Newham Green leader Danny Keeling storms out of council meeting after being repeatedly misgendered

The leader of Newham’s Green party walked out of the borough’s full council meeting on Monday night after being repeatedly misgendered by Labour councillors.

Danny Keeling, who is non-binary, accused colleagues of discrimination following the meeting.

The Stratford Olympic Park councillor was speaking against Newham Labour’s budget plans when they were referred to as “he” by council chairman Winston Vaughan.

In his apology, Mr Vaughan again misgendered them.

“I’ve been informed that I’ve been misrepresenting the councillor,” Mr Vaughan said. “I should have said ‘them’ rather than ‘he’. So I do apologise for that. And I think that’s what affected him, is it? Them, sorry. So my apologies to him. To them. Sorry.”

Keeling was again misgendered by council finance lead Zulfiqar Ali, prompting them to walk out of the meeting.

Afterwards they said: “Discrimination in the workplace and workplace bullying should never happen. These meetings are public and live streamed, what message does this send in LGBT+ history month.”

They added: “My local councillor and chair of [council] attempted to apologise to me by misgendering me once again.

“I am beyond annoyed and upset at this point. I should not come into this chamber to be dealt with like this.

“I don’t expect any discriminatory behaviour against anyone.”

Fellow Green councillor Nate Higgins said: "We have now seen Danny Keeling misgendered again to the point where they have now left the room because they feel unable to participate in one of the most important parts of being a councillor.

“I just want to make a plea to the chair and to the monitoring officer, that when this happens we don't have to wait until the end of the speech or for me to come up to defend my colleague or for the colleague to defend themselves.

“You have a microphone, you have the power here to make this a safe space for trans and non binary members."

Keeling spoke against Newham's budget, which proposed a 4.99 per cent increase in council tax.

It was the first opposition speech at a Newham full council meeting in over a decade.

The Green Party won two seats at the local elections last May from the previously fully Labour administration.