Recent pronouncements on gay and transgender rights by senior members of the Scottish Greens have stirred controversy – and sparked a hard-hitting column by The Herald’s Mark Smith, who queried the conflation of trans with lesbian and gay.

Read that column here 👈

Today, a veteran activist pens a response.

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The Herald:

Tim Hopkins of Edinburgh writes:"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.

"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'."