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Controversy surrounding Scottish law against hatred towards transgender people

Photo: Andy Buchanan Archives Agence France-Presse At the end of 2022, the Scottish Parliament passed a law facilitating gender change, which the British government blocked.

France Media Agency in London

8:54 p.m.

  • Europe

The entry into force on Monday of a law in Scotland intended to combat incitement to hatred, particularly towards transgender people, gave rise to a controversy involving the author JK Rowling, a fervent opponent of the text, who received the support by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The new law strengthens existing legislation and broadens the offense of inciting hatred, particularly to transidentity.

Women are not affected by the new text, but the independence government has promised a future dedicated law to fight misogyny.

On the first day of its entry into force on Monday, critics of the law highlighted the risks it represents, according to them, for freedom of expression.

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said no one should be prosecuted for “stating simple facts about biology”. “We believe in freedom of speech in this country, and the Conservatives will always protect it,” he told the newspaper Daily Telegraph.

The author of the Harry Potter saga estimated that “the legislation is wide open to abuse by activists who want to silence those of us who denounce the dangers of removing reserved spaces to women”, in a series of messages on

“It is impossible to accurately describe or address the reality of violence and sexual violence committed against women […] unless we have the right to call a man a man,” JK continued Rowling, who in recent years has spoken out very virulently in favor of women's rights, which she has sometimes opposed to the cause of transgender activists.

“Freedom of speech and belief are over in Scotland if the accurate description of biological sex” is seen as a criminal offence, she added, expressing her impatience to be arrested if these remarks are judged to fall within the scope of the new law.

“Very proud” of the text, the Scottish Prime Minister, Humza Yousaf, said he was “very confident in the ability of the Scottish police” to implement it “as it should be », in the face of the fears expressed.

The Scottish leader has also repeatedly denounced the “misinformation” which he says reigns around this legislation, whose guarantees he highlights to protect freedom of expression and fight against abusive prosecutions.

At the end of 2022, the Scottish Parliament adopted a law facilitating gender change, which the British government had blocked, a first, citing in particular the risks of “significant complications by creating two gender recognition regimes within the United Kingdom”.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116