MSP abused for opposing non-binary census option

An SNP MSP has received online abuse after voicing her opposition to conflating ‘sex’ with ‘gender’ in Scotland’s new Census Bill.

Joan McAlpine was sent foul-mouthed Tweets from Gregor Murray, who is reported to be Scotland’s only transgender councillor.

Councillor Murray SNP took to social media calling McAlpine a “transphobe” and “trash”.

‘More inclusive’

The Census Bill proposes that the next Scottish census should include optional questions on sexual orientation and transgender identity.

The accompanying Policy Memorandum proposes that the sex question should include a non-binary option “for a more inclusive approach to measuring sex”.

But Holyrood’s Equality Committee, chaired by McAlpine, has concluded that the sex question should only list male and female options.

Biological sex

McAlpine strongly contends that the question should reflect biological sex rather than a self-identified gender.

But Murray, who goes under the title ‘Mx’, claims to have been made to feel “unwelcome”.

The councillor threatened to try and have McAlpine deselected and unable to run for MSP at the next election, saying she “lacks the necessary brain cells” for the role.


The Equality Committee rejected proposed changes to the sex question as MSPs said there had been a lack of consultation with organisations including women’s groups.

McAlpine said the councillor’s comments are “vastly outweighed by the support I have received from thousands of women grateful that I am raising issues of concern to them”.

An SNP spokesperson said: “Abuse is never acceptable. Online debates should be conducted in a respectful manner.”

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