The Scottish government has launched a “dear transphobes” banner message on it Twitter page as part of a campaign against "transphobia" that some say is targeted at Christians.
“Dear transphobes, we have a phobia of your hatred,” reads the banner on the Scottish government’s Twitter page.
It was put up as politicians debate reforms to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act. The proposed reforms would allow trans-identified persons — those who suffer from gender dysphoria — to identify as the opposite sex simply by declaring the change and to be legally recognized without any barriers, The Herald reported.
The message is part of the One Scotland campaign that has released several poster-style declarations addressed to "bigots, disablists, homophobes, racists, and transphobes."
One that begins with "Dear bigots" was fashioned as a sermon, and reads:
"Division seems to be what you believe in. We don't want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don't want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people's lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That's why if we see or hear your hate, we're reporting you. End of sermon."
A number of Christian churches and groups have hit back against the wording of the campaign, which is also being promoted by the Scottish police, suggesting it targets Christians who adhere to biblical doctrine on sexuality, and other religious groups.
"We have asked Scottish police to withdraw the posters, but if not we hope they will act on our complaint and honestly investigate their joint campaign with the Scottish government," Hendrik Storm, chief executive of aid agency Barnabas Fund, said in October.
He warned that the posters "single out religious believers and call them out as bigots without any real qualification."
The Catholic Church in the U.K. has also argued that the campaign is "misleading and confused."
"The campaign has suggested that religious hate crimes are perpetrated by religious believers, but there is no evidence to suggest this is the case," a spokesman for the church said.
"The blanket strategy taken toward religious intolerance is in stark contrast to the very specific approaches adopted for homophobia and transphobia, undermining the government's commitment to tackling religious hate crime and indicating a very poor understanding of the subject,” the statement added.
John Mason, the MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, meanwhile challenged his own Scottish National Party's efforts to allow people to self-determine their gender.
“Are we trying to override science by saying it is possible for males to become females and females to become males?” Mason asked.
The Scottish politician also hit back against portrayals of anyone who questions homosexual or transgender ideology as “transphobes” and “bigots."
“Does it help the discussion to call our opponents bigots or transphobes? I do hope we can all try to engage in a balanced and sensitive way," Mason said.