During Monday night’s full council meeting in Newham, the leader of the Green Party, Danny Keeling, who identifies as non-binary, left the meeting after being repeatedly misgendered by Labour councillors.
Keeling had been speaking out against the budget plans proposed by Newham Labour when council chairman Winston Vaughan referred to “them” as “he”.
Despite Mr Vaughan’s subsequent apology, in which he again misgendered Keeling, they were once again misgendered by council finance lead Zulfiqar Ali, prompting Keeling to walk out of the meeting.
In response, Keeling accused their colleagues of discrimination and workplace bullying, stating that such behaviour should never occur, especially during LGBT+ history month.
Fellow Green councillor Nate Higgins pleaded with the chair and the monitoring officer to make the council chamber a safe space for trans and non-binary members.
Keeling’s speech marked the first opposition speech at a Newham full council meeting in over a decade, following the Green Party’s two-seat win in the local elections last May, unseating the previously fully Labour administration.