Patrick Harvie accused of smear over claim parliament was ‘platform for transphobic hatred’

Patrick Harvie. Picture: John Devlin
Patrick Harvie. Picture: John Devlin
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A row over transgender rights has intensified after Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie declared parliament had been used as a “platform for transphobic hatred”.

Harvie, who spoke at yesterday’s Edinburgh Pride festival, has been accused of smearing fellow MSPs.

There were also fears Harvie’s comments would fuel anger at yesterday’s march towards lesbian protesters, who believe their sexual orientation is undermined by trans rights activism.

The Greens leader had looked back to the campaign that led to the scrapping of the controversial section 28 or clause 2A law, which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools, and said it was now important to stand together to fight for trans rights.

Last week gender identification changes proposed by the Scottish Government were shelved to allow further consultation and full equality impact assessments on the way trans people receive legal recognition. There had been growing concern the changes could remove women’s rights to single-sex spaces.

Yesterday Harvie said: “Now those within our communities who are experiencing that same level of hatred, of stigma, of aggression and in this case of transphobia, they need to know that we will stand together again.

“I am sorry that this parliament very recently was used as a platform for transphobic hatred and bigotry, but I am determined that we won’t let that tell us we’re going to lose.”

Oceana Maund, from the Scottish Trans Alliance, said: “We call on the Scottish Government to listen to the LGBTI community who are united in support of trans equality.” However, women’s rights group ForWomen.Scot said Harvie’s words had “smeared fellow MSPs and effectively put lesbians at Edinburgh Pride at risk”.