Green Party sparks searing backlash after local branch says ‘gender-critical views are welcome’

A placard promoting the Green Party hangs from a lamppost ahead of the by-election on June 18, 2022 in Wakefield, England.

Pitchforks have been raised after a local arm of the Green Party released a statement that welcomed both “gender-critical” and pro-trans views.

The statement was posted on the Brent Green Party Twitter page on Wednesday (29 June) professing the acceptance that the party has for “a range of opinions”, while seemingly catering to none.

“Brent Green Party wishes to be a welcoming and safe place for all, including trans and non-binary people, and including those with a range of opinions including ‘gender-critical’ views and pro-trans rights views,” the statement read.

“We urge everyone in the Green Party to treat fellow members with respect and empathy including those with whom you have a difference of opinion.”

Users then took to the tweet to express their confusion at the party’s statement, with some pointing out the mutual exclusivity of both viewpoints.

One user said: “You can’t tolerate intolerance, all you’re doing is legitimising hate of trans people.” Another pointed out: “You can’t have it both ways. You can either be welcoming towards trans and non-binary people or welcoming of TERFs. The very notion that you’d try to accept both is ridiculous.”

The unanimous sentiment toward Brent Green Party’s statement for pro-LGBTQ+ activists and allies seems to be that “my rights aren’t a difference of opinion”, as one user said: “Do you respect a difference of opinions on the rights and validity of any other minority groups?”

“No. You wouldn’t be ’empathic’ to both racists and non-racists,” journalist Chris Scullion said. “Trans rights shouldn’t be something that’s up for debate, and you shouldn’t be entertaining the discriminatory, dehumanising arguments of those who believe it should.”

As one reply pointed out, the Council of Europe said it “condemns the highly prejudicial anti-gender, gender-critical and anti-trans narratives” which are “deeply damaging to LGBTI people, while also harming women’s and children’s rights and social cohesion”.

“Given your stance, I take it that Brent Greens are opposed to the Charter of European Political Parties for a non-racist and inclusive society?” the reply continued.

The continent’s leading human rights organisation voted to uphold a 2020 report in January 2022, named “combating rising hate against LGBTI people in Europe”, which said that “‘gender-critical views'” are a “challenge to democracy.”

“The rising hatred we are witnessing today is not simply an expression of individual prejudice, but the result of sustained and often well-organised attacks on the human rights of LGBTI people,” the council said in a resolution on the report.

Trans journalist James Stephanie Sterling also commented on the post, saying: “If you’re ‘welcoming’ to gender criticals, you’re hostile to trans and non-binary people. Simple as that. Would you say you want to welcome both gay people and homophobes? Sounds silly, right? It’s identical to this.”

The Green Party has had a strangely mixed history with LGBTQ+ rights activism. It has previously broken ground by being one of the first parties to introduce a non-binary candidate in a local election but has also had its fair share of internal anti-trans sentiments.

Former Green Party co-leader Siân Berry stepped down in July 2021 after believing there was a “failure” on trans rights in the party. The mayor of London hopeful said that “this inconsistency has left me in a very difficult position. I can no longer claim that the party speaks unequivocally, with one voice, on this issue.

“My conscience simply cannot agree with the argument that there is anything positive in sending these mixed messages, especially when the inclusive attitudes of our membership and wider society are clear,” Berry continued.

A spokesperson for the Greens told PinkNews that the party is “unequivocal in its support for trans rights”.

“We recognise that trans women are women, trans men are men, and that non-binary identities exist and are valid,” they said.

“Like all Green Party policy, our support for trans rights has been voted for by our members at party conference. As a democratic party, we respect free speech among our members, unless it infringes upon others’ human rights.”