Hundreds join rally against gender recognition reforms

Watch: Hundreds join rally against gender recognition reforms

A controversial gender critic has thanked the Scottish Government for “waking up” the country after the row over the placement of a double rapist in a women’s prison.

Standing for Women, headed by Kellie-Jay Keen – also known as Posie Parker – staged a protest in Glasgow on Sunday against the Scottish Government’s gender recognition reform proposals, which were passed by a majority of MSPs in December but blocked by the UK Government.

Speaking in George Square, Ms Keen also attacked the Scottish Government over the case of Isla Bryson – who raped two women when she was a man called Adam Graham before transitioning.

Bryson was imprisoned in segregation at Cornton Vale women’s jail near Stirling upon her conviction, before being moved to the male estate after a public outcry.

Speaking to the assembled crowd, Ms Keen said: “Nicola Sturgeon said it would never happen and all of us knew it was already happening and then along came Adam ‘double-rapist’ Graham, who said ‘it absolutely happens all the time and look at me’.

Kellie-Jay Keen after speaking at an event in Glasgow
The event was organised by controversial gender critic Kellie-Jay Keen (Jane Barlow/PA)

“I just want to thank the SNP for waking up Scotland, and to all the Scottish women and some of you men who have been campaigning about this for the last five years.”

She added that those attending the rally were “here to be counted and we will be seen”.

Ms Keen’s group has called for the repeal of the Gender Recognition Act, the current legislation that allows transgender people to obtain a gender recognition certificate the Scottish Government’s Bill was attempting to reform.

Cabaret Against the Hate Speech counter protest
Hundreds also turned out for a counter-protest against the event (Jane Barlow/PA)

She told those at the protest: “In your own lives, you cannot be heard… you feel like you cannot speak,” adding that women have told her “the state is gaslighting them”.

She added: “The watershed is finally here.

“From this moment on, we are not afraid, we will not be quiet, we will let women speak.”

A slightly smaller counter-protest staged by pro-reform advocates and dubbed Cabaret Against the Hate Speech took place just metres from the Standing for Women event, with both sides separated by a police cordon.

Sign saying 'trans people are people. They deserve dignity and autonomy'
Trans rights activists danced and sang just metres from the Standing for Women rally (Jane Barlow/PA)

Attendees waved flags, danced and sang in support of the right to self-identification.

A representative from the LGBT charity The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence read aloud the Dylan Thomas poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, telling the crowd: “Rage against the dying of the light – that’s what we have to do here today.

“We do not have to show our rage with insults, we will respect you the more you put us down, we will show you love, because that is what our community is about – showing love, respect and tolerance.

“We will not go gently into that good night, we will be here and we will be dancing.”