Reply To Labour List, Labour Together and Ellie Cumbo
On the 14th of September, Labourlist.Org published an article by Ellie Cumbo from the Labour Together group that says they are “policy experts, political strategists and pollsters drawn from politics, academia, business and civil society”.
Ms Cumbo’s article is in response to the rollback of the Labour Party’s position concerning trans people being able to change legal gender by a method referred to as “Self-ID”.
We need to be clear here.
When trans people refer to “Self-ID”, we mean the adoption of the “gold standard” of changing legal gender. It is the method adopted by over twenty countries and states across the globe, with a total population of 1.2 billion people being able to access it. European countries adopting Self-ID (the correct term is ‘Self-Determination’) include Ireland, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. Germany is likely to follow in the next few months.
When gender-critical people refer to “Self-ID”, they are referring to much more – essentially eliminating trans people from being able to live and work in everyday society. In short, people should only use toilets according to their birth sex, and trans women who, even if they have had surgery and pass as a woman, should not be allowed in a female ward at a hospital or get support from a women’s domestic abuse charity.
With gender-critical people, there is no negotiation; we have tried – everything comes down to sex assigned at birth.
Sadly, Ellie Cumbo has been badly informed. Because although she clearly wishes her article to come across as neutral, reasonable and responsible for the Labour Party to put to the people in the forthcoming general election, a rollback from Labour’s position is wrong.
Her article makes several errors, and it is disturbing that the Labour Together group appears to possess only some of the facts. For example, Ellie says:
“In taking this considered position, Labour has shown that it has no intention of repeating Scotland’s chaotic recent example. The Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill, drafted and rushed through without any apparent interest in resolving the complexities of the issue”
This is absolute nonsense. Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill was in the public arena for five years – there were two public consultations, the first in 2017 with a second some two years later. Over 17,000 people responded in the second public consultation – the GRRB was not “rushed through” at all.
Ellie goes on to say this:
“The Scottish electorate was appalled to learn that a convicted double rapist, who identifies as a woman, had been remanded to a woman-only prison”.
Ellie is referring to the Isla Bryson case, and as our CEO Steph Richards said on Radio Four when interviewed by Adam Fleming, no sex offender should be held in the female estate.
Still, here we see a classic case of misinformation because Isla Bryson was held in solitary confinement during her short time in the female estate, and at no time did she mix with other prisoners. Further, prison rules in Scotland differed from those in England and Wales, where having a Gender Recognition Certificate is effectively ignored by HMPPS and the MoJ. Most trans women are currently in the male estate, where one is sexually assaulted on average once every thirty-three days.
Indeed, currently, only six trans women are held in the female estate – 181 are in the male estate.
Worse still is the fact that between 2015 and 2017, four trans women took their own lives while held in the male estate. The case of Tara Hudson, a trans woman held in the male estate in 2015, resulted in over 158,000 people signing a petition in complaint. These days, thanks to the culture war, that much support for a trans woman is unimaginable.
Ellie’s article goes on to say:
“It is still not clear exactly how single-sex spaces will be protected, when providers report mounting confusion about when it is legal to exclude trans people from a service designed for the opposite sex”.
Again, this is untrue. If there were “mounting confusion”, there would be numerous amounts of litigation in the courts. There is not. Ellie is conflating the Gender Recognition Act with the Equality Act, an issue we have called out before.
Further, our investigations into allegations that there were issues in hospitals, where we made 102 Freedom of Information requests, proved the allegations were untrue. The same applied to Domestic Abuse Refuges.
Ellie then mentions ” spousal consent,” apparently unaware that partners have used it in “blackmail” type tactics. She also says this:
“But this fine-tuning should be done during a future Labour government, rather than in Opposition. It needs the benefit of proper public consultation, civil service support, and engagement with key stakeholders”.
We deplore the idea of yet another “public consultation” – trans people have been waiting since 2017 for changes to the Gender Recognition Act when Teresa May first mooted changes to the Act. There has already been a public consultation – the results of which Liz Truss ignored.
Just 2% of trans people have a GRC because the current law is horrifically out of date, and at the forthcoming Labour Conference in Liverpool, TransLucent will be canvassing for support both inside and outside the main conference hall.
All we ask is to talk to us.
Trans people deserve better – and we expect better from a Labour Party, which sadly seems to have been captured by the right-wing culture war, a trans-hostile media and transphobic “women’s sex-based rights” organisations that align themselves to the Labour Party.
If legal gender recognition by Self-Determination works perfectly well in eleven European Countries, why can’t it work in the UK?