In any UK election, plenty of opinions are going to be biased against any campaign strategy or policy promise.
And a Liberal Democrats’ campaign Vote Her Get Him is no different, having drawn the ire of people accusing the centre-ligned political party of ‘transphobia’.
The image features Nigel Farage’s face superimposed onto Theresa May’s body. It reads: ‘Vote her, get him’.
The campaign is urging voters to not accept ‘May and Farage’s extreme version of Brexit’.
Sarah Gibson, trans and non-binary rights activist, told Gay Star News they found the image ‘very disappointing’.
‘The imagery used to deliver this message is unnecessary and plays off of transphobic tropes designed for shock value and to belittle their opponents,’ they said.
‘Being inclusive has to be woven into all parts of your work not just in specific pledges.’
Jennie Rigg, acting chair of LGBT Lib Dems and identifies as bi and poly, said it was ‘bordering on transphobia’.
‘Guys,’ she said directly to the Lib Dem Twitter feed, ‘it would make my job as chair of plus a lot easier of you didn’t do this sort of thing.’
— 🔶Jennie Rigg🔶 (@miss_s_b) 20 May 2017
She added: ‘I just don’t find humor that picks on people who already have a suicide attempt rate of 50% that funny.’
However Sarah Brown, a Lib Dem and from 2010 to 2014 was only openly trans elected politician in the UK, disagreed.
‘I’m not convinced it’s a particularly good campaign,’ she told GSN. ‘It’s of two people, it’s merging them and they just happen to be two sexes. It’s not about gender.’
Zoë Kirk-Robinson, a trans councilor for Westhoughton North and Chew Moor, agreed.
‘It’s more like a Scooby Doo villain than transphobia – or maybe Norman Bates from the end of Psycho,’ she told GSN.
‘Either way it’s not transphobia, but it does play on some of the tropes that much of the anti-transgender hate comes from; i.e. that the woman is “really” a man in disguise. You can almost picture Farage cackling evilly as he takes off his May mask.
‘It’s just a really, really stupid poster. Typical gutter press stuff that, sadly, seems to work most of the time on the Internet. I’m glad it didn’t this time.’
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron faced criticism when he refused to clarify on whether he believed being gay was a sin.
The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto has promised to improve the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act. They are also pushing to include an ‘X’ category on UK passports.
Gibson believes the campaign could just mean the Lib Dems are descending into ‘nasty politics’.
They added: ‘The Westminster parties have become more inclusive of trans and non-binary people in recent years but are far behind their Scottish counterparts, who are pledging greater reform including legal recognition for non-binary people. ‘
Labour, SNP and the Green Party also have policies to improve the lives of trans and non-binary people in the UK in their manifestos, the Conservatives do not.