Protected characteristics, as I'm sure we are all aware, cover, through the Equality Act, age, disability, race, religion, marriage and gender reassignment. 

It doesn’t leave anywhere for humour to go, and woe betide you if you are bald or ginger as they are the only two societal subsets that are fair game for some strong-arm banter.

Being in the former camp, the slap-headed jokes have, in recent years, as little else is fair game, (bar our strawberry blond-headed brethren) intensified and are now a daily occurrence. 

My 12-year-old daughter uses said ‘slaphead’ comedy as a modern-day fidget spinner as she slaps it gently in a Benny Hill/Jackie Masonesqe style. The sixth formers at school regularly josh about my lack of follicles and the younger years make a squeaking sound as I cross their path in the corridors. 

Regarding protected characteristics, including gender reassignment, the Scottish recently passed a law which made it illegal to ‘misgender’ someone.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis has looked at the Scottish law regarding misgenderingBrett Ellis has looked at the Scottish law regarding misgendering

In effect, the law makes it illegal to ‘stir up hatred’ based on ‘prejudice’ toward characteristics including transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics (whatever that means in English or Scottish).

The law will apparently apply in people’s abodes as well as online, as we regress to draconian times and police private thoughts in the most sacred of places: the homestead.

The most astonishing part of this act however is the complete lack of any protection for women. 

J K Rowling stated that she wanted trans women to be safe but NOT at the expense of CIS women and girls [women and girls whose gender identity corresponds to their sex assigned at birth] and rightly stated they should not, with male genitals, be able to access women-only spaces.

So, what exactly is the focus of this law? 

It is as if the battle has been lost and, instead of any ideas as to how to address the rumblings of discontent affecting women’s sports, safe places and changing rooms, the Scottish government has taken the coward's way out by stifling dissent and making it illegal to defend women, and challenge the lunacy rhetoric that we have had rammed down our throats for a good five years now.

If a man chooses to live as a woman, then they should fill their boots, so to speak, but the expectation, on the threat of arrest, should not be for everyone else to play ball and go along with this. 

From female swimmers, who have trained all their lives to now be ranked second as a biological male is now cleaning up every title going, to prisons where sexual deviants, claiming those now identifying as female, have raped and maimed vulnerable women inmates in female jails as we continue to appease this madness.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher.