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Labour’s Rosie Duffield insists she’s not transphobic while finally apologising for saying only women have a cervix

Emma Powys Maurice August 12, 2020
Rosie Duffield

Rosie Duffield insisted 'only women have a cervix' on Twitter. (Facebook/Rosie Duffield)

Rosie Duffield has issued a grovelling apology for her anti-trans tweets after LGBT+ Labour called on Kier Starmer to take “measurable action” against her.

Over the past two weeks the Labour MP had become embroiled in a heated online row in which she used “exclusionary and unacceptable” language regarding who can get cervical cancer.

Duffield dismissed the widespread criticism from the LGBT+ community as a “tedious Communist pile on” and ignored repeated attempts by LGBT+ Labour to “initiate steps towards an apology and reparations”.

It seems she’s now had a sudden change of heart as she issued a lengthy apology on Facebook, insisting that she had “always” supported trans rights and had been “hurt greatly” by the accusations of transphobia levelled against her.

“The last few days have been difficult and distressing for myself and my fantastic team of staff,” she began. “I am, and always have been, completely supportive of trans rights. I have spent decades campaigning for equality and supporting LGBT+ rights.

“We need to bring together women’s and trans groups to ensure we progress and protect hard won rights both through the law, and culturally.”

She said the conversation on trans rights had become “toxic” after being hijacked by bad faith actors at both ends of the political spectrum.

“I will not accept different groups of women being pitted against each other and I know that we can work together towards language that accommodates everyone,” Duffield said – language that she herself previously opted not to use.

But she now appears to have reconsidered as she continued: “I understand how choice of language is important in this debate and acknowledge that carelessness can cause offence – I am sorry for any offence my own recent use of language on this issue may have caused.

“I have learnt from this and will continue to do so – it is part of our journey as people to listen and learn from groups outside our own lived experience.”

Duffield acknowledged that some trans men and non-binary people – whom she previously described under the umbrella of “women” – also need access to cervical cancer screenings. “It’s crucial that we must be able to communicate to each of these groups to build awareness,” she said.

“I am completely committed to this and never meant for anything said or shared to risk the good progress made in these public health arenas.”

The Canterbury MP took a slightly more bitter tone on Twitter as she announced a break from the social media platform.

“Well Twitter, it’s been a blast. But like many others, I’m taking a break from social media for a bit,” she wrote. “No doubt the misogyny, the racism and the political extremisms will all still be here when I return.”

More: cervical cancer, Kier Starmer, Labour, LGBT Labour, LGBT-inclusive healthcare, rosie duffield, transphobia

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