Women within the Scottish National Party who uphold the biological differences between men and women have been branded ‘transphobic’ by the party authorities.
At the end of January, the SNP wrote to members claiming, “The protection of women’s rights is vital” but then added: “However, transphobia under a guise of concern for women’s rights is still transphobia.”
The controversy comes as Scotland’s Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf looks set to water down plans to protect criticism of radical gender ideology in his controversial hate crime Bill.
The Times reported that one long-standing SNP member warned that, with the party’s statement, “Permission has been given to brand women who criticise policy bigots and ‘terfs’.”
TERF is the acronym for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists’ and is used as a derogatory term for women who say that it is not possible for a man to ‘transition’ to being a woman.
Permission has been given to brand women who criticise policy bigots and ‘terfs’
Sacked SNP minister Joanna Cherry MP blamed a recent threat to her personal safety on the behaviour of party activists who oppose her views on radical gender ideology.
‘Smears and lies’
Cherry, who is also a QC, has previously spoken out on the abuse she and others have faced within the party for warning of the dangers of allowing men to self-identify as women.
Following her abrupt dismissal as the SNP’s Westminster spokeswoman on home affairs and justice, she received a “vicious threat”, which she reported to the police.
When pro-trans party activists condemned the threat, Cherry replied: “Thank you for your concern but this is what can happen when you rile up your base with lies and smears.”
Speaking in Westminster last week, Cherry said that across society people were losing their jobs and facing difficulties “simply for questioning the ideology that any man can self-identify as a woman”.
She asked the Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg whether he agreed “that all democrats should condemn such attacks on free speech”.
In reply, Rees-Mogg said: “Much as I disagree with her on so many things, may I commend her courage in standing up for freedom of speech and putting forward her views clearly in a difficult and sensitive area but one where she has a right to be heard?”
Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf recently U-turned on an amendment to protect those critical of radical gender ideology.
The proposed free speech clause had stated: “Behaviour or material is not to be taken to be threatening or abusive solely on the basis that it involves or includes discussion or criticism of matters relating to transgender identity.”
The amendment would have helped protect people who uphold the biological understanding of sex from facing criminal investigation.
Instead he said the Government would draft a “broad” freedom of expression clause, claiming it would cover “all characteristics, so no group feels targeted”.