The trans rights charter is another way for Labour to put women in their place Suzanne Moore Telegraph 14.03.20

The original article is here.

I am well aware that Twitter is not the real world. But then nor is the Labour Party. Out of all the issues that might be bothering the leadership contenders – anti-Semitism, a reconnection with lost voters, a plausible response to Boris Johnson – instead, a bizarre set of pledges has been issued on trans rights.

Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey have signed it. It suggests the expulsion of “transphobic” members from the party and says that organisations such as Woman’s Place and the LGB Alliance, which are concerned to keep same sex spaces for women, are hate groups that have to be fought.

Unsurprisingly there have since been more than 12,000 tweets under the hashtag #expelme. I suppose that to tell women we no longer have the right to autonomous organisation has always been the aim of the dudebros who run Labour. Now Labour’s women seem to have been co-opted too.

Being on the “right” side of the trans debate – where the word “transphobia” is now applied willy nilly – has been used in this instance as a signal of purity. This does no favours to the tiny proportion of the population who are trans (estimated at between 0.01 to 0.02 per cent), most of whom simply need access to treatment and freedom from discrimination.

But this is not actually about trans folk at all. It is about a denial that women need safe spaces, whether that’s in prison or refuges. Of course trans folk are not all predators but if women don’t want to be near a penis in some places, then that is our prerogative.

Some trans activists don’t accept that biological sex exists, even though science is predicated on differences in gametes. The next step will be to remove sex and sex-based protections as a category in law in favour of gender, which becomes a moveable feast: “I am whatever gender I say I am”.

The policing around this issue by notable Labour activists is pitiful. To raise concerns about puberty blockers, women’s sports, the erasure of lesbians and gay history is to give in to an essentialist ideology that denies women’s actual experience. To query this and be told that this is a rerun of the arguments about Section 28 is an insult to those of us who fought tooth and nail against those things.

Feminism and gay rights didn’t happen via Momentum. Some of us are aware that competing sets of rights may clash and we need to talk. I merely note that this discussion is always about trans women and not trans men. Why is that? And who is the enemy of trans people? Who rapes and kills them? Feminists? Or men? The last time I saw threatening male behaviour was outside the Woman’s Place meeting at Labour conference.

Enough of us have had enough of being told what a woman’s place in the Labour Party is. We will go elsewhere. We already have.

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