Greens magazine article by Jill Abigail causes controversy over gender-identity comments

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson. Photo credit: Newshub.

An article published in the Greens magazine Te Awa has caused controversy within the party. 

Penned by long-time Green Party member Jill Abigail, the article has been accused of being transphobic. 

Abigail's article came as a response to an earlier piece written by Jan Logie, which stated the importance of pushing for rights and freedoms for transgender people.

"We continue to push for progress on LGBTQI+ freedoms, and resist the backlash that's trying to undermine our trans and gender diverse whanau and roll back their hard-won rights," Logie wrote.

But Abigail challenged Logie's view, questioning, "who is this 'we' in this statement?"

"I am a lesbian, supposedly under their umbrella, but I am part of the backlash."

She went on to say: "If the Greens caucus is acting on policy that feelings of gender identity over-ride biological sex, then some of us older feminists in the party have strong concerns about its implications."

Although admitting that "trans people are a vulnerable group" who can "now justly claim their right to be treated with equal respect", she said many feminists were also concerned about protecting the sex-based rights of women and girls. 

"Sex-based rights include the right to female-only spaces and activities," she said. 

The view she defended was in opposition to that expressed by trans rights activists, who, Abigail said, "argue that if a man says he feels like a woman, he is one. Women must accept him as one, even when he retains his male bodily features".

According to NZME, the article was taken down after a week after complaints by Green Party members.

"We regret that the article was published without a response or right of reply from the affected community, and that our party policy wasn't made clear," a spokesperson for the party told NZME.

"The Green Party upholds the value of diversity and inclusion and we want to reassure members of this."

Logie responded to the article in a Facebook post, writing, that "just in case anyone is wondering", the party's policy was to give "support for transexual, genderqueer and intersex".

"This beautiful world we live in is complex and diversity is essential for the survival of the planet. People can't be reduced to binaries. We have an urgent human rights challenge to realise the rights of trans and non-binary people."

"I don't think it's in any way acceptable to suggest those rights threaten anyone else."

Marama Davidson, the party's co-leader, shared Logie's Facebook post, adding, "I apologise for the harm caused by this piece. We are actively working on resolving this."