United Kingdom: Labour Party splinters over trans rights
Britain’s opposition Labour Party is supposed to be picking a new leader, said Jack Maidment in the Daily Mail, but instead it has “descended into civil war over trans rights.” After the election debacle in December, when it lost dozens of long-held seats in working-class areas to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, Labour was clear that its far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn had to be replaced. But instead of debating how to win back lost voters and tacking to the center, it is now threatening to alienate women. Of the party’s three leadership candidates, two—Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy—have signed a radical 12-point plan drawn up by a previously unknown group of trans-rights activists. The plan calls for anyone who doesn’t believe that trans women should be allowed in all women-only spaces—domestic violence refuges, women’s prisons, restrooms—to be expelled from the party. It specifically calls out two left-wing groups, Women’s Place UK and the LGB Alliance, as “transphobic organizations” whose members must be shamed and shunned. In response, thousands of female Labour members tweeted their anger under the hashtag #ExpelMe.
Labour is preparing “a witch hunt” against feminists like me, said Janice Turner in The Times. We don’t want to discriminate against trans women. But are we really not allowed to say that there are certain spaces that should be free of penises? Can’t we discuss concerns about early diagnosis of gender dysmorphia, for example, or the fairness of male-bodied athletes competing in women’s sports, without being labeled bigots? It’s telling that it took Labour months of agonized soul-searching before it expelled the anti-Semites in its ranks, said Suzanne Moore in The Daily Telegraph, yet the party is now eager to drum out uppity women. I guess “to tell women we no longer have the right to autonomous organization has always been the aim of the dude bros who run Labour.”
How dare cisgender people presume to tell trans people what is or isn’t bigotry, said Vic Parsons in Independent.co.uk. White Labour Party members would never tell blacks to shut up about racism. Women’s Place UK claims to be protecting women’s safety, but men have never needed female birth certificates to prey on women, and trans people like me refuse “to let our lives be put up for debate.” The trans community is now where the gay community was two decades ago. So to those Labour members who refuse to be on the right side of history: “Don’t forget to close the door on your way out.”
This is Sophie’s Choice for progressives, said Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian, an issue concerning “two marginalized groups, each demanding protection from the other.” But when the Left competes for wokeness, the only winner is the Right. As the front-runner for leadership, Keir Starmer, says, the party needs to “dial it down.” Can’t Labour just acknowledge “that two sides of the argument exist”? ■