Yousaf: ‘Bad faith actors’ want to turn every issue into a culture war

The First Minister has said the forthcoming misogyny Bill will include transgender women within its scope.

Humza Yousaf was speaking on proposed anti-misogyny laws
Humza Yousaf was speaking on proposed anti-misogyny laws (Mike Boyd/PA)

Scotland’s First Minister has hit out at “bad faith actors” who are “intent on turning every issue into a culture war” following a row over a forthcoming Bill on misogyny.

Humza Yousaf said on Tuesday the Bill would cover transgender women who suffer misogynistic abuse – supporting the view of Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, who led a review which informed the creation of the legislation.

The pledge to create a standalone Bill dealing with misogyny resulted in sex being left out of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill – which came into force on April 1 – sparking criticism.

The First Minister’s comments sparked a backlash, including from Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who suggested trans women would have “double protection” under the law.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday, the author accused the First Minister of showing “absolute contempt for women”.

But responding to criticism on the same platform the next day, Mr Yousaf said: “The faux outrage claiming trans women have double protection under the law because of who they are is as ludicrous as being upset that a disabled, black woman has triple protection under the law.

“It in no way diminishes protection against misogyny for those who are born women.

“Bad faith actors are intent on turning every issue into a culture war.

“Let’s not allow them to divide our society into those who are worthy of protection from hatred and those who are not.

“Let’s engage in robust debate, but one based on facts, not deliberate disinformation.”

The First Minister added that the legislation would deal with the perception of the accused, rather than the status of the victim.

“If a man threatens to rape a woman, he is unlikely to know if the victim is born a woman or a trans woman.

“That behaviour should logically be seen as misogynistic. Again, this aligns with existing legislation protecting people from abuse motivated by prejudice. This is not new.”