TRANS woman India Willoughby has said she felt like she was at her own “hanging” during her appearance on Thursday night’s Question Time.

The UK’s first transgender news presenter appeared on the programme alongside SNP minister Jenny Gilruth, Tory minister John Lamont, Labour MP Ian Murray, and Spiked journalist Ella Whelan.

During the show, Willoughby clashed with a member of the audience as they discussed the recent debate around trans prisoners.

A woman in the audience said that “you can’t change sex” which was met with some clapping.

The audience member suggested that trans women who have lived as women for many years and had full surgery should not be allowed in single-sex spaces.

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She added: “You can live your life how you like and I wish you no harm but you can’t biologically change sex.”

Willoughby responded that all she had done was “align my body” with how she feels. The audience member then asked “why society has to change”, to which Willoughby responded: “Because we’re a civilised society.”

Willoughby said she could have heard the conversation “in the 1970s about black people”, which Whelan labelled a “cheap shot” and “outrageous allegation”.

During the show, Tory MP Lamont said the UK Government “did not feel the necessary safeguards” were in place to prevent trans women from entering female prisons, which was again met by some clapping.

Scotland’s transport minister Jenny Gilruth meanwhile said that it is “predatory men” that are a threat to women rather than trans women themselves.

She encouraged people to be “mindful” of their language.

Writing on social media after the show, Willoughby said: “Horrible. I think GCs [gender critical people] must have block-booked the audience.”

Another tweet read: “Lynch mob. Felt like I was at a hanging! Mine! Trans people are amazing (I know – biased) and it was disappointing to feel that mood in the air. 1970s audience bar a few exceptions! Did my best – love you all.”

She also said that “trans people have nothing to be ashamed of or be embarrassed about” but that it was “deeply sad” how a “Frankenstein mob mentality” persists.

During the show, Willoughby said that the “toxic” debate over transgender issues is being driven by “a lot of misinformation by a media that is completely transphobic”.

Many took to social media to defend Willoughby and echo her thoughts on the programme.

One user said they were “shocked and embarrassed” at what they had seen while another described it as “very depressing” and as though “the last 40 years didn’t happen”.

They did add however that Willoughby had done a “great job” but that she should not need to “justify her very existence on national TV”.

Another said that some of the comments were “outright discrimination and hate”. Somebody else explained that they were a mother of a transwoman and that the show was “very hard to watch and listen”.

Willoughby replied: “I know. It was like being in an episode of Life On Mars. But it’s backfired looking at the reaction from those watching at home. Just so sad this happens in 2023.”

She also responded to another tweet which said they didn’t see any politician look to defend Willoughby. 

She re-tweeted it with the caption: “Hello @UKLabour @Keir_Starmer is anyone there?” 

The Labour leader has previously said he has “concerns” about the Scottish Parliament's Gender Recognition Reform Bill and has signalled that he will take direct control over Scottish Labour’s position. 

MSP Monica Lennon previously said she was “very disappointed” with Starmer’s position given the legislation was passed by an overwhelming majority of MSPs. 

Gilruth and Whelan also clashed on the subject of Isla Bryson, the trans person who was found guilty of raping two women. 

Whelan asked the SNP minister whether the “individual” was a “man or a woman”.

She replied: “This individual is a rapist. The First Minister was asked this question today at First Minister’s Questions.

READ MORE: Transgender prisoners: What are the facts in UK jails?

“She gave the response that she didn’t know enough about the individual in question. I would say likewise.

“But I think the most important thing in this case, we have to be very careful because we trust the Scottish Prison Service on behalf of Scottish ministers. That is their role. That is their job.”

Gilruth added that two reviews were underway while Whelan continually told her that she had not answered the question.

The MSP added: “This individual is a rapist. That is the most important thing.”