PRESS RELEASE – issued 12th February 2020
Thousands tweet #expelme in support of women’s rights and free speech
Women members of the Labour Party have hit back at claims that campaigning for women’s rights is ‘transphobic’.
The women are part of the same group which launched the Labour Women’s Declaration (LWD), which quickly gained almost 3,500 signatures of support, including from councillors and MSPs, when it went live last November. The declaration calls on Labour to uphold the right of women to discuss and debate matters affecting them.
But despite the obvious endorsement of open discussion, a newly-formed Labour Campaign for Trans Rights issued a pledge calling for the Labour Party to fight against ‘transphobia’ and claiming that campaign groups, A Woman’s Place UK – which promotes discussion of women’s sex-based rights – and the LGB Alliance – which supports those who are same-sex attracted – are ‘trans-exclusionist hate groups’.
The pledge calls for those who support such organisations to be expelled from the Labour Party – which led to #expelme trending on Twitter as thousands of people made clear their support for women’s sex-based rights and free speech.
Bronwen Davies, a spokeswoman for the LWD group said: “The many thousands of people who tweeted about this echo our own concerns. Some 80 of us met in London earlier this month and reminded ourselves that we are simply campaigning on something that was one of Labour’s 2019 Manifesto commitments – which was to ‘ensure that the single-sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act 2010 are understood and fully enforced in service provision’.
“Despite the claim by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights that there is ‘no material conflict between trans rights and women’s rights’, this is clearly not the case if even discussing women’s rights is seen as unacceptable. ”
She continued, “If a male can become a trans woman simply by an act of declaration, women’s right to single-sex spaces, scholarships, awards, and sports – rights supported by legislation – are undermined.”
The LWD working group believes the allegations against A Woman’s Place and the LGB Alliance are defamatory.
Bronwen Davies added: “Advocating for sex-based rights is not transphobic or hateful. Without an understanding that sexism, homophobia and lesbophobia are inequalities based on sex, the Labour Party cannot work for a fairer society for all.
“We are deeply disappointed that Rebecca Long-Bailey, Angela Rayner and Lisa Nandy have chosen to promote this pledge, effectively supporting a witch-hunt against anyone who recognises the reality of reproductive sex.
“We recognise and condemn the discrimination faced by trans people, as we condemn all violence and discrimination against any group. The Labour Party has a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to uphold the rights of all members who have a protected characteristic – this includes both women and trans members.
“We call on the Labour leadership to step up to this challenge – and to allow free and fair discourse on these crucial issues. We do not believe the Labour Party can thrive if free speech and women’s rights are not at the heart of what we stand for.”