A HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL law that would fundamentally alter what it means to be a woman is set to be passed in Scotland.
A bill going through Scottish Parliament could soon allow men to identify as women, and vice versa, simply by deciding they are.
In a move that has sent shockwaves through Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament recently voted in favour of legislation that would allow men to become women - and vice-versa - merely by declaring themselves so.
Under the Gender Recognition Reform Bill (Scotland) - which has been making it's way through committee stage - adult Scots will be able to change their legal sex after three months of living in their acquired gender, without medical intervention or even a gender dysphoria diagnosis.
The ruling Scottish Nationalist and Green parties, which are pushing the bill through, argue it's necessary to make life easier for Trans people, a traditionally marginalised group.
But some Scots are alarmed about the seismic impact such a dramatic change to the law could have on women's rights.
Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed concerns and claimed 'violent men' are the problem PA
One campaigner told GB News: "If you can't define what a woman is - if a woman in Scotland ceases to be somebody who is a female person - then we lose all of our sex-based protections.
"I work in health. My concern is how do you provide maternity services for people who are having babies who aren't female?"
Among the most worried are detransitioners, those who have undergone hormone therapy and surgery in order to make their bodies conform to that of the opposite sex but who now want to go back to thew way they were before.
Sinead Watson was aged just 20 when she started to identify as a man, binding her breasts and using the name Sean.
Sinead Watson was wrongly diagnosed as Trans and regrets having hormone treatment GB News
But at aged 27, after four-and-a-half years on testosterone and a double mastectomy, she returned to living as a woman, having realised she's been incorrectly diagnosed as Trans.
She told GB News: "We know from all the new research and information that's coming out that a lot of this group have co-morbid conditions.
"That a lot of them are on the autistic spectrum, a lot of them suffer from internalised misogyny or homophobia, a lot of them have depression and anxiety and other forms of self-hatred, like eating disorders.
"This is a very complex group. We cannot de-medicalise it.
She added: "When it comes to something like this, where the inevitable pathway is medical transition that irreversibly changes your body and in many cases can harm you - as cross-sex hormones harmed me - there needs to be some medical supervision, there needs to be therapy, there needs to be treatment."m
The bill suffered a setback this week, when a senior United Nations official urged Scottish ministers to postpone it.
Reem Alsalem - the UN's special rapporteur on violence against women and girls has criticised the Scottish Government for not listening to female victims of violence.
She also called on ministers to “complete a thorough assessment of all foreseeable consequences” before passing the legislation.
But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon dismissed those complaints, suggesting the concerns could “further stigmatise the trans community”, arguing it was “violent men” who were responsible for the vast majority of violence against women.
She added: “I believe that those who are responsible for violent attacks on women are those who perpetrate those attacks and where that is as is very, very often the case, violent men, it is violent men that we should be focusing on."
With overwhelming support from the ruling SNP and Greens, it remains extremely unlikely that the gender legislation will be further delayed.
The plans are backed by all parties in Holyrood, apart from the Conservatives and would formally introduce a system of self-declaration for obtaining a gender recognition certificate (GRC).
The controversial Transgender bill was first presented to the Scottish parliament five years ago PA
The bill 'de-medicalises' the issue, removing the need for a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria, reducing the time someone must have been permanently living in their acquired gender before they can apply, from two years to three months and reduces the age at which people can apply from 18 to 16.
More than 100 amendments were lodged in the bill when it was first proposed five years ago, making it one of the scrutinised bills in the history of the Scottish Parliament.
It will now pass onto Stage 3 - giving MSPs the opportunity to propose further amendments and tidy up the wording - before facing a final vote.
The committee has passed an amendment which commits to 'publish a report on the impact of the act on the placement of transgender people in prisons' within three years of it coming into force.
Maggie Chapman MSP, Scottish Greens equalities and human rights spokesperson, said she was pleased that the bill closer to becoming law.
She said: "This is for those who have waited so long - too long - to be given the chance to live their lives as they choose to be recognised, but it is also for all those parliamentary colleagues who have faced down mistruths and disinformation.
“The consultations and committee scrutiny of the bill have been subjected to reckless scaremongering, ill informed innuendo and the most dangerous mistruths designed to distract people from the real issue at stake - the right of individuals to be recognised in law as who they really are.