Comments by a Scottish MSP during the debate over the Gender Recognition Reform bill have seen Kenneth Gibson accused of hate speech. Mercedes Villalba MSP amongst those levying the claim.

The Scottish Gender Recognition Reform bill continues to be debated at Holyrood. Around 150 ammendments have been scheduled by MSPs and all are having to be debated and voted on. One such speech has seen Kenneth Gibson accused of hate speech.

MSPs in favour of the bill have extensively argued that the Scottish reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 will not impact access to women’s spaces. This has been confirmed for the England and Wales GRA via Baroness Berridge already. With the Scottish GRR bill not being a reform of how the original GRA 2004 works, but rather a reform of the process to access it.

Despite that, at some point during his speech on ammendments he supports Kenneth Gibson somehow got onto the idea of the GRA allowing access to women’s spaces. In which he outright compared transgender people as a class to predators while referring to cisgender women as prey via the use of the common anti-trans idiom; “If a fox identifies as a chicken you don’t put it in the hen house”.

These statements have seen Kenneth Gibson accused of hate speech. Mercedes Villalba raised this in Holyrood as an intervention. Though tempering her own outrage by suggesting what Gibson had said merely “bordered on hate speech”.

Some in the transgender community, myself included, have thanked Mercedes Villalba for speaking up however believe that she didn’t go far enough. Instead fully levying the accusation against Kenneth Gibson.

This common anti-trans idiom has largely fallen out of popularity ever since the Morning Star paper had to apologise for publishing it as a cartoon. Instead replacing the fox and chicken with an alligator who is supposedly transitioning to be a newt.

Core to this obvious hate-speech is the characterisation of a whole class of people as predatory by nature. It implies that the only possible conclusion of transgender inclusion is predation; foxes eat chickens. It is unambiguously hate speech and as a trans person listening in to the broadcast, I am extremely disappointed that more members did not speak up to condemn it.

I am not familiar with the processes of Scottish Parliament. Nonetheless the comments that have seen Kenneth Gibson accused of hate speech were horrific and, if left unchallenged, will in my opinion be a horrific stain on the idea that this process has been at all respectful.