Changing society norms – Stonewall Youth (Scotland)
LGBT Youth Scotland was formerly called the Stonewall Youth Project and is mainly funded by the state (in other words us), with over 75% its annual income coming from the Scottish Government, local councils and the National Health Service. (Scottish schools to get updated guidance on supporting transgender pupils).
Bear in mind that the co-founder of Stonewall, Simon Fanshawe, broke away from the organisation and condemned its “extreme” position on transgender rights. Yet we have the Scottish Government determined to change the Gender Reform Act (GRA) and to continue to permit children to be given permanently damaging puberty blockers, despite a ruling in the English courts that this has to stop. (Letters to the Times)
Freedom of expression amendments to hate crime bill put on hold
The Scottish Government and opposition parties have agreed to continue talks about freedom of expression elements of the hate crime bill.
It follows concern about the impact of some of the amendments proposed to the legislation on the transgender community.
The Justice Committee considered stage two amendments to the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill’.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf had originally proposed an amendment seeking to protect “discussion or criticism of matters relating to transgender identity”, provided the behaviour was not threatening or abusive.
Green MSP John Finnie warned getting this section of the bill wrong would “embolden would-be perpetrators”. He said:
“Words are important. They’re important because we want to see robust provision of freedom of expression, but we also want to see clarity about hate crime. We want there to be no dubiety as to what constitutes that. There’s no doubt that if we get this wrong, there’s a danger that we embolden would-be perpetrators, reinforcing the idea that LGBTI people are, for some reason, less valuable”. (Letters to the Times)
Controversial policies for the SG dictated by “Stonewall”
People are questioning the influence of “Stonewall” on Scotland’s civil service after it emerged that controversial policies have been introduced in alignment with Stonewall’s political aims. These include a compulsory “Diversity Objective” for all staff to make the Scottish Government “a more diverse and inclusive place to work”, training on “intersectionality” and “unconscious bias”, and the use of gender-neutral language. The Civil Service is also included on Stonewall’s “Diversity Champions Index”.
Transgender and non-binary policies have been revised with the collaboration of Stonewall Scotland and the Scottish Trans Alliance (STA).
And guidance has been co-produced by controversial lobby group “Mermaids” for SG employees who have a child who is transitioning or who identifies as non-binary.
The Deputy Director for Public Affairs at The Christian Institute, said:
“The extent of Stonewall’s influence on the Civil Service is alarming, particularly given the controversial nature of some of its political aims. Stonewall’s stance on trans issues is strongly opposed by women’s organisations, medics and faith groups. Yet, the Civil Service appears to endorse it wholesale. How does this fit with the Service’s duty to remain politically impartial? Staff are encouraged to attend training sessions on “intersectionality” and “unconscious bias”. These controversial ideas are disputed in wider society. So it’s concerning that they are written into the training schedule for Civil Service employees. The compulsory “Diversity Objective” also raises questions. What happens to staff members who hold religious beliefs which differ from those championed by Stonewall? Are they marked down? This could constitute direct discrimination on the grounds of religious belief.”
The Civil Service response – Diversity Objective
“All staff have mandatory diversity objectives and those who participate in the network use this work as evidence of meeting their objective. Performance is assessed their line manager at their in year review and end year review.
Progress is also discussed at monthly conversations. We also set out on our performance appraisal intranet page guidance on diversity objectives for individuals including ‘support, participate and be an effective member of one of our staff diversity networks or committees.
The guidance for managers states that they should “ensure that staff who participate in our staff networks are recognized through the performance management process, ensuring that this activity supports the outcome that the Scottish Government is to become a more diverse and inclusive place to work”.
Gender awareness training
An example of employee recognition in an appraisal might record: “A” is very aware of and committed to raising the profile of diversity issues. He is active on the committee of the LGBTI Allies network and has also:
• completed the Stonewall Allies Follow-up Training.
• participated in the Diversity Networks Workshop.
• attended an Intersectionality seminar.
• presented at a team meeting on diversity issues and circulated guidance material afterwards.
• attended an unconscious bias training event.
policies have been updated to increase inclusion of gender identities and same-sex couples.
Paternity leave policy
The policy applies to all employees and a reference to ‘partner’ or ‘spouse’ includes same-sex partners and spouses. The policy now states: “Paternity leave is available to you where you are the father, partner or spouse of the child’s mother (or, in the case of adoption, you are the adopter’s spouse or partner); changed ‘adoptive father’ to ‘adoptive parent’.” ‘non-binary’ employees are enabled to use the title ‘Mx’.
Revised trans/non-binary policies
The project reviewed all intertwining aspects of trans and non-binary activity in the Scottish Government and produced six core projects:
- A data set on staff experiences comprised from Stonewall questionnaires.
- A revised HR policy on trans/non-binary for the Scottish Government (SG). It is intended that this policy is co-produced with key stakeholders (including but not limited to Stonewall Scotland).
- Guidance for line managers underpinning the HR policy
- Guidance for members of staff who have a child who is transitioning or who identifies as non-binary. The intention is for this to be co-produced by “Mermaid”, who specialise in advice to parents and families on trans/non-binary enquiries.
- A communications and engagement plan to ensure knowledge of the policy and accompanying parental guidance is widespread throughout the organisation. The core aspect of this work will be developing a training offer for Scottish Government staff.
- Frequently Asked Questions documents. These will be comprised of three brief and accessible documents: (1) for those who are transitioning within SG; (2) for colleagues; (3) for line managers on how best to support a trans/non-binary member of staff”.
Other views and concerns
https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-202000083724 (includes two comprehensive reports the content of which gives cause for concern)
https://womansplaceuk.org/2020/06/27/i-am-suing-stonewall-stop-policing-free-speech/ (Alison Bailey’s story. Worth a careful read)
https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/4071477-Mridul-Wadhwa-and-Rape-Crisis-Scotland (woman talk about the gender issue)
https://gids.nhs.uk/ (gender confusion)