TWO COUNCILLORS endured a harrowing barrage of abuse after making a case for Oxford City Council to be more inclusive for transgender and non-binary people. 

Councillor Chris Jarivs (Green, St Mary's) detailed an extensive list of abusive comments seen online after a motion put forward by Councillor Lucy Pegg (Green, Donnington) called for “all council services… to provide appropriate service and good customer care to suit transgender and non-binary people” with an aim of helping them “to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives”.

Training for councillors and council staff to raise awareness of the difficulties transgender and non-binary people face is to be “strongly” encouraged with a review of all documents to make them trans and non-binary inclusive where possible.

The inclusion of pronouns to email signatures and providing gender neutral toilets in council buildings are also recommended with a commitment to work to ensure transgender and non-binary people are not discriminated against or meet barriers whilst accessing homelessness and healthcare services.

There is also an agreement to fly the transgender flag on International Trans Day of Visibility on March 31.


All aspects of the motion were voted through without objection and the speeches introducing it were roundly applauded in the council chamber. 

However, the spectre of online abuse loomed large ahead of the meeting. 

Cllr Jarvis said: “In the past 48 hours we have seen a wave of online abuse following media coverage of this motion that I think illustrates why it is so important. 

“Both myself and Councillor Pegg have been referred to as morons, creepy and as engaging in scary stuff.

“We have been described as being part of a sinister totalitarian cult, of being determined to shove gender ideology down everyone’s throats and being part of the ‘trans-Taliban’.

“One person has asked the council to tell me to take a long walk off a short pier. The motion has been described as fascist, totally pathetic and concerned of the sexual wants of the mostly middle-class male fetishists.

“It has been suggested the only difficulty facing non-binary people is self-imposed victimisation and that non-binary people almost always have severe mental illness.

“Trans people have been described as wanting a fast track to council housing over other marginalised groups and a fast track for services we all wait for.

“This is just the smallest snippet of the abuse and discrmination that trans and non-binary people face day in, day out. 

“I first came out as non-binary in 2013 and at the time, that was met with mostly confusion and indifference. There was barely a flutter of hostility.

“We are in the midst of a manufactured moral panic about trans and non-binary people and it is putting their wellbeing and safety under threat. 

“Just like in the 1980s, the right-wing press and the Tories whipped up fear, hatred and misunderstanding about lesbian, gay or bisexual people, we are seeing the exact same forces attacking the LGBT community and our institutions today. 

“Oxford should be a beacon of inclusivity and safety for all.”

After all measures were accepted, Councillor Pegg said: “Thank you so much for the outpouring of support, it is amazing and I really hope trans people out there can hear this.”


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