It may seem odd, but a group of Labour members from varying CLP’s, have started a GoFundMe page calling for some women to be excluded from all women shortlists. The group, which claims to be feminist, state that “Feminists have always been the vanguard of the fight for people to live their lives in a gender non-conforming way and will continue to do so – but never at the expense of women’s rights and representation”. But why have rights for women if gender is to be abolished? The two have to go hand in hand. This whole statement is an oxymoron.
Whilst the idea of living in a gender free world is admirable (and wanted), for varying reasons some women are not cisgender, and deserve the same respect and rights of any other woman. The group claims that “gender is a manmade, toxic set of stereotypes” yet believe that people don’t become women – something which notorious feminist Simone de Beauvoir would be spinning in her grave at the very thought of. It is precisely because people become women, due to the expectations of society, that feminist causes like those undertaken 100 years ago, have been needed in the first place. Nobody is born a woman, even by the standards of the Labour activists concerned, so why do they think that they can exclude other women because of they how they were born?
If that was not bad enough of itself, some of the online support of these activists has been horrendous. Our Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary of State, Dawn Butler, has openly supported the short listing of Dr Heather Peto for the Rushmore constituency. However, Butler’s support has come at a cost, as online abuses have seen her called a rat and calling for her to be deselected. Pink News have reported that tweets from Anti trans campaigners have included: “What on earth is the point of all women shortlists if they include men? Will equality be achieved if there are 650 men in Parliament as long as 325 claim to feel like a woman? This is so regressive.” Another reads, “Transwomen are not women, they are TRANSwomen, ie biological males. Or are you joining the ranks of the ‘bugger science’ brigade & expanding ‘female’ to accommodate ‘male’ too?” Their tactics have not worked however, and Dr Peto has been shortlisted for Ruscliffe against Cheryl Pidgeon and Nadia Whittome, the winning candidate standing against Ken Clarke in the next general election.
This group of Labour members are raising funds to put a legal case forward against the Labour Party for allowing trans women on women only shortlists. The money that will be used to fight this pointless and frankly prejudiced case, will be much better spent getting the Tories out of office and restoring some compassion and common sense to this country. We should not be damaging ourselves, our hard earned fight for equality and fighting amongst ourselves. We are better than this. These ‘activists’ must not be allowed to succeed. DON’T GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY!