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Labour leadership hopeful Keir Starmer went on Mumsnet to declare trans rights are human rights

Nick Duffy February 4, 2020
Labour’s Shadow Brexit Minister, Keir Starmer

Labour’s Shadow Brexit Minister, Keir Starmer (Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Labour leadership frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer has insisted that “trans rights are human rights” in a Q&A on notorious web forum Mumsnet.

On Monday, Starmer became the latest leadership hopeful to take part in a live chat on the website, which is popular with parents and anti-transgender activists, and faced an all-too-predictable flood of questions about trans issues.

However, Starmer – who has asserted his support for trans rights previously – stood his ground when asked if he is “concerned” about the impact of trans issues on “the rights of natal women and children”.

Sir Keir Starmer tells Mumsnet: ‘Trans rights are human rights.’

He responded: “Trans rights are human rights. I have met with members of the trans community and I know this is a group of people who have been subjected to incredible abuse and discrimination for a very long time.”

Starmer added: “This conversation has become incredibly heightened, and I do understand the points being made on all sides. But if we just treat this as a political football, we are not being fair to anyone.

“I do believe we need to update the Gender Recognition Act. But what we need right now is a respectful dialogue that doesn’t pit one set of concerns against others. If elected leader, that’s a dialogue I would want to help facilitate.”

Sir Keir Starmer, one of the leading contenders in the Labour leadership contest
Sir Keir Starmer, one of the leading contenders in the Labour leadership contest (Photo: Ken Jack/Getty Images)

The Labour politician also faced a question from a user who claims to have a 14-year-old transgender son suffering from ‘rapid onset gender dysphoria’, which is a debunked anti-transgender conspiracy theory.

Starmer replied: “I’m acutely aware of the anxiety and distress that [transitioning] causes to individuals and families.

“This has to be seen as a human rights issue and we need to ensure that this debate is conducted respectfully and calmly, and with the best interests of children at heart.”

Mumsnet blocked obsessive users from asking flood of questions on trans issues.

Mumsnet again banned users from continuing to talk about trans issues, after previous live chats resulted in users asking more questions about trans issues than every other political issue combined.

The site’s moderators wrote: “Thanks for comments on sex/gender identity etc. That’s enough on that topic now – we expect there to be lots of questions for Keir on all kinds of issues and don’t want this to become a single issue webchat.”

In the wake of the Q&A, Mumsnet users suggested it would be better to focus their anti-trans lobbying efforts on Tory MPs, after being firmly rebuffed by both Starmer and Labour MP Jess Phillips.

One user wrote: “I’m more and more convinced we just need to give up trying with labour… the Tories have a stonking great majority.

“They don’t need labour to cooperate in parliament. We need to focus on the Tory party and leave the left to eat itself.”

Others on the self-identified ‘women’s rights’ board suggested allying with anti-abortion, anti-LGBT+ Tory minister Jacob Rees-Mogg.

They suggested: “Anyone who lives in his constituency should write to him urging him to stand firm and not give in to TWAW lobby and ask him how to ensure such rules are not whitewashed.”

More: Keir Starmer, Labour, Mumsnet

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