Protesters rally outside library as parents discuss schools and gender identity
A supporter has told why she attended a protest outside an Edinburgh library where a meeting was taking place organised by a group for parents concerned about how gender identity is taught in schools.
The event called “school and gender identity” was arranged by Concerned Adults Talking Openly About Gender Identity Ideology and caused controversy when the group said the council told them they would need to pay £600 for security after a counter-protest was organised.
On Tuesday police officers could be seen inside the library, while around 100 protesters stood outside with placards.
Rebecca Suton, who was there with a friend, told the PA news agency that it was “important” for her to be there.
She said: “Trans rights are something people have fought for for so many years now and to think that there are still people who hold meetings like this is just making it harder.
“I support trans rights and it’s important that everyone gets behind it. Trans people have it hard enough as it is, without continuing to have to protest to defend themselves and to defend their rights from people who don’t understand.
“We should all be supporting them.”
Police Scotland confirmed no arrests had been made at the protest.
The meeting organisers said they wanted to “break the silence” around how children are taught about gender and discuss their concerns about the pressures schools were facing to remove single-sex toilets.
The Scottish Government became the “first country in the world” to add LGBT inclusive education into the school curriculum in September 2021.
A campaign by Feminist Fundraisers to raise the £600 for security secured £954, according to its GoFundMe page.
“We are a small group of local people who only want to ensure that there is open discussion without intimidation and threat,” they said.
“But we have been faced with a determined campaign to stop discussion and ban the meeting.”
Council leader Cammy Day said: “When considering whether any proposed event should go ahead, we’re clear that everyone has the right to freedom of expression – but, equally, that this must be done within the law and in line with relevant public safety requirements.
“This applies to meeting attendees, council staff, potential protesters, library users, and the wider community.”
The Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh had called the event “transphobic” and said in a statement: “Though couched in language of concern and free speech, this event is borne of bigotry and intended to fuel and foster anti-trans sentiment.
“Scratch the surface and it is abundantly clear that the central agenda of organisers is to undermine progress on LGBTQ+ inclusivity in schools, and trans equality and solidarity more widely.”
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