QUESTIONS TO NEC CANDIDATES

Steve Maggs
L1631413

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, it's really important to me that all people are free to be themselves and are protected in doing so. The second part of the question is clearly big topic to deal with and there are no easy fixes unfortunately. We need a clear and public commitment from the Party to lead on this and the Party rules must include guidance and disciplinary rules to support this. Education is key but the leadership and officers at CLP and regional level have a responsibility to ensure their LGBT+ comrades voices are heard and rights fought for."

 

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

"Yes, trans women are women."

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 think there should be a national policy forum for LGBT+ members and that all regional and national conferences should include proper time to cover the issues that are important to the LGBT+ community as well as allowing LGBT+ MPs and Councillors time to relay their experiences and suggestions for how the party and wider society is failing and can improve in regard to LGBT+ rights and equality. I think it would also be worthwhile for CLPs to have to debate at least one motion per quarter relating to LGBT+ issues to ensure that these issues are considered by all members regardless of their sex/gender/race etc."

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.

"Of course. Any group, whether or not they constitute a minority, that experiences persecution, prejudice and discrimination must be represented by and defended by the Labour Party. The core of the Party's aims should be genuine equality, tolerance and understanding through education and leading by example."

 

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."

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?

"It is clearly difficult to take such a large collective/movement in one direction in a short space of time but the aim must be that we treat any such spikes seriously but use education and other positive responses in the first instance where the action is not serious enough to warrant immediate suspension. The clearest way to avoid the party reacting negatively to such attitudes in wider society is by clear leadership from the top and a simple but practical disciplinary system that deals quickly and consistently with any behaviour that attempts to marginalise or attack minorities within the membership."

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.

"The first thing is the leadership and Party staff taking a clear position on this. Beyond that the disciplinary processes must be clear, simple and understood by all members. Each CLP should have a complaints officer who is legally responsible for ensuring all complaints are dealt with by the Party and not ignored or mishandled. In addition, the formation of LGBT+ forums, member representative groups and CLP officers should be utilised to ensure all members are unable to use ignorance as an excuse. National and regional conferences should include time for talks and discussion on the topics that affect the LGBT+ communities too."

                                                          

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?

"I think the answer to the first part is that the numbers of trans members of political parties is low. And to the second part of the question we need to ensure that there is no discrimination in selection panels and that trans candidates are able to speak out if they believe they have been treated unfairly during the selection process."

 

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 of course. Trans people and trans men in particular survey as among the least happy/satisfied with their lives of any demographic groups so this is a serious issue. The push for legal rights is a proven way for acceptance and understanding within society so this must be a priority. But as mentioned above as a socialist movement we must fight against and understand the common basis for all oppression."

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

"My knowledge of LGBT+ socialists is limited so I don't feel I can give a satisfactory answer to this question."

In solidarity,

Steve Maggs

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