Keir Starmer is reluctant to stand with Non-Binary Trans People

How an influential and exciting candidate for Labour Leadership’s fall from grace set the tone for transphobia in years to come

It is of no contention that the Labour Party has worked wonders for equality of the sexes in recent years. They became the women’s party under Blair and have maintained strong support from women in the UK – being the most popular party for all women under 50 in the 2019 general election [1]. The work done by the leading opposition party since 2010 for women has been unequivocal, and for that, they are held in my highest respect. Obviously, there is more to be done, and no political party is perfect. Still, judging by the Tory response to this work, it’s much better than they could have done in the same timeframe because Conservative politics has always been about maintaining, whereas liberal “progressive” politics should be about change. Labour has been consistently progressive and exciting and had my total support in 2021. However, no party is perfect, and some of the things that new leader Keir Starmer has said have forced me out.

Polarising Centrism

In a recent sky news interview, Starmer stated that “trans rights are human rights” and that “we need to go further” on the issue of the Gender Recognition act – however, maintained this constant within the Labour party that women who have lived through domestic abuse need access to women-only spaces to feel safe. On the surface, this doesn’t seem particularly controversial; however, when you ask yourself why he’s included that afterthought when talking about trans rights, it’s evident that Sir Keir Starmer does not consider transgender women to be women and that they are somehow a threat to vulnerable women [2]. It is always the case that the “Labour Party is committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010 … whilst maintaining important safeguards and protections for all women, including vulnerable women”. [3]

It is estimated that 66% of women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime [4], which is why it is so vital that all vulnerable women have access to women-only spaces, but when 80% of trans people report experiencing domestic abuse too, especially AMAB trans people, why would you exclude other vulnerable women from women-only areas? [5] Trans hate crime is rising in the UK, quadrupling in the past 5 years, especially towards AMAB trans people. They need safe spaces too.

The Labour Party continues to balance its argument for the reform of the GRA with the protection of vulnerable women when the most vulnerable women statistically are trans women. Starmer’s Labour has taken what used to be a progressive left-wing party and turned it into a centrist mess where the opinions of TERFs aid their perception of transgender people rather than stats and the wellbeing of trans people in the UK. This is a step back. Transgender people had hope that we could see the reform of the GRA to support self-id for all trans people coming within the next year or so. Still, now that the main opposition appears to stand with the Conservatives and the TERFs despite the constant pressure from the trans community, Queer people are losing hope.

Keir Starmer knows that the trans community is one of the country’s most “abused and discriminated country. Still, his idea of a “grown-up” discussion would involve listening to those who attempt to deplatform and criminalise transgender people on every level of society, starting with this preposterous notion that trans women are not women and that they don’t deserve access to women-only spaces. Suppose he wants a grown-up discussion about how to move forward. In that case, he needs to listen to trans people and trans people alone because TERFs and transphobes do not operate in a mindset of factual reality but somewhat bigoted utterance. If he really thought trans rights were human rights, he would accept that.

Why Labour lost my support

If it wasn’t already self-explanatory, I am somewhat passionate about trans rights. I think every freedom a cis-person has by default should be extended to transgender people without question and debate because trans rights are human rights. You do not have to be diagnosed with your gender identity if you’re cis, you do not have to prove your gender when applying for a passport if you’re cis, you do not have to put “prefer not to say” on many forms because your gender identity isn’t legally recognised if you’re cis, you do not have large groups of people who consider you predatory if you’re cis, you do not have to push every day to be seen as the person you are if you’re cis, you do not face daily discrimination for your gender identity if you’re a cis male. You do not face violence and anger from men if they find out who you are if you’re a cis woman. If the Labour Party honestly thought that trans rights are human rights, they would stop treating us contentious issues.

I won’t be seen as who I am by everyone. I do not want to be questioned and debated and abused for who I am every single day of my life. I did not choose this, but I could not avoid it. You can sit there, Sir Keir Starmer and think that what you’re doing for trans people is enough, but by platforming conspiracy theories about trans people, you are causing more damage than good. If trans rights were human rights in your eyes, you would support the complete reform of the GRA to allow people to decide for themselves who they are without a fee. If trans rights were human rights in your eyes, you wouldn’t feel the need to clarify that vulnerable women need to be protected every time the word trans leaves your lips. If trans rights were human rights in your eyes, you would actively platform and stand with the whole trans community. But you don’t. Keir Starmer will always look for the middle groups between bigotry and inclusion. He has shown this time and time and time again.

The Labour Party lost my support when they stopped supporting me, and I will continue to actively advocate for the liberties of trans people because I actually believe that trans rights are human rights. I refuse to stand with a politician who has hurt many of my friends and allies.

– Io

Bibliography

[1] https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/12/17/how-britain-voted-2019-general-election#:~:text=just-,15%25%20among%20women,-.
[2] https://youtu.be/1ia2vbVwh00
[3] https://labour.org.uk/about/how-we-work/nec-statement-women-shortlists-womens-officers-minimum-quotas-women/#:~:text=including-,vulnerable%20women,-%E2%80%93%20and
[4] https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/what-is-domestic-abuse/how-common-is-domestic-abuse/#:~:text=Key%20statistics,year%20(ONS%2C%202019).
[5] https://www.scottishtrans.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/trans_domestic_abuse.pdf


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