Tory politician insists he doesn’t have ‘any criticism’ of LGBT+ people despite sharing ‘transphobic’ Greta Thunberg meme
A top Tory councillor has denied accusations of transphobia after sharing an offensive Greta Thunberg meme on Facebook.
Councillor Stewart Miller is leader of the Conservative group on East Renfrewshire Council, a senior position representing both his party and community.
Despite this, he deemed it appropriate to share a photo of 17-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg stating that her generation couldn’t decide “whether you’re a boy, or girl or ‘other’.”
The photo was captioned with Thunberg’s famous quote, “My generation will start a revolution.” Below this were the words: “Your generation can’t work 40 hours in a week, can’t decide whether you’re a boy, or girl or ‘other’ or can’t eat meat without crying.”
Miller added: “Haven’t heard much fae the wee lassie fae Sveeeden. Perhaps my coos are not the worst things on the planet after all.”
It is strange that the councillor would appear to position himself at odds with the environmental activist, considering that he is a member of the East Renfrewshire Renewable Energy Fund – something which Thunberg herself campaigns for.
The post has now been deleted, although Miller claims to stand by it and believes it was “actually politically correct”.
It was flagged by one of his constituents, who said the senior councillor was setting “the wrong example”.
“I can only imagine he thinks that Facebook post is funny but, in my view, it is transphobic – and I’m sure members of the LGBT+ community will be far from amused either,” they told Barrhead News.
“As one of his constituents, I expect my councillors to hold themselves to higher standards than this.”
Miller attracted strong criticism from Stonewall Scotland, which agreed that elected representatives should hold themselves to higher standards.
“People in positions of political power have a responsibility to champion everyone they represent, which includes LGBT+ people,” said Colin Macfarlane, a director at Stonewall Scotland.
“Jokes about trans people’s identities are hurtful. Trans people need and deserve acceptance and equality. We should all be focused on tackling prejudices and achieving acceptance without exception for all LGBT+ people.”
In response to the complaints Miller appeared to distance himself from the pejorative sentiment of the meme he shared, focusing mainly on his written comment about Greta Thunberg and his cows.
He told Barrhead News:”My comment is wholly restricted to the fact that there has been a deafening silence from the young lady from Sweden while the world comes to terms with the current situation and that perhaps cattle might not be the biggest scourge on the planet today, despite all the things that have been said.
“The post, that had been copied, far from being transphobic was actually politically correct inasmuch as it stated that some people thought of themselves as male or female but others thought of themselves differently, hence the reference to ‘others’.”
Although he included several laughing emojis with his original post, he claimed: “Personally, I didn’t find this funny as it had a very serious message as we were about to enter lockdown at that time and Ms Thunberg’s message might be lost with the coronavirus pandemic taking up all the news.”
PinkNews contacted councillor Miller, who avoided any mention of the meme, instead focusing solely on his written comment.
He reiterated: “I don’t have any criticism of Ms Thunberg or the LGBT+ community.
“If read properly, my comments were that because of the current coronavirus situation, we hadn’t heard much from her and I hoped that by highlighting that, her message would not be lost.
“Following press reports yesterday, which tried to put a critical spin on my comments, I have had overwhelming support from my friends within the LGBT+ community, which I particularly appreciate.”