QUESTIONS TO NEC CANDIDATES
1. Do you accept that trans women are women, trans men are men, and non-binary people are non-binary - and will you commit to respecting trans people as their self-declared gender – if so, how will you integrate this approach to tackle the culture of entrenched transphobia, from the grassroots membership up to the leadership?
2. Will you defend the current Labour Party policy and principle of inclusion of Transgender women on All Women Shortlists?
3. How would you make sure all identities and all voices under the LGBTIQA+ umbrella are listened to on issues of homophobia, transphobia and transmisogyny, allowing for example, trans people to lead the way on their own liberation.
4. Do you believe that trans liberation must be an objective of the Labour Party, and that transphobia is antithetical to our collective aims, and if so - would you support the expulsion from the Labour Party of those who express bigoted, transphobic views.
5. Will you commit to a review of how complaints relating to transphobia are handled? and will you commit to in conjunction with LGBT+ Labour and trans-led organisations to develop a clear code of conduct that includes a workable definition of transphobia?
6. When the ‘culture war’ tactic is used in the press etc and causes an increase in bigotry against certain gender identities and sexualities (often even further marginalising those with multiple minority identities) how would you ensure that these spikes in bigotry found in wider society aren’t found within Labour?
7. What structures, processes, and changes do you think are required to change the culture within the party to one where homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny etc. is not permitted? – also how will you help to improve understanding of trans and non-binary people in the party.
8. Why do you think there has never been a Trans person elected in the UK Parliament, or a Trans person selected for a winnable seat for Labour - and what measures do you think need to take place to ensure Trans people are represented within the party?
9. Do you support the reform of the Gender Recognition Act to improve transgender rights, as well as supporting policies which would improve trans people’s access to necessary healthcare, housing, and employment? And will you organise against and oppose any transphobic policies from our own party or any other?
10. Name at least one LGBTIQA+ socialist who inspires you, and explain what inspires you about them.
"Thank you for this. My engagement with LGBT issues began during the miners strike and , to a much greater extent, in the development on Unison
From 1993 to 2005 I was part of the national leadership which built up a very strong system of building into all we did robust structures that helped to promote and support anti discrimination attitudes across the whole union whilst, at the same time, developing a system of self organisation where members from LGBT community could organise and progress in safety and in a spirit of openness. This was mirrored in structures for Black Members, Women and Members with disabilities.
I helped to set up a Self Organised Group liaison committee so that representatives from the groups could meet with the Chairs of the NEC main committees to help build bridges and lead to better understanding of each other’s issues and problems. This led to much better decision making and resolution of problems that , previously, would have festered.
In this setting I worked with a great range of people from the LGBT community which helped us to develop groundbreaking policies.
Since entering parliament in 2005 my direct interaction with LGBT comrades has been much less formal so to some extent recent developments, especially around Trans issues, has left me in genuine ignorance of exactly what needs to be done to ensure that we all move forward together.
To that end I can’t give direct answers to your questions but I can assure you that I am as committed as ever to fight discrimination in any shape or form.
I would be happy to work with you going forward if I’m elected to NEC.
I will answer question 10. Jackie Lewis was the Chair of the Gay and Lesbian group in Unison and she was committed to the cause of ensuring that everyone was treated equally in our union whilst ensuring that she didn’t lose sight of the need for the union to protect all members and make life better for us all. She recognised that we need to work together to do that and not draw lines behind which separate us into factions."
Marras - Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala