Voting in the NEC elections

Ballots for Labour NEC elections were sent out on 19 October 2020. Voting closes 12 November 2020.

We wrote to all candidates and also did some research on what they had said on the public record. In case you wish to inform your choices based on the information we collected, please see the two lists below. Please understand that we are not endorsing any particular candidates, merely attempting to provide information so you can make an informed choice.

Click on their names for the information we have collected.

List 1: We believe these candidates support the “understanding and enforcement of the single-sex exceptions in service provision”

Dave Anderson (CLP)

Yasmine Dar (CLP)

Iram Woolley (CLP)

Esther Giles (Treasurer)

List 2: The following candidates have either stated that they believe that transwomen are women; and/or that they support the existing policy whereby men who identify as women are allowed to stand on All Women’s Shortlists (AWS); and/or they signed the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights Pledge in February 2020, calling for those who express “bigoted, transphobic views” to be expelled from the Labour Party.

Again, click on the names below to see what each candidate had to say:

Kendrick Fowler (Disabled)

George Lindars-Hammond (Disabled)

Kevin Watts (Disabled)

Reg Cotterill (Treasurer)

Vincent Lo (Treasurer)

Kira Lewis (Youth)

What you can do to support our campaign

Announcement by Liz Truss on the Gender Recognition Act Consultation and Reform   

It is possible that an announcement will be made on 23rd September. When and if Liz Truss makes an announcement we will issue a statement in response which we will publish here on our website, Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Actions we urge you to take right now!

  1. Use our briefing – speak to people– friends, family, colleagues, fellow Party and Trade Union members. Use our evidence based briefing discussions about the single sex exceptions and GRA reform. We prepared this briefing initially for MPs and Peers, but supporters have asked for copies to support them in their discussions with MPs and in their CLPs and Trade Unions. It has a useful executive summary for people in a hurry.

Read the executive summary and/or download a full copy here.

  1. Invite us to speak to your CLP or Women’s Forum – Email: labourwomensdeclaration@gmail.com.
  1. Do you live in a Labour constituency?
    In the past month we have sent a separate letter and our briefing to all female and then all male Labour MPs. If you would like to amplify our message by forwarding our letter and briefing with a personal note from you to your local MP, please email us at: labourwomensdeclaration@gmail.com.
  1. Are you voting in the Labour NEC Elections?
    In July, we wrote to the 124 candidates for the NEC elections who had supplied an email address, asking them three questions about where they stand on women’s sex-based rights. We have received 25 responses. Most have been positive and supportive of women’s sex-based rights, and several candidates have signed the Declaration as a result of us our approach. In fact more candidates have signed our Declaration than have signed the LCTR trans pledge which calls for the expulsion of party members who wish to discuss their concerns about sex-based rights. We are not publishing their replies in order to protect candidates, especially women, from the abuse which comes with standing up for women’s rights.
  1. Register for our first webinar – Tuesday 20 October 7.30 pm

“Labour Women’s Declaration – speaking up for women’s rights in the Labour Party”

Book your free place via Eventbrite here.

  1. Link up with other party members in your country or region.
    If you are not already in touch locally with other gender critical Labour Party members please email us with the name of your CLP, and we will try to put you in touch, in confidence, with others nearby.
  1. Take action in Scotland
    Our supporters in Scotland are involved with the excellent cross-party campaign For Women Scotland, and we are supporting their crowdfunder to take the SNP government to Judicial Review on its redefinition of the word woman. See here for our formal response to the consultation on the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill and here for our response to the Scottish gender recognition reform bill consultation.
  1. Take action in Wales. In Wales, the devolved administration is led by Labour and our Welsh sisters are active in challenging the Welsh Government’s misunderstandings in relation to the concepts of sex and gender. For further information, please see the Lleisiau Merched Cymru Facebook page or email: lleisiaumerched@hotmail.com

LWD briefing on sex-based rights and GRA reform

Briefing update for MPs, Peers and Party members on sex-based rights and GRA reform. We prepared this briefing in anticipation of the Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss announcing the outcome of the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA), possible changes to guidance on application of the single-sex exceptions in the Equality Act 2010 (EA), and a possible ban on conversion therapy for LGBT people. We hope it is helpful for all those engaged in discussions within the Party and beyond. 

