GRA Reform

Humza Yousaf’s gender muddle

Yousaf’s support for self-ID evaporated as soon as Bryson’s name was mentioned

The SNP’s ill-fated gender reforms shaped Nicola Sturgeon’s last days as First Minister, but if Humza Yousaf has learned from the experience, he is not showing it. The SNP’s crown prince – or perhaps clown prince – is tying himself in knots over the sex of a double rapist who has just been sentenced to eight years.

‘Is Isla Bryson a man or a woman?’ Sky News asked him. You would think any serious contender for the top job in the Scottish government would have prepared a convincing response to such a predictable question. Not Yousaf; the best he could come up with was that Isla Bryson was ‘at it’. At what, you might wonder. But, as Yousaf tried – and failed – to explain, it was clear that Yousaf doesn’t know.

With astonishing chutzpah, Yousaf asserted that he didn’t think, ‘they’re a true transwoman’. At the same time, he lamented that the law – for ‘many, many years’, he insisted – allowed Bryson to self-identify as a woman ‘if they wish’.

This – remember – is the leadership contender who, if elected, has committed himself to challenging the Section 35 order that blocked Sturgeon’s self-ID bill, legislation he had promoted enthusiastically as a Scottish Government minister. If self-ID had existed for ‘many many years’, why did the SNP government need to keep MSPs up until the early hours to ram that bill through Holyrood in the week before Christmas? It just doesn’t make sense.

The problem for Yousaf, Sturgeon and every other politician who has developed an evangelical zeal for self-ID, is reality: men cannot become women. As soon as hard cases turn up, they flounder. Yousaf’s support for self-ID evaporated as soon as Bryson’s name was mentioned. Whatever he might have voted for in the chamber, his true colours emerged when he was in front of a TV camera. Yousaf was eager to declare – on air – who might not be really trans.

If Yousaf becomes First Minister, and he is currently the bookies’ favourite, then heaven help trans people north of the border. Whatever the law might have to say, the FM will be there ready to judge whether someone is a true transwoman or merely ‘at it’.

This is why I have spoken out against self-ID since 2016. It is an absurd idea that unleashes further absurdity. Allowing anyone to change their legal sex is a big deal. If sex matters – and it does – then any arrangement that allow an individual to be treated by the law as the other sex needs proper checks and balances. Not a wannabe first minister making snap judgments, possibly for political expediency.

His fellow contenders for the role do get it. Neither Kate Forbes nor Ash Regan appear to be in danger of getting tripped up when asked: ‘what is a woman?’. Maybe it’s easy for them because they are women, but then so is Nicola Sturgeon – and Sturgeon is far from being the only female politician to have had the wool pulled over their eyes by those peddling gender ideology.

What is going on in Yousaf’s head is harder to fathom. But he should know this: altering policy that effectively allows anyone – including Bryson – to change their identity and then demand the rest of the world to go along with it makes a mockery of the policy. Worse, it will inevitably attract those who wish to do as they please.

On one point, Yousaf was right. The law actually does allow Isla Bryson to self-identify as a woman. But UK law would also allow Bryson to claim to be the King of Siam: after all, we can all entertain our own fantasies without risking a visit from the police to check our thinking. But at the same time, the law does not allow Bryson – or anyone else – to demand that the rest of society pays any attention to such nonsense. It certainly does not allow Bryson to inherit the rights of women by self-ID alone. Yousaf appeared to know that when he claimed Bryson was ‘at it’. But then he went wrong. His somewhat authoritarian approach to divide the sheep – ‘true transwomen’ – from the goats – those merely ‘at it’ – is unsustainable. The rule of law means that the law must apply equally to everyone. Ministers should not be in the business of deciding who is at it and who is not.

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and journalist.

* This article was first published by The Spectator on 2 March 2023: Humza Yousaf’s gender muddle.

By Debbie Hayton

Physics teacher and trade unionist.

3 replies on “Humza Yousaf’s gender muddle”

“… If self-ID had existed for ‘many many years’, why did the SNP government need to keep MSPs up until the early hours to ram that bill through Holyrood in the week before Christmas? It just doesn’t make sense… ”

No, it doesn’t, DH, not to anyone with a functioning brain. What began life as an exercise in virtue-signalling became the stamp of a party whose core principle is independence. You couldn’t make it up, seriously.

You are right: either the law applies right across the board or it doesn’t. If it does, then the law will take its course and self-ID will fall by the wayside; if it doesn’t, madness will reign. I don not know if you saw the photo os his elderly mother, a Muslim lady in headscarf. He is proposing that his mother and all other Muslims, Jewish people, Christians, et al must accept, along with women and girls and children of no faith, that intact males should share their hitherto protected spaces and opportunities, sports, etc.

It has been suggested that Stonewall should be campaigning for Third Spaces, but the ‘trans’ lobby refuses to even countenance such a move – which tells us that it is autogynephilia and other paraphilias that drive this ideology, alongside dysphoria, and not a belief in biological destiny. This is why I believe that it is so dangerous for children to declare that one knew one was ‘trans’ from the toddler stage.

What one was probably prey to was body dysphoria/dysmorphia, and that is not sexual whereas claiming ‘transhood’ at that stage in a child’s life most certainly is, and completely contradicts all child psychology and studies done into early years learning, etc., as Professor Robert Winston, an expert in this field of childhood studies, has pointed out many, many times, destroying the notion that children should be ‘transitioned’ as early as possible.

We all, however we identify, need to get to grips with what changing the law could – and very likely, would – bring. What of those who claim to be males one minute and females the next? How can the law possibly work for them? This madness has to stop. Humza will fall before he ever sees the GRRB in action. The mad Greens will fall with him, it is to be hoped.


Sorry, DH, forgot to add: the ‘transman’ who killed those children in America had been pumped full of testosterone. Clinicians have been warning for years now that these girls are being ‘trans’-formed into following male pattern aggression and violence. A good number of female detransitioners have talked of having feelings of rage and aggression, and have put it down to the cross-sex hormones. Never heard of any female behaving like this before, and it makes me even more sure that children are a legitimate target for these deranged people. It has nothing to do with ‘being kind’ and everything to do with eliminating children and females.


Brilliant article, Debbie. Shocking doublespeak from Yousaf. Interesting tweets – my favourite, from ‘Ruffles’: “No true Scots transwoman.”


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