Several MPs and councillors have criticised the campaign to eliminate transgender women from all-women Labour Party shortlists.
The MP for Derby North and two Labour councillors based in the area have spoken out to challenge the campaign led by Garston and Halewood Labour member – and TERF – Jennifer James and 10 other Labour members, including a councillor from Derby South, Dr. Viv Pointon.
The disturbing fundraiser, which has raised more than £15,000, has been established to legally challenge the inclusion of trans women on all women selection shortlists in the Labour Party.
Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North said he believed that “Trans women are women”.
He added: “I’m proud that the Labour Party continues support the LGBT community,” he said to The Derby Telegraph.
“People might remember the work of the Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners group in the 1980s, brilliantly portrayed in the film Pride.
“Back then, being gay was far harder than it is now.
“But by drawing on the labour movement’s rich history of solidarity, I hope we can rapidly make the same kind of progress on the issue of gender as we have on sexuality.”
Linda Winter, Labour councillor for Chaddesden, also agreed with the point.
“I’m a feminist and I think that it has to come down to the person, not whether they are male or female,” she said.
“We have to respect those with gender issues, irrespective of their sex. I don’t think you can have an all-women shortlist and say that those who identify as women aren’t allowed.”
The campaign has also received a fierce backlash on Twitter, with some commenters branding the fundraisers as propagating hate speech.
Expel Jennifer James from @UKLabour for her transphobic (especially transmisoynystic) hate speech, and further expel anyone who colludes with her.
No room for transphobia on the left.
— sue me, TERF (@AlexDotMoore) January 13, 2018
Here is Jennifer James the author of the petition, respectfully explaining the nuances of the discussion and what underpins her motivation to support trans rights, but not at the expense of women….. pic.twitter.com/yG6sPSFSpW
— Joss Prior (@joss_prior) January 15, 2018
Have to concur. Having seen her subject one of our hosts to an ugly harassment campaign after an argument concerning trans rights, we can only assume such treatment pales in comparison to the venom with which Jennifer James treats actual trans people. https://t.co/Y19TsMt0hP
— Reel Politik podcast (@reel_politcast) January 13, 2018
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“As socialists we understand class analysis and we know the most meaningful way to classify women is by sex. Women are classified as second class citizens because of our biology,” reads the fundraising page.
“None of us can keep our sex a secret and if we could there would be no pay gap and no #MeToo. Whereas no one can tell what another person’s gender identity is (if they even have one) just by looking at them.
“Sex, along with poverty, age, disability and race, is one of the major oppressive hierarchies in the world today.
“Women’s biology has always the basis for our oppression worldwide BY MEN. Feminism is defined as the movement to liberate all women from sex-based oppression.”
The concerning petition also says that it will use “any left-over funds will go to fight against self-id, against the medicalisation of children and to keep women’s spaces female-only, specifically: women’s hospital wards, gyny screening, prisons, domestic violence shelters, changing rooms, saunas, spas, sleeper train carriages, scholarships, quotas and national and international women’s sports.”
Dawn Butler, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, has given her backing to transgender women who stand under the system.
“I think if a trans woman wanted to be included in an all-women shortlist then that should be considered,” she said to In House Magazine.
At present, transgender women are permitted to stand on all-women shortlists – and already have done.