Trans councillor backs Moira Deeming, slams 'divisive' Victorian Liberals

Tosh-Jake Finnigan, Victoria's first out transgender councillor, calls out the Liberal Party for creating division.

Trans councillor backs Moira Deeming, slams 'divisive' Victorian Liberals
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Victoria's first transgender councillor, Tosh-Jake Finnigan, has issued a staunch defence of vilified MPs Moira Deeming and Renee Heath, who he insists do not possess any "deep underlying hatred for transgender people".

In a remarkable turn of events that began in February 2023, Finnigan, the first openly transgender person to hold public office in Victoria, emerged as the latest member of the Colac Otway Shire council.

Last week, Finnigan engaged in discussions with Deeming, Heath, and other conservative Liberal MPs such as Bev McArthur, Rikki-Lee Tyrrell, Nick McGowan, and Joe McCracken at Parliament.

Deeming had been dismissed from the Liberal Party due to her involvement in a women's rights rally, orchestrated by Kellie Jay-Keen, also known as Posie Parker, that was infiltrated by neo-Nazis.

Heath was relieved of her role as Liberal Party secretary after disputes arose over her record of the meeting where Deeming's suspension was discussed in March 2023.

A defamation lawsuit has been launched by Deeming against John Pesutto for allegedly dubbing her a "Nazi sympathiser" and intimidating and threatening her during a party gathering.

In an unequivocal critique of the Liberal Party and Opposition leader John Pesutto, Finnigan decried the treatment of Deeming and Heath as emblematic of the Liberal Party's trajectory in Victoria.

In response to a social media post of their meeting by Deeming, Finnigan made it clear that the expectation for him to condemn both MPs for their beliefs was unfounded. He believes in finding middle ground despite policy disagreements and emphasised the need for dialogue and mutual understanding.

Finnigan firmly stated that the characterisation of Deeming and Heath as transphobic was incorrect.

He went on to explain:

"The current political modus operandi of shouting down and vilifying those who slightly dissent only fosters further division, driving different sides of debates to extreme left and right."

After discussing their varying opinions, Finnigan clarified that he saw no malice or deep-seated transphobia in Deeming or Heath. He stated:

"After speaking candidly about our differences in opinion and understanding why we each hold these beliefs, it's quite obvious to me that neither of you are malevolent or nasty, nor do either of you harbour a deep-seated hatred for transgender people."

Finnigan criticised the Victorian Liberal Party leadership, stating that they should've consulted him, the only transgender elected official in Victoria, on ways to address the issue rather than ostracising the MPs who actually initiated a dialogue. His concluding statement denounced the Liberal Party leaders for creating unnecessary division instead of fostering unity.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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