Nathan Sparling

Nathan Sparling, a male drag queen aka Nancy Clench, was charged with an offence of voyeurism in March 2021. He is accused of taking a photograph of a man’s penis in his Edinburgh flat on September 30, 2019. Sparling pled not guilty and the trial date was set for 9 August, 2021.

Sparling, 30, is a former campaign manager for Angus Robertson (the Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader from 2007 to 2017) and was chief executive of HIV Scotland from December 2018 until December 2020.

Photo credit: Buzzfeed

*Update: April 2022*

The sheriff at Edinburgh Sheriff Court found the allegation (that Sparling had taken photographs on his friend’s own phone of him sleeping on Sparling’s couch with his underwear pulled down after he’d blacked out) be not proven, so Sparling walked free following a two day trial.

Media report that Sheriff John Cook found Sparling had taken the images but that the Crown had not supplied enough evidence to convict Sparling of breaching the Sexual Offences Act. He went on to describe Sparling’s actions as “reprehensible” but added he was not persuaded to convict him under the charge brought by the Crown.

In a thread on Twitter, the gay rights activist and film maker Malcolm Clark has detailed Sparling’s cosy relationships with the clique of Scottish politicians who support gender self-ID – and the untruths Sparling told about feminist politicians and activists who are challenging it.

The feminist barrister and SNP MP Joanna Cherry has also drawn attention to Sparling’s misogyny and untruthfulness

Following Nathan Sparling being replaced as the CEO of HIV Scotland in January 2022, the new CEO has undertaken an independent governance review following concerns over spending. Five board members have reportedly stepped down, while six out of seven staff have either resigned or been made redundant. Complaints were apparently previously raised with the independent regulator and registrar for Scotland’s charities, OSCR, about spending on consultant fees, meeting expenses and salary advances made to Nathan Sparling amounting to £11,000.

*Update October 2023*

Nathan Sparling, 33, pled not guilty to fraud charges at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in October 2023 and will stand trial in 2024.

HIV Scotland announced its closure earlier in 2023, having supported people with the condition for 30 years. The Daily Record reports that before it shut, HIV Scotland had received about £400,000 a year in funding, which included Scottish Government cash.

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