Several senior Scottish National Party politicians vented their frustration at party leader Nicola Sturgeon for holding a pro-transgender stance, in leaked messages.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is a strong supporter of LGBT+ equality, and has vowed to push forward with reforms to gender recognition laws for transgender people in Scotland, despite the UK government coming under pressure to ditch plans.
However, messages leaked on Wednesday (April 17) revealed that senior Members of the Scottish Parliament are not on board with Sturgeon’s stance.
In leaked messages, SNP MSPs vent about Nicola Sturgeon pro-transgender stance
The leaked messages from a private Twitter group show MSPs Ash Denham, Ruth Maguire and Gillian Martin venting frustration after Sturgeon said: “As an ardent, passionate feminist, and have been all of my life, I don’t see the greater recognition of transgender rights as a threat to me as a woman or to my feminism.”
Ruth Maguire, who chairs the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee, wrote: “FFS.”
Gillian Martin, who resigned from the SNP front bench in 2018 over blogs making offensive remarks about transgender people, added: “FM [First Minister] a bit out of step with feelings of her group.”
Denham then speculates that Sturgeon “might be out of step because no one has conveyed group feelings to her.”
Anti-trans views are becoming common in SNP, staffer says
The messages were anonymously leaked to Scottish LGBT+ news website Pink Saltire by an SNP staffer, who said: “I was surprised to see the conversation.
“I really don’t like the way people in the SNP have been talking about transgender people (…) over the last few months its seemed like more people held these views.”
The staffer added: “Some people just don’t see what’s really important – that trans people are possibly the most marginalised group in society right now and the suicide rates alone should surely point to the fact we must do better.
“I think as a party we need to get up to speed pretty fast on what is a really big deficit in equality for trans people.”
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Ruth McGuire equalities committee leadership challenged after leak
The leaked messages have led some to question Maguire’s role overseeing equalities issues.
Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton tweeted: “As vice-convener of Equalities and HR committee I think urgent clarification is required from our convener, @RBFMaguire as regards her position on this matter.
“Our committee cannot exclude any protected group in its struggle to push for equality.”
The leaks come after criticism of SNP MSP Joan McAlpine, who has been outspoken about trans issues.
McAlpine has had high-profile Twitter spats with LGBT+ activists after attacking transgender health services as “experimental treatment on kids.”
The politician also rejected calls for a non-binary gender option to be added to the census alongside male and female, saying that it was important to record “birth sex.”
An SNP spokesperson told The Herald: “The SNP supports trans rights and women’s rights as part of our firm commitment to human rights and equality.
“Trans people must be able to live their lives without facing unnecessary barriers and discrimination.
“It is important that any discussion on trans rights and women’s rights is conducted respectfully.”