The Victorian Greens Have Been Hit With Another Transphobia Scandal
The Greens are in turmoil after multiple members of the party called out the transphobic views of newly elected State Convenor Linda Gale.
Port Phillip Deputy Mayor Tim Baxter called upon the party to “openly reject transphobia and “gender critical debate” in a series of tweets on Monday night, asserting that this is “just a subtler way to harm trans people”.
“I also call on those transphobes in positions of power within our party to consider their position. Our party should have no place for transphobes or transphobia,” said Baxter.
Gale is a known and long-time supporter of Vallins, co-authoring a document with Vallins that many found to be deeply transphobic, against trans-inclusionary policy discussions in the Greens in 2018. Here is an excerpt: pic.twitter.com/LtfTTzFobz
— Deputy Mayor Tim Baxter 🏳️🌈 (@BaxterTim) June 13, 2022
Gale’s election to the role of Convenor has prompted Greens Victoria Convenor Ricki Spencer — who is queer — to resign from her position in protest.
“If they want people like [Gale], and if that’s what the members choose to want, then okay, but then that’s perhaps not the best fit for somebody like me,” Spencer told Junkee.
“I’m not the only one, there’s other trans and gender non-conforming people who feel unwelcomed.”
Speaking with Junkee, Spencer alleged that she, as well as those who have supported her, have been targeted by transphobic hate from undisclosed members. While Gale’s election to the position was the final straw for her participation in various unpaid party positions, she stressed it was not this isolate incident alone that led to her decision. Junkee has reached out to Victorian Greens Leader Samantha Ratnam and Greens Leader Adam Bandt for comment on the allegations.
“I want people to understand that these things don’t just impact me, it’s got very little to do with me. I’m 53, I’m disabled, what can you do to me? But what it does is it impacts young, trans, gender-diverse people, people who are still frightened to come out to their families, this reinforces a culture of hate,” said Spencer.
Junkee understands that Spencer is not the only trans member of the Victorian Greens who has stepped down from their role as a result of alleged transphobia.
On Tuesday, Gale released a statement saying that “trans rights are non-negotiable” but did not denounce the paper she co-authored three years ago, or retract previous comments she has made.
“Trans rights are non-negotiable. All trans and gender diverse people are valid and deserve to live their lives free from harassment and discrimination. The role of the Convenor is to advance all Greens policies, and I will do so,” said Gale.
“As Convenor, I will uphold and fight for the right of trans and gender diverse people to live their authentic lives free from harassment and discrimination, just as I will fight for the rights of First Nations people, women, refugees, gay and lesbian people, people with disabilities, and people of colour. The Greens are committed to genuine social justice — a commitment I embrace wholeheartedly.”
Following her statement, many high-ranking members of the party have called on Gale to either explicitly reject the views she previously shared and apologise for the harm caused, or resign from her position.
Senator Janet Rice — one of the founding members of the Victorian Greens and a respected leader in the party — was one of the most vocal members of the party to condemn Gale’s behaviour.
Transphobia hurts people. It has no place in the Greens, where we have a platform of complete support for trans gender diverse & non-binary people. All our state& federal elected reps are staunch & outspoken supporters of the rights of trans &gender diverse folk
— Janet Rice (@janet_rice) June 14, 2022
Other members of the party, including Lidia Thorpe, Cate Faehrmann, Max Chandler-Mather, Mehreen Faruqi, and Jenny Leong are among those who have come out in support of Rice’s comments, with many echoing the call for Gale to publicly denounce her views or resign.
Transphobia has no place in Blak culture and no place in the @Greens.
Just like we fight racist and colonial oppression, we fight transphobia wherever we find it.
Our Brotherboys, Sistergirls and trans members and friends are loved. https://t.co/bwVDsoecw6
— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) June 15, 2022
I'm incredibly disheartened to hear that a candidate who has openly spread hateful and misinformed views about trans people was recently elected Convenor of the Victorian Greens. /1 https://t.co/k0bGdKuA9t
— Cate Faehrmann 🌏🐨 (@greencate) June 15, 2022
Trans rights are non-negotiable, and transphobia is unacceptable and causes terrible, terrible harm.
A collective, universal movement means everyone is welcome and accepted. And worth noting that some of the best organisers and doorknockers I know in Qld are trans. https://t.co/CJfCPNlsfI
— Max Chandler-Mather (@MChandlerMather) June 15, 2022
Powerful words from @janet_rice.
Transphobia has no place in the Greens – or anywhere.
In the recent federal election we were, appropriately, very forthright about having zero tolerance for transphobia in politics.
Ours should be a party where there is no room for transphobia. https://t.co/3OQ8YPEgJb
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) June 14, 2022
🙏🏽 Thank you Janet. Transphobia is never acceptable or excusable. I am so sorry for all those impacted by this. I promise to do all I can to ensure the Greens is a safe space for trans, gender diverse and non-binary people 🏳️⚧️ https://t.co/UBcoO7XHXV
— Jenny Leong MP 梁珍妮 (@jennyleong) June 14, 2022
This isn’t the first time the Victorian arm of the party has been forced to apologise for anti-trans comments this year, after Melbourne City councillor Rohan Leppert made comments that seemed to question trans identities and access to gender-affirming healthcare.
“In light of recent commentary by Cr Rohan Leppert, the Victorian Greens reject any suggestion that trans rights should be up for debate,” the party said in a statement in April. “We assure the community and our members that views questioning the identity of trans and gender diverse people and their access to gender-affirming healthcare are not representative of the position, policies and values of the Victorian Greens.”
Leppert is still a Greens Councillor at the time of publishing and has not made a statement regarding Gale, but has liked a number of tweets appearing to criticise Janet Rice for speaking out.
Junkee has reached out to Linda Gale to give her the opportunity to retract her previous comments and apologise to the trans community. She directed us to her initial statement.