A complaint procedure has been launched against a Dundee councillor for “abusing” an SNP colleague in a row over transgender rights.
Joan McAlpine MSP has received online abuse and was threatened with deselection for her public remarks on issues such as individuals being able to self-identify their gender on government documents without medical diagnosis.
Non-binary councillor Gregor Murray described Ms McAlpine’s views as “disgusting”.
The North East ward councillor claimed to have been made to feel “uncomfortable” in the party by Ms McAlpine and will “seriously” reconsider membership if action is not taken against her.
However, Ms McAlpine has now begun the process of launching her own formal complaint against councillor Murray, accusing the councillor of “abusing” her.
The MSP received a torrent of online abuse for her public remarks on issues such as individuals being able to self-identify their gender on government documents without medical diagnosis.
She believes this could lead to people with “male bodies” being able to access single-sex spaces such as hospital wards and changing rooms, or apply for female-only jobs involving intimate services for women.
Gregor Murray, who is Scotland’s only gender non-binary councillor, described Joan McAlpine MSP’s views as “disgusting” and said the South Scotland politician “lacks the necessary brain cells” to be an MSP.
Ms McAlpine, the MSP for South Scotland, said she had “approached the SNP to discuss how best to file a formal complaint”.
She added: “Councillor Murray began abusing me online when my cross-party committee took the view that the sex question on the census should remain male/female. This is also the view of the Office of National Statistics.
“The committee also agreed an additional transgender identity question but this is not good enough for Councillor Murray who wants the sex question changed to include a non-binary identity.
“Sex is biological, however, and we need to accurately record it to plan services such as health.”
Ms McAlpine said Gregor Murray’s “abuse” towards her began “before any online comments I made about these issues” and insisted it is not transphobic to criticise a transgender person who advocates violence or to question self-identification.
“Many women in the SNP and across society have concerns about these proposals and we should be able to speak out without getting bullied and harassed by the likes of councillor Murray,” she added.
Women and Girls in Scotland, a group campaigning for the sex-based rights of females in Scotland, posted a long thread about the spat on Twitter.
It has since been retweeted by comedy writer Graham Linehan, who commented: “How can people stand to one side while women are treated like this?”
How can people stand to one side while women are treated like this? https://t.co/M24YsrjvRt
— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) April 2, 2019
The Father Ted writer has been outspoken about transgender issues in the past.
Both Gregor Murray and The SNP did not respond to a request for comment.