Lucy Bannerman for The Times writes:
Natalie Bird, 38, a mother of two who fled an abusive former partner, was accused of “dangerous transphobia” by transgender activists in the party. She had said that opening up safe spaces without proper safeguards to anyone who said that they were female could put women at risk.
She opposed segregating women’s refuges by chosen gender instead of biological sex, and said that it was not fair to make female victims of domestic violence, abuse and rape share services with people with “functioning” male anatomy.
After being allegedly bullied on social media by party activists, Ms Bird was brought before a disciplinary hearing to face a complaint in the name of Zoe O’Connell, on behalf of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats. The correspondence says that Ms Bird had “expressed troublesome views”.
The hearing found no evidence to support the complaint of transphobia, but Ms Bird lost her position as chairwoman of the Radical Association, made up of party members, following a vote of no confidence. This cost her her role as a judge of the Ashdown Prize for Radical Thought; an ironic move, Ms Bird said, given that the prize’s aim was to reward “big, bold, radical” solutions to society’s most “daunting problems . . . no one has the courage to argue for”.