Senior Greens speak out against transphobia in Victorian branch

Members and supporters of The Greens have raised concerns over the election of Victoria’s new convener, highlighting their past of speaking out against trans and gender diverse people.

Linda Gale was elected to the position over the weekend, filling a casual vacancy for the position. Greens members have spoken out against Gale’s appointment, pointing to a document from 2019 opposing a trans-focused workshop.

“If the purpose of this workshop is to develop a proposal for a State Council decree that statements such as ‘There are two sexes,’ ‘The science is not conclusive,’ ‘This is an active debate in feminism,’ ‘Shutting down debate is censorship,’ or ‘Trans women aren’t the same as biological women,’ are banned within the Greens and would constitute behaviour worthy of censure, suspension or expulsion, this is totally contrary to a Greens ethos which encourages robust debate and the development of policy based on real evidence,” the document co-authored by Gale and Nina Vallins reads.

Vallins was suspended from the party in 2021 after the Misconduct Panel for the Victorian branch found she had been vilifying and discriminating against members based on gender identity. Ahead of her suspension, the co-authored document had been criticised by the convenors of the time as inconsistent with the party’s values.

Greens members at all levels have been vocal in their support of trans and gender diverse Australians since Gale’s election on the weekend. Dissenters include federal senators Mehreen Faruqi and Lidia Thorpe, new lower house MPs Max Chandler-Mather and Stephen Bates, and Greens LGBTQIA+ spokesperson Janet Rice.

“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,” Senator Rice tweeted.

“Today Linda Gale as Victorian Convenor made a statement that included that trans rights are non-negotiable. She said that she would uphold & fight for the right of TGD people to live their authentic lives free from harassment and discrimination. I welcome these sentiments.”

“Until Linda distances herself from this 2019 paper, people will read her statement from today as being hollow. I call on Linda to explicitly reject the views she outlined in the 2019 paper, and apologise for the harm her statements have caused.”

On Tuesday, Gale published a statement to the Greens website, stating that 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,” Gale’s statement read.

“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.”

“I appreciate the trust that AGV members have shown in me by electing me as Convenor, and I look forward to working alongside my fellow members, including trans and gender diverse members to build an effective, inclusive and powerful movement.”

Greens federal leader Adam Bandt is yet to comment on the issue.

Leigh Andrew Hill

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