‘Transphobic’ blogger Meghan Murphy invited to Holyrood The Times 04.05.19

The original article is here.

A row has broken out after a radical feminist banned from Twitter for “hateful conduct” over posts about a trans woman was invited to speak at the Scottish parliament.

Meghan Murphy, a Canadian feminist blogger who believes that transgender rights endanger women, has been invited to speak at Holyrood on May 22 by Joan McAlpine, convener of the culture, tourism, Europe and external affairs committee.

Rhiannon Spear, an SNP councillor and chair of Tie, an LGBT education campaign, said that Ms McAlpine’s invitation was “stoking a fire”.

Ms Murphy believes that biological males should not be allowed to use women only spaces, such as changing rooms and toilets, or compete in women’s sport. She is suing Twitter after it ruled that a tweet describing a transgender woman as “him” breached its hateful conduct policy on “misgendering” and banned her for life.

Ms McAlpine described Ms Murphy as “a socialist and feminist who is admired around the world for her bravery in speaking up for women”.

Her invitation has angered other nationalists, including Michael Gibbons, convener of SNP students, and Finlay McFarlane, a gay SNP activist. They described her views as “transphobic”.

The latest row follows the leak of internal discussions between three prominent SNP MSPs raising concerns over Nicola Sturgeon’s position on transgender rights. Ruth Maguire, convener of Holyrood’s equalities and human rights committee, criticised the first minister’s view that transgender rights were not a threat to women or feminism.

Ms Spear said: “Inviting Meghan Murphy to our parliament is stoking a fire. If you want to have a civil conversation about trans identities this is not how you go about it.

“It’s embarrassing. We must do better. It’s not helpful to furthering any conversation on trans/women’s rights.

“I’m sad to see the return to the narrative of ‘men identifying as women’ and scaremongering regarding gender specific spaces. I’m also sad we have elected politicians wilfully ignoring the advice of service providers who have been working in the industry for decades.”

Ms McAlpine said: “Parliament is a place which values freedom of speech and I am delighted that Meghan is coming to discuss the Canadian experience of allowing males to self-identify as women and access single sex space and services.

“I would remind Rhiannon of the cabinet secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville’s recent comments that women who express concerns about this should not be subject to abuse, or knee jerk accusations of transphobia.”

Mr Gibbons said: “Meghan Murphy is permanently banned by Twitter for consistently breaching their hateful conduct policy. There is nothing socialist, brave, or feminist about giving a platform to a transphobe under a pretence of debate and discussion. It’s disingenuous and wrong.”

Scottish citizens are expected to be given the option to declare their trans identity, sexual orientation and their biological sex in the 2021 census under changes provisionally approved in parliament on Thursday.

Ms Murphy will also speak at a public meeting in Glasgow on May 24 organised by ForWomenScot, a women’s rights group. A spokeswoman said that the group was “thrilled” by her visit, adding: “The Scottish government has indicated it may follow Canada’s lead with regards to self-declaration of sex so it will be instructive to hear how those changes have impacted on Canadian women and girls.”