Scottish police defy Nicola Sturgeon over trans self-ID law

First Minister is embroiled in a political crisis over the unrelated case of  Isla Bryson - Ken Jack/Getty Images
First Minister is embroiled in a political crisis over the unrelated case of Isla Bryson - Ken Jack/Getty Images
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Scottish police have defied Nicola Sturgeon’s sex self-ID drive by referring to a transgender butcher arrested in connection with the disappearance of an 11-year-old girl as a man.

Andrew George Miller, known locally as Amy, was taken into police custody on Monday night after the 11-year-old girl who disappeared on Sunday, was found “safe and well” at a home in Gattonside near Galashiels after being missing for more than a day.

Police confirmed yesterday that a “53-year-old man”, understood to be Miller, had been arrested in connection with the disappearance, which caused grave concerns for the child’s welfare and led to a desperate search and rescue mission being launched.

Miller transitioned around six years ago when he changed his name to Amy and began dressing as a female, locals in the Scottish Borders said.

The decision by police to refer to the suspect as a man comes despite Ms Sturgeon’s push to change the law so that those who self-identify as a particular gender in Scotland can easily gain legal recognition in that gender.

The First Minister is embroiled in a political crisis over the unrelated case of  Isla Bryson, a transgender rapist who was initially placed in a female jail, under a prison policy that follows the same principles as her self-ID law.

Ms Sturgeon has refused to state whether she believes Bryson is either a male or female. Under questioning, Ms Sturgeon has used female pronouns to refer to Bryson.

A poll has found only a third of Scots oppose the UK Government’s decision to veto the gender reforms.

The Ipsos survey found 50 per cent backed the Scottish Secretary’s move to block the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, compared to only 33 per cent who opposed it. The remaining 17 per cent did not know or did not want to say.

In a major blow to Ms Sturgeon, even 31 per cent of SNP voters said the UK Government should have blocked the legislation,

Publicly supported Ms Sturgeon

Miller maintains social media profiles as both Andrew Miller and “Amy George”. He publicly supported Ms Sturgeon’s push to make it easier for Scots to change their legal sex. After the plans were blocked by the UK Government, he warned that Westminster should “never mess with Scottish transgender issues”.

In contrast to the approach taken by the Scottish courts and Ms Sturgeon to Bryson, previously known as Adam Graham, Police Scotland yesterday used male pronouns to describe Miller.

Ms Sturgeon has acknowledged Isla Bryson may be faking their trans identity - Police Scotland/Reuters
Ms Sturgeon has acknowledged Isla Bryson may be faking their trans identity - Police Scotland/Reuters

The approach also clashes with the views of trans activists who insist it is discriminatory to refer to trans women as male.

Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly insisted that allowing male-bodied people to become legally female simply by signing a declaration poses no risk to women and girls, or single sex spaces.

However, the claims have been undermined by the case of Bryson, who Ms Sturgeon has acknowledged may be faking their trans identity.

Four days after the UK Government announced it was blocking Ms Sturgeon’s Bill, due to fears the provisions would put women and girls in danger, Miller wrote on Facebook: “But the Transgender Policy. How can Westminster decide what we have decided?” He added: “When we decide in Scotland.. It works for us in Scotland.. Simple as that.”

In another post last month, they said: “Silly Billys in Westminster... Never mess with Scottish Transgender Issues.”

Miller was a butcher in Melrose until the start of the year, when he announced that the shop, Millers of Melrose, would not be reopening after “four generations and nearly 200 years in the trade”.

He had become a well-known figure in the rural community. “Transgender butchers in the Borders are not exactly common,” one customer said.

‘Andy changed his name’

“They couldn’t exactly deny it, but it isn’t a crime so people generally just accepted it.”

Another said: “It was about six years ago that Andy changed his name and started dressing and styling his hair as a female. There was shock amongst the shopkeepers when the transition happened.”

Police said on Monday that they were “very concerned” about the welfare of the girl, who went missing on Sunday after last being seen in Galashiels town centre.

Locals joined in a desperate search for the missing child, before police confirmed she had been found on Monday night and reunited with her family. The hunt involved searching rivers and involved a helicopter and mountain rescue teams.

Police then locked down a quiet cul-de-sac in Gattonside, around a 10 minute, three mile drive from where the child had last been seen.

“The police turned up last night,” a neighbour told the Scottish Sun on Tuesday. “We were told it was something to do with the missing girl but I didn’t see anyone coming or going.

“It’s very worrying to have this here, especially as a father of two young kids myself.”

As “Amy George”, the suspect posted in January 2020 that they were a “single woman, only interested in single women”.

‘I am Amy G Miller’

He regularly posted social media updates about running the butchers business which he described as a “proper butcher shop for four generations”.

He wrote in March 2020: “I’ve been butchering for 50 years personally now. 22 in Jedburgh, 28 in Melrose. I have won many awards in butchery and in cuisine cooking skills. I am Amy G Miller.”

As Andrew Miller, they wrote on Jan 3: “Many Thanks for all your wonderful wishes. The Shop in Melrose will Not be opening again as a Butchers Shop. 4 Generations and nearly 200 years in the trade is enough.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “A 53-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of an 11-year-old girl from Galashiels, who was reported missing on Sunday, 5 February.

“The girl was traced at a property in the Galashiels area around 9.30pm on Monday, 6 February. Enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.”

The force refused to say why it had referred to the suspect as a man.