Ten days ago LGBT+ Labour held its 2020 AGM; an occasion which includes the election (or re-election) of officers, as well as the passage of motions to set LGBT+ Labour policy. It’s an important day for anyone working towards LGBT+ liberation and socialism, and in a year which has seen some of the most vicious attacks on trans people from the government and the press, this AGM was especially important. Fortunately, motions were passed this year which set strong policy in support of trans people and allies, and left LGBT+ Labour on a stronger footing to confront transphobia, bigotry and oppression in Labour and beyond.
Motions were passed covering a diverse range of issues for trans people, and which laid the foundation for building the solidarity, organisation, and campaigning needed to confront transphobia. Motions in support of trans students in education, informed consent in transition-related healthcare, and progressive GRA reform were included, as well as a critical motion which emphasised the need for a mass movement behind trans people. By emphasizing the everyday issues trans people face and laying out the radical solutions needed to these problems, these motions help keep LGBT+ Labour at the forefront of transformational change in both the Labour movement and our society.
A motion was also passed which committed LGBT+ Labour to supporting the full decriminalisation of sex work, and in support of the full empowerment of sex workers, both cis and trans. Sex workers currently face the threat of police and state force, putting them at risk and interfering with efforts to self-organise and fight for their rights as workers; only full decrim can change this. Given that a disproportionate number of sex workers are trans or LGB+, standing with sex workers in the fight for decriminalisation should be foundational to LGBT+ Labour’s work. This motion will hopefully make LGBT+ Labour an important ally to sex workers in the labour movement, where such allies are still sorely lacking.
The AGM also established formal lines of communication between LGBT+ Labour and LCTR, committing to ‘regularly communicate with the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights and work with the group towards the extension of trans rights in the UK.’ Although LGBT+ Labour and LCTR members and officers have worked together in the past, this motion will enable our two organisations to engage more closely and transparently for our shared goals of LGBT+ rights and trans liberation. Whilst LCTR will always value our independence and trans-led nature, in the current hostile media and political environment it is crucial that aligned organisations fighting bigotry stand together against division; and in that spirit we strongly welcome this motion’s passage.
Further important motions were also passed, including commitments on abortion rights, trans-inclusive women’s spaces, PrEP access and more. A contentious constitutional amendment was tabled that would limit LGBT+ Labour’s internal party endorsements and nominations, which was eventually passed. LCTR had no position on this amendment; but it does seem clear that a full discussion of the implications of the amendment for the nations and regions, where circumstances may differ from the national organisation is needed.
Finally, the AGM’s trans caucus elected a new Trans Representative for the coming term. Eden Ladley, who has organised with LCTR and served as our interim Policy and Campaigns Officer, will now serve as Trans Reprsentative on the LGBT+ Labour national committee. Many will know Eden for xyr hard work as an NUS Trans Representative and xyr work within LCTR, roles in which xe has developed radical and serious policy to address transphobia and organised hard to bring it about. We hope trans people from across the Labour movement can feel confident that xe will fight hard on our behalf to eliminate transphobia.
With a new Trans Officer and a wealth of new trans policy and political programmes in place, this year’s AGM will prove to have been significant for more than its Zoom-based nature. Whilst trans people may be facing difficult times to come under this divisive Tory government and transphobia in Labour, we should all feel heartened at this ray of hope in our party.