John Swinney: First Minister and SNP leader addresses question on whether trans woman is a woman

First Minister John Swinney was asked the question on trans women during an interview

John Swinney has said he accepts that "transgender women are defined as women".

The First Minister was asked for his view during an interview with BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme. He was previously mocked by JK Rowling for failing to directly address the same question during his SNP leadership campaign launch.

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Asked if he believed a trans woman is a woman, Mr Swinney said: "I believe a woman is an adult female born as a woman, and I also accept that transgender women are defined as women."

First Minister John Swinney. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesFirst Minister John Swinney. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
First Minister John Swinney. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The issue has been a source of ongoing controversy within the SNP and across Scottish and UK politics in recent years.

Asked the same question during his leadership launch, Mr Swinney said: "If our politics is defined purely and simply by these questions, we are not addressing the core issues and challenges people face in our society."

In response, Ms Rowling, a high-profile critic of the Scottish Government’s record in this area, wrote on social media: "Male politicians obfuscating and blustering to avoid uttering the dangerous words 'women don't have penises' totally convinces me that the rights and protections of 51 per cent of the population are safe in their hands."

A poll by Savanta for The Scotsman previously found more Scots said they broadly agreed with Ms Rowling over trans issues than disagreed. A total of 41 per cent of respondents said they tended to agree with the author's views more than they disagreed, while 23 per cent said the opposite.

More men said they broadly agreed (50 per cent) than women (33 per cent), while older people were also substantially more likely to agree. Savanta interviewed 1,080 Scottish adults aged 16+ online between May 3-8.



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