Can trans women vote Labour?
Transphobia is rife in the Labour Party. On the Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we mourn our dead, a Labour MSP invited a noted anti-trans campaigner to speak at the Scottish Parliament. Her topic is the weird assertion that the great threats to women’s rights are surrogate motherhood and trans rights: that trans inclusion is not accommodating a few mostly harmless eccentrics, about 0.1% of the population, but the redefinition of womanhood itself.
So trans women must all be excluded from women’s spaces forever. Yet the paranoid haters refuse to accept the term “trans-exclusionary”.
Later the event was put off until January, possibly because of incompetence by the organisers, possibly to eke out its notoriety a little longer. (February 2020- I find no reference to it on their website, so perhaps it did not go ahead.)
I don’t know if Jenny Marra MSP will face any sanction. The election is for Westminster not Holyrood. Feminist organisations including Scottish Women’s Aid, Engender, Zero Tolerance and the Young Women’s Movement, as well as the Scottish Green Party, have condemned the event.
Will the Labour Party? Trans rights are no threat to anyone. This event foments hatred and violence against us. It is the worst kind of prejudice. An analogy is a meeting advocating violence against Jews.
This analogy comes to mind as Jews picketed a meeting where Chris Williamson, former Labour MP, was to speak even though he was speaking on economics. Williamson’s offence was to say the party had been “too apologetic” about alleged antisemitism. He was suspended for those remarks.
Is that the answer? Unless Marra is suspended from Labour, the party is proven to be transmisogynist?
It is not just Marra. Lachlan Stuart in 2017 claimed trans women are not women and are not subject to the oppression of sexism. He remains a domestic policy adviser in Jeremy Corbyn’s office. He wants to redefine LGBT to LGB, excluding trans women.
There are allegations Jeremy Corbyn himself is antisemitic. I know a man in my constituency Labour party who shares antisemitic memes on Facebook. He performed at a Labour fundraiser. A woman obsessively shares TERF articles on the constituency women’s forum page.
There is a moral calculation to be made. We know how dreadful the Tories are: “Fuck business”, said their leader. They put ideology over economics and islamophobia is rife. They cut solar panel subsidies, and will barely start window dressing on the climate. My last MP is a liar, climate change denier and Leave campaigner. The question is, is a Labour Party infected with transmisogyny and antisemitism better? Or, am I tarred with antisemitism and transmisogyny campaigning for Labour?
Labour tries to be inclusive. I am glad Roger Graef, who supported parents campaigning against age-appropriate LGBT education in schools, was deselected. While some in Labour stand up against prejudice I will stand with them.
I loathe what the Tories have done to the country. Labour would be better. I will campaign for them. It is not that I am working for a party with transmisogynist or antisemitic policies, but for one including antisemites and transphobes. It still rankles.
On radio 4, Laura Pidcock, shadow Employment Secretary, said, She said: “We have said that single-sex spaces exemptions within the Equality Act are enforced… I think, there has to be the enforcement of single space exemptions for women to heal and recover.
“It is absolutely crucial, however, that there are spaces, that there is provision, for trans people to also get help and support on any issue.”
Oh brilliant. Separate but equal.
There’s now a “Labour Women’s Declaration“. It’s the usual rubbish- “single sex, “female only”, plus the right to “freedom of belief and discussion”, so that they can hate us without criticism. Nothing else. They’re not campaigning on rape culture, period poverty, child care, just NO Trans Women!!
13 February 2020: Sign the statement and pledge for the Labour Campaign for trans rights.
20 February: It’s hard to know what Tony Blair meant when he said, You’ve got to distinguish between the advocacy of certain things that are right, whether it’s about gay rights, transgender rights, whatever it is… and launching yourself politically into a kind of culture war with the right. If you go, ‘Transgender rights is our big thing’, and the right goes, ‘Immigration control is our big thing’, you’re going to lose that war. Should we not mention trans rights? Journalists ask us about it and write about it because controversy means clicks, just as they asked Tim Farron endlessly about his Evangelical faith and gay people, whatever else he wanted to talk about. I don’t want trans rights to be our “big thing” either, but I want us to speak up for them.
Here is the relevant part of the Rule Book 2019: Chapter 2, Clause I, para 8: No member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party. The NEC and NCC shall take account of any codes of conduct currently in force and shall regard any incident which in their view might reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on age; disability; gender reassignment or identity; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation as conduct prejudicial to the Party: these shall include but not be limited to incidents involving racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia or otherwise racist language, sentiments, stereotypes or actions, sexual harassment, bullying or any form of intimidation towards another person on the basis of a protected characteristic as determined by the NEC, wherever it occurs, as conduct prejudicial to the Party.The disclosure of confidential information relating to the Party or to any other member, unless the disclosure is duly authorised or made pursuant to a legal obligation, shall also be considered conduct prejudicial to the Party.
The words I have put in bold show the “Labour Women’s Declaration” is “conduct prejudicial to the party”. The members who signed it should be suspended under the Chapter 6 disciplinary rules.
6 April: I am delighted with our new leader Keir Starmer. In his letter to Labour MPs, recorded in this video, he said, “The truth is that antisemitism has been a stain on our party. I have seen the grief that it’s brought to so many Jewish communities. That is why I used my first words as Leader to apologise to the Jewish community. It will take time to rebuild trust but with your support we can do it.” He should say the same about transphobia.