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HomeNewsUK NewsTrans women to be protected under new misogyny laws: Humza Yousaf

Trans women to be protected under new misogyny laws: Humza Yousaf

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Scotland’s first minister Humza Yousaf has confirmed that transgender women will be included under new misogyny laws, stating that the legislation will protect “anyone affected” by misogyny, regardless of their biological sex.

This development follows recommendations for such legislation from human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, aimed at addressing misogyny before the end of the current parliamentary term in 2026.

Women were notably excluded from the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021, which took effect on April 1. This decision, according to Yousaf, was based on discussions with various women’s groups. However, the forthcoming legislation will expand protections.

Speaking to BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Yousaf explained the rationale for including transgender women: “When a trans woman is walking down the street and a threat of rape is made against them, the man making the threat doesn’t know if they are a trans woman or a cis woman. They will make that threat because they perceive that person as a woman.” He emphasised the indistinguishable nature of misogynistic abuse faced by trans and cisgender women in public spaces.

He also addressed the urgency of the new bill, propelled by significant concerns from women about their exclusion from the 2021 hate crime legislation. Baroness Kennedy’s report had advocated for a standalone law to tackle a broad spectrum of misogynistic behavior, which the Scottish government intends to implement.

Meanwhile, recent data from Police Scotland showed a significant decrease in online hate reports following the enactment of the new hate crime laws, with the majority of reports resulting in no action due to anonymity.

Additionally, in the BBC interview, Yousaf touched upon the controversial topic of medical interventions for transgender youth, particularly in light of the Cass Review which criticised the weak evidence base and recommended pausing the prescription of puberty blockers.

The first minister stressed that decisions on such treatments should be clinician-led, not political, but acknowledged the necessity of considering the review’s findings thoroughly.

The reaction to the inclusion of transgender women in the misogyny law has been mixed. Critics like Alba Party MSP Ash Regan and author JK Rowling have expressed concerns, with Rowling accusing the First Minister on X (formerly Twitter) of showing “absolute contempt” for women by including men in a law intended to protect women from misogyny.

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