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. 99% of the time I am not bothered about it as it is jovial and without malice, but if I, and my fellow Telly Savalas lookalikeys weren’t so welcoming to such bants, there is nowhere for us to go, as baldness is not classed as a protected characteristic, so suck it up we must.

Regarding protected characteristics, including gender reassignment, the Scottish recently passed a law which made it illegal to ‘misgender’ someone for which JK Rowling has, rightly, dared the UK establishment to arrest her, as she vocally opposes the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act which was introduced on April 1 (and no, its not a joke).

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. Rowling stated that she wanted trans women to be safe but NOT at the expense of CIS women and girls, and rightly stated they should not, with male genitals, be able to access women only spaces.

I for one see nothing controversial in this and she is but a voice for her sisterhood. Even Rishi ‘sits on the fence’ Sunak has raised his head above the parapet by stating ‘people should not be criminalised for stating simple facts on biology’.

So, what exactly is the focus of this law? It's as if the battle has been lost and, in lieu 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 threat of arrest, should not be for everyone else to play ball and go along with this folly. 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.

Again, it is the protection of the minority which has pervaded every bastion of British life (and no, I will not be stating my preferred pronouns on my emails, thank you for asking). Around half of one per cent in the UK identify as trans. That leaves circa 50% of the population who identify, and are, biological women, and that should be where our protective focus should lay, shouldn’t it?

We need to reverse away from this lunacy and get back to attacking the only two groups who are immune to criticism, legally speaking: the baldies and the gingers. Maybe, we might just strike vitriolic gold if we know someone who is a balding gin-ger as we daren't criticise those who demand rights and freedoms that we seem incapable of handing to the female of the species…

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher