A full transcript of the email can be found at the bottom of this article.
Stirling’s Conservative MP Stephen Kerr has come under fresh criticism after Brig obtained an email sent by Kerr to a constituent making statements about gender identity that have been described as offensive to the trans community.
The email, sent on March 4, discussed gender identity with his constituent, and Mr Kerr said:
“As for gender identity, the issue is debated but most biologists will attest to the fact that there are two genders. It is a current trend to “identify” as something else, but as long as you are biologically one sex it does not matter what you identify as.”
Kerr came under fierce criticism from members of the community and political figures.
Morag Fulton, the Equalities Convener for Stirling SNP described Kerr as offensive and “out of step with how people think these days.”
“His comments are deeply offensive to trans-people, and denying that people can never be anything other than the gender assigned at birth is to deny that trans-people even exist at all. This is transphobic, and has no place in our politics.”
Fulton continued to address the issues faced by the trans community and further attacked Kerr’s comments.
“Trans-people are more likely to experience depression, self-harm and suicide than almost any other group in society. This is in large part due to the attitudes of certain pockets of society. A Member of Parliament is supposed to stand up for and protect the vulnerable people and those who just want equality. instead, Stephen Kerr has demonstrated sickening views on the matter.”
Kerr came under fire from the student community for his comments.
VP Communities Josh Muirhead slammed the comments, saying that they are “damaging and isolating” and stated his personal support for the LGBT community and LGBT students.
“I’m incredibly disheartened by the reply from Stephen Kerr and his constituency team. I know as someone who will always stand up for the rights of trans individuals as well as a member of the LGBTQI+ community, that these comments are unacceptable. Stirling University has a strong and proud LGBTQI+ community and these comments are damaging as well as isolating in nature, not only to them but also to the constituency as a whole.”
Elijah Graham, the Union’s LGBT Officer, slammed Kerr for “outdated” views and said that they harm the fight for equal rights.
“‘There are only two genders’ is an outdated view and reeks of someone who hasn’t done any research or listened to any experiences outside their own views, and to think that someone with such backwards views around members of my own community (and myself) is in charge of the constituency, is worrying.
“Gender variant members of the community suffer enough prejudice and spreading these views only hurts our ongoing fight for fair treatment and equal rights.”
LGBT Society president Adam Davidson described Kerr’s views as “backwards” and expressed concern at having an MP with those views.
“Stephen’s claim of ‘There are only two genders’ is outdated and shows he is someone who hasn’t conducted much research or listened to any experiences of his own constituents and to think that someone with such backwards views hold power within constituency is worrying.”
Davidson continued by stating the damaging impact Kerr’s comments could have,
“I have experienced how these types of views can impact a community. Gender variant individuals of a community suffer enough prejudice and potentially spreading these views only makes our community’s fight for equality more difficult.”
Davidson went on to say that he thought Kerr’s statement about men’s “natural advantage” over women as “sexist.”
Both Davidson and Graham stated that the scientific and medical community contradict Kerr’s views, such as studies displaying a variety of gender variances eg. Intersex individuals with chromosome variations and differences in hormones. As well as GPs referring patients for hormone replacement treatments.
“I feel that Stephen has completely dismissed the gender identity spectrum. He speaks about wanting to avoid discrimination; yet he bypasses an individual’s identity entirely through mentioning “it is a current trend to identify as something else,” said Davidson.
Brig reached out to Stephen Kerr and his office for a response to the statements and the email. Brig also asked him if he felt that after these comments, could he effectively represent Stirling’s student community in Parliament, after Stirling has seen a transgender student being harassed by staff in a local nightclub and the death by suicide of a transgender student on campus, both in the last academic year.
Kerr’s office responded declining to comment on the email, stating that it is only a “part of the original correspondence” and that they do not comment on individual correspondence with constituents.
Kerr’s views regarding LGBT rights has come under scrutiny recently after he voted against same sex marriage and abortion rights for Northern Ireland in Parliament earlier this week.
Featured Image: Stephen Kerr MP for Stirling
A full transcript of the email can be found below.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me, and my apologies for the delay in my response.
In response to your question, I believe we should be treating everyone equally, not discriminating in favour or against any individual on the basis of anything other than their skill, their willingness, and their tenacity. For this reason I do not agree with the idea of equality of outcome, which often means discriminating against one group in favour of another based on race or sex. I believe the best way forward for our country is to back equality of opportunity.
As for gender identity, the issue is debated but most biologists will attest to the fact that there are two genders. It is a current trend to “identify” as something else, but as long as you are biologically one sex it does not matter what you identify as.
This is important for medical reasons, as there are many illnesses only suffered by one sex, and also for sporting reasons, as biological men tend to have a significant advantage over women.
I hope this answers your question!
Stephen Kerr MP