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A major contender for ‘unbelievable things that happened at Conference’

It’s sometimes hard to credit what the Labour Party is capable of in the ‘I just can’t believe it!’ competition.  Among the many contenders for the title that emerged at or during Conference, the passing of a motion full of unevidenced assertions, total distortions, misogyny, wild allegations, and more has to be a finalist.
The Composite 13 LGBT+ Motion [1] was proposed, seconded and approved on the morning of Tuesday 28 September, the penultimate day of Conference.  It’s hard to believe that many of the delegates, other than those who we know had been trying to address its inadequacies previously, had even read the full motion.
We commend the Twitter thread by Dennis Kavanagh [2], published on the day of the motion’s passing, which provides useful observations and references alongside his disgust that the Labour Party could have adopted such a dreadful motion.  We share his damning assessment, and make some further observations.
Just taking a few of the nonsensical statements in the first part of the motion:

  • “LGBT+ people are experiencing higher levels of persecution…” – higher than what?  Higher than disabled people?  Muslims?  That’s anyone’s guess.
  • “Intersex people experience erasure and harm through anti LGBT+ violence”.  People with VSDs (variations of sexual development) have asked, repeatedly, not to be conflated with the T part of LGBT, and used by the gender identity ideologists.  What this statement actually means is entirely unclear.
  • “LGBT+ people have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic” – an unevidenced assertion (one wonders why it was included…).

The motion then moves on to talk about conversion therapy, the favourite topic of the gender identity ideologues currently.  By conflating ‘traditional’ conversion therapy for lesbian, gay and bisexual people with psychotherapy for those in distress with gender dysphoria, the playbook so clearly outlined in the Denton’s document [3], recommending that legislation that might otherwise be questioned or unpopular should be tied to ‘more popular reform’ in order to provide  ‘a veil of protection’, is clearly being followed.  No right-thinking person is against a ban on conversion therapy for lesbians, gay men and bisexual people.  So, slipping in ‘gender identity’, as if they were talking about the same sort of ‘conversion therapy’, has led to many people being fooled.
Conversion therapy for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals has a long and appalling history, involving ‘chemical castration’ drugs, electric shocks, religious ‘casting out devils’ and more.  But what is being referred to as ‘conversion therapy’ for under-18s or adults who come to believe they are ‘trans’ is nothing more than neutral, exploratory, psychotherapy.  We know from many detransitioners and clinicians that the very obvious, often well-documented, so-called ‘comorbidities’ (other psychological difficulties) so often suffered by those presenting for treatment for ‘gender identity issues’ are totally ignored.
The motion refers to such psychotherapy for under-18s as child abuse.  We would hold that failing to explore psychological trauma and help a young person to resolve depression, anxiety and distress, and instead setting them on a path of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and possible surgery, would be the real child abuse.  All too often it would in fact be real gay/lesbian conversion therapy, as gender non-conforming young people are pushed by their peers and by adults into transition as the ‘solution’ to their non-heteronormative feelings and behaviour.
The motion concludes with the demand that trans-identified men must have equal access to  rape support and domestic abuse ‘shelters’ (what we would call refuges; not the only Americanism in this motion) with women.  It is preposterous that 50 years of women working with women, developing experience and understanding of trauma-informed practice, can be shoved aside in this way.  It is known that for many women who have suffered abuse, recovery is best achieved in a male-free environment.  This does not mean that all men, including those who are trans-identified, represent a threat.  This is about the needs of traumatised women who experience a sense of threat from the presence of males. It is sad that, instead of seeking support to set up refuges for trans people, this motion is determined to remove women’s single-sex services.
It is distressing – nay, horrifying – that the Labour Party which once proudly demonstrated its understanding of the need for women’s liberation, and for an end to discrimination against lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, has now turned its back on this history and passed an incoherent, ill-informed, motion which demonstrates forms of misogyny and homophobia that Labour would once have dismissed in disgust.
We sincerely hope that those developing policy for the next Labour Manifesto are not taken in by the ridiculous assertions and demands of this motion.  All members, including trans people alongside women, gay men, lesbians and bisexuals, deserve so much better.
[1] CAC Report 4, pp22-23
[3] Download the document here and go to page 20

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