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Green Party politician makes grovelling apology after being accused of ‘promoting transphobic myths’

Vic Parsons February 13, 2020
Green Party candidate accused of promoting transphobic myths online

Green Party candidate for Surrey Heath Sharon Galliford made the comments in a Facebook post. (Facebook/Sharon4SurreyHeath)

A Green Party candidate accused of “promoting transphobic myths” after making comments about “the rampant promotion of transgenderism in young children” has offered her “unreserved apology”.

Sharon Galliford made the comments in a Facebook post on February 8 when she shared an article in the National Review headlined ‘Starbucksโ€™s Shameful Child Sex-Change Campaign’.

The article was referring to Starbucks’ advert on Channel 4, which shows a young trans man using his name for the first time when buying a coffee. Starbucks worked with trans kids charity Mermaids on the ad and is fundraising for Mermaids’ helpline by selling mermaid-tail cookies in UK stores.

“There are some very serious questions to be asked around the rampant promotion of transgenderism in young children,” said Galliford, who is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Surrey Heath.

“Safeguarding and expert psychological support and consultation are the very bare minimum that should be insisted upon. Mermaids’ reputation is that it has a different agenda.”

In a statement to PinkNews, Galliford said she wished to “unreservedly apologise for any distress caused by [her] recent post on Facebook”.

“I made assumptions in regard to the charity Mermaids and would like to apologise for sharing those in such a public way,” she said.

“I will be approaching Mermaids to request a meeting so that I can better understand their organisation and what they offer to trans and gender diverse children and young people.

“I have already arranged to meet with Surrey Pride which will be taking place next week.

“My genuine concern is that everyone receives the appropriate support they require in a timely manner, something that I am woefully aware the present system is wholly failing to do.”

Following the backlash from members of her own party, Galliford had already deleted the post on February 9.


Nannette Youssef, a Green Party city councillor for Nelson’s Ward in Norwich and the international officer for the Young Greens, previously said Galliford’s comments were “absolutely abhorrent”.

“Transphobia has no place in the Green Party and I stand in solidarity with Mermaids, who do incredible work,” she added, in a tweet that was liked by Green Party co-leader and London mayoral candidate Sian Berry.

At least one person also pointed out the similarity between Galliford’s comments about “the rampant promotion of transgenderism” and the language used in Margaret Thatcher’s homophobic legislation Section 28, a bill that barred “the promotion of homosexuality” in schools and public institutions.

“‘Rampant promotion of homosexua- wait, no, I meant transgenderism!’ Did this one fall out of the 1980s?” one person said.

The co-chairs of the Young Greens, Rosie Rawle and Tom Hazell, also condemned Galliford’s comments as “transphobic”, “outrageous” and “indefensible”.

Hazell added: “Mermaids do incredibly important work, and I’m ashamed that anyone in our party would deny that, as well as promoting transphobic myths about trans children.

“I hope Sharon Galliford renounces and apologises for the post and shows understanding about why it is harmful and wrong.”

 

Sharon Galliford’s now-deleted Facebook post. (Facebook/Screenshot)

Stephen Ireland, founder of Pride in Surrey, said: “Pride in Surrey has always and will always be fully inclusive. We are deeply saddened and shocked by Sharon Galliford’s remarks against the incredible charity Mermaids as well as our trans family members.

“We stand with Mermaids whose work of genderqueer/variant/trans young people is inspirational but also vital. One in three trans young people try to take their own lives (and those are only the ones we know about, it might be even higher) and Mermaids are desperately trying to change that and are absolutely saving lives.”

Ireland also invited Galliford to meet with Pride in Surrey so “we can educate you into how damaging your words are but also so you realise that your views are not that of those in Surrey Heath”.


A Green Party spokesperson said: “The Green Party recognises that there are many gender identities that are within, and outside of, the traditional gender binary of man and woman. The Green Party recognises that trans men are men, trans women are women, and that non-binary identities exist and are valid.

“We shall respect transgender and non-binary people’s identities as real. The Green Party shall include, and push for further acceptance of, transgender and non-binary people within all areas of society.”

 

 

More: green party, mermaids, Pride in Surrey, starbucks

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