Bisexual MSP Patrick Harvie victim of homophobic abuse during live TV broadcast

Bisexual Scottish politician Patrick Harvie has criticised “toxic forces in politics” after he was subjected to homophobic abuse during a live TV interview.

The Scottish Greens co-leader warned of a rise in homophobia fuelled by a “nasty kind of culture war” after a person aimed a slur at him during the broadcast. 

The person interrupted Harvie’s interview with BBC Scotland News, calling him a “deviant”, prompting the Glasgow MSP to call the heckler a “bigot”. 

Harvie then added in the interview: “There are some pretty toxic forces in politics at the moment that have unleashed homophobia and transphobia in a way that we haven’t seen in many, many years.

“Those who have cultivated this nasty kind of culture war against minorities need to take responsibility for verbal abuse like that, but also for violence that we’ve seen rising against LGBT+ people.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Greens informed the BBC that the party will be reporting the incident to Police Scotland.

Absolutely disgusting to see a bisexual politician abused on the streets of Scotland like this. All the progress we’ve made as LGBTQ+ people used as fodder for a hateful culture war.

Solitary with @patrickharvie who has always stood up for LGBTQ+ people in good times and bad. pic.twitter.com/mDiCcFIHcz

— Scott Cuthbertson (@ScotCuthbertson) August 22, 2023

Harvie, who became the first openly bisexual MSP in 2003, has previously spoken out about a “resurgence in homophobia and transphobia”.

Launching his party’s LGBTQ+ manifesto in 2021, he said: “Our community should be a lot less willing to tolerate the idea that our human rights are some kind of optional extra. We should be saying that homophobia and transphobia are as unacceptable in our politics as racism, misogyny and sectarianism.”

Data released in June found that the number of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people in Scotland has more than doubled in the past 10 years.

The report from the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service revealed that in Scotland during the past 12 months, there were 1,884 hate crime charges in relation to sexual orientation – an increase of two per cent on the previous period.

When it came to transgender identity, the figure was 55 – the second highest number of charges reported since the legislation introducing this aggravation came into force in 2010.

In contrast, in 2013-2014, 887 hate crime incidents were recorded relating to sexual orientation, and 25 regarding transgender identity.

Despite numbers rising, a separate study found that the majority of LGBTQ+ hate crime victims do not report incidents to police, in part because they feel it’s “too minor”.

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