A Public Apology by Rupert Read

I’m sorry. I apologise unreservedly for the real and genuine offence and hurt caused by my tweets and my previous writing. I’m sorry, especially, for the hurt caused to transgender people, who remain sorely oppressed in our society today.

Life is a journey towards understanding, and I clearly need to spend more time than I already have done listening to transgender people, and if anyone would like spare the time to share their experiences and explain what I and fellow Greens can do to help them I would be grateful for that opportunity. I am taking the LGBTIQ Greens up in their offer extended in their statement, of engaging with them to come to understand better.

I am deeply sorry for the offence and hurt caused by the manner in which I have spoken about all this. I take responsibility for that.

The Green Party believes unequivocally in feminism, queer rights, and trans rights, principles I believe in absolutely. Opposing the ongoing horrifying discrimination faced by trans people is absolutely vital, and I am proud to be in a party which has a long history of doing just that. I apologise for the way in which my comments have got in the way of this.

I will listen to what those who have been hurt by what I’ve said are saying, and I hope to learn from the whole affair, and to improve my understanding of these matters.

7 thoughts on “A Public Apology by Rupert Read”

  1. This is an excellent first step. Thank you. Some reassurance from the Green Party itself that it takes such issues very seriously would go a long way too… but on the assumption that you will indeed take the LGBTIQ Greens up on their offer and listen to other trans people too, I honestly feel that you, personally, could do little more to make this right.

    I still have reservations with regards to the wider Green Party, but provisionally speaking, you personally have earned my respect and have my grattitude. This is however, just a big first step, and one that takes a lot of good character to make. It was made slowly and painfully in the end, but it was made none the less.

  2. Recently becoming aware of the Green party and its other policies, at 30 years old I have been seriously considering voting for the first time in my life. The deep contempt other parties have always shown towards women like myself mean they were never worth considering.

    Thank you, you have prevented me from making that mistake.

  3. The fact that you insulted us transwomen, or even that you apologise for insulting us, is much less important than the fact that your views, if put into practice, would expose us to public humiliation and put us in PHYSICAL DANGER. Your so-called “apology” doesn’t address your original anti-trans argument – that trans-women should not expect to be allowed to use “women’s spaces” (public toilets, etc.) – and I have seen no indication that you have reversed your position on the basic practical transgender-rights issue.

    This isn’t just a matter of clumsy wording and apologies – it’s an attack on the right of transgender people to live on a day-to-day basis in society with dignity and in safety. If we allow your trans-exclusionary principles to stop transwomen from using women’s toilets, what do you and the other Greens who support you propose we should do instead?
    * Pee our pants?
    * Stay at home and never go out – exclude ourselves from living freely in society like other people?
    * Publicly “out” ourselves and face humiliation plus risk of serious assault by using the men’s toilets?

    Yes, there are a tiny number of cis-women who are frightened of transwomen and think we are some sort of “male threat”, and this includes not only the religious far-right, but also the handful of radical feminists who seem to have duped you into your original anti-trans stance. However, thank God, here in the UK the vast majority of feminists, and women in general, support, rather than attack, transwomen’s right to be treated like other women, and do not see us as freaks to be excluded.

    Imagine if you and the Green Party said this sort of thing about any other women … there are, of course, also a tiny number of women who feel threatened by the presence of lesbians, black women etc. For any gender-identity, sexual orientation, race or religion, you can find some bigoted people who dislike them or consider them “dangerous”. Do you or the Green party suggest that, because of the existence of these bigots, lesbians and black women should “negotiate with women over access access to women’s spaces”? And do you say we all (lesbians, transwomen, and black women) should be left to pee our pants if the bigots don’t agree to let us in? Of course not – and a supposedly “progressive” movement like the Greens shouldn’t let itself be a party to this sort of bigotry against any of us.

    So, beyond treating this as an apology for clumsy wording, please address the basic issue. We need you and the Green Party to start to clearly support, in practical terms as well as in principle, the rights of transgender people to live in society with dignity, fair treatment, and physical safety. Please start by supporting the day-to-day right you were previously undermining – the right to use a public loo without fear of harassment, arrest, or assault. Then you can go on to other practical matters of transgender rights such as the number of murders, suicides, rapes and other serious assaults, and solitary confinement caused by your trans-exclusionary friends’ influence to keep transwomen out of female prisons.

  4. I think that the ‘hurt caused to transgender people’ you allegedly caused isn’t quite so severe as they make out. In fact, this constant evolution of language makes it inevitable that you’ll eventually say something that offends someone if you don’t have the time to keep up with the ‘correct’ terminology.

    I find it an incredibly frustrating distraction from far more severe issues. You’ve done nothing wrong. Complete turn off from Green politics if this is really the kind of thing that people get bogged down with.

  5. Tina; I’m currently engaged in a listening process to trans people, to make sure that I don’t mess up again in future. But I will just say that I’ve just read this, and thought it very useful. You’re probably already aware of it, but I hadn’t read this particular piece before:

  6. Hey Rupert. I wrote this a little earlier but I think you accidentally missed it when moderating the other comments:

    It’s a difficult line you’re being asked to tread. Personally, I would state that gender is something that people experience very differently. I would also elicit advice from feminist groups, as well as LGBT+ groups. As any feminist will tell you, gender discrimination affects all women negatively, yet our voices are increasingly unheard in a scramble to demonstrate understanding and empathy with the trans population. Our gender discrimination is rooted in being born into the reproductive class, whether we choose to reproduce or not. So whichever terminology is deployed, there is a material difference between trans women and other women and this should not be ignored in efforts to create a single definition of ‘a woman’. For in doing that, many of the root causes of oppression will go unchallenged

  7. That link, to a webpage on the “public washroom debate”, from an American source, is about the current state of affairs in the USA, where there are strong attacks, similar to yours, against transgender rights of access. That page makes points AGAINST the position you have taken, and it suggests advancing things to about the level we already have in the UK. The level of transgender rights in the USA is far behind what we have in the UK – in the USA it’s at about the level you have proposed for us – the Americans, like you and your anti-trans friends, still think it’s a “debate” about whether transwomen should “permitted” to use public loos.

    Thankfully, we are more advanced than that in this country, and we don’t want to be pushed back, by anti-trans proposals like yours, to the state where we have to “debate” about the right to use the toilet or other “women’s spaces”. Why do you not simply renounce and retract your attacks on transwomen’s rights to live our everyday lives like everyone else? Stop treating us as second-class citizens – treat us as women, full stop, and therefore entitled to use “women’s spaces” including toilets.

    I repeat the core equal-rights question that you have ignored – would you even entertain the suggestion that there’s valid “debate” about whether any other group of women should be allowed to use women’s toilets? If you found some women saying they didn’t feel comfortable around lesbians and didn’t want them using public toilets, would you listen to those people for even an instant? Would you post something about the “debate” over whether lesbians should be allowed to use women’s public toilets? No, of course not – you wouldn’t treat lesbians differently from other women, and you would be mortified by the anyone’s bigoted suggestion that you should. So stop treating transwomen differently from other women. No more transphobic “debate” – acknowledge our rights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *