QUESTIONS TO NEC CANDIDATES
Dr Neeraj Patil
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 so much for getting in touch with me regarding my successful nomination to the NEC Election Ballot. Thank you also for asking for my thoughts on the points which you have so kindly compiled and raised.
Before I turn to answer them, I would like share with you a few perspectives which are necessary to set a context for my responses.
Firstly I am a senior medical practitioner of over 25 years practice and there are certain areas of medicine where I have both deep study, practice and expertise. I am able to answer questions on these areas of expertise with comfort and in a manner that the questioner would derive some benefit. Equally I am aware of other areas where I lack study and reflection and would not be drawn to interject for fear of causing complications for those who do have the requisite expertise. Please do note that this principle is one which I apply to all aspects of life and service.
Secondly, I am a great supporter of full democracy, i.e. equality of representation and participation in the decisions which impact upon all of us, majority responsibility for leadership and also the principle of “losers consent”. If we participate in a democratic process and the electorate choose not to support us, gracefully accepting this and supporting the electorates choice, whilst enthusiastically continuing with our campaigning, is imperative for our society to progress. Creating a toxic environment whilst challenging the electorates clear choice only harms us.
Finally, please do note that as a member of the Hindu civilisation which is based upon the principles of non-violence as globally proliferated by Mahatma Gandhi, ML King and Nelson Mandela, I believe in the primacy of human rights above all other rights, service to all of life and the Earth our mother, and that at the heart of our being is a divine spirit, the equal of all other souls and fully entitled to an existence free of suffering.
I as a Hindu identify with a person's atman akin to Spirit, identify with a person's heart with which they feel and their mind with which they seek to understand, which all of us have and which I encounter in my medical work on a daily basis and an act of violence against these is unacceptable to me.
With regard to LGBTQ+, my Hindu understanding which is based upon ancient principles is that there are two types of person, the first is where spirit and body are aligned in gender identity and the second where they are not. As Spirit in body, they are deemed to be equally divine and to be treated as such.
On the basis of the above and having studied your questions, I am aware that my command and grasp of pertinent vocabulary in this regard is inadequate and I do need to understand the terms with greater precision before I engage with the issues. To do otherwise would be to run the very real risk of meaning one thing and inadvertently expressing something else.
In principle I support any democratic exercise which improves equality in the dignity and opportunities of all of us and I hope that you will be able to apply my explanation of my principles to your specific questions.
I apologise for not being able to provide simple answers to the questions, but I am being truthful in my response and that is critical for my peace of mind also. I hope that this is acceptable but if not, please do get in touch with more information, as I said earlier, where I am not a “subject matter expert”, I fully recognise my own limitations and am very much open to being educated."
Dr Neeraj Patil, MBBS, FRCS, MRCS, FCEM