SNP’s Joanna Cherry explains tweet claiming Humza Yousaf wants to sterilise gay kids

Joanna Cherry in pink suit

Scottish National Party MSP Joanna Cherry has said she didn’t mean to retweet a claim that Humza Yousaf wants to sterilise transgender and autistic children. She had only meant to comment on it.

In the now-deleted post, the Edinburgh South West MSP quote-tweeted comments from Wings Over Scotland – a pro-independence blog – which claimed Yousaf “wants to [sic] trans gay and autistic kids, sterilise them and deprive them of sexual pleasure for their entire adult life”.

The Wings Over Scotland tweet was made in response to a post by first minister hopeful Yousaf, in which he outlined his plans to ban LGBTQ+ conversion therapy in the devolved nation. 

The retweet was derided by former SNP Glasgow councillor Mhairi Hunter, a staunch supporter of Yousaf, who said she would report the matter to SNP headquarters. 

On Twitter, Hunter wrote: “I can only assume Joanna Cherry wants to derail this leadership contest. Can see no other explanation for such an incendiary act. Suggest we don’t let her. Make a complaint to Nat[ional] Sec[retary] if you are a member. I shall. But let us not get dragged into the gutter.” 

A spokesperson for Cherry, however, told PinkNews that the retweet was made in error when the MSP was attempting to engage with the original post. 

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“Joanna had intended to comment on a tweet by Humza Yousaf and made a mistake when doing so. She has corrected that mistake,” the spokesperson said. 

“The only people attempting to ‘derail the contest’ are those trying to prevent an open debate and a free and frank exchange of views. Ms Hunter may make a complaint to the National Secretary if she wishes.”

The spokesperson added that Cherry is still waiting for a response from the National Secretary regarding a complaint about Hunter, dating back to January 2021.

Joanna Cherry has now posted her comments as she says she first intended, above the post by Yousaf. 

She wrote: “Currently #LGBT rights are protected under the #EqualityAct along with sex-based rights, disability religion and belief etc. In 2014, @theSNP promised to enshrine anti-discrimination laws for all protected characteristics in the constitution of an #indy Scotland.” 

Responding to the incident, Humza Yousaf told PinkNews: “The language used in the blog is discriminatory, hurtful and damaging to members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Members of the trans community especially are some of the most vulnerable and marginalised individuals in our society and all politicians and commentators would be minded to remember that.

“As SNP Leader and Scotland’s First Minister I will protect our LGBTQ+ community and strengthen and celebrate their rights.”

Cherry has voiced her support for Ash Regan to replace Nicola Sturgeon as first minister. “She is unequivocally pro equal rights for #LGBT people but anti self-ID which allows any man to ID as a woman with next to no safeguards,” she said.

Kate Forbes, who has a troubling record on trans and abortion rights, is also standing in the contest to become leader of the SNP.

The SNP has been contacted for comment by PinkNews but has yet to respond.

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