The end of last year was an incredibly difficult time for Scottish politics amid the culture war that has been created around trans people and the legislation intended to make it easier for them to obtain a birth certificate with their gender on it.

I couldn’t believe the spin and the misinformation that was being spewed out by what some would see as credible sources. The abuse and threats I was receiving as a progressive woman who was supportive of this administrative change was chilling at some points.

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It certainly made me look over my shoulder. Particularly when we note two politicians have been murdered in recent years after perpetrators felt emboldened.

At one point I received an email confirmation from a salon for an “extensive bikini wax”.

This salon was close to Parliament and the alleged appointment started an hour before the vote on the gender recognition reform. I emailed the manger of the salon and she told me my email and phone number had been given at the time of booking.

Although beauty treatment doesn’t sound particularly threatening, you have to see it in the wider context of what was happening at the time.

Would we suggest someone who received a pizza delivery from a stalker as being silly to make a fuss, and that they should just eat it?

These things must be reported when wider threats are active.

Most sinister of all was the use of my personal email and personal phone number. How would anyone get those?

That afternoon a protester flashed a merkin in the gallery straight after the vote, and this was another act which could have been a link to the appointment. So many things were adding up. So, I took the advice I was given and reported it to the police.

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Last week my character was torn apart in the press over this, after it was found no crime had been identified. It was suggested I had a “persecution complex”.

All the coincidences didn’t amount to any criminal activity. I was told it was a fluke that both my email and number were taken wrongly. For months, I was sent threatening messages by hundreds of people, with some saying I should be put through a wood chipper, so I followed a process as advised, and yet I am being asked to apologise.

How can we have sensible conversations and productive movement towards an independent country when the right-wing press is waiting in the wings to laugh at bikini waxes and internal feuds?

If we really want to move on and unite as a movement, we must stop the fixation that those opposed to independence have fed us. I see high-profile Unionists being praised by Scottish independence activists for berating progressive independence activists. All on the back of misinformation and fear.

Fear was used in 2014 and it hasn’t stopped. Now they have found a vessel in trans people to create more fear and division. Many have fallen for it but I don’t think there are women who aren’t concerned, I think some are genuinely fearful.

If we genuinely want independence, we must put wedge-issue politics to the side.

We must stop fighting against other people’s rights and start fighting for ours to become an independent nation.

Look across the water to the United States. We can see now they have moved on to protesting about drag queens – have you ever heard such nonsense? Look at the legend that was Paul O’Grady, who died last month.

How have we slid so far and fast down a rabbit hole of fear that we are calling legendary entertainment a danger to children? The anti-trans, non-gender-conforming hostility has spread, and it has become absurd. Particularly when the real threat to women is those who are banning safe access to abortion healthcare.

It happened in the US and it’s seeping into our politics.

There will be many distractions which thrown up to keep us away from our goal of independence and they will keep coming. Sometimes the distractions may come from those close to us as they may fear whatever wedge issue has been thrown in – their concern may be genuine – but we must be alert to this and see it for what it is. When we are busy infighting over a minority group’s rights, what is happening elsewhere? When we are busy infighting so much that we are willing to accept a power grab, does that not tell us something?

The wedge has become more important than the cause. That should be a wake-up call.

Unionists’ tactics are working so well that we are seeing hardball indy activists step aside for the UK establishment to swipe away Scottish legislation in the form of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

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If anything, this past year and particularly these past few weeks, have made me see more than ever how we must band together and protect our cause. It is bigger than one person or personality, it is bigger than any wedge issue.

We on the progressive side have been asked to drop our support for trans people and concentrate on independence. Well, I ask those with fear of trans people to welcome all our Scottish citizens. Don’t let anyone or anything come between us.

We are not going to win independence unless we take everyone with us.

We can’t ask a minority group to walk beside those who have been hostile to them. We need peace and unity in our movement.

Look at the socially conservative ideals these culture wars come from.

It’s certainly not the more left-leaning, socially just Scottish politics we have voted for over decades. We reject these at the ballot box, so why welcome them now?

Unionists will win if we don’t reject their politics and stop aligning with them on cultural issues. We only need look at Lord Minto and his “divide and rule” policy that has been blamed for the eventual partition of India.

British imperialism used it to subjugate and control. Make no mistake, they are still doing it.