One SNP politician struck a ‘decapitated promotion’ sign at a pro-trans rally, stating that “violent misogyny is hidden in view”.
The banner, which also includes the guillotine, was painted during a demonstration outside Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on Saturday.
The rally was held to protest the UK government’s decision to block the official enactment of Holyrood’s Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill.
Kaukab Stewart MSP of the SNP, MP Kirsten Oswald, MP for Stewart McDonald and MP Alison Thewliss came under fierce criticism after being photographed and videotaped in front of the sign.
A party spokesperson said politicians were unaware of the banner at the time.
‘TERF’ stands for trans exclusionary radical feminists and is often used to refer to those who oppose gender identity reforms or criticize the transgender rights movement.
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All four politicians condemned the sign.
Ms Stewart, MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said she was “unaware of these hateful signs” and “strongly disagreed with them”.
Ms Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, said in response to a tweet: “I have many qualities, but having eyes in the back of my head is not one of them.
“If I had seen the sign you mentioned, I would have told the person concerned how inappropriate and offensive this was and get rid of it.”
Ms Oswald, MP for East Renfrewshire, described the incident as “terrible” and added that it “definitely does not reflect my views” and “has no place in the peaceful movement for LGBT equality and democracy”.
Mr McDonald, MP for South Glasgow, said: “The sign of violence [Saturday’s] The rally is utterly disgusting and unquestionably condemned. I suspect it might even be illegal.
“The moron who did and holds this has done no favors to those protesting trans equality and democracy – quite the contrary.”
Harry Potter author JK Rowling slapped politicians on Twitter: “A strange new form of temporary blindness has erupted among Scottish politicians.
“None of them could read the placards calling for violence against women inches away from themselves, but they were instantly healed when photos of them posing with the placards appeared in the press.”
Police Scotland has since launched an investigation into the complaints and said investigations are ongoing.
Edinburgh South West SNP MP Joanna Cherry welcomed the police investigation as her colleagues argued that they were most likely unaware of the sign behind them.
The politician claimed that the sign evoked this type of violence against trans people, “everyone would justifiably take up arms”.
He added that “violent misogyny is hidden from view and it’s time to be taken seriously before a woman is seriously killed or injured.”
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“Anyone who doesn’t notice the violent misogyny of many so-called trans rights activists is not paying attention,” Cherry told Sky News.
“Women like me, JK Rowling, Rosie Duffield, and others who have been subjected to rape and death threats know this all too well.
“Signs threatening bloody violence against any other group, as we saw on Saturday, cause outrage, but they are the usual thing at such demonstrations.
“I would like to see the leaders of all parliamentary parties present on Saturday directly condemn what happened.”
The SNP stated that any violent or hateful language is “unacceptable”.
Speaking on behalf of the party’s MPs and MSPs, an SNP spokesperson said, “SNP MSPs and MPs attended. [the] Protest to defend Scottish democracy and the rights of trans people.
“Violent or hateful language – of any kind – is unacceptable and has no place in the peaceful movement for LGBT equality and democracy.”
‘This behavior is totally unacceptable’
Murdo Fraser, Conservative MSP for Central Scotland and Fife, reported the sign to Police Scotland and has since given statements to officers.
It also confirmed that police are currently investigating a threat of online violence against JK Rowling “because of her gender-critical views”, and the force has confirmed this.
“This behavior is absolutely unacceptable and needs to be stepped on before it turns into real violence,” Fraser said.
I am glad that the police are taking these complaints seriously, but we need action against those responsible and unconditional condemnation from anyone in a political leadership position.”
A spokesperson for the Police for Scotland said: “We have received a report of a sign on display during a rally in Buchanan Street, Glasgow on Saturday 21 January 2023. The investigation is ongoing.”