Menu

InstagramTwitterYouTubeFacebookSnapchat
Globe Icon

Join

and support
LGBT+ journalism

Politics

LGBT+ Labour demands ‘swift action’ after MP Rosie Duffield targets group with bitter attack

Vic Parsons October 15, 2020
bookmarking iconBookmark Article
Rosie Duffield: Labour MP launches attack on her party's own LGBT group

LGBT+ Labour said that 'swift action' must be taken over Rosie Duffield's comments on trans people. (Facebook)

LGBT+ Labour is calling for “swift action” to be taken against Rosie Duffield after a second woman quit the MP’s team citing her “transphobic” comments.

Duffield, who was elected Canterbury’s first-ever Labour MP in 2017, has been plagued by accusations that she is “transphobic” since the beginning of August, when she waded into a heated online row about who has a cervix.

Two staffers have now resigned from Duffield’s team, saying that her opinions and comments about transgender people are “overtly transphobic” and “detrimental to the welfare of the trans community”. A lesbian who quit in August told Duffield that her views on trans rights made continuing to work for her “untenable”.

LGBT+ Labour, which has campaigned for equality since 1975, said that the situation has “rapidly escalated” and called for the Labour Party to take “swift action”.

“Rosie’s actions over the past few months have rapidly escalated. The Labour Party must firmly stand with us and say they will not tolerate bigotry against members of the LGBT+ community, especially from a Labour MP,” Melantha Chittenden and Heather Peto, co-chairs of LGBT+ Labour, told PinkNews.

“We believe that the situation can no longer be recovered and action must be taken swiftly by the Labour Party.”

In October, Labour activists called for Rosie Duffield to have the whip withdrawn after it emerged that the MP had liked a tweet from anti-trans campaigner Maya Forstater that branded the Law Society’s guidance on transition in professional settings as “celebrating cross dressers in the office”.

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, is the only senior Labour politician to have publicly commented on the transphobia row, saying on 6 October that she thought Duffield should “reflect” on her comments.

Last night, after it emerged that a second woman had quit Duffield’s team because of her continued anti-trans comments, LGBT+ Labour sent its solidarity to both staffers in a tweet, adding: “It takes incredible bravery to take this step, and it is wrong that they have been put in a position where it is necessary. We offer them our solidarity and our support.”

Duffield responded via Twitter 18 minutes later, accusing LGBT+ Labour of writing “absolute rubbish” about her, which she said was part of a “daily/weekly” onslaught.

“It is very hard for MPs to dispute the garbage we have to read about ourselves constantly,” she added. “I will tackle the latest untruths when I have the time and energy…”

Rosie Duffield did not respond to a request for comment yesterday after her ex-staffer shared their resignation letter with PinkNews.

On Twitter last night, she outed the ex-staffer by identifying a photograph of her. She then also revealed identifying details about the lesbian who quit her office in August. Both women spoke to PinkNews on condition of anonymity.

Duffield also said she had been “branded a homophobe” after it was revealed that she had asked her lesbian staffer if she knew Sandi Toksvig.

Duffield has now locked her Twitter account.

Rosie Duffield ‘transphobia’ row: What happened?

At the start of August, Rosie Duffield insisted that “only women have a cervix” and doubled down on accusations of transphobia by labelling the backlash against her a “tedious Communist pile-on”.

Despite criticism from the LGBT+ community for excluding trans men and some non-binary people, Duffield spent the next 10 days liking anti-trans tweets.

She then issued an apology insisting that she had “always” supported trans rights and had been “hurt greatly” by the accusations of transphobia levelled against her.

But a cis lesbian, who was Duffield’s only LGBT+ staff member, resigned over the MP’s continued anti-trans statements – and hit back at Duffield’s claim to be a longtime LGBT+ ally.

Sophie* (name changed to protect her identity) told PinkNews that in the weeks after Duffield’s comments, there was a huge influx of “bigotry landing in [our] office” – several hundred more emails and letters each week than usual.

“The support Rosie got from this, and the bigots emboldened by this, is ongoing,” Sophie said. “It’s flabbergasting that a Labour MP should be OK with that – but she’s done nothing to say that she’s not.”

In October, Labour activists called for Rosie Duffield to have the whip withdrawn after it emerged that the MP had liked a tweet from anti-trans campaigner Maya Forstater that branded the Law Society’s guidance on transition in professional settings as “celebrating cross dressers in the office”.

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, then became the first senior Labour politician to publicly comment on the transphobia row, saying she thought Duffield should “reflect” on her comments. But instead the MP escalated tensions in an interview with The Times, condemning the criticism of her views on trans issues as “base, pure misogyny”.

However, the team member who just quit told Duffield: “I am a radical feminist; this is central to my politics. I have spent a lot of time thinking and reading about ‘gender critical feminism’.

“It is tedious and unedifying to watch you claim that you are being bullied or victimised by trans Labour members, young activists, and even the co-chair of LGBT Labour.

“I think you will ultimately find the adulation of people with JK Rowling hashtags in their bios proves hollow succour.”

PinkNews has contacted Rosie Duffield and the Labour Party for comment.

Related topics: Labour, LGBT Labour, rosie duffield, transphobia

Swipe sideways to view more posts!

Dismiss

Loading ...

Close icon