First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon announced on Wednesday plans to resign following backlash and outrage over radical transgender legislation that allowed a biological male convicted of rape to be sent to a female prison, the New York Post reported.
Sturgeon, a member of the Scottish National Party and supporter of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom, has served eight years in office.
“Is carrying on right for me?” Sturgeon said. “And more important, is me carrying on right for my country, my party, and for the independence cause I have spent my life fighting for?”
The first minister said she “reached the difficult conclusion that it’s not.”
During her surprise announcement, 52-year-old Sturgeon declared she was “proud” to have been “the first female and longest-serving” first minister.
Sturgeon, who has recently been embroiled in controversy after pushing for “Gender Recognition Reform,” denied that her resignation was due to public pressure and outrage regarding the controversial transgender law.
The gender legislation, which was passed in December, allowed anyone over 16 years of age to change gender identity without requiring a medical diagnosis for gender dysphoria.
The LGBT+ community applauded the law, referring to it as “a big step forward” for the community.
However, many were enraged after the policy allowed a Scottish biological male convicted of raping two women to identify as female and serve his sentence in a women’s prison.
“For every person in Scotland who loves me, there is another who, let’s say, might not be quite so enthusiastic,” Sturgeon stated, referring to her critics.
She said resigning was a “really hard” decision that was “not a reaction to short-term pressures.”
Sturgeon insisted that she “will always be” a feminist, “but I will also stand up for any stigmatized, discriminated against, marginalized and vulnerable group in society.”
She cited the “brutality” of the position, which “takes its toll on you,” as her reason for stepping down.
“Giving absolutely everything of yourself to this job is the only way to do it,” Sturgeon said. “But in truth, that can only be done by anyone for so long. For me it is now in danger of becoming too long.”
Her resignation came as a shock, considering that just last month, Sturgeon said in an interview with the BBC that she had “plenty in the tank” and was “nowhere near ready” to step down from her leadership position.
On Wednesday, Sturgeon announced that she would resign once her successor is in place, but she plans to remain in Parliament.
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