The event had been called to support Woman’s Place UK and the LGB Alliance. Both organisations had been denounced as transphobic and trans-exclusionist by the self-styled Labour Campaign for Trans Rights (LCTR). Shockingly the LCTR had been supported by Labour Members of Parliament, including contenders for the leadership of the party.
The Labour Women’s Declaration had been formed by women in the Labour Party to defend the sex-based rights of women; I support their campaign and had been invited to speak on their platform. Central to my message was a robust criticism of the statement: “trans women are women; trans men are men; non-binary identities are valid.”
My name is Debbie Hayton; I am a proud teacher, trade unionist, and a member of the Labour party.
I’m also transsexual: it’s something I usually tag on to the end.
I want to thank Labour Women’s Declaration for the invite. Along with many others – of both sexes – I signed your declaration. If the thought police want to come and get me, they know where to find me. I signed it openly in my own name. This is a debate I will not run away from.
I have three things to say this evening.
- First of all, that not all trans people think alike. And that includes trans people within the Labour party itself.
- Secondly, The Labour Campaign for Trans Rights does not speak for me. Its appalling demands are an affront to democracy and set one oppressed group against another.
- Thirdly, Woman’s Place UK and the LGB Alliance are both excellent campaigning organisations and they have my support. I reiterate my solidarity with those who set them up and with those who follow them.
So firstly, trans people do not think alike. Central to the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights is the statement that I am sick of hearing: “trans women are women, trans men are men.”
It’s simply not true.
As I tell people, trans women are male. It’s the sole qualifying criterion to be a trans woman. Women are female. I am talking here about biological sex – this is material reality on which socialism is founded, for goodness sake. Male is not female and therefore trans women are not women. What could be simpler?
If others take a different view, then we need to have a debate. Not shut down that discussion with the imposition of some quasi-religious dogma.
And the third part of that statement! Incidentally, aren’t we all non-binary? The problem with that transgender ideology as espoused by that dreadful [LCTR] campaign is not liberating; it’s restrictive. It creates new categories to constrain us. Let people be, for goodness sake!
I’m criticising the [LCTR] campaign. It also further demands that we accept there is no material conflict between trans rights and women’s rights. That’s a head-in-the-sand approach. There is always potential for conflict whenever two groups interact. We need to resolve that conflict; not deny its very existence.
Secondly, the campaign does not speak for me. Actually, they don’t even listen to me. I tried to interact with their Twitter account – @Labour_Trans – they promptly blocked me. So much for their commitment to – and I quote – “Listen to trans comrades on issues of transphobia and transmisogyny, allowing trans people to lead the way on our own liberation.”
But, sadly, this is not a campaign to support my rights for equal treatment in employment, housing, the provision of goods and services. Nor is it – primarily – a demand for a properly resourced National Health Service that could meet the needs of everybody, including trans people.
It’s an attempt to shut down all other opinion: it’s authoritarian; it’s undemocratic. How dare the authors of that pledge demand that trans comrades are listened to when they themselves do not listen to trans comrades?
And finally, I want to reiterate my solidarity and support to Woman’s Place UK and the LGB Alliance.
It is an honour and a privilege to share a platform here with Kiri Tunks [of Woman’s Place] and with Bev Jackson [of the LGB Alliance] tonight. I am not a woman – I am no kind of woman – nor am I LGB, but I am transsexual. And all three groups face oppression and opposition in society and we are stronger when we find common cause.
I am shocked and appalled that leading members of the Labour party – including Members of Parliament and contenders for the leadership – chose to sign these pledges.
- Did they agree with them?
- Did they not think? or
- Were they bullied into it?
Either way lots of us here and elsewhere face condemnation simply for standing up for the rights of women, LGB people, and transsexuals. It’s an appalling state of affairs that I protest and condemn, and I say to Rebecca Long Bailey, Lisa Nandy, and the rest: defend us or expel us.