Labour now has its transgender dispute

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ajjohnstone
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May 1 2018 22:23
Labour now has its transgender dispute

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-43962349

Campaigners claim 300 Labour members have quit the party over the inclusion of transgender women on all-women shortlists.
The group expressed dismay at what they said was the party's support for gender as a "self-identified characteristic".They claimed without a gender recognition certificate "any man can simply claim to be a woman" and make a shortlist. Female activists believe allowing transgender women on to all-women shortlists for certain parliamentary seats will make it harder for other women to stand for office.

"Sex is not a self-defined characteristic, and it is disingenuous for Labour to pretend that it is," they wrote. "Self-identity, 'I am what I say I am,' reeks of male authority and male supremacy. In contrast... women are rarely listened to, as this very issue demonstrates."

(Couldn't find the appropriate thread so admin feel free to move if you wish)

Mike Harman
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May 1 2018 22:42

This has been going on for a while:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/01/labour-to-clarify-policy-over-trans-women-on-all-female-shortlists
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/01/labour-to-clarify-policy-over-trans-women-on-all-female-shortlists
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/17/legal-challenge-to-labour-over-shortlists-and-transwomen
https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/01/24/labour-confirms-its-all-women-shortlists-are-open-to-self-identifying-transgender-women/

It's mostly been used as an excuse to attack individual trans women who've been involved in Labour. Especially in the Times which seems to put out an article per day: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/labour-official-s-tweets-cause-transgender-row-between-lily-madigan-and-miranda-yardley-zpsjhwtc8 / https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/lily-madigan-im-a-transgender-teen-agitator-imake-an-ideal-labour-womens-officer-2ctxksngx

This is one of those cases where it's very hard to give a shit about all women shortlists, but the people resigning also don't actually give a shit about all women shortlists either - they just want any excuse to whip up a moral panic about the dangers of trans women via manufactured victimhood.

ajjohnstone
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May 2 2018 03:29

Cheers for placing this in a broader context for me.

sawa
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May 2 2018 16:06

The only reason to exclude trans women from women's seats is transphobia and transmisogyny.
It is scary out influential terfs are in society and claiming to be on the left/ultra left.

I'd be more concerned if they try and do the same in trade unions or other organisations. But I dunno are they trying to do that too? Although if they take action by quitting then ha thatd be useful.

Mike Harman
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May 2 2018 19:56
sawa wrote:
I'd be more concerned if they try and do the same in trade unions or other organisations. But I dunno are they trying to do that too?

I think there are probably much less women's officer positions in trade unions (i.e. doubt a local union branch would have one in most cases). Similarly, no all-women shortlists for branch or national elections - and therefore much fewer posts specifically for women that you could eject a trans woman from.

You could say that if TERFs are very concerned about women's representation on the left that they could be organising for such regional and national women's positions/positive discrimination in unions to be created, but that would be taking them at their word that they're trying to get official equal representation for women in such groups, instead of their sole goal being to force trans women out of spaces where there's some acceptance.

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Steven.
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May 3 2018 03:23

I would agree with Mike that hardly any women's officer positions will exist in branches (as there are so many vacancies in every branch). But a lot of unions would have women-only spots for delegations to various conferences and decision-making bodies. So that could potentially become a bone of contention.

Don't care about the Labour Party myself, however I do think it's reassuring that this was only 300 bigots, only a tiny minority. They are getting increasingly noisy, however, and they have a lot of support in the right-wing press, which is helping them get traction, and is worrying…

sawa
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May 3 2018 15:25

Yeah Trade Union branches are unlikely to have women's officer positions or if they do they are unlikely to be filled.
But as Steven said at least some unions do have a certain women only delegates and reserved womens seats on committees.
Some still have some seats/positions as mens seats though hopefully such will change to open seats to be non binary inclusive. And so women can stand for them too.
But dunno if terfs are trying to make women's reserved places exclusionary of trans folk. Hopefully not or if so they leave unions or the uk/earth in protest!

They seem to have a lot of support in most mainstream media outlets. Are there any that don't publish transphobic opinion or news pieces?

sawa
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May 3 2018 15:36

Pink news article on bbc transphobia amongst women on whats app is also interesting and more worrying about the influence terfs have in the media.

Btw does anyone know if there are any trans officers or reserved trans seats in trade unions or similar organisations? I know student wise NUS only got a trans officer a year ago!

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Steven.
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May 3 2018 18:48
sawa wrote:
Pink news article on bbc transphobia amongst women on whats app is also interesting and more worrying about the influence terfs have in the media.

Btw does anyone know if there are any trans officers or reserved trans seats in trade unions or similar organisations? I know student wise NUS only got a trans officer a year ago!

a bunch of unions have LGBT officers, some of whom are trans. Don't know about trans-specific ones.

Haven't heard that about some unions having specifically men's seats, do you know which ones? My union, Unison, refers to some seats as "men's" by really they aren't, they are open to everyone, it's just that as they are not seats specifically reserved for women normally men get them

sawa
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May 3 2018 20:10
Quote:

Haven't heard that about some unions having specifically men's seats, do you know which ones? My union, Unison, refers to some seats as "men's" by really they aren't, they are open to everyone, it's just that as they are not seats specifically reserved for women normally men get them

Oh my mistake that was what I was referring to. Just seems silly to refer such as such if thats not the case.

Spikymike
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May 7 2018 12:51

So it seems that some transsexuals have now broken ranks and publicly come out against the proposed ''removal of safeguards'' from the Gender Recognition Act similar to objections from the TERF's campaigning, though they are perhaps unlikely to be welcomed as allies by the more 'hard-line' TERFS? Of course confused, mixed up and plain conservative views are as common amongst the broader transgender (and LGBTQ) population (let's not say 'community') as the rest, which suggests the need for continuing an open discussion minus some of the entrenched identity battle lines and associated 'call-out culture' is still needed?

