An Open Letter to My Sisters and Comrades in the Labour Party: We Must Have ZERO Tolerance For Transphobia.

Dear Sisters

The years of Tory Austerity have been hard on us, and as our election manifesto in June made clear, it is our BAME, LBTQIAA, working class, single parent, disabled, older and refugee sisters, who have borne the worst of the ferocity of that fiscal ideology.  The body count we can barley comprehend – in domestic abuse victims who might have got out sooner, had there been enough refuges – and their children, whose lives have yet to bear the bitter fruit of abuse; in disabled women and WASPI women whose bodies have been worked to within inches of their graves; in refugee women and asylum seekers, criminalised without trial and locked into a brutal prison-like system such as we see at Yarls Wood; in our LBTQI youth, in their homelessness and isolation.

These are just some of those who desperately need an end to Tory austerity, its patronising lip service to feminism. Poverty is sexist, and the Tory party declared war on the poor a long time ago.

We desperately need refuges so that victims of domestic violence can get away from fatal violence safely. We urgently need a properly resourced, properly funded NHS to address issues like the lack of resources for people with chronic illness’ such as MeCFS, Fibromyalgia and Lupus, which disproportionately affect women – and pre and post natal care that leaves those with post-natal depression so isolated. Womens’ basic, simple needs are actively being removed, leaving an ever growing list of need and damage in its wake.

We need humane responses for women refugees; we need to tackle the sexism and abelism that is systemic in our responses to disabled women and the financial poverty that is killing them.  We need to respond to the sexism and homophobia that LBT girls face, and talk about why the suicide rate for teenage girls is up. WASPI women deserve and need pension equality.

For women vulnerable for infinite reasons, and suffering much of the worst austerity has to offer, there is already so much work to be done, to roll back the damage and the violence of Tory policies. And yes, many of those women, who need some of these things too, and more, are trans.

Some of us believe that proposed amendments to the GRA – which would make the process of self-identification easier for trans people – is bad for women. So virulently do some believe this, that trans inclusivity is leading to a small but vocal minority among us, to go so far as to leave the Labour Party and work with more Conservative/conservative politicians to prevent those amendments going through, and to encourage the same from other women. Previous alliances with conservative press saw a barrage of anti-trans hit pieces in the Times and the Daily Mail.

Maybe you have never had to consider the needs of a trans person – or never needed to think about it. Maybe you look at these ‘identity’ wars and think that it has no bearing on everyday life. Perhaps even, hopefully, you see the active inclusivity of trans people that the Labour Party is modelling (often imperfectly, and we must be prepared to own to those times), is simply the humane, socialist, obvious thing to do.

Or maybe you really do believe that we should pathologize and ‘other’ trans people; maybe you really do believe a ‘trans cult’ is ‘transing our children’, and believe trans children should be subject to conversion therapy, to ‘re-train’ them to a more hetronormative identity.  But do you really believe that so much, that you would be willing to actively prevent women from having a government that would seek to redress some of the very great harm that Tory austerity has done us? Just because some of those sisters helped out of poverty are trans?

I am sorry to see that some think just that – so strongly, even, that they would advocate working with those whose political ideology is actively harmful to women.  What price then, that hate?

Let us always stand in solidarity with each other: cis or trans gendered, Black, brown, white, Muslim, Christian, atheist, gender non-conforming, gender fluid – we are varied, we are limitless, and we are women: and we are always much stronger in solidarity together, than we are apart.

Let us always have zero tolerance for all forms of hate, and reject any narrative that would demand us be afraid of some of our sisters.

We have more that unites us, and we are for the many, and not the few.

Thank you.

 

 

4 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Sisters and Comrades in the Labour Party: We Must Have ZERO Tolerance For Transphobia.

  1. I have a few issues with this post;

    1. “Poverty is sexist.” – Are you willing to explain this point? Perhaps back it up with some statistics or evidence?

    2. I find it odd that in a post on the topic of tolerance/acceptance religion was coupled with race and sexuality. Race and sexuality are not items of choice, rather they are traits people have by nature; Religious/spiritual beliefs however are chosen of free will and intellect and people only practice religions they chose for themselves. So it’s inconsistent to place race and sexuality in the same category as religion, especially when we’re talking about acceptance/tolerance. Surely people should be willing to accept criticism of their chosen beliefs if they truly believe in and stand up for them? There’s a difference between accepting someone for who they are and accepting someone for what they believe, we have no obligation to accept or respect eachother’s views or beliefs, and we should be encouraging an open marketplace of ideas and discussion rather than a blanket acceptance of every idea under the sun.

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    • With regard to the fact of poverty being sexist, I had indeed already provided an number of examples and links with relation to that. In the UK, under the austerity measures enacted by this government, it is women specifically who have borne the brunt and suffer the most poverty (and that includes poverty of resources, as well as personal poverty).

      In relation you second point, I think what you are saying is that you should be free to disagree that trans women are women (and trans men are men). The fact of trans women’s, and trans mens, existence does not require your belief – however given that it is that disbelief which is at the core of all transphobia, we must also recognise that seeking to debate the nature of their existence is what perpetuates that transphobia. Whilst nobody would force you to accept that trans people are who they say they are, we do have to remove the barriers that the systemic and institutional disbelief created.

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  2. So you’re saying that the issue of women being disproportionately poverty-stricken is an issue in the UK and not necessarily globally? I did not understand that from the post so I can see how, if you’re only talking about the UK, you can have that perspective (though I doubt there is an intentional, patriarchal cause to women in poverty, rather it likely has to do with single women getting stuck with children they cant afford).

    Actually I wasnt referring to trans people, I was referring to your coupling of race and religion when you said “Let us always stand in solidarity with each other: cis or trans gendered, Black, brown, white, Muslim, Christian, atheist,”. I disagree that religion should be tolerated/respected in the same way that race and sexuality should be, because religion is a choice whereas race and sexuality are not choices.

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    • As this is a post written as an open letter to my fellow sisters and comrades in the UK Labour Party, in this case, yes we are talking about the UK specifically.

      Given the increasing rise of Islamophobic and anti-semitic attacks (certainly here in the UK and across Europe), I would disagree, and as it stands in the UK, religion, ethnicity/race, gender and sexuality are all protected categories from discrimination. In the specific context of this post, (which is written specifically to women who are members of the Labour Party in the UK like myself), I was simply saying that we all come from these different backgrounds. Sadly we have seen some transphobia in the Labour Party and I am writing as a member, asking for people to be more unified against bigotry in all its forms.

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