I was sexually assaulted by a boy at my school while I was asleep. In late 2017 I read the LGBT Youth Scotland guidance, which recommends that boys who identify as transgender be allowed to share sleeping accommodation with girls on residential trips, and anyone complaining should be reminded of “equality, inclusion and respect”.
After my experiences I would have found it incredibly distressing to have to share a bedroom with someone I perceived to be a boy.
I really could not believe that this guidance had been endorsed by so many children’s organisations and not one of them had considered or even noticed the potential impact of this on girls.
I wrote a Children’s Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) of the LGBT Youth Scotland transgender schools guidance. I used a very comprehensive template developed by the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland. In the accompanying guidance to the template, CYPCS mentioned that they offered support and assistance to those writing CRIA’s using their template, so I took them up on this. I was working with Women and Girls in Scotland and when we published the CRIA we got some press attention, and CYPCS wrote to the Scottish Government regarding the guidance. The Scottish Government are now working on a replacement, in part I think due to the CRIA and the intervention of CYPCS. I’m now working with For Women Scotland, focusing on children and education.
This has been very personal and sometimes traumatic for me.
I feel so completely and utterly betrayed that no publicly funded or third sector organisation in Scotland has ever spoken in defence of the interests of girls in relation to the issue of transgender inclusion in schools (or anywhere else), including those organisations who are funded to represent women and girls and the issues that affect them.
This is despite the Scottish Government now acknowledging that these ‘inclusive’ policies do indeed risk excluding girls. My family have been incredibly supportive, as have some of my friends, but I think the biggest toll has been on my mental health.
When I heard Shirley-Anne Somerville’s speech where she announced the replacement of the guidance I cried for a long time.