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Glasgow’s first trans councillor said she hopes her election will demonstrate that transgender people are “not a threat”.
Elaine Gallagher said she was “absolutely delighted” at having been elected as a councillor for the Scottish Greens in the Southside Central ward, but said she felt “a little bit apprehensive”.
“I have put my head above the parapet and I’m going to be a target,” she told the PA news agency.
She said that she had recently discussed the issue of abuse towards women in politics with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and voiced her fears of what that could be like as a trans woman.
Many congratulations to Elaine Gallagher, who has been elected in Southside Central, Glasgow! A fantastic GAIN! 💚🗳️ pic.twitter.com/vZ94Cbcsz0
— Scottish Greens (@scottishgreens) May 6, 2022
“It’s not oppression bingo,” Ms Gallagher said. “But I’m going to have to be very careful to not let it get to me.
“The people who are objecting to me in office are very often conservative people who will get used to the fact, and also, the people who object to people in office who’s not (like) them will also just have to lump it.”
Ms Gallagher said she hopes she can show people that trans equality is the same as equality for everybody else. “Women’s rights and trans rights are not in conflict,” she said.
“In fact, they are very often the same thing.”
She said debates on topics such as the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) have turned discussions on trans rights into a “political football”.
I don't know what it is about Britain, but there's a very strong anti-trans lobby
“In all honesty, it shouldn’t be,” she told PA. “I don’t know what it is about Britain, but there’s a very strong anti-trans lobby.
“But if you look at the situations in places like Ireland, or any other place where equivalent legislation has been passed, there has been no increase in any gender-based violence.”
Ms Gallagher said “when, not if” the GRA is passed, gender-based violence will not see an increase, but will decrease the amount of pressure on young transgender people especially.
She added that the legislation could see a positive impact on the mental health of people who are “stuck in the wrong role and can’t abide by the way they are”.