A Gender Critical Green History: 2015-2021

Introduction

This is a chronology of gender-related events in the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) from 2015 to date. It has been written by Robbie Spence with help from other Gender Critical Greens and covers:

  • Suppression of free speech
  • Denial of women’s rights
  • Denial of women’s life experience and the biology of sex

Key

GC = Gender Critical

GI or GIE = Gender Ideologue or Gender Ideology Extremist

GPEW = Green Party of England and Wales

GPEx = Green Party Executive Committee

GPW = Green Party Women

NVC = Nonviolent Communication

SOPD = Standing Orders for Party Discipline

TRA = trans rights activist

A note on the term ‘trans rights activist’ (TRA)

Rather than refer to trans rights activists (TRAs), I prefer to speak of gender ideologues or gender ideology extremists, as I believe that better describes the people with whom we (in the Gender Critical Greens) are in conflict. Along with other Gender Critical Greens, I support trans rights too, just not all the ones that are advocated by the gender ideology extremists!

2015

  • January 2015: Rupert Read, a leading member of GPEW, and then Parliamentary candidate for Cambridge, wrote an article questioning whether anyone who was of one sex could become a person of the opposite sex. He was subjected to a multi-member vendetta accusing him of “transphobia”. He felt forced to recant like a medieval heretic. 
  • Spring Conference 2015 passed a policy motion to remove “spousal veto”, the first noticeable step in the gender ideology extremist agenda.
  • Autumn Conference 2015:
    • Shan Oakes, then Equality and Diversity officer on GPEx, was allegedly attacked at conference for “not supporting trans rights”
    • Some pro-gender ideology motions were passed.

2016

  • 2016-2018: Some Party members feel bullied into silence and fear being accused of “transphobia” as Rupert Read had been.
  • Autumn Conference 2016 passed policy motion on “TWAW/TMAM”.
  • Green Party Women’s rules altered to treat transwomen as women.

2017

Spring Conference 2017: calls for ‘necessary and proportionate’ religious exemptions to be scrapped where they conflict with gender ideology policy.

2018

  • 2018 onwards: re-assertion of women’s rights, biological evidence etc.
  • Spring Conference 2018: gender ideology extremists push through some subtle changes to the SOPD that result in vexatious complaints increasing.
  • July 2018: GPEW member Olivia Palmer was expelled for ‘transphobic abuse’ during May 2018 Channel 4 ‘Genderquake’ programme, directed at Munroe Bergdorf, a male bodied ‘transwoman’. See:
  • Autumn Conference 2018 (Bristol)
    • A handful of Fair Play for Women activists picketed GPEW conference about the government consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and handed out leaflets opposing the reform. Police on horseback allegedly attended in response to a complaint by GPEW leaders.
    • A local councillor told the police that the women were allowed to hand out leaflets outside the venue, which was council property: GPEW had only hired the inside of city hall for their private event, so they were not allowed to control anyone peacefully picketing outside.
    • Conference organisers ensured that the Fair Play for Women leaflets were not on display inside the venue.

2019

  • Gender critical women gain control of GPW
  • GE2019 GPEW manifesto removed climate policies, as reported by Dee Searle: “The [2019] manifesto was finalised by the group that had removed the climate policies. Green Party Regional Council (which was the body with official sign-off responsibilities) was given around 24 hours to approve an 88-page document. This enabled the leadership to insert favoured commitments (such as transgender people being able to change their legal gender based on self-identification, which is not Green Party policy) and weaken inconvenient ones.” [emphasis added]
  • ‘Listening circles’ at Autumn Conf in Newport: ‘Listening Circles’ were proposed to resolve conflict between GC and gender ideology extremist factions. But they did not take place, allegedly because the LGBTIQA+ group and/or the gender ideology extremists refused to engage.

