Women quit Labour Party over self-identification row
Campaigners claim 300 women have left the Labour party over "all women shortlists" which are inclusive of trans women
Lily Madigan, a Labour women's officer, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
TWITTER - LILY MADIGAN
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...
Am finding it hard to understand why Lily Madigan is Labour Women's Officer. All she ever tweets about are trans issues. She seems not the slightest bit interested in women. Her overwhelming preoccupation is Self Identifying Trans so why not be the Trans Officer?— birdy birdy #FBPE (@dawnquorus) 1 May 2018
Strongly disagree with the statement Lily Madigan made.Ask Lily girlfriend who is a biological women if she feels safe knowing any man disguised as a "self id women" can go into female toilets/changing room as a sexual predictor. Would Lily be happy to put Lily loved one at risk?— Chrisoula Drakopoulos (@email_chrisoula) 28 April 2018
Hey Lily, I think you’ve misunderstood what lesbian means?— Shia Harooooot (@HaroooootS) 27 April 2018
...tweeted in response:
Today, approximately 300 transmisogynist women left the Labour Party. Today is a good day 🌹✊— Lily Madigan 🤝🌹 (@LilyTMadigan) 1 May 2018
"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.
Celebrate #MayDay2018 bringing the much welcomed *coughs* “mass” resignation of some 300 odd transphobes from the Labour Party today. Out of 550k it’s just a rounding figure and rest of us can crack on as #trans people & #allies for #GRA reform. Don’t slam the door as you go! pic.twitter.com/jy7bfw0EXB— Sam Feeney 🏳️🌈🐾✊️🌹 (@StubbornDogs) 1 May 2018
Bye 👋👋👋 pic.twitter.com/vnuXGmrMWU— Scottish Young Labour (@scotsyounglab) 28 April 2018
Have they ACTUALLY left yet? Were any of them doing anything important enough to matter? 300 is a tiny number, lost in the numbers of people who join and leave a national party everyday. That level of futile self harm almost warrants an honourable mention in the Darwin awards https://t.co/XsmJ0ENRXV— Christine Burns MBE (@christineburns) 1 May 2018
Well, the Labour Party gained at least two new members (me and my partner) as a result of their ‘action’ and I know of someone else who also joined. So, alls good 😊— Bronwyn Amelia Driver (@bigbd1978) 2 May 2018
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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