Executive Summary

1.     There is a conflict of rights between women and trans people  in terms of the legal definition of sex, which impacts on the Equality Act. Denying this is damaging to both women and trans people – there must be respectful, evidence-based discussion to resolve this conflict of rights, and Labour should lead on this.

2.     Single sex spaces and services are required in several contexts for the safety, privacy and dignity of women and girls, and to facilitate their participation in public life.  If males are permitted to self-identify as women and access female-only spaces and services, they are no longer single sex.  This undermines women’s privacy, and undermines safeguarding and risk management in prisons, refuges and healthcare settings.

3.     As transwomen who hold a GRC are legally female, their comparator class in a discrimination claim is women. This has the potential to undermine anti-discrimination law.

4.     In relation to the possible ban on conversion therapy for LGBT people, the clear distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity, and what conversion therapy means in these two different contexts, must be understood. We urge caution in the detail of such a ban, as this could adversely affect the care that psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists are able to provide for gender-questioning, gender non-conforming or gender dysphoric people without fear of breaking the law.

5.     Women within the Labour Party have been bullied and harassed for stating their opinions about sex and gender.  This is unacceptable, and all MPs should stand up for women’s freedom of speech.

Download the full updated briefing via the link below:

Our response to the Scottish Hate Crime consultation

The Scottish Government recently held a consultation on proposed changes to hate crime and public order legislation in Scotland. The consultation closed on 24th July 2020.

Among many concerns about the proposed changes to the law  are fears that it will affect free speech – including the ability to speak about women’s sex-based rights.

Our working group, led by members in Scotland, submitted a detailed response to the consultation – which you can read via the PDF below.

LWD Scottish Hate Crime & Public Order Consultation Response

Labour Women Speak

When J K Rowling published her very clear, respectful and reasonable views on why she speaks up about sex and gender, we were more than happy to stand in solidarity with her. We also knew she wasn’t the only one who wanted to express their legitimately held views on such issues, in a rational and balanced way.

Labour Women Speak is a series of articles giving Labour women members, and supporters, the opportunity to air their views.

Kay Green is a writer and publisher and a Labour Party activist. Here she explains how seeing people being bullied led to her speaking up about sex and gender issues.

Why did I speak up? I didn’t mean to. I was a constituency officer in my local Labour Party, (Vice Chair (membership)). I thought the bit of the job description that involved ‘looking after the membership’ included dealing with bullying and abuse. Round my way, what I saw along those lines was mostly male LGBT Labour people, being appallingly abusive to, and attempting to silence/remove, autistic people, female abuse survivors and lesbians who disagreed with organisations such as Stonewall’s line on sex self-ID. Said line appears to have been informed by ‘queer theory’ which translated ‘acceptance without exception’ into a strategy that led organisations founded to support gay and lesbian people into activism that appears designed to cancel, deny and revile gay and lesbian cultures and services.

For many reasons, being a woman, and being an ally to autistic, gay and lesbian people leads me to support the retention of sex-based rights and services. I do think it’s difficult to do that and to do what is necessary to support trans people and I think we need a proper, national conversation about how we do it. Approaching the debate with those views apparently made me a ‘terf’, a ‘bigot’ and a ‘Nazi’.

I gradually worked out that the enemy is ‘gender’. To me, ‘sex’ is a biological description of our physical being, and ‘gender’ is the concept by which you can predict – or worse, dictate – what males and females respectively will do, think, say or wear on the basis of their sex. I started working on a better understanding of how different people are seeing the words ‘sex’ and ‘gender’, and how those repressive, dictatorial expectations get into our heads, so that we could have that conversation more efficiently.

In dealing with that, I found myself an active member of the Women’s Liberation Movement, learned a lot about feminism, and drew the conclusion that a clear, confident, gender critical women’s liberation movement was something that I, the Labour Party, and in fact the country as a whole was sorely in need of.

For some years, the battle raged on, provoked and embittered by a continuing (often apparently vexatious) confusion over the meanings of words, and the repeated labelling of gender critical women’s groups as ‘anti-trans’. It’s been exhausting. I’m eternally grateful to JK Rowling for bringing a spotlight onto the difficulties, and also to those who are now at last beginning to articulate the importance of all of us finding out how to support those a trans friend of mine calls ‘gender refugees’.

