Monday, 30 March 2009

Tory councillor quizzed by police after making 'homophobic' joke about transsexuals

He thought he was just making a humorous remark.

But not everyone saw the funny side to Conservative councillor Jonathan Yardley's suggestion at a police liaison meeting that transexuals could call themselves both male and female.

Unbeknown to him, a transgender person was among the 50 members of the public present, and a complaint - thought to have been made by the person's partner - was later recieved by police about Mr Yardley's 'homophobic' comment.

It resulted, claims Mr Yardley, in him being 'put through the mill' by officers and told to be more careful what he jokes about.

Today Mr Yardley, 48, said: 'I find it ridiuclous you can get in trouble over an off the cuff remark with no malice intended. I didn't even know there was a transgender person there.

'There are much more important issues that the police should be spending their time on. These are the politically correct times we live in, you can¹t make jokes any more.'

At the meeting which landed him in hot water the public had been given handsets allowing them to electronically answer 36 questions that were being flashed up on screen as part of a presentation.

The first few questions, as is usual at the quarterly meetings in Wolverhampton chaired by Mr Yardley, the city council's Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, were intended to establish the demographic of the audience.

The audience was told by a police authority worker: 'Let¹s start with an easy question to get us going: Press A if you're male or B if you're female'. The transgender person's partner then asked: 'What if you're transgendered?', and Mr Yardley said: 'You could press A and B together.' Read more
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