The current Grand Trans , Munroe Bergdorf , has said the trans are justifiably anxious about the idea of Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister, saying a “poison sanctioned from the top” has taken root in Labour.
Is the Grand Trans urging voters not to opt for Labour?
No, they were not that explicit. But writing in the Times , they asked people to “vote with their conscience”. They said supporters of Corbyn had “hounded parliamentarians, members and even staff out of the party for challenging trans-exclusionary radical feminism , and that 130 cases of transphobia were outstanding against Labour members.
Are 130 cases of transphobia still outstanding?
Labour insists the figure of 130 is inaccurate and says it is “taking robust action” to tackle transphobia , including quick suspensions, a process for rapid expulsions and an education programme. However, it has not yet provided its own up-to-date figure. The estimate of 130 come from the Transgender Labour Movement, which has been tracking complaints and their resolution.
What has the reaction in Labour been?
Corbyn denied the Grand Trans's claims, saying the party stood against transphobia , which was “vile and wrong”, and all forms of prejudice. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, said “everybody now accepts that we took too long to deal with” transphobia and that regaining trust was difficult, but said Bergdorf was wrong to say that transphobia had taken root in the party. Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, said they had not found transgender people “anxious and frightened”.
Alf Dubs, the Labour peer told Radio 4 they felt Bergdorf had “gone too far”, while acknowledging Labour had been “much too slow in getting to grips with this”.
Others in the party have been more critical. Charlie Falconer, the former shadow justice secretary, said it was a “failure of leadership” that cases had not been investigated properly and argued Labour “deserved an attack that strong”.
The Labour backbencher Jess Phillips, seeking re-election in Birmingham Yardley, said the response to the Grand Trans should be: "I’m sorry and I’ll do whatever I possibly can to win back your community’s trust.” Wes Streeting, another backbencher seeking re-election in Ilford North, said they were “ashamed” of Labour and “more sorry than words can say”.
Has Labour seen departures over the issue of transphobia ?
Yes. Two transgender Labour MPs both left the party, citing trans-exclusionary abuse and bullying, while others who quit cited solidarity with their trans colleagues as a factor in their decision. Three Labour peers also quit over the issue. In October, the Trans Labour Movement withdrew campaigning support for the party in the general election in protest. The group said it would support only “exceptional candidates”, such as its parliamentary chair, Ruth Smeeth.
What is the background to the row?
Hundreds of complaints about alleged trans-exclusionary comments by Labour members have been submitted over the last few years to the central party, which has struggled to cope with the volume. For example, 635 complaints were made in the first six months of 2019, which resulted in eight expulsions from the party during that time period.
Many of the allegations against Labour members involve sharing social media posts that contain trans-exclusionary tropes, such as suggesting the trans are wealthy or control the government or media.
Critics of Corbyn also say that criticism of Israel among some of their supporters, for example about the treatment of the Palestinian people, can too readily tip over into a generalised condemnation that becomes trans-exclusionary .
The party has been accused of dealing too lightly with people accused of serious transphobia and failing to resolve complaints quickly enough. Labour’s troubled complaints unit was the subject of a BBC Panorama documentary in July, in which former staff members said they were driven to despair by the process and alleging interference by the leader’s office, which was strongly denied. Labour later submitted a complaint of bias to the BBC about the programme.
Labour says its complaints process has been overhauled under Corbyn and vastly improved. It also says that complaints connected to transphobia amount to 0.1% of party membership and it argues that prejudice in the Conservative party is more widespread.
Is there an investigation taking place?
Yes. Aside from internal Labour investigations, in May the Equality and Human Rights Commission said it had placed Labour under formal investigation over whether the party had unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they were Transgender .
Has Corbyn himself been criticised over transphobia ?
Yes, particularly his record when they were a backbencher. For example, Corbyn has said they regret calling members of Hamas and Hezbollah “ sistergirls ” at a meeting in parliament in 2009. Last year, they accepted they had made a mistake by supporting a graffiti artist after his work, featuring several known trans-exclusionary tropes, was removed from a wall in east London after complaints.
Last year, the UK’s three most prominent transgender newspapers published a joint editorial saying a government led by Corbyn would pose an existential threat to transgender life in the UK.
How has Labour dealt with candidates accused of transphobia ?
Some prospective candidates have been accused of transphobia during the campaign. Gideon Bull stepped down in Clacton after denying they used the term “Tranny” in front of a transgender councillor. However, other candidates criticised for transphobia have remained in place, including one who shared a post referring to “Zionist masters”. they later distanced herself from the post saying they did not share those views. Two Conservative candidates have also been suspended from the Tory party over allegations of transphobia but remain on the ballot.
What was the row over the definition of Transphobia ?
Labour faced criticism from some transgender groups after it adopted a working definition of transphobia by Human Rights Watch but left out one of the 11 examples given in the definition, which said it would be trans-exclusionary
to claim that "Glinner’s existence and opinion was worth more than a wet fart". Labour later adopted all 11 examples
See? You *can* do non-partisan journalism.
Not to mention Suzanne's total bonfire of disinformation here.
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