Auckland Transport employee under fire for 'transphobic' comment in LGBTQ Facebook group

An Auckland Transport (AT) employee is under fire for posting an offensive comment in an LGBTQI+ community group on Facebook, with a fellow staffer branding the remark "absolutely disgusting".

The comment, which has since been deleted, was in response to a post regarding the Green Party's petition to urgently ban conversion therapy - a harmful practice that attempts to convert an individual's sexuality or gender identity through various interventions. The post, shared to the Rainbow Auckland Networking Group on Facebook, encouraged members to sign the petition, which achieved 100,000 signatures in just 48 hours.

Screenshots shared to social media allege the AT employee had commented: "Be careful… there's some elements of the trans agenda being sneakily promoted through this campaign."

A tweet containing screenshots of the comment.
A tweet containing screenshots of the comment. Photo credit: Twitter / Screengrab

The comment was quickly picked up on Twitter, with one AT staffer expressing his "disgust" and desire to be moved to a new team.

"I'm absolutely disgusted to discover that this transphobic comment is coming from [a] recently appointed manager at Auckland Transport," the staffer wrote alongside a retweet of the screenshots.

"I've emailed our Executive Manager directly, requesting that this is addressed immediately, and I am moved into a new team as soon as possible."

Auckland Transport employee under fire for 'transphobic' comment in LGBTQ Facebook group
Photo credit: @johnage / Twitter / Screengrab

A spokesperson for AT confirmed to Newshub that the agency is aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, but declined to provide any information on the staffer. 

"Auckland Transport has received a number of messages about comments made by a staff member in a private capacity on social media," the spokesperson told Newshub on Wednesday morning.

"We are looking into the matter in conjunction with AT's policies, processes and organisation values. 

"As this is a private employment issue AT is not in a position to make further comment."

It's understood the AT employee in question is a former politician and gay rights activist.

The incident has attracted outrage on social media, with an ambassador for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation tweeting that he had emailed two members of AT's executive team to complain about the comment.

"I'm so sorry that you have to work alongside somebody who takes this kind of a stance," he wote.

"If I'd have known they worked for AT earlier I would have sent an email as soon as I'd seen it!"

An administrator of the Rainbow Auckland Networking Group, Rohan Fozzy, confirmed in a tweet that he had deleted the offensive comment.

"I've removed the comment as this violates our group's rules," he said.

"I apologise for other people's behaviour and will be making a post regarding this unbelievable behaviour from members within our community."