TRANSGENDER people’s lives should not be up for “intellectual debate” and the media and politicians should “leave them the hell alone”, Mhairi Black has said.

The SNP’s depute Westminster leader said “bad actors” are using the debate around trans people as a “wedge issue to cause chaos”, adding that the only place where sex, not gender, should matter is in a medical setting.

Black was asked about the gender debate in a conversation with journalist Graham Spiers at the Edinburgh Fringe. The issue has come into sharp focus following the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill – which was passed overwhelmingly in Holyrood but subsequently blocked by Westminster.

A Court of Session hearing on the matter is scheduled for next month.

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Asked about figures such as JK Rowling entering the public discussion on trans lives, Black said trans people should not be made into an intellectual debate, and compared this to intellectuals in past years who are now recognised as racist.

She said: “See if you’re a human being, you’re not an intellectual debate and nor should you be made to be one.

“Once upon a time you had intellectuals who would make these big, prolific statements about how race was and we look back on that [now] and go 'you were a racist'.

“You might have been an intellectual but what you were saying was racist and if you’re not educating yourselves on things, then why are you even complaining when people from a minority are saying ‘you’re not treating us right?’

The National: People take part in a demonstration for trans rights outside the UK Government Office at Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh. The UK Government made the decision on Monday to block the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, passed by the Scottish

“And that’s what’s happening with the trans community right now. There are bad actors at play who are radicalising people who are vulnerable, and they are using this small community as a way to cause chaos and to make people divide amongst themselves and it’s been happening since 2016 at least.”

Black added that it should raise “alarm bells” that people are making such a “song and dance” about a community that is 1% of the population.

Questioned about concerns about trans people accessing single-sex spaces such as toilets, she told the audience she has had “more grief” in women’s toilets in the past five years than the rest of her life because of people thinking she is not feminine enough.

“Being trans is not something to be feared. It’s just an aspect of a human being, the same way being gay is just an aspect of who I am,” she said.

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“The only place as far as I’m concerned that my sex matters, as opposed to my gender, is in a medical setting. That’s between me and a doctor.”

She compared people who question this to people who would tell an adoptive parent that they are not a real parent.

“I’m a woman, I’m a lesbian, nobody’s cancelling me and I want trans people to be able to live with dignity and happiness and for newspapers and politicians to leave them the hell alone,” she said.