Readers' letters: Elections throw up gender issues

With the forthcoming council elections on May 5 and the national conversation asking MSPs and MPs “what is a woman?” I’m intrigued as to what the Edinburgh candidates would answer.

CEC decided in February to join Stonewall, while the world and her dog are leaving in droves as they realise the fees to sign up are not defensible and the questionable legal advice leave them in hot water.

This decision was taken despite CEC having a perfectly functional diversity and inclusion committee that considers all protected groups, not just those described with letters.

Stonewall previously campaigned to remove the protection for sex in the Equality Act and replace it with the undefinable gender identity.

CEC also decided in April 2021 to make new Edinburgh public toilets mixed-sex. With these decisions, along with the ongoing push to introduce mixed-sex toilets in our schools, I’m not convinced our current councillors know or care what a woman is and why she may want and need single sex spaces, sports, prisons, toilets, rape crisis centres. And, of course, the same protection should be given to males in similar situations.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission recently issued guidance on how service providers must handle single-sex provisions, making sure that shops, gyms, sporting organisations, women’s aid and rape crisis shelters know they are legally able to exclude males from places that are expected to be female-only, and vice versa.

Should a hustings ever occur where the public are allowed to ask questions, I look forward to hearing what candidates think a woman is and whether they will uphold the legislation and defend single-sex provisions in Edinburgh.

Maureen Kelly, Edinburgh.

Green’s council tax reform in long grass

So Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens insists he seeks to reform council tax. His partners, the SNP, have been talking this up since 2007 though even they admit there isn't a hope of it happening during this parliamentary term ending in 2026.

The Greens say a citizen's assembly is the route to determining how local government should be funded. The SNP has been discussing this for years but nothing has yet materialised. It seems Patrick Harvie et al are becoming increasingly adept at rehashing the SNP's hollow rhetoric.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

Breast cancer drug needs your support

Breast Cancer Now is making an urgent plea to the public to sign our open letter in a final bid to see a life-extending drug guaranteed on the NHS.

On 7 April the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provisionally rejected Trodelvy for routine use on the NHS in England due to the drug not being ‘cost-effective’, despite its approval in Scotland last month.

This guidance for England will have knock on effects for patients in Wales and Northern Ireland too, where it’s likely NICE’s decision will be followed.

These women have no time to wait. This is why we’re asking readers to sign our Open Letter calling on the drug company Gilead, NICE and NHS England to find a solution.

Ahead of the public consultation closing on 29 April, we are doing all we can to ensure Trodelvy becomes routinely available on the NHS for patients who desperately need it. Please sign our open letter now at: action.breastcancernow.org/trodelvy-sign-our-open-letter

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Breast Cancer Now

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