QUESTIONS TO NEC CANDIDATES

Ellen Morrison
L1509954

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?

"Yes, trans women are women, trans men are trans men and non-binary people are non-binary.

 

I have said throughout my campaign that I will always support trans and non binary people and I met with Labour Campaign for Trans Rights at the start of my campaign. I fully support the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights manifesto.

 

As Disabled Members Rep, I will absolutely not stand for anyone or anything that threatens or discriminates against transgender people. I would work closely with my LGBTIQA+ comrades and the organisations that represent them.

 

It is sickening to me that there is so much transphobia currently in the Labour Party and I will always speak out against this and take action to tackle it. This includes swiftly taking action against MPs who are openly transphobic and working with LGBTIQA+ groups to educate Labour politicians and members.

 

I would also oppose transphobic motions and vote on the NEC to strike down these motions as they are incompatible with Labour beliefs. I would also stand against transphobic and trans exclusionary groups.."

 

2.      Will you defend the current Labour Party policy and principle of inclusion of Transgender women on All Women Shortlists?

"Yes because trans women are women. Labour should act as the party of equality we claim to be and support trans people to become elected as Labour representatives.

 

As the voices of transphobes are plastered over newspapers and seen on social media, the need for more trans voices within both the Labour Party and within wider society grows stronger every day. It is worrying that we have not selected a trans person in one of Labour’s key seats before and I would want to do all I could to encourage more trans Labour members to stand as candidates.

 

Any version of feminism that does not include trans women is not a feminism I want to be a part of."

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.

"As Disabled Members Rep, I would listen to LGBTIQA+ groups as I believe they must be centred in their own fight against oppression. I would act as an ally to support and make space for often underrepresented voices and campaigns.

 

As mentioned, I have met with Labour Campaign For Trans Rights and would continue to meet with them and other LGBTIQA+ groups to support."

 

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.

"Yes, 100%"
 

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?

"Yes. There should be a code of conduct relating to transphobia produced in cooperation with trans organisations and this must be applied to everyone within the Labour Party whether there are a Councillor, MP, or ordinary Labour member.

 

I am particularly saddened to see the hatred received by the chair of LGBT Labour recently and the hatred received by my trans comrades in the last few weeks and months. There has simply not been enough done by the Party on this. It’s a damning indictment on our Party that trans members have left our Party because it’s not a safe environment for them."

 

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?

"The ‘culture war’ is a contrived issue and - when given the right information - a majority of the UK population support gay, trans and non binary people, across areas and ages.

 

I think we need to start by listening to trans groups such as the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights and begin by adopting their manifesto. Particularly I think educating members and politicians is a key part of this.

 

We must have a clear code of conduct, we must have education about transphobia within the Labour Party and we must show trans people that we are with them with our policy and actions. This could start by proudly and loudly supporting trans rights and reforming the Gender Recognition Act which Labour has unfortunately been relatively silent on.

 

We also need to make it clear that feminism belongs to trans women as well as cis women and we must not let transphobes divide us. It is unacceptable to me to see women claiming to be feminists within the Labour Party attacking or excluding trans women. Trans women are subject to misogyny and discrimination and we should stand together as women to fight all forms of misogyny."

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.

"In terms of improving the understanding of trans and non binary people in the party, we should fully adopt Labour Campaign For Trans Rights manifesto, this calls for education within the party. In terms of structures and processes to stop homophobia, transphobia and transmisogyny I would work with groups like yourselves to stamp this out within 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?

"Trans people face discrimination and oppression in literally every area of society - from schools, to workplaces to health services. Though it is shameful, it is unfortunately not surprising that trans comrades face discrimination within the Labour Party also.

 

Labour has unfortunately failed to represent our society more widely in general, with candidates selected for key seats are predominantly white. So this is a systemic and institutional problem with selecting candidates and more must be done to make them representative and to encourage under-represented groups to stand for these positions.

 

More must be done in terms of resources to support candidates and we must look at the processes that chose our candidates to make sure they are accessible and encouraging to trans Labour members."

 

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?

"Yes I do support the reform of the Gender Recognition Act and I am appalled that the Tory government has backed out of its promise to reform it. I support and will continue to support LGBT+ Labour’s campaign to reform it. As things stand, the process is unreasonably demanding and involves far too many barriers, and when this is combined with horrifyingly long waiting lists for access to GICs that only compounds the issue. The policing of trans people’s identities is something we must oppose. We must campaign on this, and on ensuring that trans people have access to healthcare, housing, and employment, and I will work with groups like LGBT+ Labour on the nuances of how these particular needs manifest. I would stand alongside these groups in opposing transphobic policies from other parties and I am not afraid to criticise Labour when it fails to live up to its own image as a party of equality."

 

10.  Name at least one LGBTIQA+ socialist who inspires you, and explain what inspires you about them.

"I am inspired by Maureen Colquhoun, the first openly lesbian MP who blazed a trail in Parliament and paved the way for women who would come after her. She faced discrimination and abuse after coming out as gay and was even deselected by her own local members. She also championed sex workers rights and abortion rights as a Labour MP at a time when these were unpopular causes. I can’t imagine how hard this must have been for her in the 1970s. I also admire Angela Davis, the former black panther activist who continues to fight tirelessly against imperialism and racism. She was hunted and imprisoned by the FBI for simply fighting for the rights of black people in the US and the strength she has shown, as a black lesbian woman, in the face of oppression is nothing short of incredible and an inspiration to us all."

Thanks very much for these questions and my apologies for not getting them to you within the deadline.

 

I completely support your campaign and appreciate the time and energy you've put into the questions. Unfortunately as a disabled candidate with a small team of mostly disabled volunteers supporting me, I've had limited time and energy to respond to all questions as quickly as I'd like. I appreciate you bearing with me and I've now attached the answers which I hope are helpful in spelling out my support for my LGBT comrades and siblings.

 

Do let me know if you would like to chat more or meet in future. I am proud to be an ally and would love to continue to work with you.

 

Thanks and best wishes,
Ellen

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