Women quit Labour Party over self-identification row

Campaigners claim 300 women have left the Labour party over “all women shortlists”


Three hundred women are claimed to have left the Labour party over "all women shortlists" which are inclusive of trans women.


In a letter to The Times, 10 women, accused Labour of being “disingenuous”, adding that support for self-identification “reeks of male authority and male supremacy”.​


Continuing, they wrote: “We are dismayed at the Labour Party’s support for sex as a self-identified characteristic for all-women shortlists… We now face a situation in which any man can simply claim to be a woman and be included on all-women shortlists.


“Sex is not a self-defined characteristic and it is disingenuous for Labour to pretend that it is. Self-identity – ‘I am what I say I am’ – reeks of male authority and male supremacy.


"In contrast, women are rarely believed about the sexual violence we face or about harassment on the streets and domestic violence in the home…


"It is for that reason that we – alongside 300 other women – are resigning from the Labour Party today.”


A Labour party spokeswoman told DIVA: “All women shortlists are and always have been open to all women, which of course includes trans women.”​


Labour sources told DIVA that they do not recognise the "300" figure at all.


"Women who don’t share our party’s fundamental values are right to leave,"​ said Lily Madigan, who became Labour's first transgender women's officer in 2017, in a statement to Gay Star News.


The 19-year-old, who has been subjected to abuse by a small but vocal group of Twitter users…





…tweeted in response: 



"If some transphobes want to leave Labour because of its support of an evidently vulnerable and underrepresented group, they can be my guests," added Lily.


A number of trans activists and members of the public have spoken out in support of Lily and trans rights since the news broke.







Jennie Kermode, Trans Media Watch Chair, told DIVA: "It's hard to see the potential loss of 0.05% of the Labour Party's membership as much of a news story, and even stranger that anyone would claim such a small protest represented the concern of the majority of women. 


"We urge the media to report responsibly on an issue around which there is now widespread political consensus."


The Gender Recognition Act 2004 states that trans people have to go through a series of intrusive medical assessments and interviews with psychiatrists in order to "prove" their gender identity, and live in their gender for two years before it can be recognised legally.


Proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, which the government is currently consulting on, have been met with fierce criticism from some feminists.  


For more on the Gender Recognition Act, visit stonewall.org.uk/gender-recognition-act.



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