THE "no-platforming" ban at the Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) has triggered "extensive distress" amongst trans people, according to a joint letter from trans writers.

Last week The National told how the specialist institution is prepared to cut ties with anyone found to be orchestrating online abuse against other poets.

Its director Asif Khan said targeted harassment had led to some authors becoming suicidal due to social media "pile-ons" linked to the content of their work or their perceived opinions.

Khan said this was affecting victims' mental health and income, with some cut off from literature events or even dropped by publishers as a result.

READ MORE: Scottish Poetry Library issues warning in no-platforming row

In a statement, the SPL said: "We support freedom of expression. We are a values-led organisation that embraces inclusivity, collaboration and a respect for pluralism – of languages, cultures and faiths.

"What we do not support, and will no longer ignore, is bullying and calls for no-platforming of writers in events programmes and in publishing. This does not mean that we are taking sides in any particular debate but we will not be passive if we are made aware of behaviours within our community that do not align with our values.

"To this effect, we would like to remind all individuals and groups that engagement with our services and projects is contingent on the expected standards of behaviour set out in our code of conduct."

The move – which was not linked to any specific issue or figure – provoked a slew of online responses as writers and readers reacted to the news.

Today a group of trans and non-binary writers have issued a lengthy response expressing their "deep concerns" to the SPL's position.

Its 11 authors include poets Harry Josephine Giles and Sy Brand, while more than 140 co-signatories from Scotland and beyond have also backed it.

They include novelist Kirsty Logan as well as academics and figures from the publishing sector.

The authors say they are "very sympathetic to attempts to decrease bullying and harassment in the literature sector" in light of negative responses to work by trans writers.

However, they say they fear the statement provides "cover and comfort to public transphobia" and accuse the SPL leaders of a "serious misunderstanding" of transphobia and misogyny.

Addressed to Khan, SPL deputy director Aly Barr and members of culture body Creative Scotland, the letter states: "We are writing to you as trans and non-binary authors, working in or with connections to Scotland, and supported by people from diverse backgrounds and identities, to express our deep concerns regarding the Scottish Poetry Library’s recent public statement on so-called “no-platforming”.

"We are worried that current communications may reflect serious institutional transphobia, and a failure to understand the Library’s obligations regarding trans people’s legal protections from discrimination.

"We have all heard extensive distress from our trans friends, both readers and writers, as a result of your recent communications.

"Despite the Library’s previous work supporting LGBT+ writers and events, many trans people do not now think the Scottish Poetry Library is a welcoming and supportive space.

"We also write in solidarity with writers combatting racism, misogyny, ableism and other structural oppressions, so that oppressive action can be freely spoken about.

"We are asking for clarification on your Code of Conduct, your grievance processes, and the work you do to support and respect trans writers. We hope you will take seriously the need to rebuild trust."

Khan says the letter has been received and will be considered carefully.

However, he says no disciplinary measures have been taken since the statement was made and commented: "Freedom of expression should not be a trigger word.

"It's a basic need for any library. If we lose that, we are in dangerous territory.

"Looking ahead, we have an agenda of healing. We will be building bridges with people who feel they are not being listened to.

"The arts in Scotland are great so I'm optimistic."