Green Party leader Natalie Bennett apologises for Rupert Read's 'disappointing' comments about trans people

Read descibed trans women as an 'opt-in version of what it is to be a woman'

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Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has issued an apology for offensive comments made by Green candidate Rupert Read about trans people.

Cambridge parliamentary candidate Read said online that he found the word “cisgender” troubling and reportedly referred to trans women as “a sort of opt-in version of what it is to be a woman”.

Read later apologised and clarified his views with the following statement: “The tweet that was at the root of this chain of events has been over-interpreted. I am not ‘against' the word “cis”, or “cisgender" – I employ it myself sometimes.

“I do not and never have believed that being a trans woman manifests an '‘opt-in’' idea of what it is to be a woman. I invented the phrase only to discuss a hypothetical philosophical position that I was arguing against. I never applied it to trans women who typically do not experience their gender-identity as opt-in at all.

“I'm sorry that these points weren't clearer in what I wrote. I will be meeting with LGBT activists in Cambridge and leading trans people in the Green Party nationally soon, to listen further to their very valid concerns about some of the words I've used previously, and to seek to reach a better mutual understanding.”

 

Despite his apology, Bennett issued a statement with deputies Shahrar Ali and Amelia Womack condemning Read’s tweets and blog posts and laying out the party’s policy on LGBTIQ issues.

“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,” the leadership wrote.

“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 out party’s commitment to that cause,” the statement continued.

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

The Green Party is one of just a handful of political parties with openly trans candidates – Stella Gardiner in Bexleyheath and Crayford and Charlie Kiss in Islington South and Finsbury. Labour councillor Osh Gantly is currently the sole elected, openly trans politician in the UK.

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