Green Party councillor under fire for ‘hairy-arsed blokes’ transgender comments
A councillor on the Isle of Wight has been condemned by local LGBT+ activists for comments she made about transgender people.
Green Party councillor Jean Bartrum, who was elected to Cowes Town Council in 2017, wrote a series of posts on her Facebook page discussing the recent government consultation on the reform to the Gender Recognition Act, which seeks to ease the process by which trans people gain legal recognition.
Across dozens of comments, which were flagged on social media last week by Isle of Wight Pride trustee Matt Bundy, Bartrum raises concerns about the consultation, claiming that transgender men are “not a problem at all as they are respectful” but “transwomen have a mans stance on sex really,” and “hormones donr [sic] seem to make that much difference regarding libido.”
“Trans people may well have self ID driving licences but I will be damned if some hairy arse bloke walks into my female changing room at the gym,” Bartrum wrote in one post.
The local politician also remarked that the changes are “not well thought out,” claiming that one girl saw a “big bloke in trunks go into the ladies changing [sic] and never went back.”
She added that “Just because you wear a dress does not mean you are a woman,” continuing: “If you have a penis then its the gents isn’t it?”
Her comments have been challenged by Isle of Wight Pride.
In a statement on Facebook, the Pride organisers said: “We are saddened by this. We openly encourage and support debate and education and engagement, but certain words used, are emotive, divisive and in no way conducive towards a positive conversation.
“We stand by our trans family in the face of hatred.”
Local news outlet Isle of Wight County Press reported that the local politician’s husband Roger Bartrum, who is also a councillor, performs as drag queen Patsy Cabaret.
The Isle of Wight Green Party has stuck by Bartrum, with chair Daniel Jones telling the Isle of Wight County Press: “Light-hearted comments on a personal Facebook page should not be taken as representative of her views, the Green Party or Cowes Town Council.”
Isle of Wight Pride challenged the suggestion that the comments, made across several discussions on transgender rights, were intended to be “light-hearted.”
Pride organisers added: “We are disappointed that the Island Green Party have called the comments ‘light hearted’ which trivialises the issues our Trans community face on a daily basis.
“We loved the support of the Green Party of England and Wales this year at IWPride and are supportive of Caroline Lucas’s recent campaign for compassion in politics. This is much needed.
“We hope that the GRA reform takes a step forwards despite these misinformed views. Sending love to all our Trans family ❤️.”
Jean Bartrum told the Isle of Wight County Press: “I’m sorry to hear someone is upset. I passionately support LGBTIQA+ rights.
“I have marched with gay and and trans people in Pride both here and on the mainland many times, and will continue to campaign against hate crime in my local community.”
Isle of Wight Pride was first launched in 2017, in a bid to challenge persistent conservative views on the small island off of England’s south coast, which has a population of 141,000.
The island’s Conservative MP of 16 years Andrew Turner was forced to quit in April 2017 after telling school children that homosexuality is “dangerous to society” during a discussion about plans for the inaugural Pride event.
Another local politician on the Isle of Wight proposed the hiring of bathroom attendants in 2016 to keep homosexuals and pigeons out of public toilets. He later retracted the comments.
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Actress Emma Thompson famously upset Isle of Wight residents in 2010 after joking that they stone gay people and shoot the Irish.
She made the quip when TV host Craig Ferguson described Santa Catalina, an island off the California coast, as “kind of like the Isle of Wight.”
She joked: “Oh, so they stone homosexuals there? Nice.
“I think they are still allowed to flog them, which of course some of them enjoy. I think they are allowed to shoot Irish or Scottish people if they arrive on the island – it is still in the rules.
“They are allowed to torture people. It’s lovely, you should go.”