Two members of the Scottish Parliament, Paul McLennan and Jamie Greene, have expressed their intention to challenge the BBC and Ofcom over the recent airing of “Question Time” which they say devolved into a “poisonous” shouting match over trans rights. The debate show was broadcast on Thursday, February 2nd and covered topics such as the Scotland gender reform bill and the case of a trans rapist who was recently placed in a male prison.
Following the airing of the show, transgender newsreader India Willoughby, who was a panelist on the program, said that the debate felt like her own “hanging.” In response to a Twitter post by Scottish Green Party activist Ryan McNaughton, who flagged the broadcast’s “bigotry,” McLennan stated that he would contact the BBC to raise issues concerning the show.
Jamie Greene, a conservative member of the Scottish Parliament, also responded to McNaughton’s plea for help and expressed his concern about the current narrative around trans people. In an email, he stated that he was “increasingly concerned” and “dismayed at the way trans people have been vilified throughout.” Greene added that he would watch the broadcast and report it to the BBC and Ofcom if he felt that standards were breached.
McNaughton, who wrote to parliamentarians “urging them to seek answers from the BBC” and “to challenge this and all kinds of hate speech,” said he was shocked by comments made to India Willoughby such as “you are a man” and comments from an audience member suggesting that trans women are “abusive men.” He also stated that the host, Fiona Bruce, allowed the “constant abusive rhetoric” to be leveled at Willoughby.
In a statement, McNaughton stated that he would continue to push for action on hate speech and was compiling a large selection of evidence to show the rise in hate speech and hate crimes. He added, “I believe strongly in my belief and conviction that trans rights are human rights.”