Trans SNP candidate gives powerful response after public misgendering by anti-trans campaigners

SNP activist Amber Roberts pictured in a selfie.

A trans SNP candidate has said it’s “as clear as day” that she is female after an anti-trans campaign group misgendered her in a letter that was shared on social media.

Amber Roberts was targeted by the group after she won a place on an all-women shortlist for the SNP NEC, the party’s ruling body, in Lothian.

For Women Scotland, a group which claims to represent women and children’s rights, wrote to the NEC chair urging them to pull Roberts from the all-women shortlist.

The letter, signed by For Women Scotland director Trina Budge, describes Roberts as “male” and insists she is “not eligible for a place on an all-woman shortlist” because she doesn’t have a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). It also refers to Roberts as “he” instead of “she”.

Speaking to PinkNews, Roberts said it was “false” to suggest that she is not a woman because she does not yet have a GRC.

“I am female. It’s legally recognised – it’s just not on my birth certificate yet,” Roberts said.

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‘Incredibly difficult’ to get a gender recognition certificate

While Roberts doesn’t hold a GRC, she said there is no “nefarious” reason for this – she has been rejected three times, with the gender recognition panel telling her there was a lack of evidence to grant her request.

“It’s purely bureaucratic. I’ve shown them a marriage certificate, my medical records, my driver’s licence and my passport. All four of them say I’m female.”

Placards promoting reform of gender recognition laws outside the Scottish Parliament, as inside MSPs prepare to debate the Gender Recognition (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1, on October 27, 2022.
Placards promoting reform of gender recognition laws outside the Scottish Parliament, as inside MSPs prepare to debate the Gender Recognition (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1, in October 2022. (Ken Jack/Getty)

Roberts has even supplied the panel with a letter from her surgeon detailing the gender-affirming surgeries she has had – but she has still been refused a GRC.

“As I understand, it’s incredibly difficult to get past the gender recognition panel, even with all of the information. Many people have this problem, so many of them don’t bother after the first try.” 

While she might not have a GRC, Roberts points out that her birth certificate is the only thing that still identifies her by the gender she was assigned at birth. All other official documents list her as a woman.

“It is as clear as day that I am female,” she says.

Trans women want to join the battle for women’s rights

The letter, while upsetting, has galvanised Roberts to keep fighting for all women – both trans and cis – to come together to fight for equality.

“The simple truth of this whole culture war is that trans women are not fighting in any way, shape or form to take away women’s rights. Instead, all we are trying to do is to join in the battle for women’s rights because we are all women, and there is still a lot of work to do so that we can have equal rights. 

“I said at the independence convention in Dundee a few months ago, ‘In an independent Scotland, all human beings must have equal rights regardless of race, gender or disability’, and I won’t rest until that happens.

“This letter is the very reason why we need to continue to campaign for equal rights, because there are still people out there that are fighting against equality when all we’re trying to do is to fight for equality.”

The letter has also been condemned by the SNP’s LGBTQ+ group, Out for Independence.

“We are proud to be the LGBTQ+ affiliate of a party that respects trans people’s identities and encourages their participation in public life,” an Out for Independence spokesperson said.

“Elections for representatives to our party NEC are an internal matter conducted in line with our party rules. These will not be subject to external attempts to undermine our processes.

“We wish both women all the best in their campaigns.”

When contacted for comment, Trina Budge of For Women Scotland reiterated the position stated in her letter and once again insisted that Roberts is “male” and referred to her by the incorrect pronouns.

“We maintain positive actions provided by the Equality Act, such as all-women shortlists, are there to address historical under-representation of women and should not be utilised to bolster male representation,” Budge said.