Who is Joanna Cherry? SNP MP says she’s been ‘cancelled’ over gender views

·3-min read
Joanna Cherry has said she is being no-platformed for being a lesbian, when she supports equal rights for the trans community  (Jane Barlow / PA)
Joanna Cherry has said she is being no-platformed for being a lesbian, when she supports equal rights for the trans community (Jane Barlow / PA)

SNP MP Joanna Cherry was scheduled to appear at The Stand during the famous Fringe Festival that will take place in August.

However, the politician has told BBC Scotland that the venue cancelled her event because the staff wasn’t comfortable with her views on transgender issues.

Ms Cherry has spoken out against Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform plans, which would make it easier for individuals to change their gender on legal documents, allowing people to obtain a gender-recognition certificate without a medical diagnosis.

Upset about the outcome, she told BBC Radio Scotland: “I would hope The Stand would see sense here. Staff shouldn’t be framing editorial and artistic policy.

“I’m being cancelled and no-platformed because I’m a lesbian, who holds gender-critical views that somebody’s sex is immutable.

“I’ve made those views clear over a number of years. I have never said that trans people should not have equal rights.”

If you’ve been wondering who Joanna Cherry is, here is everything we know about the Scottish public figure.

Who is Joanna Cherry?

Joanna Cherry, 57, is a Scottish politician and lawyer who is currently serving as an SNP MP.

The Scot grew up in Edinburgh and completed her studies at the University of Edinburgh, before working as a research assistant for the Scottish Law Commission.

She later worked as a solicitor and part-time tutor, before starting her career in politics. In 2003, she started working as a standing junior counsel to the Scottish Government. Then, in 2008, she became an advocate depute and then senior advocate depute.

In 2014, Ms Cherry set up the Lawyers For Yes group, campaigning for Scotland to seek its independence.

A year later, she became an SNP candidate for Edinburgh South West. She won the seat and was re-elected at the 2017 and 2019 general elections.

Recently, Ms Cherry’s opposition to the Gender Recognition Act has been met with mixed reactions. She was among those who signed the SNP Women’s Pledge, which is against the reforms.

In the face of criticism, the Scot, who identifies as a lesbian, has shared that she is a feminist and that “women don’t have penises” which is an “undeniable biological fact”.

Talking about the critics to the BBC, the politician recently said: “Because a small number of people don’t like my feminist and lesbian activism, I’m being prevented from talking about all of those things in my home city where I’m an elected politician.

“I think it says something’s gone very wrong in Scotland’s civic space. Small groups of activists are now dictating who can speak and what can be discussed.”

Explaining their decision, The Stand released a statement that read: “Further to our previous policy statement on this matter, following extensive discussions with our staff, it has become clear that a number of The Stand’s key operational staff, including venue management and box office personnel, are unwilling to work on this event.

“As we have previously stated, we will ensure that their views are respected. We will not compel our staff to work on this event and so have concluded the event is unable to proceed on a properly staffed, safe, and legally compliant basis.

“We advised the show’s producers, Fair Pley Productions, of this operational issue and they advised Joanna Cherry that it is no longer possible to host the event in our venue.”