As you may know, on January 12th a group of women Labour members set up a fundraiser to help finance a legal challenge against the Labour Party's inclusion of trans women in women's only spaces, and on women's only selection lists. Many of us Labour members are horrified at this waste of money and blatant transphobia.
Rather than stand by and allow these women to intimidate, victimise, and harass, trans women from the Labour Party I have written a letter which is provided below, that you can send to any and all Labour officials you think should be notified of this blatant bigotry.
At the end of the letter are emails for each CLP and their local MP, as well as LGBT Labour, the chair of the Labour Equalities Committee, and members of the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee. To find out whether your local MP is a Labour Party member, and how to contact them, click here.
I am writing to you regarding an online fundraiser recently set up by Labour members, which can be found here https://www.gofundme.com/fighting-for-female-representatives
The money being raised is to mount a legal challenge of the Labour Party to ‘ensure all-women shortlists (AWS) remain reserved for females and that women's representation in the party increases’. The organisers go on to clarify that they wish to deny trans women without Gender Recognition Certificates the chance to stand as MPs, women’s officers, or be on all-women shortlists of any kind. Any excess funds will go towards denying trans women the right to enter ‘women's hospital wards, gyny [sic] screening, prisons, domestic violence shelters, changing rooms, saunas, spas, sleeper train carriages, scholarships, quotas and national and international women's sports’.
The fundraisers refer to trans women who have not obtained a GRC as ‘males’. Donors have used the former names of trans people (such as Lily Madigan and Caitlyn Jenner) on their donations. It’s clear that those supporting this fundraiser are not ‘absolutely committed to trans people’ as they state, but committed to denying trans women’s womanhood and promoting hatred and discrimination towards them.
NHS cuts mean that anyone who wants to be seen by a Gender Identity Clinic are often put on waiting lists, ranging from a year long wait to two and a half years, far beyond the NHS’ recommended 18 weeks. This wait is simply to secure a first appointment with a GIC, a first step along the way to securing a GRC. One of the conditions of a GRC being granted is that the applicant live as their chosen gender for 2 years prior to the application. If, as these fundraisers suggest, we ban trans women from entering women’s only spaces it is even harder to live as their gender. This is not an unintended consequence, but a deliberate attempt to ostracise trans people.
Another condition of the GRC is that the applicant be diagnosed with ‘gender identity disorder’. Framing this as a medical disorder is alienating to many trans people, and they do not wish to have to accept a diagnosis to transition. This means that they will be unable to obtain a GRC, or change their gender on their legal documents.
Not only does this fundraiser go against the 2010 Equality Act, Labour’s 2017 Manifesto states that you wish to ‘reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010 to ensure [we] protect Trans people by changing the protected characteristic of ‘gender assignment’ to ‘gender identity’’. This fundraiser aims to rollback this promise by stating ‘the election of self-identifying trans women as women's officers and their inclusion on all-women shortlists is reducing and undermining female representation in the Labour party.’ and again promises to use ‘any left-over funds will go to fight against self-id’.
The ‘Securing Equality and Inclusion for Trans* and Gender Variant People’ document produced by LGBT Labour in 2015, is even clearer on how trans people’s right to self-identification should be honoured not simply by the Labour Party but by society as a whole:
“The Equality Act 2010 includes 'gender reassignment' as a "protected characteristic" which applies to "transsexual person/s", defined as a person who is proposing to undergo, or is undergoing or has undergone, the process (or part of the process) of "gender reassignment" (sic)...
Given this limited definition, the Equality Act 2010 therefore offers no legal protection from discrimination to trans*/gender variant people who are not variously; proposing to undergo, undergoing or have undergone, the process (or part of the process) of "gender reassignment".
This means that a large number of trans*/gender variant and intersex people, some of whom are extremely vulnerable, are excluded from protected status, the reality being that only a "transsexual person" (as defined in the Act) can successfully cite the protection of the Equality Act 2010….
If we seek true equality and protection under the law then we must work to achieve a situation where all trans* /gender variantlintersex people fee/ free to identify as they wish without fear or discrimination and that means extending legal protection to all such people”
The document goes on to say that the Labour Party needs to be able to encourage trans people to become more involved with political work and life. This fundraiser explicitly seeks to undermine this commitment, and create an atmosphere which is hostile to trans people, especially trans women. Rather than respect trans women the fundraisers question their entire being.
