UK

Ambitious new group Labour Trans Equality demands Keir Starmer ‘take urgent action to eliminate transphobia’

Vic Parsons February 1, 2021
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Labour Trans Equality demands 'urgent action to eliminate transphobia'

Keir Starmer was famously branded a 'wet wipe' last year, partly for failing to address transphobia in the Labour party. (Getty/Robert Perry)

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is once again facing calls for it to take “urgent action” on transphobia within the party.

Labour Trans Equality, a new campaign group that launched last week to promote trans equality in Labour, wants the party to “eliminate transphobia”.

“The Labour Party needs to take urgent action to eliminate transphobia from within the party at all levels, this has become an urgent issue and not one for further debate and dithering,” Labour Trans Equality said in a statement.

“Elements of the press and media, together with individuals and organisations, have engaged in nothing less than a hostile campaign against trans people based on misrepresentations and outright lies about the threat trans people and trans women in particular pose to society, especially to women.

“Unfortunately anti-trans activist members of the Labour Party and affiliated organisations have been complicit in this process.”

Anti-trans activists within Labour backed recent calls by the Women’s Human Rights Campaign that urged MPs to “eliminate transgenderism“.

Labour Trans Equality has today launched a consultation that will attempt to provide a “clear understanding of what transphobia is” and has attempted to define transphobia with a 10-point list, which includes denying that trans people exist, misgendering, portraying trans people as a threat to society, claiming there is a conflict between trans rights and women’s rights, and failing to address transphobia allegations in “reasonable time”.

Councillor Anwen Muston, a longstanding advocate for trans equality within Labour and one of the co-sponsors of Labour Trans Equality, said of the new consultation: “Transphobia causes great harm. Trans people must feel safe to engage at all levels of the Labour Party and its affiliated organisations without fear of transphobic discrimination and abuse.

“We hope this consultation process will lead to establishing a clear understanding across the party of what transphobia is and what is necessary to tackle it.”

Labour was heavily criticised for failing to address transphobia within the party in 2020, a year that saw Labour politicians quit rather than support trans equality, lose staff due to their “overtly transphobic” views, and align themselves with transphobic hate groups.

As a result, trans and non-binary Labour members have been quitting the party in their droves, with the chair of the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights, Torr Robinson, warning last August that Labour and Keir Starmer’s inaction on transphobia would set the “party of equality” back decades when it comes to LGBT+ voters. Starmer maintains he is a “proud ally”.

But Labour activists have repeatedly demanded the party take action on Rosie Duffield, Canterbury MP, who’s been plagued by accusations of transphobia since August 2020 that have seen two women quit her office. Duffield later outed one of the women on social media, but Keir Starmer has barely acknowledged the issue.

The Labour Trans Equality launch and consultation follows the resignation of Heather Peto, the first trans co-chair of Labour-affiliated campaign group, from LGBT+ Labour. Peto cited transphobia as the reason for quitting.

Related topics: heather peto, Keir Starmer, Labour, Labour Campaign for Trans Rights, Labour Trans Equality, LGBT Labour, Torr Robinson

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