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Pledges for Gender-Non-Conformists

That is, pretty much anyone except Barbie and GI Joe

That is, pretty much anyone except Barbie and GI Joe.

On the day that we find our government to be blatantly in breach of the law, and soc media are discussing a uni that polices free speech*, another batch of pledges get thrown at the Labour Party.

Now, that’s an event that should be of no consequence whatsoever, unless the pledges be hurled by means of a conference resolution but, seeing the way the latest batch of would-be party leaders rushed to sign up to the last lot of arbitrary pledges, I respond yet again with a demonstration that any party member can write pledges, and according to the Human Rights act, and according to natural justice, one person’s opinion is as good as another so please feel free to share, promote, dispute or ignore my responses to the following….

Labour Campaign for Trans Rights Pledges

1. Do not bow to un-evidenced assertions. Do question tautologies.

Don’t sign up to things that don’t make sense. It really doesn’t make you look virtuous – it makes you look stupid. There is no such thing as ‘immaterial reality’ therefore there is no special, superior reality that’s called ‘material reality’.

When someone presents a shocking list of claims, take your time, ask for the evidence and act on the specific issues.

2. Do not be told what to believe. Do not tell others what to believe.

‘Belief’ is not the same as ‘knowledge’. Belief is the holding of a working theory, a state that should continue until – and only until – evidence appears that sets you on the firm ground of knowledge.

Do not scorn others for their beliefs. You can’t see the thought-processes they are going through – but also be highly suspicious of anyone who tells you what to believe.

3. Do not allow respect to become conditional.

If you respect people ‘as’ this or that, are you still respecting them as people? Everyone deserves politeness, consideration and equal treatment under the law.

4. Accept that sex exists.

The evidence is there, and it matters. The binary nature of all mammals has been demonstrated both by science and nature since time immemorial. If people like sorting themselves, or each other, into groups according to gender, that’s up to them but you are not obliged to agree with their sortings, and should not allow ideas to cloud obvious necessities such as the NHS being clear which kinds of people they are dealing with.

5. Accept that women and men have needs based on their biology.

The single proven difference between males and females is that demonstrated by biology. It is far-reaching, and has affects in every cell of your body. Societal responses to biology – our laws about reproduction, our culture, etc, create far more consequences. That is why our law has an exemption for ‘sex’, allowing women to organise and associate as females when they need to do so.

Accepting the reality of biological differences does not stop people expressing themselves any way they wish.

Many people think the case for binary sex is in doubt ‘because intersex people’ – intersex is a very badly named developmental disorder. For quite some time now, our medical services have had an improved understanding of the disorder, and do not ‘guess’ which sex children are. The story most commonly peddled around is an erroneous one based on folk memory of an Italian family that believed they had children that changed sex at adolescence. Not so – they had boys who they thought were girls. Due to a hormone deficiency, their boys did not grow external genitals until puberty. These days, doctors would have worked out what was going on.

title6

Being trans is not a sexual orientation, and not all lesbian, bi and gay people agree with trans and/or queer theory – in fact, not all trans people do. That is why some people think it’s time for LGBT+ to split into specialist groups. You may not agree, you may even be offended by the idea – but all the voices are valid. Do not let one set trump another. That results in misogyny, oppression and general bullying.

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Motions are about law and party policy. They are not emotions, nor are they about looking virtuous. Be very suspicious of anyone telling you which motions you must support – yes, even when they come from your mates. Ask questions, and do your own thinking. Always abstain if you don’t understand all the clauses in a motion, or haven’t been given time to consider its consequences.

In particular…

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What does ‘transphobia’ mean? Do motions that support pages 65-66 of our manifesto count as ‘transphobic’? I keep hearing people labelling any assertions of women’s rights as ‘dog-whistle transphobia’.

9. In particular, vigorously question statements that slander fellow members

You may not agree with a statement – you may not support WPUK, LGB alliance, or similar groups – but the former was founded mainly by trades unionist, Labour Party members, and the latter by lesbian, gay and bi people, who have a right of association under the Equalities Act. Why slander them? Just because you heard someone else doing so?

Both the named organisations demonstrably have trans people among them, so ask for the evidence that they are ‘trans-exclusionary’.

10. Respect other members' beliefs, and call out abusive, accusatory statements.

‘Bigoted’ means intolerant of others’ opinions. I for one will refrain from calling for the exclusion of the people who wrote those pledges. I simply agree to differ.

Just because you disagree with someone on some things, doesn’t mean all their offerings are wrong. Do remember though, that if there are people around who feel a policy-change impacts on them, you have a duty to call for and assist impact studies.

Rights to health care, housing, and employment are universal rights, which should be unequivocally supported by all socialists.

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Do you think our own party has put forward transphobic policy?

And one for luck…!

13. Do not refer to people in ways they find abusive.

Any people. Call people what they want to be called – refrain from referring to people in ways they find abusive. For example, it is taking a long time for some people to realise that many feminists find the term ‘cis’ derogatory, inaccurate and politically damaging.

‘Cis’ means conforming, and ‘trans’ means behaving like the opposite. The implication is that a ‘cis’ person conforms to gender expectations. Feminists do not conform to assigned gender – nor does pretty much anyone except Barbie and GI Joe.

"In a democracy there is a fundamental right to disagreement and non-violent campaigning, and interfering or denying that right even in terms of an error of judgement is a fundamental breach of the democratic contract between the government and the governed. - Diane Abbott

We are living in strange times – please endeavour to be fair, do good research, and then do your own thinking.

FREE SPEECH WALL: notice: please visit student life in room 929 to get your materials approved to be posted on the wall.

*And please don’t forget what freedom of speech and belief mean, and why it matters.

Today, it may be you shutting down someone you believe is wrong.

Tomorrow, it may be an aggressor shutting you down when you believe you need to speak out.

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