Perth’s new Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas has vowed to undergo ‘transgender awareness training’ after stating ‘if you’ve got a penis, you’re a bloke’ on live radio.
Mr Zempilas angered transgender activists on Wednesday last week when he told his breakfast radio show it was ‘wrong’ for people to identify as a gender different from their physical anatomy.
The former Seven News sports presenter was met with fury from those in the Perth LGBTIQ community during his first council meeting on Tuesday.
During the tense get-together, the Lord Mayor apologised for the ‘pain’ he had caused, announcing the whole council would partake in the training.
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Perth’s new Lord Mayor, Basil Zempilas (pictured on Tuesday) has vowed to undergo transgender awareness training after he controversially stated ‘if you’ve got a penis, you’re a bloke’ on radio last week
Members from the LGBTIQ community are seen tearing up a photo of Mr Zempilas following his ‘disgusting’ comments about transgender people
Former President of Pride WA, Paul van Lieshout Hunt, Sarah Feldman and David Goncalves tear up posters of the newly elected Lord Mayor
‘I understand my actions will speak louder than words. I’ve got the opportunity to make the most of something I did poorly at last week. I am sorry for what I said and for the pain I caused,’ he said on Tuesday, the WA Today reported.
Outside the council building, David Goncalves, a member of the Gay and Lesbian Equality of WA group, along with other activists, tore up a photo of Mr Zempilas.
The act was a homage to Perth drag queen, Scarlet Adams, who had done the same thing during a performance last week, labelling Mr Zempilas’ comments as ‘disgusting’.
The LGBTIQ groups at the meeting not only demanded the council undertake formal training but also for next week’s PrideFest event to be moved from Perth to Vincent, three kilometres away from the CBD.
A petition signed by more than 3,000 WA residents was even presented to the council, calling for a change to the festival’s location.
Mr Zempilas made headlines after airing his views on transgender people on Wednesday, prompting his brand ambassador wife Amy to cancel her Instagram account.
The newly elected Lord Mayor apologised for the ‘pain’ he had caused announcing the whole council would partake in the training
Basil Zempilas apologised repeatedly for his comments, in video posted to Perth Council’s website, in a televised press conference and on his radio show – but his house has now been vandalised
His comments also resulted in a petition calling for his sacking which attracted 10,500 signatures – and his house being vandalised.
A source with knowledge of the vandalism confirmed to Daily Mail Australia on Sunday night the family home had been graffitied and that a report had been made to Western Australia Police.
The incident comes after Mr Zempilas made a two-minute apology video and statement uploaded to Perth Council’s website, topped with a picture of the 13-storey Council House lit up in rainbow LGBTIQ colours.
‘The comments I made were wrong and they don’t reflect how I feel,’ he said.
‘I made a mistake and it’s my mistake to accept. I have to be better and I will be better.’
Mr Zempilas also apologised repeatedly in a televised press conference and on his morning radio show.
He said he had learnt a lot, that he regretted his comments and that he was sorry for the hurt he caused.
‘I didn’t mean to cause any offence. One of our jobs as broadcasters is to entertain, I was trying to be funny – it was not funny – it was inappropriate and I apologise,’ he said.
Pictured: the 13-storey Perth Council Chambers lit up with rainbow colours to support LGBTIQ rights topped Mr Zempilas’s apology on the council’s website. So far no forgiveness has come
Radio host, former TV star and Lord Mayor of Perth Basil Zempilas (left) with wife Amy (right)
Mr Zempilas had only been Lord Mayor for 11 days when he made the remarks while discussing Boxing Australia’s decision to bring the World Gay Boxing Championships to Sydney in 2023 on Radio 6PR last Wednesday.
After the conversation turned to transgender people, Mr Zempilas pointed out that if boys were born with a penis, they would have difficulty going to the ladies’ toilets.
‘If you’ve got a penis mate, you’re a bloke. If you’ve got a vagina, you’re a woman. Game over,’ he said.
He then offered a $100 Retravision voucher to any caller who ‘has a penis but is a woman’.
Mr Zempilas, a former Weekend Sunrise host, came under immediate attack. His social media pages were bombarded with angry messages.
Basil Zempilas pictured in his video apology on Perth Council’s website. A new petition is calling for PrideFest WA to move from Perth’s CBD to the inner-city Vincent Council area
‘As a teacher we address diversity and kindness in the classroom, you just undid our efforts with your humiliating and sneering comments,’ wrote one.
‘I hope your kids never have to turn to you for support, because all they will get is a bigot with no empathy for anyone but himself,’ said another.
Electrical store Retravision publicly denounced Mr Zempilas’s comments in a statement on Thursday.
An online petition organised by Perth Scorpions Volleyball Club within hours calling for Mr Zempilas to step down as Lord Mayor.
It had collected 10,546 signatures as of Sunday night – five times more than the 1,855 votes he gained in the mayoral election.