SNP’s Kate Forbes has made a promise to LGBTQ people

Ash Regan, Kate Forbes and Humza Yousaf

SNP lead candidate Kate Forbes has been accused of simply tolerating LGBTQ+ people instead of supporting their rights.

Candidates Humza Yousaf, Ash Regan and Forbes took part in Channel 4 tours on Thursday 9 March, where the debate quickly became personal.

The three covered different issues, including social justice, the economy and Scottish independence, but it was LGBTQ+ rights that seemed to cause the greatest concern among voters.

Queer rights became a hot topic within days of the SNP leadership race heating up after Forbes conducted several car crash interviews in which she explained her ultra-conservative views on same-sex marriage, abortion and illegitimate births.

During the Channel 4 debate, Forbes said that while she thought there were “some issues where it’s important to allow a conscience vote,” she maintained that her religious beliefs would play no part in political debates.

“I certainly said in this competition that I gave my honest and solemn promise to uphold legal protections for every Scotsman, whether male, female, gay, straight or trans.”

Kate Forbes during the SNP leadership debate.
Kate Forbes responded to the backlash after grilling Humza Yousaf and her own party. (channel 4)

In response, Yousaf said “hundreds” of LGBTQ+ people have contacted him, saying they weren’t sure Forbes would stand up for their rights.

“I don’t think people find as much comfort as you think they do [when you say] You will tolerate people.

“I’m a Muslim in this country — if someone were to say, ‘Look, I don’t agree with your lifestyle, but I will tolerate you,’ that wouldn’t give me very much confidence that they will defend my rights.” .”

Forbes then used Yousaf’s religion as an example of her tolerance of other beliefs, while also saying that a number of SNP-MSPs were her “friends”.

“I have ministered with them and they have never raised any concerns in the past,” she said.

This is despite the fact that SNP members told PinkNews in February that they felt “Schadenglee” at the backlash Forbes received for their views.

“There’s a feeling within the LGBT membership, we’ve been trying to tell you that’s what it is, and you haven’t listened to us,” they said.

Responding to the controversy, Ash Regan said she is not religious but “we should respect other people’s views”.

Additionally, in October 2022, following the passage of gender recognition reform, Regan was asked to resign.

When asked if she resigned because of trans rights, she replied, “I resigned because of women’s rights.”

Things get personal after Kate Forbes grilled Humza Yousaf

In an STV debate earlier this week, Yousaf claimed Forbes is threatening the independence movement by alienating LGBTQ+ voters with their beliefs.

When asked about the statement, Yousaf denied claims he said the LGBTQ+ community didn’t trust her, but also noted that she “obviously felt the brunt of our membership.”

“I said they want assurances,” he said. “They said they might leave the party if another candidate came in.

“It’s really important that we get some clarity on politics. Let’s just not make it personal.”

Reluctance within the party to accept Forbes as a candidate for SNP leadership has only increased after each of her television appearances.

Forbes has been met with angry backlash from MSPs after they grilled Yousaf in the STV debate over his legacy in the party.

According to The Times, SNP ministers have said they would have a “serious problem” serving under the SNP candidate following her attacks on both the LGBTQ+ community and Humza Yousaf.

She accused Yousaf of not getting the trains running on time as a traffic spokeswoman and of not procuring the necessary resources as Minister of Justice.

During Thursday’s Channel 4 debate, Yousaf hit back: “What unfortunately happened in the last TV debate, Kate, was that you basically gave our opponents so much ammunition to attack us with.

“They’re not afraid of you Kate, they’re cheering you on to win, to get your words on every single flyer.”

While the debate touched on LGBTQ+ rights, much of the conversation revolved around the validity of queer identities rather than politics per se.

In a tweet, author Damian Barr said it was “absolutely depressing and angry” to see competitors debate his rights.

“The year is 2023. I am a gay man watching TV and three straight politicians are debating whether or not my very existence is immoral and what rights I should or should not have.”

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Adam Bradshaw

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