DEVIOUS Tory politicians, aided and abetted by many in the mainstream media, have misleadingly conflated two essentially separate issues around the current gender recognition reform debate. Furthermore, they have attempted to scurrilously cast blame for the seeming controversy around these complex issues exclusively at the First Minister and the SNP.

Across the UK, rape crimes are not only vastly under-reported, but convictions are a fraction of what they apparently should be. In addition, as highlighted recently by the admittance of an accused rapist to Edinburgh University, there is a challenging balance to be struck in managing the rights of those accused prior to judgement with not endangering women in the interim.

The recent early release on probation of a prisoner in England who went on to kill a young woman demonstrates that we still do not have foolproof answers, irrespective of political allegiances, to many of the problems facing a progressive society today.

READ MORE: Trans prisoners with violent history 'won't be housed in women's jail'

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was supported with by a cross-party majority in the Scottish Parliament but is now blocked by a remote individual in a remote parliament. This blocked bill did not cause a convicted rapist to be temporarily held for prison assessment in segregated accommodation at Cornton Vale.

In spite of the different party votes it seems most would agree that convicted rapists should not be incarcerated among women prisoners. It also seems logical that those best placed to assess the dangers around this particular issue are prison authorities with access to all the relevant information, not those attempting to exploit a marginalised minority for their own political ends. That said, most of the general public would probably approve of a change in legislation compelling authorities to have convicted rapists serve their sentences in a prison consistent with their physical gender at the time the crime was committed.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

WHEN India Willoughby remarkably states that “nobody is coming to the rescue” of the trans “community” apart from Nicola Sturgeon, shouldn’t she be asking why (India Willoughby praises Nicola Sturgeon for supporting trans community,, Jan 29)?

Could it be because the fundamentals of the GRR are a bridge too far for a society concerned about the bill’s impact on the sex status of women? Or too far by removing the importance of medical evaluation and counselling in the process to ensure best practice? Too far perhaps by increasing the speed at which these life-changing decisions can be made? Even too far by reducing the age to engage in the process to when young people are easily confused, impressionable and vulnerable to vested-interest external influences?

Or is it simply because of the vociferous and intransigent lobby who denigrated anyone venturing contrary argument and labelled them "terfs" or some other equally disgusting and abusive label?

READ MORE: When will the SNP start causing a rumpus over the referendum block?

Perhaps the antipathy generated by the clearly overwhelming media coverage of the pro-trans argument, at the expense of those who oppose it, stifled the depth of debate that should have existed?

Personally, I’d just like to understand why Sturgeon has driven this debate at this time and wish she had pursued independence with the same zeal; because that’s where I believe her focus should have been, and which the whole of Scottish society could have benefited from.

Jim Taylor