Sleaford

Transgender councillor says petition for her resignation is ‘hate campaign’

Campaigners have set up a petition to sack a Sleaford Town councillor in a row over proposed gender law changes – a move dubbed by its target as a “hate campaign”.

Councillor Stephanie Dale, Lincolnshire’s first transgender councillor, found herself at the centre of a Twitter storm this weekend.

She waded into a thread discussing the news University of Reading professor Rosa Freedman had suffered abuse and harassment for speaking against aspects of the proposed Gender Recognition Act.

Responding to tweets directed at her, she aired her views, she says, on wider transgender legal issues.

Councillor Dale has been rebuked in the petition for responding to one question with: “When you persistently back people into a corner, they’re gonna lash out […] Poke a hornets nest long enough, you’ll get stung!”

She argued however that the quote was taken out of context and not in reference to Professor Freedman, accusing the creator and supporters of ‘running a hate campaign against transgender women’.

The petition was set up by Dr Louise Moody, research associate at the University of York.

She accuses Labour councillor Stephanie Dale of violating the Sleaford Town Council Code of Conduct, by failing to be ‘objective’.

The petition has so far reached more than 800 signatures.

“Clearly, publicly stating that Professor Freedman ‘poke(d) a hornets nest’ and, by implication, deserves retribution in the form of verbal and physical abuse, is neither acting objectively nor treating a member of the public with respect.”

Councillor Dale told the Local Democracy Reporting service: “They’ve taken a snapshot of part comments, and used it against me to wage a hate campaign against transgender women.”

Councillor Dales argued that she was replying to the wider argument, rather than the specific news-story referred to.