AS the results of the final vote on the reform of gender recognition legislation in Scotland were announced, the reaction from campaigners on both sides of the debate was immediate.

In the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament transgender activists and allies stood up to applaud MSPs when Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone stated that the vote had passed and the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would become law.

Many MSPs on the SNP, Green, Liberal Democrat and Labour benches also stood up to applaud the result.

However, as the applause died down a wholly different reaction erupted from a separate section of the public gallery which hosted activists who did not support the passing of the bill.

A small group began to shout “shame” at MSPs, with one woman calling them “terrible, terrible people” and insisting that they would be responsible for deaths.

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She then lifted up her skirt to reveal a merkin – an artificial covering of hair for the pubic area – before being escorted out of the gallery.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Parliament confirmed that no arrests were made.

Celebration among pro-reform activists in the immediate aftermath of the vote was tempered by shock at the events which had just occurred in the gallery, with one activist saying they “did not expect to see that today”.

Heather Herbert, a 47-year-old transgender activist, said she was “ecstatic” at the results.

“I’m so, so relieved. It’s been a long six years,” she told The National. “It’s been really sad to hear some MSPs recycle the words of hateful people online over the past few days.

“However, for the most part today has been uplifting. Joe Fitzpatrick’s (SNP) speech had me and plenty other people in tears.”

She added: “Obviously, there’s still a lot to do. But I hope that in a few years those who have fought against this bill will realise that the sky won’t fall in.

“That this is essentially just an administrative reform that’s good for trans people and doesn’t harm anyone else.”

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Activists from the Scottish Greens also applauded their party’s MSPs as they returned from the Chamber, waving Pride flags and thanking them for their support of the bill.

Campaign group For Women Scotland – who recently lost a legal case against the Scottish Government over the legal definition of the word “woman” – took to Twitter to say they were “devastated” at the news but vowed to “fight on”.

They urged their supporters to sign a petition from the organisation Sex Matters, which urges the UK Government to update the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that “sex” refers only to biological sex at birth. It has so far garnered over 50,000 signatures.

Labour MSP Carol Mochan – who defied the party whip by voting against the bill – also took to social media to express her disappointment that the bill had passed.

She said: “Unfortunately as a socialist and a feminist I had no option but to vote against the Gender Recognition Reform Bill today.

“Sadly the way this bill has been forced through by the SNP and Greens will lead to poor legislation and I fear it has damaged women’s rights in Scotland. There was a working compromise available to us, it was not agreed to by the Government.

She added: “I will continue to campaign for women’s rights as I have done my entire life.”

However, Scottish Trans – part of the Equality Network charity – said the new law will allow trans people to live with “dignity”.

Vic Valentine, manager of Scottish Trans, said: “Trans people across Scotland today will be feeling pleased and relieved that this Bill has passed, after many years of difficult public debate that has often felt like people are talking about us, and not to us.

“The law that has passed today will mean that at important moments in their lives, like when starting a job or giving notice to be married, trans men and women will be able to show a birth certificate that reflects who they are.

“We all want to be able to live true to ourselves, and by voting for these simple but important changes to the existing process for trans people to be legally recognised, MSPs will improve trans men and women’s lives by allowing them to live with the dignity and recognition that everyone deserves.”

Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, added: “We thank MSPs, from all parties, who supported this bill, and those who engaged constructively on amendments.

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“This result follows others where the Scottish Parliament has carefully considered the evidence and then legislated for fairness and equality.

“The repeal of section 28 in 2000, and equal marriage in 2014, were passed by the Parliament with some fears and misunderstandings expressed at the time about the consequences.

“It quickly became clear in both cases that the negative consequences that some had predicted did not materialise, and now a very large majority support those changes. We are sure that the same will happen with this legislation.”

For Women Scotland were contacted for comment.