A TRANSGENDER Tory councillor has reported a Labour opponent for what she says was a hate crime during a recent council meeting.

Cllr Zoe-Kirk Robinson, who represents Westhoughton North and Chew Moor, said that Labour’s Guy Harkin repeatedly ‘misgendered’ her as part of a ‘personal attack’ during Wednesday’s meeting in the town hall.

Cllr Kirk-Robinson said she has reported Crompton Cllr Harkin to Bolton Council and to Greater Manchester Police, and says both are now investigating the incident.

Speaking to the Bolton News, she said: “This obviously was a shock, and not a pleasant one. I expected better of a member of the Council.

“For someone in the highest public forum of the town to feel transphobia was acceptable is shocking — It is not acceptable in Bolton — it shouldn't be acceptable anywhere.”

She added: “Bolton has a problem with hate crime and for Cllr Harkin to engage in a personal attack against me in this matter only serves to legitimise transphobia in the eyes of the average bigot — which makes life harder for all LGBT people.”

In a video blog, the Tory Cllr added: “If I’m truthful, it hurt a lot, the guy had no reasons to ever suggest that I was male, he has never met me as a male.

“I transitioned over 10 years ago and I have lived in Bolton for seven, going on eight years, he never met me before I transitioned.”

The Bolton News has attempted to get in touch with Cllr Harkin for a response, but is yet to reach him.

He did however, tell the Pink News website that he was “utterly unaware of the slip of the tongue” until it was pointed out to him the day after the meeting.

He added: “I offered immediately to apologise as there is not a homophobic or any kind of phobic bone in my body.”

Cllr Kirk-Robinson, who was elected to her Westhoughton seat in 2015, is a Hate Crime Ambassador and added: “The incident has been referred to Greater Manchester Police, and therefore is now out of my hands.

“As a Hate Crime Ambassador, I always urge people to report hate crime when it occurs and I will continue to do so.”