Green Party is ‘no place’ for transphobia, insist leadership hopefuls

Green Party leadership candidates have come out in support of the LGBT+ community and are calling on politicians to do more to tackle rampant transphobia in the UK.

Carla Denyer, the Green Party’s candidate for Bristol West, is running with former deputy leader Adrian Ramsay on a joint ticket to lead the party after the departure of the party’s co-leaders Siân Berry and Jonathan Bartley. In an op-ed for PinkNews, the political hopefuls discuss why it’s so important for the UK leaders to champion LGBT+ rights and stand up against the attacks against the trans community. 

We’re standing together to be the next leaders of the Green Party. We’re doing that because we believe politics desperately needs more compassion and more climate justice.

If elected Carla would be the first bi person leading a major political party in England and we think it’s time for more representation at the top of our parties.

The Green Party has always led the way on LGBT+IQA+ rights. We’re both incredibly proud of that.

We were one of the first parties to include gay rights in our election manifesto. We were the first English party to back marriage equality. On a range of topics we’ve been a leading light, championing PrEP on the NHS and welcoming LGBTIQA+ refugees. And our manifesto at the last election was incredibly clear on supporting trans rights, from reforming the Gender Recognition Act to improving trans healthcare.

Currently the UK is in the grip of too many bitter culture wars and the Green Party is sadly not immune. Trans people now face bigotry and vilification in their everyday lives. Misinformation and false fears stoked on social media, in our political parties and in the press are so harmful and divisive.

When the narrative is dominated by those forces the consequences are clear. People get sucked into believing the worst about trans people. The lies, the half truths and the misrepresented demands.

As leaders we would see it as part of our responsibility to fix this. To fight for equality and champion social justice, as much as we champion environmental justice. We believe political education has a huge role to play. Giving people the space to hear LGBTIQA+ voices and experiences.

The Green Party can lead this charge, creating spaces where people can learn and engage. We want to support the party’s liberation and policy groups to facilitate workshops and training that help our members understand each other, party policy and our shared mission.

Jewish Greens have already modelled how this could work, with their virtual ‘roadshow’ workshop on antisemitism which they started touring to local parties earlier this year. This was an opportunity to ask questions in a carefully facilitated space where there is ‘no such thing as a stupid question’. We want to support more training and conversations like this, which allow people to learn, to share their lived experience and to relate to each other at a human level.

People get sucked into believing the worst about trans people. The lies, the half truths and the misrepresented demands.

Our goal is a movement free from racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, ageism, antisemitism or any kind of discrimination. A party that makes the most of everyone’s talents, respects lived experience and stands together for human rights and the environment.

And we hope every political party can see the value in doing the same.

We also recognise that sometimes training and discussion might not be enough. We have to be clear: abuse and harassment have no place in our movement. It is not acceptable, in any context.

We need to properly resource our party’s disciplinary committee so everyone has confidence in the process. We want to end the long delays in decision making and to provide adequate training and resourcing to those volunteering in these incredibly important roles.

Every political party has to do better on this front. People lose faith in politics when they see bigotry and hate speech go unchallenged.

Ultimately we would love to see LGBTIQA+ rights not be a party political issue and in Scotland we’ve got a brilliant example of that. The SNP and the Scottish Greens have come together to ban conversion therapy, reform the Gender Recognition Act and invest in preventing gender based violence. That’s our ambition for progressive politics in England and Wales.

Because, despite the rhetoric, the Conservatives continue to let us all down. The wait times for Gender Identity Clinics are a disgrace. The wait for them to ban conversion therapy drags on. And the broken promises over the Gender Recognition Act only helped stoke more transphobia.

We put ourselves forward to be leaders because we believe we desperately need a vibrant Green Party. One that is winning elections and pushing through progressive policies in local, regional and national politics. One that has the platform to demand both climate justice and social justice. Just like we see in Scotland.

For those who share our vision and want to vote in the leadership election you can do so by joining the Green Party before 27th August.

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