THE Gender Recognition Reform Bill and its subsequent blocking by Westminster is one of the most hotly debated subjects in Scottish politics. I’m now of the opinion that the decision to deplatform anti-trans activist Graham Linehan, better known as Glinner, from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe is proof that Scottish culture is already positively independent when it comes to the protection and celebration of trans identities.

Initially billed as a famous "cancelled comedian", once Glinner’s identity was unveiled, the Leith Arches (which regularly hosts queer events) decided to cancel the Irish writer’s show because his views were not in line with its identity as an "inclusive venue" and their "overall values".

This decision largely reflects the views of the pro-indy movement who are still campaigning for the rights of trans people in Scotland to self-identify as their chosen gender, despite Westminster’s decision to block the bill passed in Parliament.

READ MORE: Let's look at how media handled the strange case of Graham Linehan

The cancellation of the event prompted a furious response from the comedian, who has gone as far as to compare pro-trans activists to Nazis. He wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: "There is no explanation as to what views the Leith Arches find offensive. [Could] I have some details? Because it sure sounds like discrimination on the grounds of my legally protected beliefs?"

This message to the Arches is not the first time that Glinner, 55, has tried to silence those who stick up for transgender people.

After I tweeted in defence of trans women following the jailing of convicted trans rapist Isla Byrson earlier this year, stating that painting all trans women with the same brush as her is equivalent comparing all cisgender women to Myra Hindley, he called me a "vichy feminist" and challenged me to name "a few more Myra Hindleys".

Looking back, his challenge is haunting in light of the recent conviction of Britain’s worst modern female serial killer, Lucy Letby – a cisgender woman. It certainly reflects the fact that it is wrong to suggest that trans and gender variant people are any more likely to commit heinous crimes than anyone else.

Glinner appears to be a man who wants to silence those who disagree with him, whether it’s by questioning their right to make a decision, name-calling, or simply by making his voice heard regardless.

The fact that only 50 people turned up to his eventual gig outside the Scottish Parliament after a second venue cancelled the show once again shows that his views are not in line with the majority of Scottish people’s.

It’s also worth noting that at this "comedy" event, he proceeded to continue his anti-trans rhetoric, referring to the alleged "mutilation" and "sterilisation" of children as part of his supposed defence of women’s rights, which you could argue is not in the spirit of any comedy show.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes supports Graham Linehan over Fringe show cancellation

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One of Glinner’s most vocal critics has been fellow comedian Janey Godley (above), who is an advocate of trans rights. She wrote "this issue was never about free speech and always about politics — they don’t care about women’s rights and never have" after an anonymous pro-Unionist account encouraged its followers to have her shows at the festival cancelled too.

Although free speech is important, when it involves the targeted harassment of some of society’s most vulnerable people — in the last year alone, hate crimes against trans people doubled in England and Wales — restrictions have to be put in place.

While issue of trans rights will be hotly debated into the future, this latest chapter paints a positive picture of what an independent Scotland could look like for the LGBT+ community and I argue that we’re already there. Scotland is a welcoming country where there is no place for hate — except, perhaps, as Glinner learned, to wee audiences on the street.