Bisexual MSP Patrick Harvie victim of homophobic abuse during live TV broadcast

MSP Patrick Harvie looks at the camera during a live TV broadcast

Bisexual Scottish politician Patrick Harvie has criticised “toxic forces in politics” after he was subjected to homophobic abuse during a live TV interview.

The Scottish Greens co-leader warned of a rise in homophobia fuelled by a “nasty kind of culture war” after a person aimed a slur at him during the broadcast. 

The person interrupted Harvie’s interview with BBC Scotland News, calling him a “deviant”, prompting the Glasgow MSP to call the heckler a “bigot”. 

Harvie then added in the interview: “There are some pretty toxic forces in politics at the moment that have unleashed homophobia and transphobia in a way that we haven’t seen in many, many years.

“Those who have cultivated this nasty kind of culture war against minorities need to take responsibility for verbal abuse like that, but also for violence that we’ve seen rising against LGBT+ people.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens said: “We can confirm our co-leader Patrick Harvie was subjected to sustained and homophobic verbal abuse while conducting a television interview with BBC News Scotland. This occurred during today’s launch of our party’s by-election campaign for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

You may like to watch

A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens told PinkNews politicians are to blame for growing anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in Scotland and across the UK.

“While this worrying incident consisted of verbal abuse, the current wave of homophobia and transphobia has included far worse, borne out by recent crime statistics,” they said.

“It is truly shocking that in 2023 such a threat is once again being deliberately stirred up by politicians every bit as reactionary as those who created Section 28 back in the 1980s, or who backed the homophobic “Keep the Clause” campaign in the early days of devolution.

“Incidents of hatred against LGBTQ+ people have been growing steadily in recent years. Some of this comes as a direct result of the “culture war”, misinformation and hostility being manufactured by the UK Government and other politicians and media voices.

They added that these people in power “must take responsibility” for “the consequences of their toxic rhetoric” which resulted in the verbal abuse of Patrick Harvey.

A spokesperson for Scottish Greens informed the BBC that the party will be reporting the incident to Police Scotland.

Harvie, who became the first openly bisexual MSP in 2003, has previously spoken out about a “resurgence in homophobia and transphobia”.

Launching his party’s LGBTQ+ manifesto in 2021, he said: “Our community should be a lot less willing to tolerate the idea that our human rights are some kind of optional extra. We should be saying that homophobia and transphobia are as unacceptable in our politics as racism, misogyny and sectarianism.”

Data released in June found that the number of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people in Scotland has more than doubled in the past 10 years.

The report from the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service revealed that in Scotland during the past 12 months, there were 1,884 hate crime charges in relation to sexual orientation – an increase of two per cent on the previous period.

When it came to transgender identity, the figure was 55 – the second highest number of charges reported since the legislation introducing this aggravation came into force in 2010.

In contrast, in 2013-2014, 887 hate crime incidents were recorded relating to sexual orientation, and 25 regarding transgender identity.

Despite numbers rising, a separate study found that the majority of LGBTQ+ hate crime victims do not report incidents to police, in part because they feel it’s “too minor”.

Please login or register to comment on this story.