QUESTIONS TO NEC CANDIDATES

Matthew Blakemore
L1699013

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 do absolutely accept that trans women are women, trans men are men, and non-binary people are non-binary. It should go without saying that I commit to respect trans people as their self declared gender - I don't think anyone who won't commit to that should be a candidate for the NEC. I was dismayed by the recent comments made by Labour MP Rosie Duffield. I would like to see the leadership of our party encouraging Rosie to speak to the LGBT+ network and learn about why what she said was so offensive. I personally think an effective way to truly tackle transphobia is to give the LGBTIQA+ community more of a voice in the party, and to handle complaints of transphobia in the same manner as those of anti-semtism. Transphobia has no place in the open, progressive Labour Party I hope we can build together."

 

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 am certainly not going to claim to have all of the answers already, I am ready to listen to the LGBTIQA+ community and champion proposed changes put forward. I think it is right that the Labour Party LGBT Network should be consulted on what they think is the right way for us to address the issues you’ve raised."

 

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.

"Transphobia has no place in the Labour Party. I think many are ignorant, not just in the Labour Party but in wider society too, about the trans community. I think it is imperative that we provide a platform for the LGBT+ network to educate our members. I agree that any Labour Party members that express bigoted, transphobic views, and show no remorse and willingness to learn, should unboubtedly 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 I absolutely commit to this."

 

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?

"I think this comes down to again giving the LGBTIQA+ community a platform and more of a voice in the party. Ignorance drives bigotry, I would argue the Labour Party has a duty to its members and wider society to be a shining example of inclusivity, acceptance, and understanding. I commit to reviewing how complaints are handled with LGBT+ Labour so where bigotry does occur swift and effective action is taken."

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 it is vital to engage with the LGBTIQA+ community to determine which changes should be championed to deliver a more inclusive Labour Party. Prior to the consultation, positive changes I wholeheartedly support are:
- Giving the LGBTIQA+ community a strong platform to form relevant policy and educate members
- Including LGBT+ in the diversity figures
- Take LGBT+ discrimination seriously - supporting a similar no tolerance policy to that of anti-semitism
- Setting up an International LGBT Rights Envoy to promote respect for LGBT+ human rights globally - I would want this to form a key part of our next manifesto."

                          

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?

"The Trans community have been grotesquely mocked, attacked, and marginalised by the conservative press and influencers such as JK Rowling. This has likely discouraged some politically active members of the Trans community from standing for a UK Parliamentary seat. The Labour Party should be a strong vocal supporter of the Trans community and push back against transphobic rhetoric and bigoted views. In 2020 we need Trans representation in Parliament. I am a strong supporter of including LGBT+ in the Labour Party diversity figures to encourage Labour to select Trans candidates at the next election."

 

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 support reforming the Gender Recognition Act to improve transgender rights, and to support polices that improve trans access to necessary healthcare, housing, and employment. I commit to working with the LGBTIQA+ community in opposing any transphobic or discriminatory policies."

 

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

"Kira Lewis inspires me, they are one of the only few trans-identifying candidates running for NEC and have worked tirelessly for the Labour movement. I fully support their campaign."

Many thanks,

Matthew Blakemore

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