I’VE been a proud supporter of independence for several years now, but the past few weeks have been a powerful reminder of how our continued membership of the United Kingdom actively harms my own life on a daily basis.

The blocking of the Gender ­Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill in early January showed the sheer lack of respect that Westminster has for both trans people and ­Scottish ­democracy, but its actions in the weeks since have confirmed that this act was one of contempt and ­contempt alone.

The UK Government and the mainstream media have ­repeatedly stated that the Section 35 order was used because of concerns that the bill would impact ­equalities ­legislation, yet it’s pretty ­obvious that not even the Tories ­themselves believe this – not least given that three of their MSPs, including their former leader, voted for the bill.

There are two ways in which Westminster can use the Scotland Act to intercept legislation passed by Holyrood: Section 33 of the act allows it to challenge a bill via the courts, while Section 35 allows it to veto a bill outright.

Section 33 has been used a few times since devolution, and passes the bill to the courts to determine whether or not it is within the capabilities of the ­Scottish Parliament. In some cases, the courts side with Westminster, and in other cases with ­Holyrood. If the UK Government had genuine concerns around the GRR Bill, it would’ve used Section 33, but by using Section 35 instead, the Tories are only exposing their complete lack of ­confidence in their own position.

This lack of confidence is only made clearer by Alister Jack’s cowardly ­refusal to appear before any of the Scottish ­Parliament’s committees to defend his blocking of the legislation. He knows he can’t ­defend the indefensible.

The idea that a government in London that Scotland didn’t vote for can treat the Scottish Parliament with such contempt and still call the UK a “union of equals” is nothing short of laughable.

Though they may be the most obvious perpetrators, it’s important to highlight that contempt for the Scottish people is not a trait unique to the ­Conservatives – it’s indicative of the entire broken ­Westminster system. Keir Starmer’s ­Labour Party refused to stand up for ­Scotland by voting against the Section 35 Bill, with Starmer going out of his way to fan the flames of the transphobic culture war in recent weeks.

It doesn’t matter if the party colours are red or blue – for as long as we are part of this Union, Scottish democracy will never be safe.

All of this is not to suggest that an ­independent Scotland would be a utopia. Recent Scottish Government figures show that transphobic hate crime has tripled in recent years, and the way trans ­people have been discussed lately by many ­politicians and news outlets has been ­irresponsible at best and actively hostile at worst. This hostility has served only to make Scotland a noticeably less safe and welcoming country for trans people than it was when I first moved here from ­England five years ago.

The Scottish Government is not ­innocent here either. Its woeful media mismanagement of the Isla Bryson case resulted last week in a rule change which means that any and all newly convicted trans people will initially be sent to the prison matching their gender assigned at birth.

This is despite a review which found that at no point were any women ­prisoners at risk of harm from Bryson – an obvious fact considering she was kept separate from the general population while a risk assessment was carried out, in line with the previous process.

Clearly, no transgender prisoner with a history of violence should be imprisoned alongside vulnerable women. In fact, you could remove the word ­“transgender” from that sentence and the statement would still hold. But by capitulating to misinformation and the pearl-clutching of the mainstream media, the Scottish ­Government has now moved to a system which means a trans woman convicted of a non-violent crime such as fraud would automatically be sent to a male prison, presenting a serious risk to her own ­safety.

Equally, trans men, including those convicted of violent crime, will now be automatically sent to a women’s prison.

The Scottish Government’s new ­system is a regressive step backwards and serves nobody other than the ­right-wing press. The impact on trans people is just as ­irresponsible whether it stems from the incompetence of our government in ­Edinburgh or the hostility of our ­government in London.

Last week, former first minister and incumbent least-popular-politician-in-Scotland Alex Salmond blamed the GRR Bill for a ­polling slump for independence, which is bold given that voters have ­consistently rejected Alba’s anti-trans vision of ­independence at the polls, with abysmal results nationwide in both the Holyrood and local elections. In fact, in last year’s local elections, the three parties which voiced opposition to the GRR Bill in their manifestos – the Conservatives, Alba and the far-right Scottish Family Party – were the only three parties to stand more than 80 candidates and not see their number of seats increase.

Scotland has decidedly rejected Alba at the polls, but we’ve consistently rejected the Tories too. Despite this, Scotland has been forced to suffer through decades of right-wing Conservative governments that we haven’t voted for, and – based on ­recent polling – it looks likely that very soon we’ll be forced to suffer through a right-wing Labour government that we won’t have voted for either.

As a Green, a trade unionist and a trans woman, I support independence because it’s clear to me that it’s the only way we can guarantee a fairer, more equal ­society – a society which we can make progress towards but can never fully achieve while we remain in the Union.

The past few weeks have been tough. I’m tired of my existence being ­constantly up for debate and I’m tired of facing transphobic and homophobic rhetoric on a daily basis.

Independence is not going to solve this outright. But, if we get it right, ­independence could be the key that ­unlocks a fairer Scotland for everyone – and in dark times like just now, this brings me a great deal of hope.