The first openly

Open Democracy wrings its open democratic hands over the tragedy of a man who identifies as a woman being deselected as a candidate for office.

Kathryn Bristow was named on 8 March as a Green Party candidate for the UK’s 2021 local government elections – the first openly trans woman to be put forward by a political party in Bristol City. But less than two weeks later the party formally suspended her and selected another candidate, who was not trans, to run in her place.

Here’s the thing: political parties should not be putting trans women forward for political office, because trans women are simply men (who call themselves women), and its women who need more representation, not men, no matter what they call themselves. Naming yet another man as a candidate for office is not a progressive milestone just because he “identifies as” a woman.

Bristow said she repeatedly asked the party to review its suspension decision in time for her to run in the local government elections, but it failed to do so.

“Having the chance to be a councillor meant so much to me, and it being taken away was a lot,” she told openDemocracy. “I got into politics to help people, that’s why I wanted to be a councillor […] to help local residents.”

But the same applies to women. If Bristow were really a woman he would understand that.

She described worsening mental health symptoms and “feelings of helplessness” since her suspension: “Things have been getting better lately, but it’s still a massive hit to my sense of well-being.”

See: women, passim.

“Being the first openly trans woman to be selected as a candidate by a political party for Bristol City elections had great importance not only to me, but also to the trans community,” Bristow explained in her court claim.

But also to the women’s community, who are seeing our few gains disappearing into the pockets of men who claim to be women.

A member of the LGBTIQA+ Greens, who spoke to openDemocracy on condition of anonymity, said the regional council “have huge questions to answer about their decision-making and whether or not they’re unfairly targeting inclusive people”.

Wut? What does “targeting inclusive people” mean?

In December 2020, Bristow was elected co-chair of Green Party Women (a party subgroup that represents the priorities of women party members), prompting what the LGBTIQ news website PinkNews described as a “transphobic backlash“ including from “a very small number of people” in the party. In an official statement at the time, the Green Party said its support for trans rights was “unequivocal”.

Yes those oh so unreasonable people who think chairs of Green Party Women should be women. Why is it that these stupid bitches don’t want men taking everything women have? Are they demon-possessed, or what?

A Green Party spokesperson told openDemocracy that they “do not comment on individual disciplinary matters”, but added: “The Green Party recognises that trans men are men, trans women are women, and that non-binary identities exist and are valid.”

That’s sad, because trans women are men, trans men are women, and “non-binary identities” mean nothing at all.

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