IT is quite correct that the always informative and accurate Kirsteen Paterson shines a light on the ongoing Joanna Cherry saga (In-fighting ahead of SNP conference, Nov 21), but let’s keep some perspective here.

The National — more than any other paper I know – has majored on this stuff, probably costing it readers in the process if the reaction of some of my now former reader friends are anything to go by.

Much of this debate, if I may call it that, is hot air in an empty room.

My friends and associates in my SNP branch and others close by are sick and tired of this constant focus on an issue that, while very important, has been hijacked by individuals with personal agendas. It is not a major issue for the vast majority of ordinary members and is certainly not dividing them.

READ MORE: Stephen Paton: This is the SNP’s last chance to regain credibility with LGBTQ+ community

The National management should be aware that they are losing readers over this and that it does very little to help the independence cause.

Elsewhere, my congratulations on the recent independence newspaper. It is a brilliant start to the next phase of the campaign although much of The National’s reporting of it does seem a bit sensationalist.

One million copies is an excellent achievement, but the language and terminology used seems overblown.

Without the SNP this would not have been possible. Remember it’s not so long ago that every home in the country received multiple editions of Yes newspapers … there are 2.4 million homes in Scotland!

SNP activists are used to delivering enormous quantities of election materials themselves, so this is hardly “the huge task” The National claims but fairly run-of-the-mill for our fantastic members and supporters to achieve.

As we move forward please be aware of and reflect the positivity within the SNP. I ask the editor and reporters not to do the Unionists’ work for them by exaggerating issues such as Joanna Cherry’s current and seemingly never ending wearing-down of her fellow members.

Lynne Wood
via email

IN Monday’s long letter, Andy Anderson describes how he and his wife gave what sounds like excellent support to a young person who was questioning their gender identity. What he describes is certainly not conversion therapy, and would not be affected by any ban.

Conversion “therapy” is defined as practices directed at a person with the aim of changing or suppressing the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. For example, “therapy” directed towards a trans person that has the pre-determined aim that they should continue living in the gender assigned to them at birth, or directed towards a gay person with the aim that they cease to be interested in a relationship with someone of the same gender.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry’s views on therapy make sense to me, so why all the anger?

Non-judgemental, non-directive counselling and support, which is aimed at helping a person explore what their sexual orientation and/or gender identity are, and freely decide what they want to do, is not conversion practice. It is not covered by the definition, and would not be included in any ban.

Conversion practices cause immense harm. In many cases, they cause severe and long-lasting mental health problems. That is why all five parties in the Scottish Parliament committed, in their election manifestos in May, to ending them.

The Equality Network welcomes the excellent work of the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee, examining this issue over the past three months, and the commitment by the Scottish Government last week to legislate to put an end to this harm.

Tim Hopkins
Director, Equality Network

WELL done Joanna Cherry for injecting some common sense into a serious matter that has become embroiled in vitriol and hatred (This is why I have real concerns about conversion therapy legislation, Nov 19).

It is right that we question not only the use of puberty blockers but importantly the rush to apply them where young minds are too immature of reasoning to recognise the damage of using a drastic physical “remedy” for a psychological dysphoria. Perhaps it should be recognised from the outset that surgery and the drugs that support it may give the appearance of the other sex, but don’t bestow the fully functioning body of that sex.

Caution needs to be exercised. Shouldn’t we be protecting the young from making hasty and potentially regrettable decisions?

Jim Taylor

AS SNP members of many years standing and with friends young and not so young in the party we implore The National to cease putting over emphasis on gender issues that may divide some members.

Reading some of your reports would lead anyone to believe the party is riven with discontent and division. Even Unionists have said as much. What rubbish! We have each bought the paper from the get go but much more of this and that will sadly end. We have all seen what poor editorial choices have done to The Scotsman over the years. We know too many SNP members now openly criticising The National for this kind of content. Surely you don’t believe this is helping sell more copies?

JR, FD and PA
via email