Trade union official condemned for saying gender law means people will self-define as George Clooney

paul embery profile with tweet twitter

A senior trade union official has been condemned for a series of “transphobic” tweets.

Paul Embery‏, an executive council member of the Fire Brigade Union, tweeted the remarks after learning about the government’s move to reform transgender laws.

Equalities Minister Justine Greening announced proposals on Sunday to streamline and de-medicalise the process for changing gender.

Justine Greening getty


The current law requires trans people to pass a number of bureaucratic hurdles, wait two years and to submit to medical tests in order to change their legal gender.

Embery wrote: “Coming next: short people may identify as tall, fat people may identify as thin, and ugly people may pretend to be George Clooney.”

A Stonewall spokesperson condemned Embery’s remarks, saying: “Unfortunately, comments like this underline how much work there is still to be done to make trans equality a reality.

“Trans people continue to be subjected to horrendous abuse and unfair treatment.

“We’re working hard to help achieve social and legal equality for trans people so they are free to live their lives and be accepted for who they are.”

Embery defended his view, tweeting to PinkNews journalist Benjamin Butterworth that “forcing society to recognise someone as one gender when he/she maintains the anatomy of another is ludicrous.


“Sorry if that upsets you,” he added.

The trade union official, who also later called the proposals “absurd,” is not only prominent figure who has struggled with the idea of trans people gaining more rights.

Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the left-wing New Statesman, wrote in The Times today: “In this climate, who would challenge someone with a beard exposing their penis in a women’s changing room?”

Similar arguments – about how trans people might abuse the ability to use their bathroom of choice – have been used to battle against trans rights in the US.

On Sunday, as the UK government was making its announcement about the reforming the Gender Recognition Act, the Texas Senate State Affair Committee passed Senate Bill 3.

The Bill forces people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Embery tweeted his message above a screenshot of the Sunday Times article which drew criticism for its report of the government’s proposals.

Tim Shipman and Jason Allardyce wrote: “Adults will be able to change their gender legally without a doctor’s diagnosis under government plans that will transform British society.

“Men will be able to identify themselves as women – and women as men – and have their birth certificates altered to record their new gender.”

Women would identify as women – and men as men – under the new plans, which acknowledge trans rights.

The Fire Brigade Union had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

London chair Gareth Beeton said he had not seen the tweets in question, and therefore would not be giving a comment.