The Labour Party in the UK is facing a legal challenge from women over the party’s refusal to recognize the legally protected class of “sex” which allows women to form single-sex initiatives and shortlists.
From the campaign:
“Comrades, we are a group of Labour women who want to ensure all-women shortlists stay reserved for females and that women’s representation in the party increases. We believe that the election of transwomen as women’s officers and their inclusion on all-women shortlists is reducing and undermining female representation in the Labour party.
We are absolutely committed to trans people, as a marginalised group, living free from discrimination and violence: we need trans representatives, trans councillors and trans MPs in our party. We are socialists and we are egalitarians. However, trans representation must not happen at the expense of female candidates and we are furious that we are having to fight another battle for women’s representation, just 100 years after the suffragette victories.
We have been advised that a legal challenge to the Labour party on this could be winnable. The party has recently allowed males to be elected as women’s officers and males to be selected over females in all-woman MP candidate selections. This has happened because Labour, in practice, has started to define ‘women’ by sex AND by self-identification. Self-id is not legally recognised (as defined by equality act exemptions) whereas sex IS but Labour, nevertheless, relies on these two antithetical definitions of ‘woman’ which is causing a conflict of interests which needs resolution.
As socialists we understand class analysis and we know the most meaningful way to classify women is by sex. Sex, along with poverty, age, disability and race, is one of the major oppressive hierarchies in the world today. Women’s biology has always been the basis for our oppression worldwide BY MEN. Feminism is defined as the movement to liberate all women from sex-based oppression.
Self-id also impacts on lesbians and gay men who, by definition, are not homogenderists but homosexuals. Lesbians and gays are currently afforded legal, sex-based protections from discrimination and these are already being diluted by self-id. We believe gender is a manmade, toxic set of stereotypes, used to restrict men and women and we want to see it abolished, not codified into law. We support all gender non-conforming people: be they lesbian, gay or trans. Feminists have always been at 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.”
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