Fifty-five people have signed their names to this petition, as well as stating what CLP they belong to, their names are below:
Jennifer James Garston and Halewood CLP
Anne Ruzylo Bexhill and Battle CLP
Dr. Viv Pointon Derby South CLP
Emma Salmon Bexhill and Battle CLP
Suzanne Weaver Stroud CLP
Pilgrim Tucker Vauxhall CLP
Christine Bayliss Bexhill and Battle CLP
Venice Allan Lewisham Deptford CLP
Samantha Marshall-Cameron Sheffield Central CLP
Gina Richardson Bexhill and Batlle CLP
Debra Atkinson Chesterfield CLP
Karen Broady Gorton CLP
Yvonne Burford International Labour
Sohayalla Wilson Gorton CLP
Alice Bondi Women's Officer Penrith and the Border CLP
Karen Kruzycka Romford CLP
Avril Moussalli Altrincham & Sale West CLP
Jane Galloway Sidcup CLP
Jan Oliver Enfield North CLP
Toni Morris Vauxhall CLP
Jacky Holyoake Halesowen and Rowley Regis CLP
Matesa McKeefery Rossendale and Darwen CLP
Eleanor Hill Cardiff West CLP
Bronwen Davies Cardiff North CLP
Emma Aynsley Cardiff Central CLP
Susan Matthews Dulwich and West Norwood CLP
Catherine Costello Hartlepool CLP
Jessica Budynkiewicz Bournemouth East CLP
Rachel King Moseley and Kings Heath CLP
Claire Jones Leeds North West CLP
Chinzia Ogilvie Portsmouth South CLP
Dinah Stubbs Islington South CLP
Sian Henry Watford CLP
Liz Vickers Winchester CLP
Barbara Ulargiu Bermondsey & Old Southwark CLP
Stacey Charlesworth Hackney North and Stoke Newington CLP
Rebecca Heath Brent CLP
Debra Halliday Huddersfield CLP
Cátia Freitas Esher and Walton CLP
Liz Hemingway Knowsley North CLP
Emma Thomas Hackney South and Shoreditch CLP
Cherry Austin North Herefordshire CLP
Shelley Charlesworth Islington North CLP
Stephanie Shelford Lewisham Deptford CLP
Dr Lesley Semmens Bradford West
Abigail Wyatt St Ives and Penzance CLP
Louise Paine St Ives CLP
Mandy Moore Canterbury CLP
Karen Ingala Smith Walthamstow CLP
Susi Wisniewski Warwick & Leamington CLP
Penny O'Donnell Gedling CLP
Michael Murphy Tiverton & Honiton CLP
Christopher Goldie Bury North CLP
Michael Weaver Stroud CLP
Lee Holland Newport West CLP
Mark Wisniewski Warwick and Leamington CLP
What we are asking is:
These members be suspended and investigated due to their transphobic campaign which is against Labour’s ethos and aims.
A statement from the Labour Party confirming trans women do not need to hold or be in the process of obtaining a GRC in order to be included in all-women shortlists, or to be considered as MPs or women’s officers.
A statement from the Women’s PLP, endorsed by its chair Jess Phillips, that trans women are welcome in the party’s women’s spaces regardless of whether they hold or are in the process of obtaining a GRC.
Going forward Labour must act promptly and in the interests of trans people when faced with this level of discrimination and bigotry. It is disappointing that it has reached this stage and there has been no response from the party or its officials.
Emails of CLPs and Committees
Your first port of call should be the emails listed directly below:
LGBT Labour firstname.lastname@example.org
Individual CLPs do not have the ability to suspend members, however they should be informed that their local branch has been brought into this fundraiser, and that their members are promoting this. The emails for each CLP and local MP are below:
MP email@example.com Kate Hoey
Lewisham Deptford CLP
Penrith and the Border CLP firstname.lastname@example.org
Romford CLP http://www.romford-labour-party.org.uk/contact
Sidcup CLP email@example.com
Halesowen and Rowley Regis CLP Cllr.Ian.Cooper@dudleymbc.org.uk
Cardiff West CLP
Cardiff North CLP
Cardiff Central CLP
Dulwich and West Norwood CLP
Hartlepool CLP firstname.lastname@example.org
Islington South CLP email@example.com
Winchester CLP firstname.lastname@example.org
Hackney CLP email@example.com
Herefordshire CLP admin@HerefordshireLabour.com
St Ives and Penzance CLP firstname.lastname@example.org
Canterbury CLP email@example.com
Warwick and Leamington Spa CLP firstname.lastname@example.org
Bury North CLP
Newport West CLP