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Councillor sorry for ‘rampant transgenderism’ remarks relating to charity in Starbucks cup name ad

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Councillor sorry for ‘rampant transgenderism’ remarks relating to charity in Starbucks cup name ad

Published by Josh Kerr at 3:20pm 14th February 2020. (Updated at 3:35pm 14th February 2020)

A Surrey Heath Borough Councillor has apologised for describing a trans and gender-diverse youth charity as involved in “the rampant promotion of transgenderism in young children”.

Sharon Galliford, who stood as a candidate in last year’s general election, made the statement as she shared a Facebook post from a page calling on people to boycott Starbucks over their LGBT+ diversity campaign with charity Mermaids.

The Green Party Councillor, who represents the Lightwater ward, said she was sorry for “any distress caused” after her remarks were criticised by both organisers of Pride in Surrey and fellow Councillor Morgan Rise – who is openly gay.

Sharon Galliford Post
The post, which has since been deleted, as it appeared on Facebook.

Earlier this month coffee giant Starbucks premiered an advert as part of their #WhatsYourName campaign, which tells the story of how transgender people often trial their chosen names when placing an order.

In partnership with charity Mermaids, limited edition cookies are being sold in the chain’s stores – with 50p from each supporting a helpline for young transgender and gender-diverse people and their families.

Cllr Galliford shared a post from another page which suggested by buying one of the cookies people would be “helping confuse and groom your kids into thinking they are born in the wrong body.”

The Starbucks 'Every name’s a story' advert.

In her own post Cllr Galliford said:

“There are some very serious questions to be asked around the rampant promotion of transgenderism in young children.

“Safeguarding and expert psychological support and consultation are the very bare minimum that should be insisted upon.

“Mermaids reputation is that it has a different agenda.”

Pride in Surrey founder Stephen Ireland said he was “deeply saddened and shocked” by Cllr Galliford's remarks against “the incredible charity Mermaids as well as our trans family members”.

He also offered her the opportunity for a “respectful meeting” to educate on how “damaging” her words were.

In her apology Cllr Galliford said as well as agreeing to meet with Pride in Surrey, she also planned to approach Mermaids to “better understand their organisation”.

She said:

“I wish to unreservedly apologise for any distress caused by my recent post on Facebook.

“I made assumptions in regard to the charity Mermaids and would like to apologise for sharing those in such a public way.

“I will be approaching Mermaids to request a meeting so that I can better understand their organisation and what they offer to trans and gender diverse children and young people.

“I have already arranged to meet with Surrey Pride which will be taking place next week.

“My genuine concern is that everyone receives the appropriate support they require in a timely manner, something that I am woefully aware the present system is wholly failing to do.”

Openly gay Surrey Heath Borough Councillor Morgan Rise was quoted as being “disappointed” her with original comments.

He added:

“We need only look back a couple of decades to see how the majority treated the entire LGBT+ community.

“Gays, lesbians, bisexuals have all made great strides forward for equality but it is always those who are the most "different" that get left behind.

“I stand with my trans brothers and sisters in our fight for equality and no amount of bigotry or ignorance will stop us fighting for true equality.”