Yesterday I read two articles in the Guardian.
One is : Labour’s contradictory policies on trans and women’s rights must be addressed by Susanna Rustin. The emphasis of the article is upon sex based rights as opposed to gender based rights and is a plea for the labour party to move in this direction in a clear and unequivocal way. The article ends with the words:
... a group called Labour Women’s Declaration advocates for sex-based rights within the party, and is also engaged in cross-party efforts. Currently, between 20 and 40 Labour MPs are known to be sympathetic. I hope they can persuade Labour to shift its position with regard to the sex-based rights of women. Not only because I agree with them. But because I don’t think it would be at all surprising if voters were to turn against politicians who speak in riddles about the differences between male and female bodies – and deride advocacy on behalf of biologically female people as a relic from prehistory.
The other is: Labour needs to own its policy on gender - and unequivocally back trans rights by Zoe Williams. The emphasis here is somewhat different, and the article ends with the words:
Labour needs to take a stand based on principles of equality with which they are familiar. They could also maybe learn from their history of being wedged – on Brexit, and long before that, on nuclear disarmament – by political enemies who care much less about the issue than they enjoy watching Labour fall apart.
Underneath this manoeuvring is careless cruelty to trans people, who despite being 1% of the population are apparently the issue of the age, and yet whose suffering and exclusion doesn’t feature in the discourse at all. Beneath every confected outrage about trans athletes, trans prisoners and men pretending to be trans in order to lurk in toilets, there is a consistent theme, that trans people are not victims but predators. It’s such a fanciful reversal of reality – in which trans people are beset by horrifying levels of hate crime, homelessness and domestic violence – that the entire debate is starting to sound baffled and stupefied. That’s no excuse for Labour, who should be able to see exactly what course to take.
My own feelings are much more in line with Zoe Williams than Susanna Rustin.