Conservative councillor keeps job after tweet calling non-binary people mentally ill
A Conservative councillor who “characterised transgender people as mentally ill” with a retweet will keep his position despite breaching his council’s code.
Dominic Boeck resigned from his role as West Berkshire Council’s head of health after an investigation ruled against him, but will stay on as a councillor.
The news comes just days after it was revealed that Richard Smith, a councillor in Ferryhill, County Durham, would face no action for anti-LGBT posts including one which said gay people were “worthy of death.”
Boeck faced an investigation after retweeting a post which said: “There are two genders but three options; 1 Male 2 Female 3 Mental Disorder. You’re welcome.”
Speaking to PinkNews, Boeck said that the retweet was “inadvertent,” adding that he “didn’t mean to retweet the offensive and wrong comment that was part of a larger thread.”
The councillor, whose ward is Aldermaston in rural Berkshire, still has several other retweets on his page from the BrexitTory account which posted the anti-trans tweet.
There are two genders but three options;
3 Mental Disorder
Feminist Professor Ejects Student from Class for Stating There are Only Two Genders https://t.co/OdXh0sv2DC
— BrexitTory (@BrexitTory_) March 16, 2018
He stood by this decision, saying that the other posts were about other political issues, before adding: “I made a mistake.”
Boeck insisted that when it came to the account’s anti-trans stances, “I don’t share those views. I absolutely don’t.
“I’ve apologised for that mistake on Twitter, in public meetings and through the press on more than one occasion.”
In April, he wrote on Twitter: “I resolve to look closer at tweets before I retweet them and I regret any offence I may have given in this way. I absolutely do not believe that anyone with gender issues is mentally ill.
“I do believe without doubt that people of any gender and sexual orientation must be respected and I will make sure my behaviour online and off reflects that,” he added.
Boeck told PinkNews: “I hope that anyone in my ward – being a ward member, you’re pretty well-known, especially in the rural ward I represent, and I’m sure people will have seen my apology.”
But Labour said that the council’s decision was “inadequate,” the BBC has reported.
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In his complaint on behalf of Newbury’s Labour Party, Thomas Tunney accused Boeck of “publicly [expressing] endorsement for opinions that are deliberately designed to undermine transgender people and paint them as mentally ill, worthy of ridicule simply by dint of their appearance.”
The council’s ethics committee said Boeck “did not intend to cause offence and that the thread was retweeted inadvertently”.