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Operaista
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May 7 2018 14:33

Not totally certain on the dynamic in the UK (though there is a good bit of international, if primarily anglophone dialogue due to the Internet), but there is a big split between more conservative (generally older) trans people who often refer to themselves as having Harry Benjamin Syndrome (after an early trans sympathetic doctor who did have a lot of views that now would be viewed as reactionary) and get referred to as transmedicalists by their opposition. The HBSers are all binary gendered and gender conforming (though there are plenty of trans people who that is true of who don’t hold those views) who heavily value approval by the medical establishment, and view trans people who don’t fit their narrow standard as a barrier to acceptance and illegitimate. I can see them supporting “safeguards” in the Gender Recognition Act because of those views.

They generally aren’t liked by hardline TERFs unless they’re super self-hating and do the “I’ll never be a real woman” dance.

There’s certainly been a TERF resurgence in the US, but is my impression that they’re more influential in the UK accurate?

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R Totale
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May 7 2018 15:17

Yeah, I don't know how Miranda Yardley currently identifies, but they're definitely a transsexual who's been very vocal about their support of the campaign against the GRA since the very start. I don't think this particularly changes anything about that campaign, any more than Sajid Javid's appointment changes the fundamental nature of the government or the Home Office - there's never a direct one-to-one equivalence between "identity" and "politics", and you're always likely to get some non-white individuals involved in groups like the Proud Boys or the EDL. Despite that, I think we can still talk of all those organisations having agendas which are likely to disproportionately harm certain groups, even if members of said groups might be involved in those organisations, if that makes sense?

@Operista: I think so, it's hard to tell, but it's my impression that most lefty/liberal publications in the US would be relatively unlikely to give TERF views space, whereas publications like the New Statesman and Morning Star here can't get enough of them?

sawa
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May 8 2018 07:29

Trans folks who are conservative and hold idealogical views of being transgender as strictly medical have been around for a while. Generally they are called truscum by other trans folk and believe physical gender dysphoria is a necessary condition to being trans. They often don't believe non binary folk exist or are trans.
I presume this is the article you are referring to?
Content warning transphobia

Truscum folk are often on nhs and government consultation boards which propose and implement policy that affects trans folk. And such organisations are more than happy to have them as token trans folk. And thus backs up goverment/nhs gatekeeping and denial of essential services and recognition to non binary, neurodiverse or otherwise disabled and Poc trans folk.

They do often share gender essentialist views which terfs frequently have to. Though as folks said terfs will only get along with such trans folks if they are self hating.

Also what is wrong with saying lgbtq communities or trans communities?.

Mike Harman
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May 8 2018 09:33

@sawa SpikeyMike's avoidance of the word 'community' here is because it homogenises trans people as having the same interests (that can then be represented by someone like Miranda Yardley as a community 'representative' on an advisory board even though she's opposed to the interests of most trans people), and obscures divisions on class, race etc.

sawa
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May 8 2018 15:20
Mike Harman wrote:
@sawa SpikeyMike's avoidance of the word 'community' here is because it homogenises trans people as having the same interests (that can then be represented by someone like Miranda Yardley as a community 'representative' on an advisory board even though she's opposed to the interests of most trans people), and obscures divisions on class, race etc.

Then surely communities is better and communicates the diverse trans communities that exist.
I just very much think most trans organising should be invcluded under community organising and that such needs to be expanded to include trans communities.
I worry about the tendancy of cis people to incorectly situate trans organising/activism as outside our everyday lives.

But yeah folk like Miranda Yardley are not accountable to any other trans folk or our communities. But then few/none of these advisory boards are accountable or democratic.

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dark_ether
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May 16 2018 10:43

Labour must be devastated by the loss of anywhere up to 0.05% of their membership

Zia
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Jun 14 2018 01:37

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ajjohnstone
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Jul 5 2018 00:38

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/04/len-mccluskey-signs-letter-accusing-trans-rights-activists-of-intimidation

Quote:
The Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, joined a group of feminist campaigners to sign a controversial letter that accuses some transgender rights activists of violent and intimidating behaviour and was one of about 140 people, including Julie Bindel and Ruth Serwotka, who signed a letter in the Morning Star warning that a handful of recent episodes risked drawing “the whole of our progressive movement into disrepute”
sawa
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Jul 5 2018 03:00
ajjohnstone wrote:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/04/len-mccluskey-signs-letter-accusing-trans-rights-activists-of-intimidation
Quote:
The Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, joined a group of feminist campaigners to sign a controversial letter that accuses some transgender rights activists of violent and intimidating behaviour and was one of about 140 people, including Julie Bindel and Ruth Serwotka, who signed a letter in the Morning Star warning that a handful of recent episodes risked drawing “the whole of our progressive movement into disrepute”

This should be a lot more socially unacceptable. What impression does such give to trans Unite members or trade unionists or pro syndicalists.
The characterisation of trans folk especially women as dangerous and abusive when trying to use necessary services and spaces is scary.

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R Totale
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Jul 5 2018 21:40

For what it's worth, there's an official Unite statement here, which is considerably more positive: http://www.unitetheunion.org/campaigning/events/fifth-unite-policy-conference-2018/upc2018--ec-statement-on-gender-identity/ Looks like the session even got a fair write-up in the Morning Star, which is impressive: https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/article/unite-firmly-committed-trans-rights-delegates-affirm

Oh, and there's also this reply, from various Labour movement figures: https://gradiscussion.wordpress.com/