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First openly genderqueer Plaid Cymru candidate resigns, claiming party ‘platforms transphobia’ 

Lily Wakefield March 7, 2021
Former Plaid Cymru candidate Owen Hurcum

Owen Hurcum was the was the first genderqueer Plaid Cymru candidate, before their resignation. (Facebook/ Owen Hurcum)

The first-ever genderqueer Plaid Cymru candidate for the Welsh Parliament elections has stepped down, claiming that the party “platforms transphobia”. 

Owen Hurcum, who identifies as genderqueer and agender, is currently deputy mayor of Bangor and was fourth on Plaid Cymru’s list for North Wales for the Senedd elections in May.

But this week Hurcum claimed they “cannot in good conscience stand as a candidate for Plaid whilst they continue to platform a candidate who has promoted, and continues to promote, transphobia”.

Their comments referenced Senedd member Helen Mary Jones, a “gender-critical feminist”, who previously tweeted that she is “concerned, like many people including trans people, about the possible impacts of the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act and the rights of women and girls”.

Jones, who is member of the Senedd for Mid and West Wales, has previously insisted that she is “not anti-trans”, but openly supports the anti-trans pressure group Woman’s Place UK, and even spoke at one of its events.

According to the BBC, at the event Jones offensively questioned whether a rise in the number of “women and girls wanting to transition to the opposite sex” was caused by social media.

Having stepped down, Hurcum wants the party to begin a disciplinary process against Jones, and is calling for either her resignation or a “sincere” apology to the trans community.

They told the BBC: “I want Helen Mary Jones to apologise in a way that is not ‘I’m sorry you’re offended’.

“I want a sincere apology and I want her to make an effort to learn about the community and understand why she’s perpetrating transphobia.

“If she doesn’t resign, she at the very least needs to make it very clear that she’s sorry and very clear that she’s learning and Adam Price as the leader of the party needs to make it very clear not just that Plaid have a great set of policies for if they’re in government, but are also tackling transphobia within their own party immediately.

“If Adam Price can make a public statement that disciplinary procedures are starting, that would be appreciated.”

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price previously told BBC One Politics Wales that “action has been taken” over Jones’ comments, but insisted: “Any issue which is a disciplinary matter is not a matter for me.”

He added: “I expect every candidate standing in this election to support the manifesto and Helen Mary has confirmed to me that she supports that commitment in terms of trans equality and I expect nothing less from any candidate standing in this election.”

Plaid Cymru said in a statement that it had a “clear and unequivocal policy, backed by its National Council, that trans people have the inalienable right to live free from prejudice, discrimination and persecution”.

Plaid Cymru and Helen Mary Jones have been approached for comment by PinkNews.

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