Ironically, the need to come together to talk about sex-based rights, has led to many women learning to work with those who are not their natural political allies (ie, your sex does not dictate which party, or which wing of your party, you support but your female body has the same needs as your political opponent). When this war is over, I hope we can carry that learning into other areas of politics.

All wars generate crowds of traumatised refugees. Those generated by the bitter war over sex and gender include autistic people who can’t cope with prescribed ‘gender roles’, abuse survivors who depend on single-sex services, lesbians and trans people who’ve been forced into the open in trying to challenge Stonewall et al, and all those who have just watched the whole battle in terrified silence.

Please let’s keep the conversation going, and keep speaking up until everyone is properly regarded.

Women Uniting media statement: Are women not extraordinary?

Are media outlets continuing to ignore women led organisations in favour of those led by men?

Last Friday (19th June), several news outlets, including the BBC and the Independent, gave prominent coverage to the formation of a cross party political group, representing a number of political LGBT+ groups, calling it ‘an extraordinary move’. Members of the group said, “This is unique”

The group had responded to reports that the Minister for Women and Equalities was going to publish her long awaited response to the consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act.

We were surprised that the media found this such a significant story, and that the group is claiming this action is ‘unique’. Indeed we are baffled as to why it received such a lot of coverage, because cross party groups of WOMEN working together on this issue have been studiously ignored.

The fact that we have been doing so for some time is apparently not considered ‘extraordinary’.

Inspired by ForWomenScotland, who have been working together cross party since mid 2018, Women Uniting UK was formed in late 2019, initially as a cross party coalition of women from six major UK political parties.

We published a joint petition on International Women’s Day, the 8th March this year, now signed by over 4,000 people with new signatures added every day. Thousands more signed the individual political party pledges and petitions. We sent out a press release announcing this to dozens of media outlets and journalists, including a large number at the BBC. It was ignored.

In April, our political alliance was joined by non-party-politically aligned women’s groups, including Fair Play for Women, FiLiA, and the Women’s Human Rights Campaign, to send a joint open letter to the Minister for Women and Equalities, the Rt.Hon Elizabeth Truss

Again, we tried to get media interest and again we were ignored. Since we shared that letter, more groups have joined us, including Authentic Equity Alliance, For Women Scotland, LGB Alliance, and Transgender Trend among others. We stand by everything we said in our petition, and in our joint letter.

We support Liz Truss in saying NO to Self ID and YES to clear and unambiguous guidance on the rights of women and girls to single SEX spaces. This removes rights from no-one.

We stand united in our defence of the rights of every human being to define themselves as they wish. But we will not allow the rights of women and children to single sex spaces to be removed. Those spaces and services provide safety, dignity, comfort and privacy.

We will not stand by as the power to name ourselves, to count ourselves, to represent ourselves, is removed. The word woman is taken.

ENDS

Editors’ Notes

Many of the groups mentioned in this letter have written their own open letters, and letters to Liz Truss; their own MPs or MSPs; other political representatives; the Women & Equalities Committee; and the Prime Minister on behalf of their groups and as individuals. (We are happy to provide contact details for these groups should you wish to talk to them about their particular views.)

Joint Political Petition signatories, Women Uniting UK:  Conservative Women’s Pledge; Green Feminists Women and Girls Declaration; Labour Women’s Declaration; Liberal Democrats Grassroots Challenge to Policy on Women; SNP Women’s Pledge; and Women’s Equality Party for Protection of Sex Based Rights

Signatories to the letter of 23rd April 2020:  Women Uniting UK; Conservative Women’s Pledge; Green Feminists Women and Girls Declaration; Labour Women’s Declaration; Liberal Democrats Grassroots Challenge to Policy on Women; SNP Women’s Pledge; Women’s Equality Party for Protection of Sex Based Rights; Fair Play for Women; FiLiA; and WHRC

New signatories to 23 Apr letter: Authentic Equity Alliance; For Women Scotland; LGB Alliance; and Transgender Trend.


Media statement contact details:

Follow @WomenUnitingUK 

Press enquiries to: womenunitinguk@gmail.com