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Labour suspends women’s officer candidate who says he’s ‘female on Wednesdays’

Josh Jackman May 23, 2018
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(david lewis/facebook)

Labour has suspended a women’s officer candidate who said they self-identified as female for 15 hours a week.

The party explicitly confirmed on Tuesday that transgender women who self-identify are eligible for all women shortlists and women’s officer roles.

The move reiterated existing party policy but also rebuffed recent attempts to have self-identifying transgender women banned from the shortlists.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Photo by ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
(ELLIS/AFP/Getty)

In its statement, the party condemned those who have employed “abuse or intimidation” in the debate, after having suspended a number of anti-trans campaigners.

“Labour’s Code of Conduct is clear on acceptable behaviour by party members,” it added. “This standard of behaviour will be enforced.”

And on Wednesday, the party moved to suspend David Lewis – a candidate for Basingstoke Labour Party’s women’s officer – pending an investigation, according to The Guardian.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27: Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses delegates on the final day of the Labour Party conference on September 26, 2017 in Brighton, England. Mr Corbyn is expected to speak about his party's new policies and present Labour as a government in waiting in his keynote address. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
(Dan Kitwood/Getty)

In an interview with The Spectator which framed him positively, the activist ridiculed trans people.

He said: “I self-identify as a woman on Wednesdays, between 6.50am when my alarm goes off and around midnight when I go to bed.

“My womanness is expressed by my saying ‘I self-identify as a woman’ now and again on Wednesdays. I make no changes in my behaviour or my appearance.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 27: Scottish Labour Party leader Richard Leonard joined by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as they address party activists at the Lighthouse on November 27, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. The newly elected Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard gave his first keynote speech where he promised to "reshape and recharge" the party in Scotland in the same way Jeremy Corbyn has at Westminster. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)

“I keep my name, David and my male pronouns,” added Lewis. “I wear the same sort of clothes I wear the rest of the week. I keep my beard. I enjoy the full womanness of my beard.”

Lewis said he ran for the position, which can only be held by a woman, to attack the party’s policy of allowing trans women to self-identify.

“My priority here is to inform the CLP, and maybe some other people, about what this policy means, about what happens when you say that someone’s gender depends only on what they say and nothing else,” he explained.

Lewis added that people criticising him “don’t have any right to criticise my gender-identity. If I say I am a woman on Wednesdays, then all they can do is accept that.

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

“After all, there are other people who only identify as women on some days of the week and not others, and they are accepted, not criticised.”

A Labour spokeswoman said that party was “committed to upholding the principle of affirmative action for women” and would not stand for an obvious attempt to take advantage of the rules.

“Anyone attempting to breach Labour Party rules and subvert the intention of all-women shortlists, women’s officers or minimum quotas for women will be dealt with via our established safeguards, selection procedures and disciplinary measures,” she added.

Related topics: gender, Labour party, Politics, self-identify, Trans, Transgender, UK

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