MSPs passed the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill by 86 votes to 39 before Christmas, approving reforms which would allow trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) without the need for a medical diagnosis.
But the legislation has since been blocked by the UK Government using a section 35 order.
Critics of the Bill have had their arguments further fuelled by the case of Isla Bryson – born Adam Graham – who was moved from Cornton Vale women’s prison in Stirling to HMP Edinburgh last month following a public backlash.
Mr Salmond spoke publicly for the first time on the gender row that has engulfed Scottish politics at a Burns supper in Dundee for his Alba Party on Saturday.
In footage posted to Twitter, he accused Ms Sturgeon of “throwing away” momentum for Scottish independence built over a number of years for the new gender laws.
He stressed SNP leaders “well understood” the need to win over all parts of Scottish society to achieve independence at a referendum.
“But to get to a position where you say to a majority of our people that you cannot have single-sex spaces – prized and worked and strived for – because of some daft ideology imported from elsewhere and, as we’ve seen imperfectly understood by its proponents in Scotland, borders on the totally absurd,” he told the gatherine.
“And the 6 per cent decline in independence vote over a month – think about that. Thirty years of gradually building, building, building, building till we get independence over 50 per cent
and then thrown away with some self-indulgent nonsense.
"Which even if it was right, which it isnae, would hardly be tactically the most astute manoeuvre when we’re meant to be taking Scotland to its next date with destiny.”
Mr Salmond’s comments come after a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times published on the weekend showed support for the party dropped from 50 per cent to 44 per cent in the Holyrood constituency vote, when compared to the results of the same poll in December.
Support for independence also dropped substantially, from 53 per cent to 47 per cent among decided voters. SNP support at Westminster dropped marginally from 43 per cent to 42 per cent.