IT’S as if we fell asleep one night and the world looked normal but when we woke up, it was different. Something had happened as we slept. The full horror would only unfold slowly. The government wouldn’t let us call males identifying as women “males”. They said we were bigots.

The NHS wouldn’t allow us single-sex wards any more. We could not be alone, even when we were ill. If we complained, we were told there were no males there. When they finally admitted there were, still we were told we were bigots.

When women abused by males wanted only one thing, to be free of men in a domestic refuge, they were told to reframe their trauma to make something beautiful of it. Some theorised about whether women being raped experience orgasm. They told us we were bigots.

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When women in prison thought they were at least safe from the presence of males, they were wrong. Males claiming to be women managed to convince the progressives in charge that they should be housed with women just because they said so. Women in prison would be sharing spaces with males who had raped women and children, but it was the women who were bigots.

When we told our daughters that life would be better for them, we were wrong. Because our daughters have to face dangers we never did: males in changing rooms, males in bedrooms with them on school trips, males in school toilets. They could still legally complain, but the government had so distorted everyone’s thinking that they were afraid to speak out. They could lose their university place. They could be sacked or cancelled. They were told they were bigots.

Our daughters could excel at sport, only to find their winners’ medals and sponsorships taken by males who weren’t good enough for the men’s teams. Not only unfair, but recklessly dangerous. If a female rugby player “folded like a deckchair” after being tackled by a male allowed on the team, it was just an amusing story for the tabloids. Women were told we were bigots.

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The universities used to encourage critical thinking, now they were teaching groupthink. Masked men intimidated authorities into cancelling lectures, contracts, livelihoods. No dissent was tolerated. They told us we were bigots.

If our daughters follow a religion needing separation of the sexes, tough. This is not a government respectful of things like religion when it overrides the new religion. Our daughters had to stop eating and drinking all day so as not to need to visit the toilet in school. They were told they were bigots.

We might try to fight back by going for one of those jobs reserved for females, but we found a male had already taken it. We were told we were bigots.

When we had infirm relatives needing single-sex care, we were told we could not demand it. It didn’t matter that they are vulnerable, the rights of males had to be prioritised over them.

When women mobilised, we were met with death threats and wild accusations. If we complained to the police, they arrested us. The culprits were lauded as victims and we were the bigots.

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Women had become second-class citizens in Scotland, collateral damage in a global men’s rights movement. And to be a real feminist, you had to acknowledge that men could be women too. Young women who had seen only the benefits of feminism happily trashed women’s rights won over decades. The sad thing is, if they ever end up in jail or a domestic violence refuge, they will see why single-sex spaces were needed.

Eventually we found out what was influencing the government and all those it controlled. It was called gender identity ideology, and was based on nothing more than a feeling. And it hadn’t happened overnight. It had been years in the making, right under our noses, when we thought the Great Ruling Party was doing the day job.

We fell asleep in a world which clarified who were men and who were women and rightly protected women in some circumstances. You couldn’t just identify as anything you wanted to be.

Scotland has temporarily become the Land of the Endarkenment. God willing, the light will return, and until then women will keep fighting. We will also never forget this calculating, legislated betrayal of more than half the population. Those representatives who threw us to the wolves will never again get our vote. That will go to the 39 who bravely stood up for us against all the threats and in spite of their fear.

Julia Pannell
Friockheim, Tayside