During my interview I asked Nicola Sturgeon about the Gender Reform Act and whether, given all the controversy that has followed, she wishes she had handled the issue differently. Thought it might be useful to tweet her answer. So here goes:
ND: "So I'm always open to could we have handled things differently, because nobody wants any issue to end up being toxic and divisive in the way this one has. So maybe, maybe unpack some of that, you know, you said that Scotland has kind of jumped ahead.
"And I know you were talking about the debate domestically, but in actual fact, Scotland is behind many, many other countries who have already simplified the process for gender identification.
"You know, people can go through a process to change gender that's not new. The proposals are about trying to remove some of the trauma and bureaucracy and associated stigma around that.
"Countries like, you know, the Republic of Ireland have already done it without as far as I am aware the furore or any of the concerns that have been expressed here materializing in any way shape or form.
"Secondly, I remember taking part in advance of the last Scottish election and a Stonewall hustings where every single party leader said there were committed to this. So there was no sense then that we were doing something that was massively controversial.
"It was something that had been done in other countries, that recognised a bit the simplification of an existing procedure, not a new procedure altogether.
"We had a consultation on it before we put forward the plans for legislation. So I don't accept that there was no consultation, what I do accept is that the issue has become horribly divided, and that there are some, you know, very real concerns.
"And when I say real concerns, I mean that the people who have these concerns feel them very strongly and believe they are real.
"I think there's a lot of misinformation and downright factual inaccuracy around this debate.
"And there are some - and I'm not talking about women who fear the erosion of women's rights, those concerns do have to be properly addressed - but there are some in this debate, frankly, who are using it as a cover for transphobia.
"And there are some who are transphobic, who use transphobia, as a cover for homophobia and misogyny and rolling back progress, more generally here. So I think we've got to be really clear sighted about how we move forward here.
"I've been a feminist for as long as I can remember. I'm a feminist to my fingertips. I would never support anything that I thought was an erosion of women's rights.
"There's a lot of threat to women's rights out there right now, the people who want to roll back on abortion rights, abusive men, have always been and remain the risk to women's rights and women's safety.
"And one of the other misconceptions at the heart of this is that simplifying the process of gender recognition takes away the protections and the safeguards women have under the equalities act- for example, access to single sex spaces. That is not the case.
"There is nothing in the gender recognition reforms that changes at all the protections in the equalities act. So I recognise a responsibility to work through these concerns and to address these concerns.
"But I also recognize a responsibility on behalf of one of the most stigmatized and discriminated against groups in society, which is trans people, to also push back against transphobia and prejudice and, you know, we need to detoxify this, we need to try to depolarize it.
"I need to continue to make the argument that the tension between women's rights and trans rights is an artificial one - you can be both pro women's rights and pro trans rights, and the two do not need to be seen as in conflict with each other.
"So there's obviously still work to be done there. But we should never forget that the threats to the safety of women are abusive men, and that is the key touchstone here that we should never lose sight of." ends

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