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SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon slams transphobia in ‘message from the heart’

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has condemned transphobia, saying it should be treated with “zero tolerance”. (Getty/ Andrew Milligan – WPA Pool)

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has strongly condemned transphobia in a “message from the heart”, insisting it is “vital to speak up for what is right and against injustice”.

Sturgeon posted a video to social media on Wednesday evening (27 January), amid accusations that the SNP has become a “hub of transphobia”.

In the video, the Scottish first minister said: “This is a message from me as SNP leader on the issue of transphobia. I don’t have much time for anything other than the fight against COVID right now, but on some days silence is not an option.”

Sturgeon said her message had not been scripted, and was instead a “message from the heart”.

On reports of “significant numbers” of young SNP members leaving the party over the transphobia accusations, she said: “I know many of you personally, I consider you friends, I’ve campaigned alongside you. You are a credit to our party and our country.

“It grieves me deeply that you’ve reached this conclusion after much soul-searching because you consider, at this stage, the SNP not to be a safe, tolerant or welcoming place for trans people.

“That’s not acceptable to me, as SNP leader I will do everything I can to change that impression and persuade all of you that the SNP is your party, and that you should come home where you belong.”

Sturgeon admitted that members of her party had “differences of opinion on Gender Recognition [Act] reform“, but insisted: “No debate can be a cover for transphobia.”

She continued: “Trans people have as much right as any of us to be safe, secure and valued for who they are. Transphobia is wrong, and we must treat it with the zero tolerance we treat racism or homophobia.”

Sturgeon finished: “Some will criticise this message, say it doesn’t go far enough, or that the words are hollow unless we prove we meant them. I’m determined we will.

“No doubt others will accuse me of being ‘woke’. I don’t care. Sometimes, particularly as a leader, it’s vital to speak up for what is right and against injustice.”

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