One of the new ministers in Nicola Sturgeon’s revamped Scottish Government has apologised after coming under fire almost immediately for mocking comments she made on a blog in 2007 about transgender students.
Gillian Martin, who was appointed minister for colleges and universities yesterday as the First Minister reshuffled her ministerial team, referred to a ‘tranny trove’ of EU funding for students, and made reference to ‘hairy knuckled transgender laydees (sic)’ in a blog published in 2007.
The Times reported that Ms Martin, who succeeded Alex Salmond as MSP for Aberdeenshire East in 2016, made the comments while working as a college lecturer in the area.
The Scottish Labour party demanded the new Minister should make a public apology for her ‘deeply offensive’ remarks, which included railing against diversity quotas and transgender bathrooms.
She wrote: Will they install a third category of loo with a special transgender sign? Are they then going to pinpoint these transgender people and make sure that they get represented fairly on all undisclosed-because-Idon’t-want-to-get-fired-establishment literature in the same way our five endlessly tolerant Asian students do or that guy with the guide dog does?
“Are we going to see lovely photos in the foyer of hairy knuckled lipstickwearing transitional transgender Laydees being embraced by the principal of undisclosed college or visiting politicians for the press?”
On diversity, Ms Martin said: “Legend has it that there is an orphaned, singleparent, gender-confused, blind, Aboriginal, onelegged, cross dressing, lesbian, dyslexic, ex-con, Muslim in a university somewhere in the UK. This university is envied by all other educational establishments.”
The remarks first emerged in 2016 when Ms Martin was running for the Aberdeenshire East seat, with her then Lib Dem opponent Christine Jardine (now an MP) questioning her suitability for Holyrood.
At the time, charity Stonewall Scotland also condemned the ‘casual transphobia’ of the blog posts.
After the story broke today, Ms Martin tweeted: “In 2007 I wrote a blog that I deeply regret. It used language that was inappropriate and offensive. I expressed myself in a way that did not reflect my view then and certain does not reflect my view now.
‘That is entirely my fault and I am sorry for it That’s why. when this blog was last raised publicly two years ago. I apologised and I am more than happy to unreservedly apologise again today.”