Fri, 13 Apr 2018
A SENIOR Conservative councillor has had to apologise after sharing online comments mocking transgender people as mentally disordered.
Political opponents have called for an inquiry after Dominic Boeck used his social media Twitter account to re-post other users’ comments.
He retweeted a post about comedian Eddie Izzard, recently defeated in his bid for a seat on the Labour Party’s ruling body.
Original poster Rod Bishop published a photo of the transgender comic and said: “Just when you think Labour couldn’t be any more ridiculous they bring on Eddie Izzard.”
But what provoked most outrage was Mr Boeck’s sharing of comments by another poster, using the moniker BrexitTory, who wrote: “There are two genders but three options – 1 male; 2 female; 3 mental disorder.”
Mr Boeck subsequently deleted his reposting of the comments.
His Twitter profile states: “Retweets from me do not signify endorsement.”
The chairwoman of Newbury Labour Party, Gemma Lowe, said: “West Berkshire Council has made a great deal of its commitment to improving the mental health of the community by raising awareness of its causes and fighting stigma.
“Research by Stonewall [UK lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity] shows trans young people are particularly vulnerable to serious mental health problems; more than one in four have attempted suicide and 72 per cent, of a sample of 956, report having self-harmed.
“Yet one of our senior elected representatives, Dominic Boeck, seems to think it’s acceptable to engage in transphobic, mocking tweets.”
She called for a council investigation and added: “He is apparently unconcerned that his words serve to deepen and legitimise stigmatising attitudes and show awareness only of his own bigoted world view.
“We have been shocked by the content of his Twitter feed in general.
“Maybe he should read his own council’s social media code of conduct – and report himself.”
Mr Boeck later posted on Twitter: “I do believe without doubt that people of any gender and sexual orientation must be respected and I will make sure my behaviour online and off reflects that.
“I resolve to look closer at tweets before I retweet them and I regret any offence I may have given in this way.
“I absolutely do not believe that anyone with gender issues is mentally ill.”
He told the NWN: “People have interpreted what I retweeted in a way I’m sorry about.
“I will make sure I don’t put myself in that position again.”
When pressed on why he had chosen to retweet the comments, Mr Boeck declined to comment.
Newbury’s Conservative MP Richard Benyon described Mr Boeck as “an honourable man” and added: “I’ve known Dominic long enough to know that he is not how he is being portrayed.
“He has expressed his regret and apologised. The matter should be left there.”
The NWN asked West Berkshire Council whether its code of conduct had been broken.
Council spokeswoman Peta Stoddart-Crompton, said: “We don’t divulge receipt of complaints as it could prejudice outcomes.”