Green Party leader ‘disappointed’ by candidate’s comments about trans people

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Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has apologised, after Green candidate Rupert Read made controversial comments about transgender women.

The prospective parliamentary candidate for Cambridge had come under fire for tweets and blog posts in which he said he was troubled by the use of the word ‘cisgender’ to refer to people who aren’t transgender.

He also referred to trans women as “a sort of ‘opt-in’ version of what it is to be a woman”, and claimed it was “not the state’s business” if women opted to discriminate against trans people.

Mr Read later apologised for his remarks.

The Green Party leadership issued a joint statement to PinkNews today condemning the candidate’s remarks.

Green leader Natalie Bennett – alongside deputies Amelia Womack and Shahrar Ali – told PinkNews: “As leaders of the Green Party we wish to state our disappointment with the comments made by Rupert Read and express our sympathies with anyone who was hurt or offended by his remarks.

“We are pleased that Rupert Read has issued a full apology and hope that his meetings with LGBTIQ groups will help to repair some of the upset that has been caused.

“The Green Party is wholly committed to fighting for equality and fair representation for all transgender and LGBTIQ communities and we wish to reiterate and reaffirm our party’s commitment to that cause.

“We now want to do all we can to move forward positively and continue the important job of standing up for LGBTIQ rights.”

A statement from the Green Party Women’s Group added: “We reiterate the sentiment of the Green Party’s leaders in response to these comments from Cambridge parliamentary candidate; Rupert Read.

“We were deeply concerned that Rupert Read’s comments could promote misunderstanding of trans issues, and of modern feminism. Green Party Women considers feminism which excludes trans people to be an extremist fringe, with no place in the Green party, or the wider feminist movement.

“The feminist movement cannot succeed without paying attention to all aspects of inequality. We welcome all women with open arms, and defer to trans women in issues of particular relevance to them.

“We hope this incident serves as a reminder for all our future candidates of the importance of being informed about issues of oppression.

“We will continue to work to ensure the party fights for inclusive feminism, and that all our candidates and members are briefed on the issues of all women.”