OPEN LETTER TO THE LABOUR PARTY LEADERSHIP

"Dear Keir Starmer MP, David Evans and Labour National Executive Committee members,

 

Following events over the past year, and increasing public support for homophobic and transphobic individuals and organisations from a number of Labour MPs and members, we are writing you as LGBTQ+ members to ask you to take urgent action to repair Labour’s relationship with LGBTQ+ communities and address the discrimination and harrassment we are experiencing. 

 

In an increasingly reactionary, right-wing society, LGBTQ+ members are facing growing threats to our existence. From rising hate crime to the government's legislative attacks on trans peoples’ rights, it is a painful and worrying time to be LGBTQ+.

 

Sadly, this is also the case within our own party. Stephen Timms MP, Rosie Duffield MP and Lord Philip Hunt have all publicly engaged with baiting behaviour, or expressed a positive attitude towards or even endorsed what we consider to be homophobic or transphobic behaviour, and to date no action has been taken to address this.

 

The same issues exist within our rank and file membership. Members who have expressed, and passed CLP motions containing views which are transphobic or discriminatory based on sexuality remain active within the party despite numerous complaints being submitted against them. 

 

We understand that there have been no expulsions over the past year over transphobia despite countless complaints submitted to the party in relation to this issue. Just 1% of cases dealt with by the disputes department have addressed transphobia, despite the high number of complaints related to transphobia being submitted.  

 

Labour has a responsibility to LGBTQ+ people, both to keep us safe from discrimination and harrassment within our own party and to as a party stand against these issues in wider society. The current reluctance to ‘enter into the debate’, discipline transphobic Labour representatives or establish party structures to give GLU the power to take action on this, fails on both counts.

 

Therefore we call on the Leader of the Labour Party, the General Secretary and the NEC to: 

 

  • Without delay establish a working group with LGBTQ+ members from LGBT+ Labour, Labour Campaign for Trans Rights, Labour Trans Equality and Labour Party LGBT+ Network to create a code of conduct addressing transphobia and discrimination based on sexuality, in order to make explicitly clear our expectation of members and representatives and to establish a standard to which they will be held accountable;

 

  • Establish a trans-led working group to formulate a working definition of transphobia to be used at NEC level to guide disciplinary action;
     

  • Introduce training for GLU staff to enable them to better identify transphobia and to process complaints more effectively; 

 

  • Using the agreed code of conduct, address the backlog of complaints of transphobia and discrimination within our membership;

 

  • Carry out training within the PLP to educate about, raise awareness of and myth-bust the false and dangerous narratives promoted by ‘gender critical’ activists, advocates of homophobic conversion therapy and other forms of LGBTQ+ discimination.

 

Members of the queer community within the Labour Party are tired of the constant battles around LGBTQ+ inclusion, especially with senior figures in the movement - the very people who should be supporting and elevating us.

 

As leaders in our party you have the opportunity to make changes for the better in our community. We need you to address blatant homophobia and transphobia, and put in place policies, procedures and practices that make queer members welcome and not feel like they need to leave the movement, as many do at present.

 

We appreciate your timely response and look forward to working with you."

If you would like to add your name to this open letter, please fill in this form.

Organisations/Socialist Societies:
Labour LGBT+ Coalition
Labour Party LGBT+ Network
United We Stand - Solidarity Network

Socialist Society and organisation Committee Officers:
Jessica Lauren Barnard, Chair, Young Labour
Chloe Brooks, North West Young Labour, LGBT+ Officer
Teresa Clark, Lewisham West and Penge CLP, Chair, Women’s Conference Arrangements Committee (Personal Capacity)
Helen Collins, Ellesmere Port & Neston CLP, Co-chair, Labour Party LGBT+ Network
Sarah Cundy, Canterbury CLP, Youth Rep, South East Regional Board
Kate Hicks, Norwich South CLP, Fundraising Co-Lead, L4GND
Sam Hope, Lancaster & Fleetwood CLP, Lancashire Rep, North West Young Labour
Paul L. McGowan, Liverpool Walton CLP, Co-chair, Labour Party LGBT+ Network
Amen Tesfay, Enfield North CLP, BAME Rep, Open Labour
Daniel Thomas, Carlisle CLP, Chair-Elect, UCLan Labour

CLP LGBT Officers:
Sam Adams, Southend West, CLP LGBT+ Officer
Kelvin D Cracknell, Ipswich CLP, CLP Disibility Officer, Unite Community Eastern Region, Equalities Officer
Dario Goodwin, Westminster North, Joint CLP LGBTQ+ Officer
Katherine Harlow, Broxtowe CLP, CLP LGBTQ+ Officer and Youth Officer, Young Labour East Midlands Representative
Cllr Max Holloway, Welwyn Hatfield CLP, CLP LGBT+ Officer
Robyn Norfolk, Worcester CLP, CLP LGBT+ Officer
Matthew James Osborne, Bromsgrove CLP, CLP LGBT+ Officer
Anthony Martin, Westminster North, Joint CLP LGBT+ Officer
Geoff Palmer, Chipping Barnet CLP, CLP LGBT+ Officer
Conor Sewell, Sevenoaks CLP, CLP Social Media Officer, CLP Disability Officer
Seb Teague, Tewkesbury CLP, CLP LGBT+ Officer and Youth Officer
Tom Watson, East Yorkshire CLP, CLP LGBT+ Officer

CLP Officers:
Jordan David, Liverpool Walton CLP, CLP Treasurer
Josh Dean, Hertford & Stortford, CLP Chair
Tracey Farrar, Leeds North East CLP, Joint CLP Disability Officer
Samuel Francis, Dulwich & West Norwood CLP, CLP Chair
Cllr Harrison Rone-Clarke, Bromsgrove Labour, CLP Chair
Amelia Harvey, Southend West, CLP Women’s Officer
Jenny Kadis, Leeds North East CLP, Disability Officer, Moortown and Meanwood BLP
Robbie Scott, Berwick Upon Tweed CLP, CLP Youth Officer
Name Withheld, Leeds East, CLP Education Training Officer

LGBT+ Members:
Gwyneth Brian, Bristol South CLP, Former CLP LGBT+ Officer
Stef Bow, Enfield CLP
Charlie Caine
Laura Clarke, Unison
Angelina Conte, Edinburgh Central CLP
Aidan Ellis, Lewisham West & Penge CLP
Nicole Harrison, Gateshead CLP
Shannon Jezzard, Hertford & Stortford CLP
Lizzy Olley
Cai Parry, Cardiff North CLP
Mandy Parry, Bristol East CLP
Maggie Pearson, North Somerset CLP
Chris Porter, Liverpool Riverside CLP
Cllr Andrea Reid, Filton and Bradley Stoke CLP
Ed Sivell, Blaydon CLP
Mark Whiley, Labour International
Finn White, Colne Valley CLP
Jane Worsdale, Norwich North CLP

Originally published by the Labour Party LGBT+ Network on 10th April 2021