AS the Gender Recognition Reform Bill continues its progress through the Scottish Parliament, it’s worth recalling JK Rowling’s tweet from 2019: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”

The author’s words expressed reasonable concerns in a responsible manner, yet she has since become the object of an orchestrated, three-year campaign of hate. Scots who have concerns about self-ID, removing the need for medical experts and lowering the applicable age to 16 have been branded transphobic bigots by their own government. It’s a lie.

As with other minorities, we want them to be free to live their best lives protected from discrimination and supported by the law. Reasonably-minded Scots believe there is room for transgender rights to be protected alongside women’s rights to safe spaces and their protected, sex-based characteristics.

The Scottish Government though is effectively saying that we can’t have both and that women’s rights must be sacrificed. It is effectively seeking to create a two-tier system of human rights where to be a woman living in Scotland is to be denied many of the rights men enjoy.

A woman can no longer be reasonably confident that she can use a changing room in a shop or sports facility without a fully intact male sharing her private space. She now also knows that, following years of increased public awareness about violence against women, she can no longer be reasonably confident that the police will take action to protect her from the risk of violence.

In fact, she now risks ending her day in a prison cell for doing what society, politicians and the police were encouraging her to do up until a few years ago. This is largely because, one by one, the main stakeholders in civic Scotland have been captured by the same lie: that a man can become a woman simply by dressing up in a way which he thinks makes him look like one.

No woman prisoner, many of whom have been driven to desperate measures as a result of maltreatment at the hands of males, can now be reasonably confident that she won’t become prey to fully-intact men presenting as women to avoid the harsher regime of a male prison, or to pursue something darker.

No woman who has suffered sexual violence at the hands of a male can now be reasonably confident that the former safe space provided by a women’s refuge will protect them from men presenting as women.

Lesbians who, until recently, were entitled to believe they had made serious progress in being treated equally in diverse Scotland, are now being subject to threats of sexual violence and accusations of bigotry if they defend their right to sleep exclusively with people of their own sex.

No female victim of rape or serious sexual assault in Scotland can be reasonably confident that their request for a biological female to conduct an intimate medical examination will be granted. Instead, they risk being warned about having a hateful attitude.

Women who campaigned for decades to be treated equally in the workplace and in society now find that their centuries-old struggles have been in vain and that their sex-based rights risk being erased. And much of this has been enacted by women who have benefited richly from the sacrifices and courage of older feminists throughout the 20th century.

Once, women had a reasonable expectation that by having breasts, a vagina and a womb they could claim exclusive and protected rights. Now they find that in modern Scotland and across the UK those terms indicating womanhood are being deleted and replaced by a contrived lexicon of terminological sophistry.

They now find themselves being defined solely by their body parts and sexual organs as a means of granting shared ownership to men seeking merely to portray themselves as women. It’s the ultimate objectification and degradation of women.

Alongside this process of eliminating what it means to be a woman, vulnerable children are being used as specimens in an unregulated social experiment being carried out by clinics providing ‘gender realignment’ advice and services. Thus parents of some psychologically vulnerable child seeking advice about their sexual identity can no longer be reasonably confident that their children will not be pressured into life-changing and extreme surgery. Nor can they ever expect to be informed about this.

Gay men and women who fought against the evil of Section 28 now find that their struggle has been distorted by people claiming an equivalence with those seeking to impose self-id. This is also a lie, but an insidious and well-crafted one. The way in which lesbians in particular have been targeted recalls a time before the repeal of Section 28 when their sexual status was regarded as something to be concealed and never spoken of.

The Scottish Government has become a job opportunity scheme for a group of young party zealots who have specialised in threatening behaviour towards feminists raising concerns about self-ID. They are secure in the knowledge that they operate under the direct patronage of the SNP leadership.

The SNP didn’t allow a conscience vote on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill and are thus guilty of discrimination against those whose sincerely held religious beliefs prevented them from supporting all of its measures. This was a sinister and malicious act of political bullying.

This was further underlined by Nicola Sturgeon’s callous response to Ash Regan, following the resignation of her Minister for Community Safety on conscience grounds over the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. The SNP MP Alyn Smith then issued a barely concealed threat to those party colleagues who defied the whip to vote against the bill or to abstain. “I would imagine those who do not support our own government,” he said “will be getting a torrid time from their constituency parties and local members soon enough.”

Under any terms of employment his chilling words would be seen as bullying in the workplace. This is the SNP though, and bullying in the workplace, especially at Westminster, has become their favoured means of exerting control.

Under the First Minister’s leadership, the Scottish Government has failed all of Scotland’s poorest communities and presided over the worst drugs death rates in Europe. She is desperately looking for a legacy issue and this perhaps explains why her party has been so implacable in hounding dissenters.

Read more by Kevin McKenna:

Kevin McKenna's Diary: How the Whisky Sisters changed this cynical old school hack's mind on 'influencers'

Kevin McKenna meets Jay Lafferty: 'Greenock makes Trainspotting look like In the Night Garden'