AN MP has told how it is a “grim time” for trans people in Scotland as a result of an “insidious culture war” imported from the United States.

John Nicolson said while Scotland had become the “most gay friendly country in all of Europe” it was “important not to be too complacent about equality”.

The SNP MP, who in a previous career in journalism was the first BBC presenter to come out as gay, said that there had been “an explosion of transphobia in Scotland” in recent years.

In a comment made about his MP colleague Joanna Cherry, a vocal critic of the Scottish Government’s gender reform legislation, he said the SNP group at Westminster was “very LGBT” (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) or was “in Cherry’s case LGB without the T”.

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Nicolson (below) went on to say that the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which was passed by Holyrood last year before being blocked by Wesminster, had been “mischaracterised to a grotesque degree”.

The Bill, if implemented, would allow trans people to obtain legal recognition in their preferred gender without a medical diagnosis, with gender recognition certificates granted on the basis of self identification.

Cherry is among those to have raised concerns about the impact this could have on female only spaces and women’s safety.

The National: LIB DEM WIN.General Election 2017. Count for the East Dunbartonshire Constituency, Leisuredrome, Bishopbriggs. LibDem candidate Jo Swinson gains the seat from the SNP's John Nicolson. Pictured is John Nicolson   Photograph by Colin Mearns9 June 2017

But Nicolson, speaking at an event with journalist Graham Spiers at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, insisted: “The Gender Recognition Act, which was passed in the Scottish Parliament with a huge majority, has been mischaracterised to a grotesque degree and we have imported a very insidious culture war from the United States into Scotland.

“If I was a young trans kid I would be finding this a grim time to be alive.”

The Ochil and South Perthshire MP continued: “The bottom line is this. It is horribly, horribly easy to attack women in society, women get attacked all the time, often in a family unit statistics show, but all over the place.

“It just doesn’t seem credible to me that a heterosexual man, because that is who attack women, it’s not gay men, and it’s not trans women, heterosexual men attack women. They are not going to go to the problem of getting themselves a gender recognition certificate, to dress up in heels and wig in order to go into a private place in order to assault women.

“If you go through the court documents the statistics show that trans women do not assault other women, yet if you read Twitter you would think the only people who attack heterosexual women are trans women.”

Nicolson went on to liken the prejudice suffered by trans people today to the abuse endured by gay people previously, as he called on politicians and “powerful people” with a platform not to attack them.

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The MP stated: “What I dislike about a lot of this is very powerful people using a platform to attack one of the most vulnerable groups in society which is trans people.

“They deal with so much prejudice on a day-to-day basis. Can you imagine what it is like to be a young trans person trying to find your way at the moment, and for every right wing newspaper and swathes of the internet and Twitter and Facebook saying your very existence isn’t worthwhile, just by being a trans person you’re bound to become a sexual abuser.

“It’s what gay men used to get, our identity used to be conflated with paedophilia.”