Summarised by Bronwen Davies
The Tottenham delegation moved reference back of a section of the National Policy Forum Report, which omitted ‘sex’ from the list of characteristics protected by the Equality Act and wrongly included ‘gender’.
Moved by Amanda MacLean on Sunday morning, a card vote showed overwhelming support (96% of the CLP delegates) for replacing ‘gender’ with ‘gender reassignment’ and ‘sex’, bringing the text in line with current UK law.
Amanda MacLean also spoke in support of Composite 22 on Mental Health, on Wednesday morning. She pointed out that it was insufficiently inclusive, as it explicitly mentioned men and people from LGB and T communities, but failed to mention widespread mental health challenges among the Black community, disabled people, or women and girls (other than those in the LGBT+ community): “Conference, women are half the world. We are right here in front of you. Why do we have to keep reminding you that we exist?” This was received with applause and cheers.
At the podium
Conference debated the two motions from the Women’s Conference, held at Telford earlier this year, and attended by 1000 women delegates and visitors. The motions were against Universal Credit and for Rights for Migrant Women. In Brighton, woman after woman got up to speak about their experiences and the two motions were overwhelmingly passed. It was a significant part of Conference – although it has received little mainstream media attention. (What a surprise, how come we need to keep reminding you that we exist?)
Woman’s Place UK
Copies of the WPUK Manifesto were offered to those going in to the Conference Hall on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, together with flyers for the WPUK meeting, ‘A Woman’s Place is at Conference’.
Nearly 100 people, mostly Labour Party members, attended the WPUK meeting, despite the threats and harassment from Brighton Queer AF. We all experienced first-hand the misogyny and hatred directed at women who insist that we have the right to meet and organise.
Among the people at the WPUK meeting were some very significant senior figures within the Labour Party, and other elected bodies.
We discovered that WPUK have supporters at the highest levels within several organisations of the left.
Other gender-critical work
Gender critical women Labour Party members met privately towards the end of Conference, for the first time, to discuss our way forward.
Sisters, we are going to make the Labour Party one which defends and extends women’s rights, again. Join us!
During points of order on the CAC report the day after the WPUK meeting, a Tottenham delegate said there was “a transphobic hate meeting last night” which shouldn’t have been allowed, and that there were people in the hall who went to the meeting. “Shame on you,” he cried, but another immediately came up and said the first man did not represent the views of their CLP which are to permit respectful discussion around sex and gender, and that the protests about the meeting were semi fascistic.
Amanda MacLean writes:
This week I had the privilege of attending the Labour Party conference as a first-time delegate from Tottenham CLP. On the Tuesday morning I was horrified by the public shaming of delegates who attended Monday’s WPUK meeting. It was like going back to the 17th century Scottish Kirk, with a Calvinist minister berating sinners from the pulpit.
Those sinners were often ‘scolds’: women who just wouldn’t shut up. They had to be silenced. They had to be forced to conform to their gender role: quiet and submissive. The truth is, the debate over self-ID is so poisonous and hate-filled because those protesters just can’t stand gender-non-conforming women.
But she persisted
Fortunately, there was a more balanced response to the WPUK meeting in the Morning Star, which sent an actual reporter to the actual meeting.
Kay Green, one of the speakers at WPUK’s meeting, ‘A Woman’s Place is at Conference’, writes:
A while back, I wrote a blog post called ‘we are racist, we are sexist, we are classist. Some people responded with “I’m bloody not.” I challenge them. If you can’t see the pressures ranged against those people, it’s because you are a part of the problem. Not your fault. Our society has a deep, and long-embedded hierarchical system and it takes a long old time to learn to see the problems clearly. If we did not have a sexist society, women’s legitimate defence of their sex-based rights would never have been branded as an ‘anti-trans movement’ (or more recently ‘dog-whistle transphobia’). But no matter – events at conference made clear to us that our fight-back is producing significant results now.
One way to get involved and find gender-critical members to work with is by signing up to the Rise Above Gender group – currently a Facebook page and some plans, we intend RAG to become a national network for gender-critical socialists to find like-minded allies in their own parties, societies or trade unions. We distributed hundreds of RAG cards at conference, and sign-ups are rolling in.
Make no mistake, women and gender-critical allies of all kinds are rallying, networking, learning – and having tremendous fun. For all the sound and fury around them, the battles against sex- race- and class-based oppression are a joy to be a part of. One way or another, join us – for the many!