The misgendered councillor: a very modern farce

A council meeting in Newham has laid bare the nonsense of nonbinary.

Fraser Myers

Fraser Myers
Deputy editor

Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

If you want to get a sense of the entitlement of the trans movement, then look no further than the farce that unfolded at a council meeting last night in Newham, east London.

Newham’s Green Party leader, Danny Keeling, stormed out of the meeting in a huff. He was supposed to be leading the opposition to the local Labour council’s budget, but his mind was apparently distracted by far more serious matters: two Labour councillors repeatedly referred to him using ‘he / him’ pronouns, and he identifies as a ‘they / them’.

According to the trans movement, there are few offences more vile than the failure to use a person’s preferred pronouns. This act of ‘misgendering’ is viewed as a direct assault on a trans or nonbinary person’s chosen identity and sense of themselves. And so it invariably invites a hostile response.

After he fled the meeting, Keeling tweeted to accuse the two councillors, council chairman Winston Vaughan and finance lead Zulfiqar Ali, of ‘discrimination’ and ‘bullying’. A fellow Green councillor also chastised the chair for failing to make the meeting ‘a safe space for trans and nonbinary members’.

No one can really fault the two councillors here. Footage of the meeting makes it clear that they actually tried their best to respect Keeling’s identity. But, even as the council leader apologised, he couldn’t help but ‘misgender’ Keeling all over again.

‘I’ve been informed that I’ve been misrepresenting the councillor’, Vaughan said after Keeling walked out. ‘I should have said “them” rather than “he”. So I do apologise for that. And I think that’s what affected him, is it? Them, sorry. So my apologies to him. To them. Sorry.’

— Laurie Wastell (@L_Wastell) February 28, 2023

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you pick your own pronouns then you are going to be ‘misgendered’. Clearly, even people you might expect to be trans allies, including Labour Party politicians, are struggling with ‘they / them’ pronouns. To call a singular person ‘they’ simply does not compute with how most people use language and grammar, or how they see the world.

The councillors’ apologies won’t cut it, of course. The trans movement does not tolerate even minor slip-ups. Anyone who so much as accidentally refers to a they / them as a man, even when they are very obviously male, will be called out and punished.

Just look at the outrage that pours out on social media whenever nonbinary singer Sam Smith is called a ‘he’. Legions of trans allies have gone after anyone, from Richard Madeley to Noel Gallagher, who has dared to refer to Smith as a man.

No, the trans movement insists that we must always play by its language rules. It wants to force us all to go along with its fantasy that people can change sex, or not have a biological sex at all.

Still, if the Newham ‘misgendering’ incident is anything to go by, most people are struggling to keep up the pretence.

Fraser Myers is deputy editor at spiked and host of the spiked podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @FraserMyers

Picture by: YouTube / Newham Council.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Identity Politics Politics UK


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