Elaine Miller at the Forth Valley Feminist 2023 Woman’s Festival

Elaine Miller spoke at the Forth Valley Feminist’s 2023 Woman’s Festival about how Nicola Sturgeon radicalised her. Elaine is a pelvic floor physiotherapist; she has had two sell-out Edinburgh Fringe shows: Gussie Grippers and Viva Your Vulva – the Hole Story; and she is now standing for the Corstorphine/Murrayfield by-election.

Elaine has been working in women’s health for 30 years and has seen the effects of medical misogyny first-hand. Despite speaking about these issues in a professional capacity and reaching politicians like MSPs and members of the House of Lords through traditional channels, she felt like her voice was not being heard. Faced with this lack of progress and the march of gender ideology in the Scottish legislature, Elaine realised that the people in power were not going to stand up for her. She decided that she would no longer work within the system to try and bring about change, but instead, she would speak out.

Women need single-sex spaces for various reasons related to their health and dignity. For instance, women with learning difficulties are seven times more likely to be raped. The lack of attention to women’s health and dignity is evident in the emptiness of the statement made by Nicola Sturgeon in August 2021 when she said she wanted Scotland to be a leader in women’s health. However, the government has failed to appoint an officer in women’s health even after announcing the position 18 months ago.

Elaine describes an experience with Shona Robison, an MSP, where she felt like her evidence was ignored and she was not being taken seriously as the MSP was doodling and huffing and puffing. She asked if it were possible for Shona Robinson to be made to pay attention. and Karen Adam, another MSP, tweeted about the “abuse she faced in the workplace” and then blocked Elaine when she responded. These politicians do not consider themselves accountable. However, many women did speak out in support of Elaine, including J.K. Rowling.

Elaine decided to protest the recent legislation that threatened to take away her rights at the Scottish Parliament. Feeling deeply frustrated at her professional and informed concerns being ignored, she finally needed to get the attention of the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and decided to make a bold statement. Elaine lifted her kilt and exposed a merkin made of fuzzy felt in front of the MSPs and shouted, “get it up yous!”.

This act was recorded, and it ended up in the Daily Mail, going on to cause a stir on social media. Many men then took the opportunity to express their dislike of Elaine as a woman, leaving comments that were often personal, inappropriate, and sexualised. She has even been publicly accused by Members of the Scottish Parliament of committing a crime, without any right of reply. However, she has never been contacted by the police and was never charged with any crime, as she did not “flash” anything at all.

Some women noticed there was a by-election happening and, over wine, convinced Elaine to run. She has a strong desire to participate in a hustings where she could finally force politicians to answer the questions they have been avoiding about gender ideology. She is going to use this election to listen to the needs of residents in a way that politicians have forgotten to do. Elaine believes that women’s needs, such as buses, care services, and single-sex spaces, are vitally important, and that politicians should serve citizens, not just their political parties.

Elaine is determined to win the election and wants to create a template for other women to follow. She wants to show the world what “Women Won’t Wheesht” means and to encourage more women to enter politics. She spoke about the financial barriers to standing as an independent but was grateful to have raised the funds in just 4.5 hours, with most of the donors being unknown to her.

Additionally, independents do not have access to mailing lists or old electoral rolls. A brick-and-mortar address is required for election purposes and will appear on every single leaflet. This is an enormous risk due to the backlash she has experienced over her gender-critical views. It may also prove a real barrier to others who are afraid of their children’s addresses being made public.

More women are needed in power and they do not have to be “the right sort of women” to make a difference. Elaine expressed her gratitude for the support she has received from the movement, which is full of smart, motivated women who are galvanizing each other. Despite the negative coverage, Elaine remains steadfast in her beliefs and happily unapologetic in her stance. Elaine stated that it feels liberating to be able to express herself freely and that the limitations of the system no longer bind her. By sharing her story, Elaine inspires others to also find their voice and fight for the causes they believe in.

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