The Scottish Parliament has apologised after a transsexual man, who lives as a woman, was searched by a male security guard while visiting an LGBT Scotland event at Holyrood.
The row erupted after female security guards refused to search the visitor because they believed he was male.
A Holyrood insider said: “It was an unfortunate incident but nobody in the security team believes they did anything wrong.
“The visitor was a man as far as the security staff could tell. In those circumstances, it was felt it was fine for a male security guard to search him before he came in.
“However, the visitor was adamant he wanted to be searched by a woman. The women on duty at the time refused, as they are not supposed to carry out body searches on male visitors.”
LGBT Scotland have launched a formal complaint on behalf of the visitor and have requested that Holyrood staff be issued with guidance on how to deal with transsexual visitors.
Mhairi Logan, the head of policy at LGBT Youth Scotland, said: “The complaint is under way and was made by ourselves on behalf of the person involved.
“The parliament have been very understanding and we are pleased with how they are treating the matter. We have received an initial letter of apology and we expect the issue to be resolved soon.”
After the complaint parliament managers began an inquiry into the incident and the guards involved were questioned.
All visitors to Holyrood are routinely patted down if they set off metal detectors at the public entrance.
Last year a transsexual man serving a life sentence for manslaughter and attempted rape won a transfer to a women’s prison.
A High Court judge ruled that it was a breach of the man’s human rights to keep him in the male prison, where he has been held in an area for ‘vulnerable prisoners’.