Gender ID issue is cornerstone of council contender's campaign

A Cumbernauld councillor who is running for re-election in May has raised concerns over proposed legislation which would allow people to legally declare themselves to le be of the gender of their choice.

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Paddy Hogg, an independent member currently representing Cumbernauld East, wrote to North Lanarkshire Council’s chief executive Des Murray on behalf of residents who were “deeply concerned” over the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which would eliminate the need for certificates verifying a change in gender.

He said: “The implications are far reaching for women’s only spaces such as toilets and privacy where males are now able to self ID as women and enter spaces exclusively for the use of women with no certification.

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“There is clearly a need to balance the right of those who wish to change gender with the rights of women to women-only safe space, but the nub of the issue relates to whether one group’s self ID has serious potential for the safety and relaxed peace of mind of women and our own staff with the new innovative and in my view, risky self ID of sex. “

NLC chief executive Des Murray replied to Councillor Hogg, saying: “With regards aspects of such matters, Scottish Government has issued guidance, which we apply, which covers settings such as education etc.

“With regards to your specific position on such matters or that of any wider elected member, or indeed individual constituents, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any specific element out with SG guidance.

“Thee policies can of course be considered and discussed between members through routes such as via motions at full council etc.”

A human rights charity was quick to dismiss Councillor Hogg’s claims. Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network, commented: “The Gender Recognition Reform Bill simply makes changes to the procedure for a trans man or woman to update their birth certificate. It makes no change at all to the rules on trans people accessing single sex spaces or participating in sports, which are in the Equality Act. It won’t give anyone new rights to access these things, and won’t have any of the effects claimed by Cllr Hogg.