Activist who launched anti-trans crowdfund campaign suspended by Labour
An activist behind an online fundraiser to block self-identifying transgender women from running in all women shortlists has been suspended from the Labour Party.
According to a tweet posted by Ms James, she has been suspended from Labour “due to activity on social media” and is now barred from representing or holding office as Labour.
The suspension follows a complaint made to party bosses back in December 2017.
In a nasty rebuke, the activist wrote online: “I’ve been suspended from the Labour party for saying women don’t have d***s.”
She then claimed the disciplinary procedure was due to “thought crimez”.
Responding to a Twitter user who said they were “sorry” about the suspension, she said that the news is “a good thing” as it means “they’re getting rattled”.
Ms James now faces being banned from the party entirely, depending on the decision taken by Labour’s disciplinary panel at a later date.
The disturbing fundraiser, led by Ms James, which has raised more than £19,000, has been established to legally challenge the inclusion of trans women on all women selection shortlists in the Labour Party.
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.
Speaking to PinkNews, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “At the NEC yesterday it was confirmed that all women shortlists are and always have been open to all women, which of course includes trans women.
“The Party will consult with key stakeholders about the wording of this policy and will issue guidance to CLPs.”
In a further statement, a party spokesperson told PinkNews: “The Labour Party recognises the vital importance of self-definition for the Trans community, which is why we are calling on the Government to reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010 to change the protected characteristic of ‘gender reassignment’ to ‘gender identity’ to support self-identification.
“If the Conservatives fail to do so, Labour will make it law once we’re in government.”
Several MPs and councillors have also criticised the campaign to eliminate trans women from all-women shortlists.
Jeremy Corbyn supporter 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.
— Alexa Moore (@alexadotm) 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
“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.”