A SHORT piece in response to “SNP are learning the hard way that for some activists, debate is hate” by Shona Craven (January 29). First things first, the choice of author for this column seems like a deliberate attempt to inflame the issue, stoke the fires of division, and further “other” a large portion of the Yes movement that consists of intersectional feminists, human rights advocates, and LGBT+/trans allies.

Several devoted grassroots members of the SNP decided to quit the party in protest at what is seen as institutionalised transphobia in Scottish society, and the author of this article tweeted: “While misogynists bleat about the 'online radicalisation' of women (how else but by brainwashing could they *possibly* become feminists?), young people with penises are being radicalised online and making plans to commit mass murder.” Her bias comes across loud and clear.

READ MORE: SNP are learning the hard way that for some activists, debate is hate

I’ve seen the online mutterings of discontent. The “why don’t young people care about independence?” comments on Twitter. Let me be clear: several of the members who quit last week have both expressed their support for the First Minister and intention to vote for the SNP in the May elections. Sadly, there is so much wilful ignorance surrounding this issue, seemingly aided and abetted by Ms Craven and staff at The National.

How else can you show solidarity with the trans community during a pandemic other that halting financial support to a party that doesn’t support all its members equally? It has not gone unnoticed that it took a mass resignation for the SNP to finally take this issue seriously.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says she will tackle transphobia within party

Supporting trans rights does not threaten, harm, or belittle women. It does not hurt the case for independence, and it is up to the party leadership to bring these members back into the fold by fixing the issue. Namely, by:

• Adopting a universal definition of transphobia. The Liberal Democrats have already adopted a definition in September 2020. The threat of this Unionist party taking away SNP votes is there if we do not take swift and decisive action.

• Conducting an independent, non-partisan inquiry to identify where transphobia has manifested, holding all members accountable for transphobic remarks and actions.

• Taking disciplinary action that treats all party members as equals.

The reality is that there never have been and never will be security guards posted outside public toilets. Sexual predators are opportunists; they do not need self-ID to get inside women’s toilets.

These are fearmongering tactics that I have learned about in history class. During the Jim Crow era in the US, politicians claimed that white women were at significant risk from sexual assault unless toilets remained racially segregated. It was a blatant attempt to block the advancement of civil liberties then, and it still is today. The discussion around gender segregation is more of the same.

Women are not equal in today’s society. Women don’t need to be “protected”. We need equal pay for equal work that grants us more autonomy and empowers us to fully participate in all parts of society. Passing the Gender Recognition Act and preserving the dignity of trans women (and men) poses zero threat to women and girls.

Kat Cary
University of Edinburgh

I THINK we have now fallen down the rabbit hole and I don’t like the place we have landed in.

All this vile talk about gender is so unnecessary – everyone has rights, including transgender people, but no-one has the right to interfere with the rights of any other section of the community or the right to tell another group what they can and cannot say or the names they can call themselves.

If transgender women want to be called women that is fine, but they are not biological women no matter what they call themselves and anyone who says they are is factually wrong. If men have gone through transition and surgery they could be called women, but they are still not biological women and they never will be – that is a fact which cannot be denied.

READ MORE: SNP statement calls for 'open conversation' about transphobia accusations in party

We are now facing the last misogynistic taboo where men are wanting to muscle in on women’s spaces and rights and so make many women uncomfortable and worried.

As a woman I am not “cis”, I am not neutral, I am not “pan” or any of the other descriptions out there which have very little meaning. Men and women have always had a range of identities and a range of female and male characteristics and the world has coped.

As if life is not hard enough for youngsters, along come people to add more confusion to their finding their identity and their sexuality.

Some of the abuse suffered by women and men who have tried to enter this debate is horrific. Even trans people have no right to abuse anyone, and neither have the rest of us.

Winifred McCartney

I HAVE to take issue with Ian K’s long letter in Saturday’s edition of The National. He surely denigrates Orangutans in comparing them to members of the current UK Cabinet.

Cameron Crawford