‘Gender critical’ activist Marion Millar in court over ‘homophobic and transphobic’ tweets

Marion Millar at an anti-trans protest on 2 September.

Scottish “gender critical” activist Marion Millar is due to appear in court this week for allegedly sending homophobic and transphobic tweets.

Millar, 50, was charged on 3 June under Section 127 of the 2003 Communications Act, with prosecutors stating that she posted material of a “homophobic and transphobic nature” on social media in 2019 and 2020.

Police received a complaint about a photo she is said to have posted on social media. The photo is reported to have shown a bow of green, white and purple ribbons tied around a tree, near where a named Scottish actor was working, on the basis that the ribbons represented a noose.

The charges also allege that she wrote personal and false information relating to a female police officer on social media.

Prosecutors said she behaved in “a threatening or abusive manner” between October 2019 and June 2020 in Glasgow and in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, according to the BBC.

The offence for which Millar is charged is alleged to have been aggravated by prejudice related to sexual orientation.

Marion Millar is an activist with anti-trans pressure group For Women Scotland

Marion Millar, an accountant, is a campaigner with For Women Scotland, an anti-trans pressure group that opposes legal reforms that would streamline the process by which adult trans men and women can obtain legal gender recognition – an updated gender marker on their birth certificate – for the purposes of marriage and pensions.

For Women Scotland, which was set up in 2018, argues that reforms that will make it easier for trans people to gain legal recognition of their gender would “encourage men to enter women’s and girls’ spaces”. According to its website, the group believes that “there are only two sexes, that a person’s sex is not a choice, nor can it be changed”.

In March, For Women Scotland crowdfunded more than £100,000 to bring a judicial review that attempted to have trans women removed from a government act designed to increase the number of women on public boards – two whole years after its introduction. 

The Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 includes a definition of the word “woman” that includes trans women, with or without legal gender recognition. On their CrowdJustice page, the anti-trans group argued that including trans women in the act “sets a dangerous precedent”.

The judge dismissed For Women Scotland’s case, saying that “the act was within the legislative competence of the Scottish parliament and does not offend against the fundamental principle of equality of treatment”.

Joanna Cherry QC returns to bar

Marion Millar is represented by Joanna Cherry QC, a “gender critical” SNP politician who was sacked from her party’s front bench in February.

The SNP did not specify why Cherry lost her role, but the move came days after overlapping disputes about trans rights prompted a significant intervention from SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who made clear in a video message that she would act to stamp out any transphobia in the party.

Cherry has been an outspoken opponent of trans rights reforms. She did not take on any legal cases while on the SNP’s front bench – with the exception of the historic prorogation litigation of 2019 – but has returned to the bar to defend Millar.

At a Glasgow Sheriff Court bail hearing in August, Millar was granted bail until this week’s hearing date and did not enter a plea.

Cherry told the court that they wished to proceed without a plea for three reasons: “The first is practical. Miss Millar only saw the complaint, with charges from the Crown, 10 minutes prior (to this hearing).

“The second is that the communication charges are not compatible with guidelines, so it’s not appropriate to plead with.

“The third is it raised serious questions about Miss Millar’s European human rights.”

If convicted, Millar faces up to two years in prison.