A CONSERVATIVE MSP is calling for Lorna Slater to be removed from her ministerial post after she criticised people who hold “anti-trans views”.

Brian Whittle, an MSP for the South Scotland region, accused the Greens minister of “radical extremism” as she described elements of the trans rights debate as “disgusting”.

The Scottish Government is looking to allow transgender Scots to self-identify as their acquired gender as part of the Gender Recognition Act reform.

The bill seeks to reduce the time a trans person would have to live in their acquired gender from two years to three months, followed by another three-month reflection period.

READ MORE: GRA Bill Scotland: Five trans people on what the legislation means to them

The legislation will also lower the age trans people will have to be to apply to 16, but the Scottish Government said extra safeguards will be in place for younger applicants.

Critics of the bill say making the changes could risk the safety of women and girls and cause problems for single-sex spaces, but Social Security Secretary Shona Robison has rejected the suggestions.

“All of the evidence shows the threat to women and girls’ safety comes from predatory and abusive men, not the trans community,” she told Holyrood as the bill was first presented.

Robison added there was “no evidence” from the 10 countries around the world who have implemented self-ID laws that those concerns have come to pass.

Debate around the legislation has often been fraught, with those favouring the reforms accusing some GRA critics of transphobia. There has also been a big trans debate south of the Border as it becomes a key culture war topic, with conservative media keen to catch out Labour figures on the matter in recent weeks.

READ MORE: Labour MP Emily Thornberry praised for response to LBC trans question

Speaking to The Herald on Sunday, Slater, minister of green skills, circular economy and biodiversity, suggested funding had come from the American right-wing to fuel attacks on the UK's trans community.

She compared the “hideous” wider trans debate here to “ridiculous bathroom laws” in America, which have seen transgender people banned from using facilities corresponding to their gender identity.

“Just let people get on with their lives. My understanding is that there’s money in this from certain right-wing American groups that’s been flooding into organisations in the UK,” Slater told the newspaper.

She also criticised the media’s approach to discussion of trans rights, suggesting it’s not right to see conversation as a topic requiring “balance”.

“We wouldn’t put balance on the question of racism or anti-Semitism,” she said, “but we allow this fictional notion of balance when it comes to anti-trans [views]. The whole thing is disgusting.”

The National:

Slater also said she was “afraid” for the safety of some of the Greens’ trans council candidates. “These gentle, hardworking women are being portrayed as if they’re inherently dangerous. It couldn’t be further from the truth,” she said.

While Slater did not explicitly refer to GRA critics in the interview, appearing to focus on wider backlash towards the trans community, her comments were not received well by those opposed to GRA reform.

That included Tory MSP Brian Whittle, whose party intends to vote against the proposals when they are laid before the parliament.

“There should be no place in Government for this kind of radical extremism. Surely she must be removed from post?” he wrote. “How many times is this SG minister going to get away with this kind of offence?”

Meanwhile, SNP MP Joanna Cherry said Scotland “deserves better than this”.

Other GRA critics claimed Slater may have broken the ministerial code, and suggested the comment about funding from the American right could be “defamatory”.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson's LGBT adviser calls for commission to ‘detoxify’ trans debate

Susan Dalgetty, a former Labour adviser, asked Nicola Sturgeon to apologise on the minister’s behalf if Slater would not say sorry.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: "The aim of this government is to ensure that trans people in Scotland enjoy equality and feel safe and accepted for who they are.

"We appreciate the range of strongly held views on the Gender Recognition Act and have always been keen to seek consensus where possible and to work to support respectful debate.

"We are committed to making changes ... to improve and simplify the process for a trans person to gain legal recognition."