Trans people should be able to live with “dignity and happiness” and the media and politicians should “leave them the hell alone”, MP Mhairi Black has said.
The SNP’s depute Westminster leader said “bad actors” are using the debate around trans people as a “wedge issue to cause chaos”.
She said the only place where sex, not gender, should matter is in a medical setting.
Trans issues have become a lightning rod for divisive debate in recent years, with a focus in the SNP being around the party’s Gender Recognition Reform law which was passed at Holyrood last year but has proved polarising.
Speaking at an In Conversation With… event at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe hosted by journalist Graham Spiers, Black said trans people should not be made into an intellectual debate, and compared this to intellectuals in past years who are now recognised as racist.
She said: “See if you’re a human being, you’re not an intellectual debate and nor should you be made to be one.”
Black said the idea there is no protection for sex as opposed to gender is “just not factual”.
Questioned about concerns about trans people accessing single sex spaces such as toilets, she told the audience she has had “more grief” in women’s toilets in the past five years than the rest of her life because of people thinking she is not feminine enough.
“Being trans is not something to be feared. It’s just an aspect of a human being, the same way being gay is just an aspect of who I am,” she said.
“The only place as far as I’m concerned that my sex matters, as opposed to my gender, is in a medical setting. That’s between me and a doctor.”
She compared people who question this to people who would tell an adoptive parent that they are not a real parent.
“I’m a woman, I’m a lesbian, nobody’s cancelling me and I want trans people to be able to live with dignity and happiness and for newspapers and politicians to leave them the hell alone,” she said.
“There are definitely bad actors at play who are radicalising people who are vulnerable, radicalising people who are too online, and they are also using this small community as a wedge issue to cause chaos.”
She added: “It’s been happening since 2016 at least. And if you start tracing it back – all these big names – the money always comes back to sort of fundamental Christian groups in America, Baptist groups, anti-abortion organisations.”