MARK Smith's interview with Sir John Curtice ("John Curtice on the SNP’s biggest problem: it all goes back to Sturgeon", Herald Magazine, May 4) left some of us gays and lesbians aghast. Sir John wonders whether the case of male cross-dressing rapist Isla Bryson is an “Aids moment” for transgender people.

Is Sir John suggesting there is some comparison between the Isla Bryson case and horror stories spread about the “gay plague” that led much of the press and general public to turn against gay men? If so, he has seriously misunderstood the whole focus of current discussions on trans issues.

Some journalists are now actively engaging in the important debates that must be had around the Cass Review, access to single-sex services, sex and relationship education in schools, and so on. These issues bear no comparison with the stories run from the 1980s onwards about Aids and gay men.

Organisations like LGB Alliance and Gay Men’s Network do not spread vile conspiracy theories about trans people using Isla Bryson as the poster child. We simply focus on facts as opposed to evidence-free beliefs spread by the Scottish Green Party and Stonewall amongst others.

Most progressive, liberal people are likely to agree with us that there are two sexes which are immutable, that calling a distressed child “transgender” is foreclosing a proper diagnosis, that every child should go through puberty, and that freedom of speech is a keystone of liberal democracy.

Sir John’s crass comparison insults those of us who lived through the Aids epidemic and dishonours all those unfortunate enough to have died of the disease. We would ask him to rethink his ill-thought-out analysis on this important issue.

Kate Harris, LGB Alliance, Dennis Kavanagh, Gay Men's Network, Edinburgh.

LGB support for trans

I AM a gay man who has been campaigning for LGBT equality in Scotland for almost 40 years. Across those years, I have been fortunate to do that alongside lesbian, bi and trans colleagues. I wonder how much LGBT equality campaigning Mark Smith has done over those same four decades? And yet he thinks he is qualified to tell me that trans people don't belong in the LGBT community ("A message to the Greens: you do not speak for gay people. Stop it", The Herald, May 14).

Recent YouGov research confirmed how mutually supportive our community is. Amongst lesbians in the UK, for example, 68% have a very positive view of trans people, and a further 16% have a positive view, making 84%. Ten per cent are neutral, while only 3% have a negative view, and 3% a very negative view. The LGB people Mark Smith knows who oppose trans equality are a tiny minority of the whole community. Anyone who wants to see that mutual support for themself could go along to one of the more than 30 LGBT Pride events all around Scotland this year.

Of course, lesbian, gay, bi and trans people each face some different issues. But underlying the discrimination we experience are forms of gender and sex discrimination. It is depressing to me to see the same tropes that targeted lesbians and gay men in the 1980s and 90s being used to attack trans people now. In many cases even the same words are reused. And contrary to Mark Smith's assertion, homophobia, as well as biphobia and transphobia, has got louder and more prominent recently.

We have made a lot of progress, from decriminalisation, to repealing section 28, gender recognition, anti-discrimination laws, equal marriage and more. There is still some way to go to equality, and sometimes we may be pushed backwards. But the history of LGBT equality campaigning certainly indicates that Martin Luther King was correct when he said that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice".

Tim Hopkins, Edinburgh.


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Importance of the teacher

I'M sure Richard Michael (Letters, May 13) is correct in saying that learning music contributes to a wide range of skills, including maths. As a late returner to playing the piano (I gave up aged 11), I have discovered that music is actually quite mathematical, constructed with, for example, 3rds, 7ths, 13ths; ii, v, I's etc. This was never explained to me as a youngster, nor the relationship between keys, which you can find illustrated by the "Circle of 5ths".

Recent letters written in support or critical of our current education system have tended to overlook the importance of the teacher. Like many others, I imagine, I gave up piano lessons because of the teacher and her teaching method. I also remember one inspirational teacher from my school days. But, sadly, just the one.

I am fortunate now to be taking piano lessons from someone who is both inspirational and using modern methods. Richard Michael is another, as his online presence and courses will testify. Surely that is what every school should aspire to offer.

David Bruce, Troon.

Euro fizzing

WHY must TV viewers be subjected every year to the hugely extravagant waste of time that the Eurovision “Song” contest has become? If ever anything is now irrelevant, it’s this contest.

An idea which produced reasonable entertainment for family audiences and allowed new musicians international exposure has been hijacked by professional marketeers and PR parasites pandering to the social extremist fringes where aggressive minorities dictate what is acceptable.

If you disagree, ask yourself how many of the top 10 “songs” of Eurovision 2024 will be sung in karaoke nights during the next 12 months. And see if you can identify a new ABBA among the acts.

Joe McLaughlin, Clarkston.

The Herald: Switzerland's Nemo, winner of this year's EurovisionSwitzerland's Nemo, winner of this year's Eurovision (Image: PA)

• AFTER watching Saturday night's Eurovision Song Contest, having done for the last 43 years originally with my parents as a child and as an adult, I note that the morality of the contest has declined rapidly.

The UK entry was overtly sexual and completely inappropriate for young children watching, and in my opinion deserved zero points from the public. As for Ireland, a guidance warning was given out before the performance as it was so demonic. What happened to the Eurovision Song Contest being about music and fun for all the family? Something has gone sadly wrong.

Gordon Kennedy, Perth.

• IS it too much to dream of a future where it is possible that the winning of Eurovision because of a good singer singing a good tune can become a reality once more?

Chris Keegan, Glasgow.

Summer sensation

THE sound of summer: high-pressure jet washers cleaning anything that doesn’t move. Bliss!

Who needs cuckoos?

William Thomson, Denny.