TRANSGENDER people in Scotland say they are facing a rise in abuse and threats in the wake of heated debates around gender reforms.

They have also accused political figures of forcing people to "take sides" and "encouraging anger" around the plans, which would make it easier for transgender people to be to legally be recognised in their chosen gender.

The Scottish Government has previously come under fire for failing to say what they plan to do following consultations on the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reforms, and a heated debate has erupted over the proposals in recent months.

Some feminist organisations and politicians say the changes, allowing trans people to self-declare their gender, will put women at risk and impact on women-only spaces and services, including refuges and even toilets.

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Currently, to legally change their gender on their birth certificate, transgender people have to go through a rigorous and some say "humiliating" process of medical tests, psychological evaluations and questioning before a panel decide whether they believe them.

In some cases, trans people have to describe what toys they played with as a child or the kinds of people they were friends with as part of the process.

Now several trans Scots have spoken to the Herald on Sunday about how the debate us having an impact on their day-to-day lives.

Emily Frood, 20, said: "You can look at the way discussions around Brexit have ramped up racism, xenophobia and hate crime, and with the GRA debate it is the same – there are definitely more incidences of transphobia in my experience than before all of this.

"I try my best to stay off social media but it doesn’t mean I don’t think about it every morning. I wake up thinking 'Cool, the world is against me again today.'

"You just can't get that out of your head, when you see there are so many people in the world who just hate me and wish I never existed. That's a horrible thing.

"You live in fear constantly, that you think something is going to happen. somebody is going to do something. The reality is, things do happen to trans people, it’s not an imagined threat."

The Edinburgh student added that being transgender is now seen by some as a "political act" adding: "Expressing your gender in a way that is comfortable to you is seen as a political act. It shouldn't' be.

"It isn't for anybody else. I am not making any sort of political statement by being a trans person.

"That has just never made sense to me that I have to be attached to political ideology, that’s what it has become now. There are debates around whether we should exist, whether we should be sterilised. Its horrific."

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Kerry Rush, 33, also from Edinburgh, said the impact of the GRA debate has been "exhausting" and explained: "I feel like now people in positions of power have all these opinions and because they are in positions of power, they are the ones who are plastered all over the newspapers, clogging up social media and encouraging others.

"They are almost making other people, who may otherwise have different views or haven’t figured out how they feel about it... take sides.

"They are encouraging this anger and rage that doesn't make sense."

The trainee therapist added: "As a non-binary person I'm not recognised legally at all. I don’t think about it too much as it gets quite upsetting and stressful. It takes a toll.

"I would like to be legally recognised, and I think it would also help normalise non-binary identities.

"It would mean places such as workplaces, places of study, healthcare, all of these important things, would actually take it seriously.

"It is hard and exhausting. I feel like there is always a pressure, everywhere, if its social media particularly that what we say might be perceived as aggressive. We are not allowed to be angry about it, but other people are allowed to be angry and attack us."

Kerry added that they have been subject to verbal and physical abuse due to how they present themselves, and said: "People do that to me all the time. I walk down the street and people call me a 'dyke'. I just say thanks and move on.

"When I am with my trans female friends, we will go to the toilet together. Trans women and other non-binary people have to do that. Right now particularly, it is a concern. People have said to me 'What are you? ' regardless of what toilet I go into.

"If I use the disabled toilet I get grief because I don’t look disabled enough. I am actually disabled. If I use a male toilet on a day I look more feminine, I get shouted at, and the same with a female toilet. I can't win."

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James Morton, manager at the Scottish Trans Alliance, said the debate around GRA reforms has reached a point where transgender people don't feel able to express themselves fully.

He said: "Nobody should be subjected to threats or abuse because of expressing an opinion but what is particularly scary with trans people is that it’s not even about expressing an opinion.

"You don’t have the luxury of deciding not to say anything. You being trans is taken as meaning you are a misogynist, or violent or a threat to people.

"People won’t even wait for you to speak and say what you think about gender. The very fact that you are trans means they make a whole bunch of assumptions that they think you are like."

He added: "What is on your birth certificate in a drawer at home makes no difference to the safety of a public toilet. It never has and it never will."