Trigger Warning: This Story Covers and Mentions Transphobia which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQIA+ support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
Linda Gale has been removed as The Greens Victoria convenor after being elected on the 11th of June to fill a casual vacancy for the party. After the election, multiple Greens members took to social media to protest Gale’s election. Some staff members within The Greens Victoria Party resigned from their positions in protest, calling for her removal. The reasoning behind this? Her transphobic views, that go against The Greens Victoria ethos. The Greens work hard on transgender rights and work toward eliminating the main issues Transgender and non-gender conforming people face within Australia.
In 2019 Linda Gale co-authored a paper with Nina Vallins. The transphobic piece of writing criticises The Green’s inclusion of Trans Rights in their policies. The duo claim that by The Greens party fighting for Trans Rights, they are ultimately making it a party that has no place for feminists. Statements like these are not only problematic, but they are also very uneducated. This is a prime example of ‘White Feminism’ that dominates society and the media.
There is no alternative now but for Linda Gale to resign as convenor of the Victorian Greens. My statement: https://t.co/TbwCQlQUg0
— Dr Tim Read MP (@TimRRead) June 16, 2022
This brand of feminism stems from a time when white women were the only ones who ‘could’ fight for gender equality. So it ultimately left out and oppressed every other woman who isn’t white, straight, CIS and wealthy. Feminism without intersectionality is just the patriarchy through female mouths. The patriarchy is rooted in racism, sexism, homophobia, Transphobia and ableism. Due to this, it further oppresses women who belong to these communities – in a space that is meant to fight for their rights.
Fighting for Universal Rights
Essentially, to be a real feminist or someone who is fighting for equality, you need to be fighting for everyone’s rights. This includes the rights of trans people and gender non-conforming people and focusing on the specific issues they face. So, according to their ethos, The Greens party is a place for Feminists, but not a place for bigots.
Rejection and Protest
Statements like the one from Gale is a case of trying to fearmonger people. To frame Transgender rights as a threat to society.. And I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will, is not true. Enough from me, what do other people in parliament and politics have to say about Linda Gale?
Port Phillip Deputy Mayor Tim Baxter posts on Twitter to call upon Greens Party members to openly reject transphobia. This, and gender-critical debates that are subtle forms of transphobia. Here is a summation of Tim Baxter’s posts on Twitter:
“Gale’s (Narrow) victory sends a clear message to all members of the victorian greens: Trans People are not safe in this party…. Gale is a known and a long-time supporter of Vallin’s… There are a small number of institutionally powerful people in the Greens, who hold transphobic views, and have been fighting to silence trans members and allies in the party.
Ricki Spencer Greens Victoria Convenor, who is a transgender Non-binary person, resigned from their position in protest. In an interview with Junkee, Spencer states,
“If they want people like [Gale], and if that’s what the members choose to want, then okay, but then that’s perhaps not the best fit for somebody like me… I’m not the only one, there’s other trans and gender non-conforming people who feel unwelcomed.”
A Hidden Jargon of Language
They also speak about being a target for transphobic hate and comments from undisclosed members. Also, that Linda Gale being elected as a convenor was the final straw. On Twitter, they have pinned the following statement from the 16th of June 2022:
“Transphobia is hidden in the jargon of language disguised as a call to respect all views but, its own assertion fuels and legitimates a culture of hate by those that seek to oppress us” – Ricki Spencer Twitter @rickspencer68
Samantha Ratnam is the upper house Victorian MP and parliamentary leader of the greens in victoria. She reveals that she has taken action under the party’s rules to have the results of Linda Gale’s election overturned. Ratnam also reveals that she was against Gale running for convenor from the beginning. She even told Gale that she shouldn’t. Ratnam also states on Twitter that she has applied for the result to be set aside; as other candidates had not been given the opportunity to communicate with members about their candidacy. She believes this significantly impacted the outcome of the election. Ratman further states,
“Right now, those supporters are understandably very distressed and disappointed by what is happening in the party…In positions of leadership, our personal views do matter. People need to trust that we can support and protect them at all times. I stand with our trans and gender-diverse communities. I will fight for you always.” – Samantha Ratnam twitter @SamanthaRatnam
Intentions, Policies and Outward Views
For many people who aren’t ‘into’ politics, it’s very surprising that a leftist party includes any bigotry, as at surface level left politics fight for human rights. This is why we all need to read up on a party’s intentions, actions, policies and their leader’s outward views. This may impact policies and party decisions.
Another example of Transphobia within the Victorian branch of the greens, is from earlier this year. Melbourne City Councillor Rohan Leppert was called out for anti-trans comments that seem to question trans identities and access to gender-confirming surgery.
The Greens issued a statement that expresses that they don’t share the same views as Rohan Leppert. But, that all people can feel confident that The Greens party don’t let their personal beliefs affect their policies. At this point in time, Rohan Leppert is still a Green Councillor and hasn’t said anything about the Linda Gale issue. Though on Twitter, he is liking and interacting with posts that criticise Janet Rice for speaking out and condemning Gale’s actions.
At this point in time, The Greens Victoria hasn’t announced who will be replacing Linda Gale as Convenor.
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