Tag: SNP

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon slams transphobia in ‘message from the heart’

Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has condemned transphobia, saying it should be treated with “zero tolerance”. (Getty/ Andrew Milligan – WPA Pool)

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has strongly condemned transphobia in a “message from the heart”, insisting it is “vital to speak up for what is right and against injustice”.

Sturgeon posted a video to social media on Wednesday evening (27 January), amid accusations that the SNP has become a “hub of transphobia”.

In the video, the Scottish first minister said: “This is a message from me as SNP leader on the issue of transphobia. I don’t have much time for anything other than the fight against COVID right now, but on some days silence is not an option.”

Sturgeon said her message had not been scripted, and was instead a “message from the heart”.

On reports of “significant numbers” of young SNP members leaving the party over the transphobia accusations, she said: “I know many of you personally, I consider you friends, I’ve campaigned alongside you. You are a credit to our party and our country.

“It grieves me deeply that you’ve reached this conclusion after much soul-searching because you consider, at this stage, the SNP not to be a safe, tolerant or welcoming place for trans people.

“That’s not acceptable to me, as SNP leader I will do everything I can to change that impression and persuade all of you that the SNP is your party, and that you should come home where you belong.”

Sturgeon admitted that members of her party had “differences of opinion on Gender Recognition [Act] reform“, but insisted: “No debate can be a cover for transphobia.”

She continued: “Trans people have as much right as any of us to be safe, secure and valued for who they are. Transphobia is wrong, and we must treat it with the zero tolerance we treat racism or homophobia.”

Sturgeon finished: “Some will criticise this message, say it doesn’t go far enough, or that the words are hollow unless we prove we meant them. I’m determined we will.

“No doubt others will accuse me of being ‘woke’. I don’t care. Sometimes, particularly as a leader, it’s vital to speak up for what is right and against injustice.”

SNP equalities chief Lynne Anderson supports anti-trans For Women Scotland

Lynne Anderson was chosen by the party membership to serve as equalities convener

Lynne Anderson was chosen by the party membership to serve as equalities convener

The SNP’s new equalities convener is facing scrutiny for her support of anti-trans pressure group For Women Scotland and the author JK Rowling.

Elections for the party’s national executive committee on Monday (30 November) saw Lynne Anderson chosen by the party membership to serve as equalities convener, giving her a crucial say in SNP policy.

Anderson’s election to represent equalities issues has sparked a wave of concern from trans activists, given her apparent support for groups hostile to trans rights.

In August, Anderson shared photos of herself speaking at a For Women Scotland event, a group which has opposed the legal recognition of transgender women as women.

A month later, Anderson gleefully posed in front of an LGB Alliance banner, tweeting: “I’m an elected representative. I support JK Rowling.”

The politician is wearing a ‘Woman = adult human female’ t-shirt in the photo.

Anderson previously vowed to boycott The Body Shop for sending JK Rowling a copy of a book about trans rights, fuming: “How very dare you assume a woman needs educated. Not another penny. Ever.”

A prolific Twitter user, Anderson lamented in messages sent hours before her victory that doctors are taught to respect trans people’s chosen gender.

In response to a user who claimed that medical students are taught “the TWAW (trans women are women) mantra”, she wrote: “Good grief. Medics being taught to ignore science and critical thinking? That’s rather depressing.”

The new SNP equalities convener
The new SNP equalities convener

SNP figures have been accused of tapping into anti-trans sentiment for political gain.

The new equalities convener is among at least five controversial figures to win seats on the SNP’s ruling body, amid a surge that saw allies of first minister Nicola Sturgeon ousted from the body.

Sturgeon, a strong supporter of LGBT+ equality, has been facing a growing number of critics within the party, and factional opponents have previously been accused of leveraging transphobia for political gain.

In response to Anderson’s election, actor and trans campaigner David Paisley tweeted: “I don’t know what’s worse, knowing @theSNP have elected an equalities convenor who seems to have blocked most of the LGBT+ community (specifically trans people and allies) or that the SNP are likely to do nothing about it.”

Meanwhile, SNP MP for Aberdeen North Kirsty Blackman alleged some are leveraging anti-trans sentiment to “build an empire” within the party, without naming names.

She tweeted on Tuesday (1 December): “There’s a lot to be sad about this morning. But please be assured that there are still many, many good people fighting for fairness and inclusion. I and so many of my friends continue to be vocal trans allies no matter what is thrown at us. #ProperFeminist

“In 2014, in an attempt to convince people to vote No in the independence referendum so they could retain their stranglehold on power, Better Together activists told Eastern European immigrants that they would be deported if Scotland voted for independence.

“It was a lie attempting to whip up fear in order to retain their empire. I see little difference in what is being done at the expense of trans people.

“Using their voices to convince women they are more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted if the Government makes it easier for trans people to self identify. It is a lie, so that empire building can happen within the SNP.

“It’s nothing actually to do with minority rights, or an attack on minority rights. It’s a convenient issue and a convenient group of already excluded people who can be thrown under a bus in order for the massively successful SNP leadership to be undermined by a small group.

“Attacking an already under fire group is a horrendous, truly nasty thing to do. It is causing untold harm.”

Earlier this week, more than 700 people signed an open letter condemning a “crisis of inaction on transphobic abuse” in Scotland and demanding that Holyrood launch an independent inquiry into transphobia in political parties.

The signatories, who come from across Scotland’s political spectrum, came together to ask cisgender allies to “put pressure on all political parties to take internal complaints of transphobic abuse seriously”.