they should feel safe, how can we protect them against sexual abusers who choose to take advantage of loopholes created by allowing trans women into female-only safe spaces.
I worry, though, that this shared reality of women has been highjacked to create hate and division. Is it trans rights that pose a risk to women’s safety, or is it a society that has allowed 1 in 4 women (according to Rape Crisis England and Wales) to be sexually abused?
Let’s remember that Scotland Yard released Figures stating that over 230 police officers are currently under investigation over sexual misconduct.
If society is to move past this toxic debate, I believe we must address the failed system that has allowed so many women to feel so unsafe.