SCOTTISH Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie has said that “toxic forces” have caused an increase in attacks on the LGBT+ community.

Speaking at a campaign event in Rutherglen, the MSP called a passer-by a “bigot” after they shouted a slur and called him a “deviant”.

Harvie (below) was speaking at his party’s campaign launch for the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election and said “toxic forces” had caused an increase in attacks on the LGBT+ community.

The Scottish Greens confirmed they would be reporting the incident to Police Scotland.

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Speaking to the BBC, Harvie said: “The fact is there are some pretty toxic forces in politics at the moment that have unleashed homophobia and transphobia in a way that we haven’t seen in many, many years.

“Those who have cultivated this nasty kind of culture war against minorities need to take responsibility for verbal abuse like that but also for violence that we’ve seen rising against LGBT+ people.”

He later tweeted that “hatred against LGBTQ+ people has been growing”.

“Today it was verbal abuse, while others have suffered physical violence. Those in politics and the media who have manufactured a toxic ‘culture war’ are responsible for the consequences of their actions”, he said. 

The First Minister also stepped in to defend Harvie on Twitter, saying that any form of abuse was “unacceptable".

Humza Yousaf said: “I understand people hold strong views about politicians but there is simply no excuse, none whatsoever for bigotry and hatred aimed towards anyone.

“Disgraceful, disgusting and completely unacceptable. Solidarity with @patrickharvie.”

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The First Minister’s tweet was in response to BBC reporter David Wallace Lockhart, who was conducting the interview when abuse was shouted at Harvie.

The reporter said: “Was interviewing Patrick Harvie at the Scottish Green’s Rutherglen and Hamilton West launch this afternoon when we were interrupted by this.

“An unpleasant situation handled in a dignified manner by the Scot Green co-leader.”

Speaking at the same event, Harvie told reporters that former SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes should “reflect” on her comments in support of anti-trans campaigner and comedian Graham Linehan.

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