Mhairi Black calls for the SNP to admit transphobia

The original article is here.

One of the SNP’s most prominent MPs has accused the party of having a problem with transphobia after an official claimed to have been “dehumanised” by activists.

Teddy Hope, an SNP transgender officer, claims to have been the target of abuse at a public meeting and online and that the party’s headquarters “did nothing to address” the claims when they were reported.

Hope, who identifies as they, said that abuse was a “normal part” of being transgender in the SNP.

An online post claimed that anti-transgender activists “passed out images of trans women” to mock their appearance at an SNP branch meeting in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire.

The meeting was described as “a den of transphobia” with some of those present “shouting and bellowing” in Hope’s face.

Mhairi Black, the SNP’s spokeswoman on the Scotland Office, shared the claims on Twitter. She added: “Are we going to continue to pretend transphobia isn’t a problem in this party?”

A proposed change to the law to make it easier to transition from one gender to another has caused a significant split within the SNP.

Rhiannon Spear, the party’s women’s convener, said that a “lack of action on transphobia within the SNP has created an environment where events like this do not surprise me any more”.

Supporters of the SNP’s Women’s Pledge, a group of more than 100 women in the SNP who have come together to protect women’s rights, attended the meeting but have denied the allegations.

The group said there was “absolutely no ill will” towards either Hope or Finlay McFarlane, the vice-convener of the Out For Indy campaign group, at the meeting.

It said that the only “discomfort” at the meeting occurred when online abuse of Joanna Cherry, the MP, and Joan McAlpine, the MSP, was raised. Both have expressed concerns about the effects of Scottish government’s proposals on women’s rights.

“It is deeply disappointing to see so many senior members in our party accept the contents of the statement as fact without due diligence,” the group said in a statement.

“Officials in our party have tweeted condemning those of us in attendance yet no attempt, as far as we are aware, was made to contact the branch to confirm the contents as a true and accurate reflection of the meeting.”

Out For Indy claimed that its representatives were subjected to “abuse and bullying” by “a group with an organised transphobic agenda” at the meeting.

The group and Ms Black urged Angus MacLeod, the national secretary of the SNP, to take disciplinary action against members of the Bearsden branch.

Other party members said that they had submitted counter-complaints to the party’s headquarters accusing Ms Black, Hope, Ms Spear and Out For Indy of making false claims against fellow members.

Ian Blackford, the party’s leader at Westminster, said that there was no place for transphobia in the SNP or wider society.

“Mutual respect and tolerance must be at the heart of who we are,” he tweeted. “Yes, debate issues openly but with grace.”

The SNP declined to comment.