Tyler Griffiths

Plaid has a transphobia problem

2021-03-14

Wales, much to my dissatisfaction, is part of TERF Island along with England and Scotland. Quite why such a transphobic, exclusionary philosophy should become so normalized here, I wish I knew. It's especially egregious when these views find their way into the movements that should be a well of hope for more meaningful equality, the Celtic independentist movements in Scotland and Wales.

Having been a member of Plaid for something like six years, it's eternally disappointing to see members of the top team continue to create scandal after scandal - speaking with known transphobic groups, and having the nerve to talk about all the great work done to protect trans rights whilst simultaneously misgendering trans people and painting them as an other, or as an enemy of women.

I'm not alone in these concerns - the Welsh nationalist trans community have had issue after issue with these ideas being apparently accepted or at least tolerated by the party, in spite of LGBT leadership, driving away potential voters and indeed promising candidates.

It may be true that these "special interest" issues aren't key to many voters. But if Plaid is willing to disregard the needs of trans folk in the name of electoral success, then what kind of party are we, really? How can we hope to build a newer, fairer, more inclusive Wales around a political vehicle that is willing to throw a minority group deeply in need of support under the bus in the name of political power and loyalty to top team members?

Given my roots within the Mid and West Wales electoral region, in the upcoming Senedd election I face a difficult choice on whether or not to assist the campaign of someone who has often worked against the trans community. Had HMJ been first in the Region, I could not in good conscience have asked my friends and loved ones to vote Plaid there -- though of course, my local Plaid Constituency candidate is deserving of everyone's full support. HMJ being placed second on the Regional List takes some of that weight off my moral shoulders, but as a lifelong supporter of Annibyniaeth I shouldn't have to choose between the party that represents Wales' best hope winning big in the Region and Llanelli, a major target and a symbolic victory, and recognition that trans rights are human rights.

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