A councillor has apologised and been removed from a role on the council for liking and retweeting social media posts that have been described as transphobic.

Alison Thomson was among the new intake of Labour councillors at the local elections in May, being elected in Regency ward on Brighton and Hove City Council by just one vote over her Green rival Ricky Perrin.

A transgender resident in her ward, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Argus he was left feeling “extremely concerned” by the posts she had shared and liked on social media, which had left him uncomfortable contacting her about issues in the area.

Among the posts highlighted by the resident was a quote which Cllr Thomson retweeted before she was announced as a candidate. It is attributed to Australian writer Germaine Greer, which read: “Just because you lop off your penis and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a woman. I could ask my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and then put on a brown coat but that won’t turn me into a f***ing cocker spaniel.”

The councillor has since apologised “unreservedly” for the posts and has been removed from her role in city centre renewal on the city council.

The Argus: A post shared by Cllr Thomson including a quote from Germaine GreerA post shared by Cllr Thomson including a quote from Germaine Greer (Image: X)

Cllr Thomson also retweeted a post that used the hashtag #transwomenaremen and another which described trans women as “males who believe they are women”, described as a “common transphobic trope” by Brighton trans activists.

The resident said: “As a trans man, I now fear contacting my councillor with issues I am having due to the views she’s expressed.

“Everyone, including trans people, should feel comfortable that they will be supported and represented by their councillors, but this is not possible when they express these kinds of views which do not support equality. Labour in the recent election claimed to be supportive of LGBTQ+ rights, but with a councillor like this, I feel deceived.

“These posts are clearly transphobic but targeted at trans women particularly.

“The attitudes and behaviours shown by Cllr Thomson seem completely out of step with the way Brighton and Hove generally is.

“This city has for the most part felt hugely accepting to me and events like Trans Pride have been really validating.

“There are numerous posts by her which are completely at odds with the accepting and supportive environment Brighton and Hove generally provides to the trans community.”

Trans activist groups expressed their anger at Cllr Thomson’s posts.

The Brighton Dyke Collective said those tweets "are vitriolic and dehumanising to a minority already facing immense prejudice and discrimination from the press and government.”

Cllr Alison Thomson has now said she apologised “unreservedly” for “endorsing these social media posts which contain anti-trans sentiments”.

She said: “I recognise that they are offensive to the transgender community and I am deeply sorry for the hurt caused by this.

“I am committed to undergoing training to better understand the lived experiences of transgender people and with the aim of becoming a good Trans ally.”

The Argus: Council leader Bella Sankey said Labour is committed to supporting Brighton and Hove's LGBTQ communityCouncil leader Bella Sankey said Labour is committed to supporting Brighton and Hove's LGBTQ community (Image: Andrew Gardner)

Council leader Bella Sankey reaffirmed Labour’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community in Brighton and Hove.

She said: “We know that Brighton & Hove is a beacon city for trans, non-binary, genderqueer and lesbian, gay and bisexual communities. People come to our city because we are known as a safe and inclusive city with a thriving diverse and intersectional population.

“As your Labour council, we stand in solidarity with our trans, nonbinary and intersex communities and are proud of our commitment for trans equality and we celebrate our city’s diversity.

“I want to reassure the trans community that any expressions of anti-trans sentiment in any form will not be tolerated. 

“Cllr Thomson has now, rightly, apologised unreservedly for her actions. I have also taken the decision to remove Cllr Thomson from her lead role on city centre renewal, while further investigation is carried out and subject to her completing training.”

The Argus: Trans activists protested in front of the Labour group in Brighton Pride's paradeTrans activists protested in front of the Labour group in Brighton Pride's parade (Image: Trans Liberation Front Brighton)

The news comes after trans activists blocked the Labour Party during the Brighton Pride parade last month in protest at the national party’s stance on trans rights.

Protesters held a banner that said “Starmer Hates Trans People” in front of a group of party members, including Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Peter Kyle - the city’s two Labour MPs, council leader Bella Sankey and Eddie Izzard, who is hoping to become Labour’s candidate for Brighton Pavilion at the next general election.

Trans rights campaigners have expressed anger at Labour after party leader Keir Starmer rowed back on plans to introduce a self-identification system to allow transgender people to legally identify as their chosen gender without a medical diagnosis.