MP warns of 'explosion of transphobia in Scotland imported from US'

John Nicolson made the comments in conversation at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and warned of a 'grim time' for trans people.

MP warns of ‘explosion of transphobia in Scotland imported from US’ UK Parliament

An MP has warned of a “grim time” for Scottish trans people as a result of an “insidious culture war” being imported from the United States.

John Nicolson spoke of an “explosion of transphobia in Scotland” in recent years during a conversation event at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The SNP MP, a former journalist who was the first BBC presenter to come out as gay, said that while Scotland had become “most gay friendly country in all of Europe” it was “important not to be too complacent about equality”.

Speaking at an ‘in conversation’ event with journalist Graham Spiers, he was asked about the government’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill which was passed by Holyrood last year before being blocked by Westminster.

He claimed the bill, which aimed to allow trans people easier means of obtaining legal recognition for their preferred gender, had been “mischaracterised to a grotesque degree”.

He was also asked about his MP colleague Joanna Cherry who has been a vocal critic of the Bill and the idea of allowing gender recognition certificates to be granted on the basis of self identification.

The Bill has repeatedly been backed by feminist and LGBT+ organisations as well as sexual violence prevention charities including Rape Crisis Scotland.

However, some campaigners including Cherry claim the Bill would have a negative impact on female only spaces and women’s safety.

Nicolson said: “The Gender Recognition Act, which was passed in the Scottish Parliament with a huge majority, has been mischaracterised to a grotesque degree and we have imported a very insidious culture war from the United States into Scotland.

“If I was a young trans kid I would be finding this a grim time to be alive.”

The Ochil and South Perthshire MP continued: “The bottom line is this. It is horribly, horribly easy to attack women in society, women get attacked all the time, often in a family unit statistics show, but all over the place.

“It just doesn’t seem credible to me that a heterosexual man, because that is who attack women, it’s not gay men, and it’s not trans women, heterosexual men attack women. They are not going to go to the problem of getting themselves a gender recognition certificate, to dress up in heels and wig in order to go into a private place in order to assault women.

“If you go through the court documents the statistics show that trans women do not assault other women, yet if you read Twitter you would think the only people who attack heterosexual women are trans women.”

Nicolson went on to liken the prejudice suffered by trans people today to the abuse endured by gay people previously, as he called on politicians and “powerful people” with a platform not to attack them.

The MP stated: “What I dislike about a lot of this is very powerful people using a platform to attack one of the most vulnerable groups in society which is trans people.

“They deal with so much prejudice on a day-to-day basis. Can you imagine what it is like to be a young trans person trying to find your way at the moment, and for every right wing newspaper and swathes of the internet and Twitter and Facebook saying your very existence isn’t worthwhile, just by being a trans person you’re bound to become a sexual abuser.

“It’s what gay men used to get, our identity used to be conflated with paedophilia.”

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