2020

  • Following the ‘Listening Circles’ fiasco, another attempt was made at the annual Policyfest weekend in January 2020 to resolve conflict between GC and gender ideology extremist factions. GPEW engaged two experienced trainers and mediators in Nonviolent Communication (NVC). GPEW put forward various nominees on either side to be interviewed by the NVC trainers.  
  • Some of those who took part found it unhelpful. They said that the basic premise was that, if you just talk about your own needs and hopes, and ask the other party what their needs and hopes are, you would be able to find common ground. This turned the discussion into an individualistic one and effectively meant that you couldn’t talk about women’s rights, only about your own needs; you couldn’t say women were oppressed as a class, only something like, “I feel oppressed by my feeling that you assume that I am worth less than you”.
  • In fairness to the NVC trainers, it seems that the problems were too great to be resolved in one Policyfest weekend and the dialogue should have been just the start of a much longer and deeper process.
  • For various reasons the attempts at dialogue were not taken further that year (nor since). This was partly because one of the main drivers of the attempts at dialogue, John Woodhead, resigned and left GPEW in early 2020.
  • Autumn Conference online. For the first time ever, the GPEW conference was a virtual and not an IRL experience. It was on Zoom with a separate online voting tool. It was dogged by technical problems.
  • GPW elections, Oct to Dec 2020. GPW elections were set aside on a technicality and had to be re-run. For the GC feminists, Emma Bateman, the previous co-chair, stood again and won. But her running mate as co-chair, Rebecca Johnson, lost out to Kathryn Bristow, a male-bodied transwoman, who had the support of Sian Berry and Amelia Womack. The gender identity extremist candidates won a bare majority of GPW committee positions, putting gender ideology extremists in overall control of the GPW committee.

2021

  • Spring Conference: Out of a membership of over 50,000, fewer than one per cent voted at the conference. Voting was generally split as to 58% Gender Ideologist versus 42% Gender Critical voters. Thus it was that:
  • Gender Self-ID was voted in as party policy: only 493 people voted, of whom 281 were in favour.
  • A motion proposing that the party should support women’s sex-based rights in accordance with the United Nations CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) agreement was voted down.  Only 491 people voted, or whom 289 people voted against women’s rights, and the motion failed. 
  • There were overtures to attempt further dialogue between gender ideologist and gender critical factions. But they did not amount to much.
  • Almost as soon as Spring Conference was over, Emma Bateman, Co-Chair of GPW, was suspended for transphobia. Here is her Tweet:  “@EmmaBatemanGPW  16 Mar 2021  On March 8th, International Women’s Day, I was suspended from the Green Party following a complaint by 2 fellow GPW committee members Because I queried whether trans women are female. Green Party policy is that ‘trans women are women’. Now we must agree that they are also female.”
  • Dom Armstrong, GP Councillor in Sunderland, resigned on 11 March 2021. He was elected in 2019 as Sunderland City Council’s first-ever Green councillor. He wrote in his letter of resignation: “I am also dismayed by the fact that a co chair of our women‘s committee is a biological male, who works for a company (Gender GP) that in 2018 was found guilty of illegally supplying puberty blockers to children as young as ten. The Green Party are not concerned by this, in fact this person holds another FOUR senior party roles, and gloats on social media when some women (who they are meant to represent) feel so uncomfortable about this, they leave the party.”
  • Green Party Strike on 18 March: days after Emma Bateman was suspended, Bridgwater and West Somerset Green Party went on strike, demanding that she be re-instated.
  • July: Kathryn Bristow declared faeself (sic) to be sole chair of GPW and locked the internal members-only Green Party women discussion space from comments by other members:
  • GPEW Co-Leaders resign on 5 and 14 July respectively:
    • On 14 July, Siân Berry, his joint co-leader, resigned too. She cited an “inconsistency” between the party’s promises and actions on trans rights. Berry’s decision came after the party selected Shahrar Ali, the party’s former deputy leader, as the spokesperson for policing and domestic safety. According to Pink News “Ali was heavily criticised after he embraced definitions of women that exclude trans and intersex women from womanhood.”

The resulting leadership elections, as well as this year’s round of elections to GPEx, the Green Party Executive Committee, took place in August and September. The leadership result is due out today. Watch this space!

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