A revision of the Victorian Greens' code of conduct, which includes an expanded definition of transphobia, has caused rifts within the party, with a senior member accusing the leadership of suppressing free speech.
However, supporters of the radical updated policy, recently passed by the state council, maintain that the party now boasts the "most robust" anti-discrimination protections in Victoria for transgender members.
The new definition of transphobia includes vilifying trans individuals, intentionally misgendering, denying the existence of non-binary genders, and “prioritising sex characteristics over gender without necessity.”
The code also identifies advocating for "unnecessary transition care restrictions" and "asking leading questions that conceal transphobic intentions as transphobic behaviors".
The updated code follows Ballarat Greens activist Helen Lewers' resignation after attending the Let Women Speak rally. Members found in violation of the code may face expulsion.
A senior Victorian Greens member, speaking anonymously to The Age newspaper, claimed the new code went too far, suggesting it could lead to party divisions.
They accused MPs, including party leader Samantha Ratnam, of attempting to “purge the party of dissent.”
Another anonymous member argued that the expanded definition provided the party with the tools needed to address vital issues without predetermining outcomes. They explained that complaints would be handled by the misconduct panel, which would consider evidence before reaching a decision.
The state council hopes the new rules will encourage policy-focused discussions and discourage potentially offensive statements. Greens LGBTQ spokesperson Gabrielle de Vietri emphasised that respectful, evidence-based debates remain welcome within the party, while leading questions are often utilised to spread fear and misinformation.
The sex and gender debate has challenged the Victorian Greens in the past. Last year, Linda Gale's election as Greens convenor was nullified after she claimed that trans women's rights might infringe upon those of cisgender women.
Additionally, Greens City of Melbourne councillor Rohan Leppert faced criticism for his interpretation of gender-affirming care laws in Victoria.