Mhairi Black: ‘I’ve been challenged going into female toilets’

The lesbian Scottish National Party MP Mhairi Black revealed she has been challenged over her gender when using female toilets.

Black is fighting for reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which is hoped will uphold and improve rights for trans and non-binary people in the UK.

She previously condemned the “toxic” fearmongering in anticipation of the government’s response to the GRA consultation, which has been further delayed.

Amidst this climate of “misinformation”, Black revealed that she herself has been challenged for using a women’s bathroom.

I’m not leaving trans people behind

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“I’ve been challenged going into female toilets before, course I have. Are you kidding?” she told The Herald on Sunday (September 1).

“I’m the sort of person who can deal with it, but there was one time I didn’t even have to and it was one of the most powerful things I’ve experienced.

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“There was a woman beside me who said [to the person questioning me], ‘Who the hell do you think you are, who are you to police this?’

“That is exactly what I needed in that situation. I didn’t have power, but the woman beside me did. In this debate, I’m the person with the power and I’m not leaving trans people behind.”

Mhairi Black MP speaking at a conference in 2015 (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)

The senior SNP politician has previously touched on the abuse she often receives over her appearance.

“Do I pass as a woman? I’m regularly told I want to be a man, just by the fact I dress differently,” she said in an interview with JOE last month.

“I’m not trans, I’m a woman, but my entire life I’ve felt excluded from female groups and spaces.”

Long-awaited GRA reforms “will still be happening”

Along with her colleague Hannah Bardell MP, Black outlined her strong support for the transgender community. She agreed that people’s questions over GRA reforms must be listened to, but admitted the difficulties with the ongoing dialogue.

“I do struggle with people who think their world is crumbling over a bureaucratic change about a certificate,” she said.

“The types of arguments people are using, it is the same tired, homophobic guff just rebranded against transgender people.”

The public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act was answered by over 100,000 people. (Conatus News)
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The government previously claimed reforms to the GRA would be announced in Spring 2019, before announcing that it would be delayed to a date “later this year” following further analysis of the results.

But Black is assured that an announcement is forthcoming. “The reforms will still be happening, though,” she said. “Absolutely, without a doubt.”

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