ANYONE who knows me well is aware there’s one thing I love more than almost anything else in the universe: Doctor Who.

I’ve been a fan since I was 10 and ever since I’ve been nothing short of obsessed.

So Saturday was a hugely exciting night for me and millions of other fans as the show returned in celebration of its 60th anniversary, bringing back the hugely popular David Tennant and Catherine Tate as the Doctor and companion Donna Noble respectively.

As well as the familiar and much-loved returnees, Saturday’s episode also introduced a number of new characters with possibly the most significant of these being Donna’s teenage daughter Rose, played by Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney.

Rose, like Finney, is transgender and this is not a detail that is shied away from.

From a somewhat uncomfortable scene where Rose faces transphobic abuse from boys in the street, to a heartwarming exchange between Donna and Rose’s grandmother about gendered language, the episode is filled with moments which feel all too familiar – for better or for worse – to trans viewers such as myself.

Good trans representation is rarely seen in the media and although the trans representation in this episode felt a tad ham-fisted and clumsy at times, there seemed to be almost unanimous agreement among transgender fans of the show on social media that the episode was a powerful and significant moment of representation for trans people at a time where this has never been more needed.

Trans rights in the UK and elsewhere are under constant attack, with transphobia surging and progress being stalled and rolled back left, right and centre.

A report from the Crown Office last year found that transphobic hate crimes had increased in Scotland by 87%, while more than 4700 hate crimes against transgender people were reported in England and Wales in the year to March.

A Home Office report published last month admitted the surge in transphobic hate in the UK may have been fuelled by politicians and the media, and this is no surprise.

Vicious misinformation campaigns against trans people have been rife across the mainstream media, with media outlets and politicians taking little responsibility to verify facts or challenge mistruths being spouted to a national audience.

The UK Government and the Conservative Party more broadly have played a critical role in creating the hostile and dangerous landscape in which trans people in the UK are forced to suffer.

From their blocking of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill which would have simplified a burdensome and dehumanising administrative process for trans people to update our birth certificates, to the outright and explicitly transphobic remarks made by Rishi Sunak and others at their party conference last month, the Tories have fostered an environment of hate against trans people in the United Kingdom.

The National: Rishi Sunak                                                                                                               PICTURE: Rishi Sunak

The Labour Party is similarly complicit, having refused to stand up for trans rights and Scottish devolution by voting against the blocking of the GRR Bill, and with Keir Starmer indicating agreement with Sunak’s deeply transphobic remarks.

Our political landscape in Scotland is markedly better but far from positive. The Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly passed the GRR Bill with cross-party support and the Scottish Government recently became the first in the world to publish a dedicated action plan to improve the rights of non-binary people (people whose gender is neither strictly male or female).

READ MORE: Anti-trans hate crime rise 'could be down to political discussion'

Still, the scourge of transphobia remains a stain on Scottish society, with an exceptionally vocal minority of anti-trans voices dominating the media discourse and particularly social media interactions.

It's clear there is a concerted effort from anti-trans campaigners to make life for a pro-trans-rights voice, or even just a trans person, as hostile and difficult as possible.

When Sandi Toksvig, one of Britain’s most high-profile lesbians, spoke in support of trans rights last week, she was hounded on social media with a barrage of vicious abuse from countless anti-trans campaigners.

The National: Sandi Toksvig

When City of Edinburgh Council posted on X/Twitter last week about their #RespectTheirSpace campaign to improve women’s safety in public, hundreds of accounts flocked to the replies section to use it as a launching pad for transphobic conspiracy theories.

And when Humza Yousaf posted in support of 50:50 Parliament’s campaign to help get more women elected in politics, there were thousands of accounts in the replies spewing transphobia – as well as racism and misogyny – despite the fact there has never been an openly trans member of the Scottish Parliament.

The toxic reality of transphobia on social media is one I know all too well as one of the very few trans people in the country fortunate enough to have a political and media platform.

Every time I post on X/Twitter, transphobes immediately flock to the replies to hound and bully me, no matter the content of my post.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak faces criticism for comments about transgender people

A simple selfie will result in dozens of hateful messages about my appearance.

If a friend dares to reply to me or show any association with me, you can guarantee they too will receive hateful, transphobic replies merely for the crime of being friends with a trans person.

The goal of transphobes is to make it impossible for me and others to safely exist as trans people in public life, and to send a message to other trans people that if they dare to poke their heads above the parapet, they too will face a similar fate.

This is why trans representation in shows like Doctor Who is so important. More than five million viewers tuned in to the episode live on Saturday night, and millions more will watch it via streaming.

With a powerful and vocal minority of transphobic voices elevated by both the mainstream media and social media platforms, it’s critical that popular shows like Doctor Who showcase our realities and our experiences to an audience which might not otherwise consider them.

To be able to watch the return of my favourite show was a delight, but to be able to do so knowing the powerful message the episode will have sent to millions watching who had perhaps never otherwise considered the experiences of trans people was deeply moving.

Representation really does matter, so as Doctor Who celebrates its 60th anniversary with a story of trans acceptance, long may this positive representation continue for the next 60 years and beyond.