Non-binary councillor storms out of chamber after being shamefully misgendered

Danny Keeling

A non-binary Green Party councillor on a London borough council has stormed out of a meeting after being repeatedly misgendered — just a month after a motion passed to support the trans community.

The incident happened when Newham councillor Danny Keeling, who uses they/them pronouns, was speaking against Labour’s budget plans at a full council meeting on Monday (February 27) at Stratford Olympic Park.

It marked the first time a leader of the opposition speech had been read at a full council meeting in more than 16 years, with the borough being staunchly Labour held during that time. 

Keeling, who is Newham’s first openly non-binary councillor, was repeatedly misgendered by Labour council chairperson Winston Vaughan, who referred to Keeling as “he”. 

Vaughan apologised to Keeling but continued to misgender the Green councillor: “I’ve been informed that I’ve been misrepresenting the councillor. 

“I should have said ‘them’ rather than ‘he’. So I do apologise for that. And I think that’s what affected him, is it? Them, sorry. So my apologies to him. To them. Sorry.”

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Keeling was then again misgendered by council finance lead Zulfiqar Ali, which prompted them to walk out of the meeting altogether. 

Speaking with PinkNews, Keeling said incidents of misgendering have been taking place for “weeks and weeks, meeting after meeting” where several councillors “never use the correct pronouns whatsoever”. 

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The incident comes just a month after the previous full council meeting where the council passed a trans rights motion which sought to “affirm to residents that the council stands with them”.

“In that speech I explode at the council and I say enough is enough. This place is institutionally transphobic, I’ve been abused and insulted enough in this place, and I wouldn’t have it anymore,” the non-binary councillor said. 

When speaking with PinkNews, Keeling described how the council and its Labour party say they are “committed” to undertaking internal training in relation to trans matters.

“I hear a lot of things from Newham Labour and a lot of the time it’s all talk from no substance,” they added. 

Danny Keeling addressing the chamber on Monday (supplied)

Taking to Twitter following the incident, Keeling wrote: “I get I am leader of the opposition however discriminating against me is unacceptable and action needs taking by the Labour group.

“Discrimination in the workplace and workplace bullying should never happen. These meetings are public and live streamed, what message does this send in LGBT+ history month. 

“I’ll be honest this is why I did not attend raising the progress flag – there is no progress here.”

On Tuesday (February 28), they added to the tweet thread by writing: “I am leader of the opposition in a borough with the most amount of trans people in the country – I stand up for their rights as I was elected to do so. 

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“Everyone deserves respect in the workplace and the chamber should be safe for a trans person if elected.”

Newham Labour has been contacted for comment by PinkNews but has yet to respond.

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