Petition part of ‘hate campaign’ says councillor

Coun Stephanie Dale. EMN-181112-170509001
Coun Stephanie Dale. EMN-181112-170509001

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

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

She commented on a thread discussing the new University of Reading professor Rosa Freedman who 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, rather than the specific news story referred to.

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 that the quote was taken out of context and not in reference to Professor Freedman, adding: “They’ve taken a snapshot of part comments, and used it against me to wage a hate campaign against transgender women.”

Coun Dale added: “There’s a concerted effort to prove that our identity (transgender) is invalidated and should remain that way.”

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, stating: “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.”