BC Ecosocialists leader resigns after transphobic comments

Party leader forced out

The leader of a new, left-of-centre B.C. political party has been forced to resign after a Coquitlam transgender activist, YouTube personality and candidate for the B.C. Green party called him out for making allegedly transphobic comments surrounding popular author J.K. Rowling.

Stuart Parker, Prince George-Valemount candidate for the B.C. Ecosocialists, announced his resignation as leader of the party Tuesday evening after a whirlwind of social media comments, as wells as pressure from politicians and activists derailed his campaign.

The controversy, which Parker described as a "slew of false allegations about transphobia,” kicked off following comments he made on Coquitlam trans activist Nicola Spurling’s Facebook page. 

In his Sept. 12 comment, Parker defends Rowling’s frequent comments, saying society has “a hair-trigger response to only using transition as the sole treatment of dysphasia when talk therapy has produces better results,” that transitioning people too often “sterilizes children” when other options are available, and that woman should have the right to create “single gender” and “single-sex spaces.”  

Stuart ended his post with a call to “engage instead of canceling.”  

After re-posting the message to her Facebook page, Spurling said she contacted federal Green candidate Meryam Haddad of Montreal — who recently endorsed the BC Ecosocialists after she was recently expelled her from the federal Green race — imploring her to contact the BC Ecosocialist leadership apparatus.

“I have been made aware of transphobic comments from [Stuart Parker],” TweetedHaddad Tuesday morning, using Parker’s Twitter handle. “I demanded Stuart apologize and resign. He refused. If BC Ecosocialists does not expel him, I will disavow them as well.”

As pressure mounted throughout the day, some of Parker’s old blog posts were surfaced and widely shared on social media to allege a pattern of transphobic behaviour.

Just before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the BC Ecosocialist party tweeted a statement saying it affirms “Trans Rights are Human Rights” and that Parker had stepped down.

While it's not yet clear who will take over the leadership position from Parker, by Wednesday afternoon, Nicola Spurling announced she would be seeking the BC Green nomination in the Tri-City riding of Coquitlam-Maillardville, a seat currently held by NDP MLA and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson.

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