Linda Gale Removed As Vic Greens Convenor After Internal Party Backlash To Transphobia
"The rights of trans and gender diverse people are not up for debate."
Linda Gale is no longer the Convenor of the Victorian Greens after many members of the party criticised her allegedly transphobic views last week.
Leader of the Victorian Greens Samantha Ratnam took to Twitter on Friday night to confirm that Gale is no longer in the position, and that a new election for convenor would be held.
“So many Greens supporters have joined our movement over the years because of our unwavering commitment to equality, including for trans and gender diverse people. Right now, those supporters are understandably very distressed & disappointed by what is happening in the party,” said Ratnam.
In a lengthy statement, Ratnam confirmed that the election for convenor had not correctly followed the rules, which she believes “materially impacted the outcome of the election”.
“Earlier this week, I took action under the party’s rules to have our recent election for convenor set aside, as the rules for the election weren’t followed correctly,” said Ratnam. “Specifically, candidates weren’t given the opportunity to communicate with members about their candidacy.”
Ultimately, the action was successful and Gale was removed from the position. While another election will be held for the position, Ratnam has urged Gale not to re-contest.
“The rights of trans and gender diverse people are not up for debate. To defend the use of trans-exclusionary language and allow debates about whether trans women should have access to the same spaces as cis women is to deny their very identities and right to equality,” said Ratnam. “There are limits to all debates. We don’t allow a debate on whether people of colour should have access to the same spaces as white people — because it’s racist. In the same way, the rights of trans people should not be debated — because it is transphobic.”
In a statement provided to the Guardian, Gale said she “honestly did not think [the piece she wrote in 2019] was transphobic” and refused to denounce the content.
“It was not a perfect document, and if I was writing it again in 2022, with the knowledge of all the debate and the conversations that I’ve had with trans persons in the interim, I probably would have written it differently, but the questions that it asked are still important questions,” said Gale. “Yes, it might have been more sensitively written, I suppose, but I don’t think it was the tone that concerned people, it was the content.”
The news comes after many high-profile members of the Greens including Janet Rice and Lidia Thorpe publicly called for Gale to step down from the role.