THE Scottish Conservatives have changed their Twitter logo to incorporate the colours of the Pride flag, despite being the only party in the Scottish Parliament not to support reform of the Gender Recognition Act.

The party has a chequered past when it comes to supporting LGBT+ rights.

In 2014, when the Scottish Parliament passed legislation legalising same-sex marriage, party leader Douglas Ross - who was then a councillor in Moray - said he would have voted against the bill. He says he now supports equal marriage, and that marriage between women, men or same-sex couples is a "beautiful" thing.

READ MORE: Scotland's LGBT community is frightened by the current anti-trans obsession

He said at the time that “we should also recognise the hundreds of thousands of people who oppose this legislation”.

Ross was further criticised for stating that people cannot change their gender, comments he later clarified by saying he had “misspoken”.

Last year the party leader was accused of spreading a "homophobic dog-whistle" when he wrote on Twitter that an SNP deal with the Green would be "anti-families".  

Conservative MSP Stephen Kerr has also been criticised in the past due to his former position as a high-ranking official in the Church of Latter-Day Saints, which reportedly “outed” some of its LGBT+ members.

The National: Stephen Kerr MSP voted against permitting same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland in 2019Stephen Kerr MSP voted against permitting same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland in 2019 (Image: PA)

In 2019 Kerr also voted against extending same-sex marriage rights to Northern Ireland

SNP MSP Karen Adam, who sits on the Equalities, Human Rights, and Civil Justice Committee in the Scottish Parliament, said: “It’s important for any organisation implying allyship to the LGBT+ community to be mindful that Pride isn’t just a celebration, it’s also a political movement.

“During the recent contentions around the GRA, I would ask in good faith that elected Conservative politicians seek to engage with trans people and LGBT+ organisations to truly understand why allyship in practice and not just symbolism is so important to shaping a better society for us all to live in.”

She added: “I would also like to wish the LGBT+ Conservatives affiliate organisation much success.

“From my experience with them, I know they have been working with their party colleagues on the importance of supporting rights and inclusion for all LGBT+ people.”

Maggie Chapman MSP, the Scottish Greens spokesperson for Justice, Equality, and Human Rights, said that gestures such as changing Twitter logos need to be backed up with action.

The National: Maggie Chapman said she was pleased to see a focus on immigration policy. Photograph: Jamie Simpson

She said: “There so much more to supporting LGBT+ equality than changing a logo on twitter.

“Political parties need to back up these gestures with unequivocal support and action, including in policy decisions.

“Otherwise they will rightly be open to accusations of hypocrisy.”

In recent years many organisations have been criticised for co-opting Pride Month as a marketing strategy, even when their practices contribute towards the persecution of LGBT+ people.

READ MORE: GRA: Scottish Prison Service ‘can weed out potential gender reform abusers’

The Glasgow-based weapons manufacturer BAE Systems has previously been slated for attending the city’s Pride march because they sell weapons to Saudi Arabia - a country where same-sex sexual acitivity is criminalised.

In response to allegations of hypocrisy regarding the change of the Twitter logo a spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives said: “We find it disgusting and deeply inappropriate to try and shut down the use of the Pride flag during Pride Month in this way.

“Our party was led by Ruth Davidson for the best part of 10 years and we continue to have proud representatives from the LGBT+ community including Jamie Greene, who leads the Scottish Parliament LGBT+ Cross-Party Group.

"The National can, respectfully, get a grip and take this poison elsewhere. We won't be commenting further."


This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Douglas Ross says he now supports equal marriage.