Women's rights campaigners have hit out at Scotland's new hate crime law claiming that it will give more protection to men wearing fishnets on a night out for a laugh than to women and girls

Women’s rights campaigners have hit out at Scotland’s new hate crime law claiming that it will give ‘more protection to men wearing fishnets on a night out for a laugh’ than to women and girls.

The storm surrounding the SNP’s controversial legislation intensified last night with feminists and free speech campaigners descending on Holyrood to protest the law that came into effect yesterday.

Amongst the loudest critics was JK Rowling who called for police to arrest her after it was revealed officers could investigate individuals for misgendering people online.

It led to her fellow Scottish authors, such as Douglas Murray, warning the Government, if they ‘want to come for her then they can come for all of us’. 

This morning, Rishi Sunak confirmed he has no plans to block Scotland’s new law and slammed plans to criminalise those saying ‘common sense things’ about gender.

‘We’re not going to do anything like that here in England,’ the Prime Minister said. ‘We should not be criminalising people saying common sense things about biological sex.’

Meanwhile, campaigners went further with their criticisms hitting out at Humza Yousaf’s government for choosing to include cross-dressers under the protected characteristics but not gender.

Speaking on BBC Woman’s Hour this morning, Susan Smith, co-director of For Women Scotland said: ‘We have a really, really mad thing here as under transgender identity we have people who occasionally cross dress. 

Women's rights campaigners have hit out at Scotland's new hate crime law claiming that it will give more protection to men wearing fishnets on a night out for a laugh than to women and girls

Women’s rights campaigners have hit out at Scotland’s new hate crime law claiming that it will give more protection to men wearing fishnets on a night out for a laugh than to women and girls

Susan Smith, co-director of For Women Scotland said: 'We have a really, really mad thing here as under transgender identity we have people who occasionally cross dress'

Susan Smith, co-director of For Women Scotland said: ‘We have a really, really mad thing here as under transgender identity we have people who occasionally cross dress’

It sparked fury amongst feminist activists and others, including prominent critic JK Rowling who dared Police Scotland to arrest her under the new laws.

It sparked fury amongst feminist activists and others, including prominent critic JK Rowling who dared Police Scotland to arrest her under the new laws.

Fellow Scottish authors, such as Douglas Murray, warning to the Government if they 'want to come for her then they can come for all of us'

Fellow Scottish authors, such as Douglas Murray, warning to the Government if they ‘want to come for her then they can come for all of us’

‘The example given by the Equality Network who pushed for this is that it might cover someone going to the Rocky Horror Show where a man who is dressed up in stockings for a night out for a bit of a joke and is a victim of a crime could make a complaint under a hate crime report.

‘Whereas a woman who is similarly attacked and wearing slightly risqué clothing could be asked in court whether clothing choice influenced this attack.’ 

The SNP’s regulations attempts to crack down on abusive and threatening behaviour aimed at people because of  their age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or transgender ideology.

Sex, however, has not been included as the Scottish Government have plans to create a separate misogyny bill, which will ‘go further’ to protect women. 

Ms Smith said: ‘There has been a long period of time when women haven’t been included. 

‘There is going to be a longer period of time now when women will not be included and many people have a lot of trust in the SNP to deliver on this. They have dragged their feet on so many proposals.’

‘I am not sure if I trust them to bring in this misogyny law – I think it’s jam tomorrow from them,’ she added. 

It comes after Siobhian Brown, Yousaf’s minister for victims and community safety,  insisted that anyone risked being prosecuted for ‘misgendering’ someone online under the new law. 

It sparked fury amongst feminist activists and others, including Rowling who dared Police Scotland to arrest her under the new laws.

In a string of sarcastic tweets, the Harry Potter author played chicken with the authorities naming ten trans women on Twitter on April 1 and saying: ‘The above tweets aren’t women at all, but men, every last one of them’.

The Scottish Government's Hate Crime and Public Order bill, which comes into force today, will criminalise threatening behaviour that stirs up hatred against people because of their characteristics

The Scottish Government’s Hate Crime and Public Order bill, which comes into force today, will criminalise threatening behaviour that stirs up hatred against people because of their characteristics

Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, appearing outside court

Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, appearing outside court 

The Harry Potter author shared photos of Bryson before and after transitioning, sarcastically calling the rapist a 'lovely Scottish lass'

The Harry Potter author shared photos of Bryson before and after transitioning, sarcastically calling the rapist a ‘lovely Scottish lass’

In one she referred to Isla Bryson – a convicted double rapist – as a ‘lovely Scottish lass’ who she urged her followers to respect. In another she dubbed Katie Dolatowski – a paedophile who assaulted children – a ‘fragile flower’. 

Standing up for Rowling, author of The War on the West Douglas Murray, wrote on X this morning: ‘I stand with JK Rowling. If the new 500 ‘hate-crime champions’ (strange name) in Scotland want to come for her then they can come for all of us.

‘They won’t find many Scottish writers they won’t have to arrest. Human beings are not a hermaphroditic species. So good luck, boys.’ 

Others have raised concerns that the police do not have the time or resources to deal with elements of the new law – with the Scottish Police Federation revealing that thousands of officers still have not received training.  

The police body said its officers had only been given a ‘cheap’ two hour training on the bill, with 6,000 of Police Scotland’s 16,000 officers not yet completing the course.

David Kennedy, who is general secretary of the police federation, joined in with clamor last night warning the new laws would increase the workload for the force. 

He slammed Yousaf’s party for failing to provide his officers with adequate training needed to introduce the legislation and warned that police men and women could see their loved ones ‘drawn into a criminal law environment.’

Mr Kennedy told BBC Radio Scotland: ‘Some officers might feel prepared but we’ve raised concerns because it’s only been a two-hour online package that officers have been given.

‘There’s been various other webinars that Police Scotland have put on but they are not mandatory and we now know I think approximately 6,000 officers are still to go through the online training.

‘And we’ve been complaining for several years now about the online training and the lack of face-to-face training that’s required.’

People hold up signs as they protest outside the Scottish Parliament today

People hold up signs as they protest outside the Scottish Parliament today 

The hate crime bill, introduced today, criminalises 'threatening or abusive behaviour' intended to stir up hatred against someone's identity

The hate crime bill, introduced today, criminalises ‘threatening or abusive behaviour’ intended to stir up hatred against someone’s identity

Protesters demonstrate outside the Scottish Parliament ahead of Scotland's Hate Crime Law

Protesters demonstrate outside the Scottish Parliament ahead of Scotland’s Hate Crime Law

He went onto explain how the Scottish Government’s Hate Crime and Public Order  could be ‘weaponised’ by political activists creating a ‘confusing and fraught time’ for those dealing with the law. 

Mr Kennedy added: ‘It’s going to bring difficult situations where members of the same family, neighbours, work colleagues, politicians, journalists, anyone you can think of is going to be drawn into a criminal law environment.

‘And that would never have confronted us before. The role of the police is we have to apply the law, and it’s going to be an extremely difficult time. I think it’s going to be confusing and fraught with difficulty.’

Mrs Smith also warned that the new law could see innocent people arrested with their ‘lives and homes upended’ for up to two years, as they call out the flaws in the law.

She added: ‘People will be investigated, they will have their lives and homes upended.

‘They’ll have equipment taken and as we know most people these days rely on their laptops and phones – especially those who work or have caring responsibilities.

‘And that can go on for 18 months, two years, then you go to court and they say it does not meet the test and the case gets thrown out. 

‘But that does not give back the two years of going through the mill, so the process very much becomes the punishment.’

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