Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and cabinet minister David Lidington have both stated that their parties believe transgender women are women.
During appearances on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, representatives of the British Government and the Opposition both voiced their support for trans women.
This included those who self-identify as women.
The confirmation of the party’s position – which came without an official statement – was prompted by a campaign launched by ‘anti-trans feminists’ to block self-identifying trans women from standing on women’s shortlists.
There are no openly trans MPs, but 1,200 donors have raised more than £21,000 to pursue legal action against the party, claiming that “transgender-identified males” were pushing “biological” women out.
On his Sunday show, Andrew Marr asked Corbyn: “Do you think that a self-identified trans woman is a woman?”
“Yes,” came the simple response.
“The position of the party is that where you have self-identified as a woman, then you are treated as a woman,” he explained.
Corbyn added: “These people have been through a big decision, a big process, a big trauma.
“Let’s look at the human beings in front of us.”
He refused Marr’s suggestion that anti-trans campaigners should be “ignored,” telling him that he would “talk to them and see if we can find some way forward.”
But he emphasised that self-identifying trans women “should be respected.”
Lily Madigan, a Labour activist who has pleaded with anti-trans campaigners to stop attacking her, welcomed Corbyn’s comments, writing: “Thank you @jeremycorbyn 💗🌹”.
Jennifer James, who started the anti-trans fundraiser, was suspended from Labour last week.
According to a tweet posted by James, she was suspended from Labour “due to activity on social media” and is now barred from representing or holding office for Labour.
In a 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”.
On her GoFundMe page, James welcomed Corbyn’s comment that people are “free to campaign within the party and publicly, of course they are, and raise these issues and have that discussion.”
She wrote: “All we have been asking for is debate and Jeremy just, rightly, gave debate his seal of approval.
“Party commissars cannot, now, argue otherwise.”
Cabinet minister David Lidington also leant the government’s support to the position that trans women have the right to self-identify during his appearance on the BBC show.
He said: “I think that that’s a matter for her… I think she should be treated as a woman.”
Lidington continued: “To be honest, Andrew, I don’t spend time, perhaps, thinking about this.
“I will try to deal with the person in front of me as they are with respect to that person, whatever their background, however, they describe themselves, in the same way you do when constituents come to see you as a local MP.
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″I think we try to categorise people, put them in pigeonholes, you get into all sorts of difficulties.”
Lidington was made justice secretary last year despite having voted against the Civil Partnerships Bill in 2004 and against same-sex marriage on both occasions in 2013.
He said that he had changed his mind – about civil partnerships, at least.
“My voting history, and free votes on this, is a matter of record, I have come at this from a traditional Christian point of view,” he said.
“I have to say that I looked particular at civil partnerships came in and my own views have on that have changed.
“Gay friends of mine have been affected for the better by that. I would not vote against that now, but I think it’s a settled issue,” he continued.
The Conservatives have moved to calm fears that plans to review the Gender Recognition Act were in danger after Justine Greening was sacked as Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities.
Watch Corbyn’s answer below: