Bad frame

Trans rows are splitting the Greens, the Times says.

…the Green Party has now been accused of neglecting its core aims after becoming so embroiled in arguments about gender that three prominent members are suing over the issue.

The trio allege they were disciplined, abused and even assaulted over their views on trans rights. 

Wait. That’s not the right way to frame it. That makes it sound as if dissenters want to remove actual rights from trans people. We don’t. The point is that there are endless wild claims about putative trans rights that aren’t rights at all, for anyone. I don’t have any right to force people to agree that I’m a tree or a tank or a jar of marmalade. Trans people should have all the rights the rest of us do.

The former deputy leader Shahrar Ali, the former Green Party Women co-chairwoman Emma Bateman and the former executive committee member Dawn Furness are taking legal action against the party, alleging that their views led to smears and suspensions.

Ali, Bateman and Furness have begun separate legal claims amid allegations that the party typically associated with peaceful protest and social justice has become a “deeply hostile environment” for anybody who “dares to question” the rights of transgender people. The Green Party’s official stance is that “trans women are women” and “trans men are men”.

Again, those are two different things. A definition is not the same thing as a right. We disagree with the Green Party’s official stance that trans women are women, but that’s a factual disagreement, not a disagreement over rights. It’s only if you decide that there’s a “right” to force people to agree with absurd new counterfactual definitions that the dispute becomes about rights. Let’s not assume that, ok?

While lauded as a policy of acceptance, it has been questioned by others who claim that “as a party of science” on the climate change issue, it lacks credibility if it “can’t define between a man and a woman”.

More muddle. Acceptance is one thing, definition is another. It’s “distinguish between,” not “define between.” The meaning I suppose is that insisting that men can be women equals acceptance of trans women, but it’s important to do all the steps. The discourse on this subject is chaotic enough already without making it worse.

Last week Alison Teal, 56, who had been selected to stand as a Green Party MP at the next election, was suspended by party headquarters after she posted on social media calling for a “discussion” and linking supporting trans women to the “loss of women’s rights”.

Teal said she was “shocked” by her no-fault suspension, which she feels is “becoming a distraction”. She said: “For the Green Party, with the climate and biodiversity crisis, it doesn’t make sense for us to be stuck on the identity politics issue.”

But narcissism doesn’t care about your stinkin’ climate crisis: this is about authentic selves.

Ali, 53, the Green Party’s deputy leader between 2014 and 2016, based in London, was sacked as spokesman on policing and domestic issues in February after questioning its stance on trans rights.

Rights? I doubt that. I think he questions its stance on definitions, demands, punishments. If the writer (Glen Keogh) could manage to say “definitions of rights” or the like, I wouldn’t object, but just referring to “trans rights” and saying critics oppose them is highly misleading.

Bateman, who joined the Greens in 2009, says she was “aggressively shut down” when she tried to question the party’s stance on trans rights. She has been suspended twice.

Sigh. Not trans rights; putative trans rights.

“Gender ideology is wrecking the party,” Bateman said. “The reason I have taken this legal action is we are losing all credibility. We are the party of science, where our base policies are on climate change. If we can’t answer ‘what is a woman?’ we lose all credibility.”

See? She didn’t say “If we can’t take away trans rights”; she said “If we can’t answer ‘what is a woman?’” That’s a different thing.

Last year Sian Berry, a vocal supporter of trans rights, quit as leader, citing conflict over the transgender debate. She said she could “no longer make the claim that the party speaks unequivocally, with one voice, on this issue.”


Maybe it’s the Green Party statement that got the reporter off on the wrong track.

A spokesman for the Green Party said: “We do not comment on individual disciplinary cases.

“The Green Party is clear that trans rights are human rights.”

But what are trans rights? Of course the GP doesn’t say, just as Finn Mackay didn’t say.

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