Labour’s National Executive Committee wants men who self-identify as women to be allowed to be added to All-Women Parliamentary Shortlists. The party’s NEC is trying to push through a statement which would allow men to self-identify as women without the need for medical or other certification to confirm that they have changed their gender.
In what some might see as a desperate attempt to suck votes out of even the smallest possible minority group, the Labour Party appears to have taken advice on gender politics from the film ‘The Life of Brian’.
The NECs public policy statement states “In line with the Party’s policy on the Gender Recognition Act, All Women Shortlists and women’s reserved places are open to self-defining women.”
It continues “We recognise that there is a diversity of views on what is a very complex and emotive issue, but discussions should never take the form of abuse and intimidation. Any instances of discrimination must be taken extremely seriously, investigated and acted upon. Transphobia and the abuse of members based on their Trans identity will not be tolerated in the Labour Party.”
The move, described as formal recognition of full transgender rights, is expected to be approved by the NEC’s Equalities Committee at its meeting on Tuesday and will be endorsed by the full NEC later this month. The move is likely to disappoint those feminists within the Labour party who profoundly disagree with the concept of self-identification, and who now risk being labelled trans-phobics.
Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists
The debate has already triggered serious clashes within the Labour party, with women opponents being described as “TERFs”, or “trans-exclusionary radical feminists”. Feminist author Germaine Greer claimed that trans women were “not real women” and leftwinger Linda Bellos was recently barred from a Cambridge debate for declaring she wanted to question “the power of those who were previously designated male to tell lesbians, and especially lesbian feminists, what to say and think”.
The trans issue seems to be causing Labour endless trouble, coming so soon after the recent row over Labour’s short-lived LGBT adviser, a militant trans called Munroe Bergdorf who accused all white people of being racist, and said that suffragettes were white supremacists. We’re not entirely sure how a militant trans who appears to have zero levels of tolerance or respect for anything non-trans is going to help raise levels of acceptance of trans people, but then we’re not on Labour’s NEC.
A positive step
Notwithstanding the above, we do think it’s a positive move. Until recently, men have been oppressed by blatant sexual discrimination, prevented from applying to be considered for certain seats by female-only shortlists. If a political party were to introduce men-only seats there would be open warfare, but it’s okay to discriminate against men. Apparently.
Anyway, if you’re a man and for some reason you want to stand to be a Labour MP at a constituency that operates a discriminatory female-only shortlist, all you have to do now is say you self-identify as a woman. Problem solved.