A councillor who has apologised for sharing and liking “anti-trans” posts on social media should resign, Green councillors have demanded.

Councillor Alison Thomson apologised for “endorsing social media posts which contain anti-trans sentiments” after a trans resident told The Argus they felt uncomfortable raising issues with her due to the views expressed in the posts.

Among the posts shared by Cllr Thomson included one which used the hashtag #transwomenaremen and another which described trans women as “males who believe they are women”, described as a “common transphobic trope” by trans activists in Brighton.

Cllr Thomson has been removed from her role for city centre renewal and will also undergo training to “better understand the lived experiences of transgender people”.

However, the Green group on Brighton and Hove City Council have called on Labour to “take stronger action against hate” and call on Cllr Thomson to stand down as a councillor.

The Argus: Cllr Chloe Goldsmith has called on Cllr Thomson to resignCllr Chloe Goldsmith has called on Cllr Thomson to resign (Image: Brighton and Hove City Council)

Cllr Thomson’s Green counterpart, Chloe Goldsmith, questioned how she was selected as a candidate.

Cllr Goldsmith said: “Brighton and Hove has one of the largest proportions of trans people in the country, with census data showing that Regency has an even higher number.

“Every single person in this city deserves to feel able to contact their councillor for help and have their identity respected."

Cllr Goldsmith said she is "incredibly disappointed" to see the "awful tweets" Cllr Thomson shared and liked.

“They show an utter lack of respect for, and even disgust towards, trans people," she added.

“The fact that someone who publicly holds these views was selected by Brighton and Hove Labour completely throws into question the views of all their councillors.

“Despite local residents and LGBTQ+ groups speaking out in shock and disgust, all Labour have seen fit to do in response to these hateful messages is remove Cllr Thomson from an entirely unrelated role.

“If this is what “not tolerating anti-trans sentiment in any form” looks like from the Labour group, we are deeply concerned.”

“Trans people in this city deserve the certainty that their council will respect them and stand up for them.

“At the moment, this Labour administration has provided zero reasons to believe that will be the case.”

The Argus: Councillor Alison Thomson has apologised for 'endorsing' social media posts with 'anti-trans sentiments'Councillor Alison Thomson has apologised for 'endorsing' social media posts with 'anti-trans sentiments' (Image: The Argus)

Councillor Bella Sankey, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “We have taken decisive disciplinary action in response to Cllr Thomson's endorsement of these tweets.

“We are committed to upholding the rights and dignity of our trans residents. We have already demonstrated this in many ways, including hosting an official event celebrating our trans community. This is the first time that has happened in our city.

“The chairman of our newly created equalities, safety and human rights committee also gave a stirring speech during Trans Pride which stressed our support for our trans residents and their fight for equality.

“I'm concerned by Cllr Goldsmith's language, which could be seen as inflammatory. I'd advise her to choose her words carefully to avoid stoking fear and division.”

Cllr Thomson was one of the new intake of Labour councillors to be elected at the city-wide local elections, beating a Green candidate by just one vote.

She said: “I apologise unreservedly for endorsing these social media posts which contain anti-trans sentiments.

“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.”

Labour’s candidates for the local elections in May were selected by a panel appointed by the party’s regional executive committee. The move was prompted by a number of Labour councillors being suspended over anti-Semitism allegations and concerns that black and ethnic minority candidates were not selected for winnable wards.

Labour South East said that social media accounts are ordinarily looked at during the selection process, but refused to comment on specific cases.

Bella Sankey added that Labour remains committed to supporting Brighton and Hove’s LGBTQ+ community.

She said: “We know that Brighton and 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.