I’ve been asked by Labour Party contacts in Sheffield to publicise its response to a “Statement of Support for Trans and Non Binary People” sent to Sheffield CLP branches after the election of the Hallam Women’s Officer, a known Gender Critical campaigner.
For background to what is at stake here see, among other posts, Why I bang on about the trans thing and Maya Forstater wins on appeal. I am alarmed by what I see as the public in general, and party members in particular, being railroaded into the false syllogism that an insistence – quite lawful in the UK, following the Forstater ruling 1 – on sex as biological and binary – and on that basis defending (cis) women-only spaces – is by definition transphobic. 2
Dear Regional Office
Please find attached to this email a response from a group of women Labour members, ex members and supporters from across the Sheffield CLPs [Constituency Labour Party branches] to the recent Statement of Support for Trans and Non Binary People circulated to members through CLP secretaries, women’s officers and LGBT+ officers.
This response is being sent to CLP Secretaries/Chairs/LCF [Local Campaign Forum] representatives/LGBT officers within our individual CLPs with requests for it to be circulated to all members. We are writing to you formally to request that you ensure that this happens.
This is an important counterbalance to the previous statement which was requesting signatories of support from members on the basis of what we believe to be spurious and unevidenced allegations of ‘transphobia’ against a CLP Women’s Officer in one of the Sheffield CLPs.
We are concerned that members may be signing up to a statement under false pretences, not having had access to all the facts and information necessary to make an informed decision.
In the light of statements being widely circulated in Sheffield – which accuse a CLP Women’s Officer of posting ‘transphobic’ tweets and of posting a statement which does not comply with Party Policy – it would be even-handed to circulate a statement from a group of Sheffield Labour women providing a different point of view and asking questions which need urgently to be answered.
Please be aware that failure to circulate this statement could leave the Party open to legal action on the basis of indirect discrimination, given that gender critical beliefs are protected by law and that no woman (or man) should suffer silencing or recrimination for holding such beliefs.
Please also be aware that the current Labour Party Manifesto unequivocally supports the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and the retention of single-sex spaces for women so the views as set out in this Response to Sheffield CLPs Statement of Support for Trans and NB People are in line with current Party policy.
We can be contacted via SheffieldLabourGCFeminists@
Thank you for your time.
- “Quite lawful” understates the case. Following the Forstater appeal judgment of June this year, it is unlawful to discriminate in the UK against a person on ground of her belief in the biological and binary nature of sex (or the counter belief, since both are protected by this judgment, in a person’s “right to self identify” their sex).
- Not for the first time I note the parallels between this false equation and another: that support for Palestinians and criticisms of Israel as an apartheid state are, also ipso facto, antisemitic. In each case an equation at best muddled and at worst made in bad faith for extrinsic reasons is informing witch hunts marked by (a) abandonment of the presumption of innocence – to be accused is to be guilty – and (b) guilt by association – to insist on the innocence of a comrade is to invite the same charge on oneself. Both are hallmarks of McCarthyism; to which, I am afraid, Labour is no stranger.
Re footnote 2. A point, along with relevant and related issues, I’ve attempted to cover in some detail in the link below:
Thank you for giving some context and balance to this distressing situation. However, I think you may have linked to the wrong document in this post. The words “the attached” seem to go to the Statement of solidarity with transgender and nonbinary people, rather than to the response from feminist women in the Labour Party. I (and I’m sure others) would be very interested to read the response – would you be able to correct the link?