• Monday, November 28, 2022

INDIA

Debate continues over trans woman heading Scotland’s rape crisis center

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By: Pooja Shrivastava

APPOINTMENT of a transgender woman as the head of a rape crisis centre in Scotland has triggered a debate on inclusiveness.

Mridul Wadhwa, a former Holyrood SNP candidate, has been recently made chief executive of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre (ERCC). However, the appointment is not taken well by some feminists saying that the role is reserved only for women-only candidates and Wadha has no gender recognition certificate and has not undergone gender reassignment surgery.

Wadhwa was previously with the Forth Valley Rape Crisis Centre, Rape Crisis Scotland and Shakti Women’s Aid.

Standing for Women’s activist Kellie-Jay Keen said that women had opened the Edinburgh centre in 1978 and she doubts if they “ever thought that their tireless campaigning would provide a seat for a male CEO.”

“Surely this role should have been explicitly women-only,” she said.

Wadhwa’s hiring has triggered a debate on social media as well. While some feminists are urging the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate the matter, many netizens are also coming out in support of Wadhwa.

“Heartbreaking, and dreadful. Trans women are women, and are at extreme risk of sexual violence,” tweeted writer Laura J. Mixon.

Meanwhile, ERCC Scotland has said that they are “proud” to have Wadhwa “as a colleague.”

Sandy Brindley, the chief executive, said: “Mridul Wadhwa brings to this role extensive experience working in the violence against women sector. All rape crisis centres in Scotland work within equality and employment law. 

There is a lot of misinformation and targeted harassment in relation to Mridul. We think this is unacceptable.”

Another controversy erupted last year in October when Wadhwa was put forward as a candidate to contest the Stirling seat at this year’s Holyrood election. She reportedly left the party in December after MSPs overwhelmingly backed an amendment in Holyrood to allow survivors of rape and sexual assaults to pick the sex rather than the gender of the person examining them. 

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