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Anti-trans activists plan ‘mass resignation’ from Labour over trans-inclusive policy

Nick Duffy March 6, 2018

(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Anti-trans campaigners are threatening to resign en masse from the Labour Party over a trans-inclusive policy that is expected to be greenlit by party officials.

The UK’s Labour Party has faced a vicious battle over the past few months over the status of transgender women in the party.

After a surge in anti-trans rhetoric, a fringe group of women’s rights campaigners within the party had led calls for transgender women to be banned from standing on the party’s women-only shortlists for Parliament, which are used in a bid to boost the number of female MPs.

There has never been an openly trans MP, but vocal activists complain that women they refer to as “male-bodied transgenders” are taking other women’s places in politics.

The row has come to a head today, after the Equalities subcommittee of the ruling National Executive Committee greenlit a statement rebuffing the activists’ demands, and vowing to keep the party trans-inclusive.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

A copy of the statement, leaked ahead of the meeting to HuffPost, makes clear that “the Labour Party continues to have an inclusive definition of women”, and explicitly affirms that “All Women Shortlists and women’s reserved places are open to self-defining women”.

It also warns that “transphobia and the abuse of members based on their trans identity will not be tolerated in the Labour Party”.

The statement will now head to the full NEC for approval.

The news has led to threats of mass resignations from anti-transgender campaigners, who took to Twitter and the Mumsnet forum to express their outrage.

Dr Heather Peto, a prospective Labour candidate who is standing on an all-women shortlist, with former Labour leader Ed Miliband

Jennifer James, the activist who fronted a crowdfunder to sue the Labour Party over the policy, lashed out at “secret squirrel beardy bro Momentum careerists” after the decision.

In a public post on Mumsnet she again vowed legal action, saying: “The secret squirrel beardy bro Momentum careerists [have] been showing true colours. Bros don’t care about trans rights… they just want to use trans ppl as a human shield for sexism and abuse cos we won’t do as they say.”

A formal statement on behalf of her crowdfunding campaign later added: “Our solicitors have, today, sent our pre-action protocol and submissions letter to the Labour Party in respect of the definition of ‘woman’ for protected positions and all-women shortlists.

“Our solicitors are Bhogal Partners, and through them we have instructed Amanda Jones of Counsel, who is a tenant at Great James Street Chambers in London. The letter was drafted by Miss Jones after consultation with the solicitors and on instructions.

“We hope that the Labour Party will take our letter and concerns seriously, and consider the points raised in it carefully.”

James is currently suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of transphobic and abusive conduct.

Meanwhile, the group ‘Mayday4Women’, which openly refers to transgender women as men, is planning a mass resignation of Labour members from the party to protest the decision, timed for International Women’s Day on Thursday.

It said: “WOMEN! Stop resigning individually from @labour – we keep receiving copies of resignation emails from women leaving over Self-ID.

“Rather than do it individually let’s coordinate together and make it something mass that can get press coverage. Get in touch if you’re up for it.”

The group claims that “over 100 women” inside Labour have pledged support.

More: anti-trans, anti-transgender, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, LGBT, Trans, Transgender, Women

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