Glasgow Life has issued a statement after it was criticised for its 'broad' inclusivity rules.

Campaigners said that opening up women-only sport sessions to "cross-dressing males" could leave females “wide open to abuse from sexual predators".

The local-authority run body, which manages sport and leisure facilities in the city, says it is providing a safe and welcoming environment for all customers to take part in sport and physical activity including 'men who 'feel more comfortable expressing themselves in feminine clothing'.

Staff have been told to report incidences of violence or abuse against transgender customers.

Glasgow Life have released a lengthy statement justifying their stance following the backlash.

Their complaints procedure states that customers may complain if they feel that someone whom they think of being of the opposite sex is in their changing room.

Adding: "This is understandable and it requires sensitive explanation of transgender, the law – the Equality Act (2010), and of our policy of trying to facilitate equal access within our venues.

"Customers can be directed to the Policy and Research Team on the contact number below if they want to know more or are still unhappy with the explanation."

Staff can use the Hate Crime Reporting Incident protocol to report incidences of violence or abuse against transgender customers or staff.

Glasgow Life's statement states that since introducing guidance on accessing sports facilities and services by transgender people was produced and distributed in 2015, it has had no reports of inappropriate behaviour in regard to trans customers.

It adds: "Contrary to reports, Glasgow Life does not run any ‘women only gym sessions’ – our gym sessions and classes are open to all, regardless of gender.

Read more: Glasgow sport centres 'cross dressing' rules 'wide open to abuse'

"Glasgow Life operates 11 swimming pools, with the vast majority of sessions open to everyone, regardless of gender. One pool, North Woodside, has two women only swimming sessions per week. Our venues provide a mix of changing room facilities.

"A significant proportion of our changing facilities are unisex and open to all, with secure, private cubicles. Where facilities have male and female changing facilities, private cubicles are provided, where possible.

"Our staff are happy to assist with any requests in regard to provision of private changing facilities. If anyone, at any time, feels unsure or uncomfortable in using our services, they should immediately contact a member of staff for assistance."

The statement outlines staff guidance includes The Equality Act (2010) which states that "under this legislation, trans people can use changing and showering facilities appropriate to their chosen gender, even when they may not have completed their gender reassignment or have opted for a social transition" and "to be protected from gender reassignment discrimination, you do not need to have undergone any specific treatment or surgery to change from your birth sex to your preferred gender.

"This is because changing your physiological or other gender attributes is a personal process rather than a medical one."

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It goes on to say: "You can be at any stage in the transition process – from proposing to reassign your gender, to undergoing a process to reassign your gender, or having completed it.

"Glasgow Life’s position reflects legal requirements and our duty to provide barrier free access to sport and physical activity for all. Equality is at the very core of everything we do. We will continue to work to break down any barriers to access across our services and facilities, while ensuring that everyone can take part while feeling safe and secure."

Some women campaigners have argued that the rules fail to consider the needs or rights of other service users.

Susan Sinclair, who tweets and blogs as ScottishWomen said: “This is extremely alarming and is wide open to abuse from sexual predators.

“Glasgow Life needs to urgently review its guidance with a view on how this negatively impacts on women and girls who have sex-based protections.”

Vic Valentine, policy officer with Scottish Trans, added: “The definition used of who has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment does not require them to have undergone any medical treatments, or to be under medical supervision.

"The law and its protections are broad, and rightly cover trans people in the early stages of living in their gender identity.”