Labour’s Jess Phillips doubles down on support for trans women during fiery Mumsnet interview
Labour leadership candidate Jess Phillips attracted virtual heckles during a Q&A on Mumsnet – after she expressed her support for trans rights and said that working class communities don’t care about “gender critical” issues.
The website, which is popular with parents and anti-transgender activists, hosted a live chat with the Labour leadership hopeful on Monday, days after she confirmed her support for trans rights in an interview with PinkNews.
Mumsnet users ‘warned to stop asking questions’ about gender identity
After other Mumsnet Q&A sessions resulted in users asking more questions about trans issues than every other political issue combined, moderators repeatedly urged users to stay away from the topic.
The site’s moderators warned early on: “We’re going to draw a line under comments around gender identity and sex now and will delete any further questions that we think stray into this area.
“This issue has dominated previous webchats, which we don’t think is fair to our guests nor to the entire Mumsnet user community, some of whom have said they felt put off joining in.”
Responding to an initial question on the issue, Phillips wrote: “As a women’s rights activist for my entire life, the importance of women being able to organise collectively is a cornerstone and should be protected.
“I do believe transwomen are women and helped to write the report that suggested changes to the GRA … [because the system] seemed bound entirely in 1950s perceptions of men and women. I think it needs reforming.
She added: “I ran a women’s domestic and sexual violence service and am confident in specialist services being able to risk assess for safety.
“In that service, we had a small number of transwomen in my time there and they did not pose a risk. Everyone in service was risk assessed on their relative risk.”
Anti-trans Mumsnet users flood Jess Phillips Q&A with anger
The answer inflamed yet more anger from Mumsnet users, who again flooded the topic with discussion of the issue – with many declaring that they will not support Phillips because of her stance.
One wrote: “You were the one that might have tempted me over. But I’m going to have to stick with the Tories, who despite their faults do actually know what a woman is.”
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Another fumed: “I might self ID as a purple unicorn. Why f**king not? The world has gone MAD”.
A third user wrote: ” This is why the Tories will keep winning. Whatever other criticisms can be made of them, at least they don’t deny material reality and expect others to do the same.”
However, Phillips stood by her guns, writing: “I have in the last 5 years knocked thousands and thousands of doors in working class communities across our country. No one has ever mentioned this.”
After the flood of negative responses continued, she stressed: “We might not always agree but it’s good to talk.”
The Q&A has led to further anger towards Phillips from ‘gender critical’ feminists online.
Julie Bindel wrote: “Can’t vote for Jess Phillips after reading that stuff on Mumsnet re the GRA. Lots to like about her, but not this waffle. Lost a lot of trust, so now I am back to square one!”
On the decision to ban further questions on the issue, Mumsnet founder and CEO Justine Roberts told PinkNews: “Mumsnet webchats are a chance for our users to ask questions about things that matter to them; our rule about not allowing one topic to dominate webchats has been in place for some years, and in today’s webchat allowed Jess Phillips time to answer users’ questions about the future relationship with the EU, climate change, Momentum’s place in the Labour Party, and resources for children with special educational needs amongst other things, as well as gender self-ID.”