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The estranged wife of transgender rapist Isla Bryson has said she is delighted Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has quit the role. Shonna Graham, 31, is still married to the jailed serial sex attacker who was previously known as Adam Graham.
Ms Sturgeon had spoken out in support of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which was passed by members of the Scottish Parliament in December.
The reforms include allowing trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate without the need for a medical diagnosis and enabling 16 and 17-year-olds to apply for one for the first time.
Ms Graham said: “She shot herself in the foot over and over again and I’m delighted she’s gone.”
She added: “I’m all in favour of transgender rights, but this policy went too far and ended up putting a rapist, who still had all his bits, in a woman’s prison.”
Some critics of the bill sought to link its proposed changes to Bryson’s case. The 31-year-old raped two women while identifying as a man.
Bryson was sent to Cornton Vale women’s prison near Stirling in a placement which caused public outrage.
She was transferred from Cornton Vale to a male prison for assessment, but the First Minister refused to back down over her Government’s policy.
Ms Sturgeon was later forced to come to Holyrood to state no transgender prisoner with a history of violence against women would be placed in a female prison.
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Ms Graham, from Motherwell, told MailOnline: “It was only a matter of time. People, even a lot of those who voted SNP, could see this policy was nuts… Adam only changed sex to get an easier time in prison.
“But more generally, surely anyone can see that if a convicted rapist still has his sexual organs intact, he should never be sent to a woman’s prison.
“He did the crime as a man. He should do the time as a man in a big boy’s jail.”
Ms Sturgeon was asked at Wednesday’s press conference whether the gender identification row was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.
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The First Minister said: “No, that issue wasn’t the final straw. I’m long enough in the tooth, I’ve been in politics a long, long time.
“I’m not going to stand here and insult your intelligence and say that I live in a world that is divorced from the reality of what is going on around me.
“But it is not the case that this decision is because of short-term issues.
“I’ve faced more short-term issues from time to time in my years in politics than I care to remember. And if it was just that, I wouldn’t be standing here today.”
Stonewall, which campaigns on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, praised Ms Sturgeon for her “unwavering commitment to advancing the rights of all marginalised people in Scotland”.
Colin Macfarlane, Director of Nations at the group, said: “In the past few months, the media’s focus has been on the passing of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, an Act that would ensure transgender rights in Scotland are in line with international best practice and the equal of some of the most progressive countries on the planet.
“Throughout this process, Ms Sturgeon has approached this subject in the way we hope all leaders would: with compassion and understanding, and with judgments that are grounded in facts and evidence.”
The First Minister said at today’s shock announcement that she hoped politics could “depolarise” in the wake of her time in office.
During the speech at Bute House in Edinburgh, she said: “The nature and form of modern political discourse means there is a much greater intensity – dare I say it, brutality – to life as a politician than in years gone by.”
She said this, along with the relentless scrutiny faced by politicians, “takes its toll, on you and on those around you”.
Ms Sturgeon added: “I feel more each day just now that the fixed opinions people increasingly have about me – as I say, some fair, others little more than a caricature – are becoming a barrier to reasoned debate.
“Statements and decisions that should not be controversial become so when it’s me making or taking them. Issues that are controversial end up almost irrationally so – and for the same reason.
“Too often I see issues presented and as a result viewed – not on their own merits – but through the prism of what I think and what people think about me.”
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