We in the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights are shocked by the comments made by Rosie Duffield today. To insist that “only women have a cervix” denies the existence of trans men and many nonbinary people. Not all women have cervixes, and not everyone who has a cervix is a woman.
Inclusive language harms nobody and costs little; it is a simple act of support for trans people in a political culture that is increasingly hostile towards us. The level of hostility that exists towards something as basic and harmless as inclusive language is representative of this climate of intense transphobia.
Labour MPs partaking in this right-wing campaign to marginalise, exclude and oppress trans people is unacceptable if we are to continue calling ourselves the party of equality. Moreover, it is contrary to the socialist principles of equality and liberation and represents a deep failing of that MPs responsibility to their transgender constituents.
We expect the party whips to take this forward, and the Labour Complaints Team to take forward the numerous complaints we know of already. However, transphobia in our party will not be pushed out by disciplinary procedures alone. We need education and engagement to build understanding and solidarity towards trans people at every level of the party; including MPs, the leadership, party staff, and ordinary CLP members. To this end we reiterate our desire to engage with the party and its leadership to discuss how Labour can address the rising tide of transphobia and build a party that genuinely supports trans people.
This is not the first incident of transphobia from a Labour MP, and unless things change it will not be the last. What allows this continued transphobia in our party is the failure to make a true commitment to trans liberation and equality, and to firmly oppose transphobia. If we are to stop incidents such as this continuing then we must set our party on a better course – one which is consistent with our socialist principles, and which could give trans people in Britain the hope that we might someday see a better life.