QUESTIONS TO NEC CANDIDATES

Joseph Wheatley
Joseph Wheatley
L1218199

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. I will listen and work proactively with Labour LGBTIQA+ members to discuss this issue, hear their thoughts on the solutions and develop an action plan accordingly. As a starter for 10 I would propose developing our internal policies to more clearly outline support for our trans and non-binary members. I would propose developing awareness and training programmes that could be delivered across all Labour Party CLPs."

 

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

"Yes."

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.

"I would organise meetings with LGBTIQA+ members through their affiliated organisations (e.g. Labour LGBT Network) to discuss how we could achieve this. Members with these experiences are always the best placed to guide and develop the policies / actions that can bring effective and meaningful change. I would listen, support, build consensus on the best actions and promote the ideas and changes agreed."

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. However, I believe that making expulsion the automatic go-to for those who express bigoted or transphobic views would only serve to reinforce their bigotry. I believe education and understanding is the most effective way to root out bigotry. I would work with LGBTIQA+ members to develop an option for a mandatory education session to discuss and work with members who commit minor offences to overcome their prejudices. Therefore members who expressed bigoted or transphobic views would be subject to a disciplinary process, which in the first instance would include an option for a mandatory education session or expulsion. Members who undertake the training, but repeat the offence would be expelled."

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. In a similar vein to previous answers I would work with LGBTIQA+ members and affiliated organisations (e.g. GMB Shout, Labour LGBT Network, etc) to build a comprehensive code of conduct that is connected to member’s experiences. LGBTIQA+ members know the problems and know the solutions, so I would organise that conversation to build a member led code of conduct."

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 Labour Party has a responsibility to maintain an internal zero-tolerance policy which should include mandatory education or expulsion of offenders to support members who have and are being discriminated against. I would, as in previous answers, work with LGBTIQA+ members to introduce new rule changes, create clear party guidance and provide a platform for marginalised members to speak to our mass membership about these issues, their experiences and how we can tackle these problems as a collective. This would aim to create a culture of zero tolerance throughout the membership, supporting victims to feel confident speaking out, and allies to know how to respond when they see instances of bigotry."

 

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.

"I think change is needed, but I think it needs to be member led, and led by members from the LGBTIQA+ community. My first approach in looking to tackle any problem which I don’t have a lived experience of is to talk to members about their experiences, the solutions needed and how to make those solutions a reality. If elected to the NEC I will arrange meetings with affiliated LGBTQIA+ organisations in my first week to talk about developing the structures, processes and introducing the changes to make this party more inclusive. I believe having those discussions and developing those solutions will in themselves work to improve the understanding of trans and non-binary members."

                                                          

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?
"There is discrimination and marginalisation of trans members in the Labour Party. There is an urgent need for a discussion on additional affirmative actions e.g. shortlists that the party should adopt to overcome unconscious and conscious bias and ensure a wider representation of backgrounds at Westminster."

 

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 and yes."

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

"Cllr. Richard Dunbar. Richard has always been a strong voice for social and economic justice in Bradford. Richard has never shied away from challenging homophobic, transphobic bigorty or any form of inequality and dicrimination. He is a proud member of the LGBT community and has always striven to make our party more inclusive. He is a tireless community activist and a brilliant campaigner. Richard’s successful campaign in winning a long-held Conservative ward in Bradford is not only a tremendous inspiration, but a model for the campaign we’re building in my local ward."

 

Kind Regards,

Joe Wheatley