While Dr Rebecca Crowther
clearly holds different views from us on the issues here, and we disagree with her analysis and description of the situation generally, the purpose of this letter is to make a specific point.
Dr Crowther refers to individuals who she describes as 'anti-trans' (a description we would wholly reject) referring to 'policy capture'. We take this as likely to be a specific reference to an article we published in Scottish Affairs
, a refereed journal, in August last year. This was a detailed study of policy in two areas – prisons and the census – which argued that there was clear evidence of policy capture in these two areas. Dr Crowther states of the arguments she summarises, including 'policy capture', that: 'None of these claims contain any element of truth. These claims have been disproved and challenged repeatedly by leaders, human rights groups, equality groups, the government, and academics, yet the trope is still pushed'.
We would wish to record that neither we nor, to the best of our knowledge, the journal, have yet received a response to our article which seeks to challenge the accuracy of its content or analysis, and if we did, we would of course deal with it in the customary way for an academic publication. We are aware that there has been some adverse comment on social media, but believe this falls far short of being able to justify the statement 'None of these claims contain any element of truth', or that the thesis that there has been policy capture has been 'disproved'.
More generally, we would wish to make the point that our work recognises that both sex and self-identified gender may be relevant to people's lived experiences. For example, in relation to prisons policy we recognise both female and transgender prisoners are vulnerable. We believe that public authorities need to ensure that the interests of everyone are balanced fairly, in the least discriminatory way possible. Our view is that public policy-making needs to recognise the importance of sex as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, as well as gender reassignment.
We defend absolutely Dr Crowther's right to share her perspective on the issues here, as we would like others to defend ours to do the same, even if we disagree with her description of the current situation. However, as the specific reference here is potentially easily identifiable to us, we wished to write on this specific point as a matter of urgency, to correct the record.
Lucy Hunter Blackburn
Dr Kath Murray
I was just reading Eric Sinclair's
article on 'Collective Wellbeing'. Theatre Nemo is at the moment engaging with other organisations dealing with many issues: homelessness, addiction, adverse childhood experiences, etc. Despite all the great work by many organisations, we are not getting to the grass roots of the problems.
Join The Dots has been asking the people in these very vulnerable situations what they need to make their life better. The answers are quite surprisingly simple, but unfortunately no-one wants to really invest in what would be a real step forward in reducing many social, mental and physical issues. And, as Eric says, would in the long run save the Government 'billions'.
More information on Join The Dots can be found on the Theatre Nemo
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