Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Green Party Transphobia – The Silence is Deafening.

The Green Party seems to be indulging in some very old, establishment-style political activity in response to revelations about its emerging endemic transphobia.

To recap, the Green Party has;
  • A former high-profile parliamentary candidate in the last election supporting those who consider trans people’s existence is up for “debate”.
  • A current parliamentary candidate and principal party donor keen to “debate” trans people’s existence and who appears to support TERF ideas.
  • An elected London Assembly Member retweeting a prominent TERF and displaying transphobic attitudes
  • A local party Youth Section supporting their candidate making transphobic statements
  • A party member who has made highly transphobic remarks on social media, but who has supposedly “left the party”.

Let us be clear, these are prominent figures in the Green Party. The Green Party has only one MP, and its leader has recently started to become known, so an elected London Assembly Member, in a paid job, is relatively speaking, as senior as any member of the current cabinet (indeed in remuneration terms, he is their second most senior politician). Likewise with one of the party’s top 10 donors. These are not wayward, isolated party footsoldiers with no influence on party policy, these are senior Greens.

This is what makes the Green Party’s transphobia much more scary. This is coming from upper levels of the party hierarchy. These are the people who will carry out Green Policy, who will decide on the party’s election strategy and priorities.  These are not insignificant people, they carry considerable weight within the party. The Green party seems to be adopting a “hide-and-hope-it-all-goes-away.” Approach.

The question to ask is; does this mean the Greens have something to hide or does it mean they are unable or unwilling to deal with the party’s clear problems?

When faced with a problem of this kind the establishment political parties, especially the Tories, adopt a two-layered strategy;

Firstly they pretend it is an “isolated individual”. The “lone maverick” approach. When this turns out not to be the case, the subsequent strategy is to refuse to talk about it. You can see this when, for example there is some bad economic data; George Osborne is nowhere to be seen. This media silence is an attempt to kill a story in the media when it cannot be resolved.  It hides the problem rather than deals with it.

This is what the Green Party seems to be doing; hiding the problem, sweeping its transphobes under the carpet ordering them to be silent until such time as their voices will not affect their vote.  This is unsatisfactory from the point of view of trans people, particularly since the Green have promoted themselves as the party that is at the forefront of promoting trans rights. As a trans person I can only conclude that the Green have slipped from claiming to be the most trans-friendly party to competing with Ukip for being the most transphobic.

Scary times.

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