By Amy Licence / Latest News / 0 Comments

As equalities officers in Rosie Duffield’s CLP, we wholeheartedly condemn Rosie’s toxic and ill-informed comments around trans people. These comments show a complete lack of understanding of anatomy and gender identity, and are actively harmful to the trans community. 

 

A few days ago, CNN posted an article referring to “Individuals with a cervix” and it was clear that the language used in that article was gender-inclusive, accepting that people with cervixes can both be women, trans men and intersex people. Indeed, the National Health Service is clear that it is not just those that identify as women that are at risk of cervical cancer and other associated health problems. 

 

For a self-proclaimed ally to so blatantly disregard the existence of trans people is a sad indictment of the fact that solidarity can be so easily misused and misunderstood. Transmen are men; they are not women. This statement is uncontroversial but so often, certain individuals have interpreted this as an attempt to invalidate women’s rights or even used it as an opportunity to present transpeople as a danger to women. Scapegoating transgender people in this way is dangerous and encourages hostility towards a group of people who already face a huge amount of discrimination just for existing and distracts from real issues that all women (including transgender women) have to deal with.

 

Creating an environment where cisgender women’s rights and transgender people’s rights are dichotomised; where ciswomen and transpeople are pitted against each other does not promote equality for anyone. It takes two groups who would benefit from mutual solidarity, and puts them on different sides of a pointless culture war which only benefits those that don’t want society to change. As socialists, our core aim should be to fight for a society where everyone’s material needs are met, through local activism and influencing policy however we can. This includes transgender people, who want to live happily and safely just like everybody else. 

 

It is disappointing that our MP does not know this and we call on her to issue an apology to the trans community and engage and learn from trans comrades. Most of all, we extend our solidarity to the trans community and will always stand by them.

 

Signed

Kate Robertson, Women’s Officer

Rita O’Brien, LGBT Officer

Peter Forrest, BAME Officer

Rory Heap, Disabilities Officer

Emily Bagnall, Youth Officer

 

Some useful links:

 

Definitions of cisgender, transgender, gender identity etc.: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/help-advice/faqs-and-glossary/glossary-terms 

 

NHS information on cervical screening: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/sexual-health/should-trans-men-have-cervical-screening-tests/ 

 

UK based Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust for more information on cervical cancer: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/

 

Mermaids is a charity providing helpful resources and information for transgender people and their families in the UK:

https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/

 

Original CNN article: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/30/health/new-cervical-cancer-screening-recommendations-wellness/index.html?utm_term=link&utm_medium=social&utm_content=2020-07-30T21%3A25%3A58&utm_source=twCNN

 

By Amy Licence / Latest News / / 0 Comments

Little Hands

Located beside the Wincheap Primary School, Little Hands Children’s Centre has been providing essential services for families in the area for over a decade. Supporting children and their carers, its helpful staff and warm welcome have quickly made it a local favourite. On any given day, it might offer a combination of midwife clinic, developmental checks, lactation advice, play sessions, childminding courses, life skills, twins’ groups, mobile farms and more. It is impossible to estimate just how many Wincheap and Thanington families have benefited from the centre, a fact which the ward’s Labour council candidate, Paul Todd, decided to celebrate on Valentine’s Day this year.

On Thursday afternoon, Paul and his Labour activists spoke with parents at the school gates, many of whom warmly expressed their appreciation of the centre. Some recalled how reassured they had been, as new parents, by the support on offer, others praised the range of services, or the understanding they experienced when in difficulties. “They came and visited me at home when I was struggling,” said local mum Laura, “I had no idea they could do that. I felt so much better that they thought I mattered enough to do that.” Emma, who didn’t know many people in the area, had received an invitation to join a baby group, and felt accepted at once. “I had no idea what I was doing first time round, and I was so glad to meet other mothers going through the same issues, in an environment that wasn’t pressured or judgemental. They helped me find my feet.”

And yet, the wonderful Sure Start initiative came under attack when the Conservatives took power in 2010. Established twelve years before by Tessa Jowell, Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, the intention of the centres was to “give the children the very best possible start in life,” a sentiment central to the building of strong, healthy families at the heart of our communities. Now though, a study by the Sutton Trust charity, suggests that up to 1,000 such centres may have been closed in the last eight years. “This is outrageous,” explains Mr Todd, “and the children who will be hit hardest by the closures are the most vulnerable among us, the very ones for whom the centres were created.”

On Thursday, Paul Todd and his fellow activists collected dozens of signatures in support of the Little Hands Centre, covering both sides of a large Valentine’s card and spilling onto a separate sheet. Parents, carers, grandparents, friends and children were keen to show their appreciation for the centre, for what it gives the community and the hard work of all its staff. There was a lot of love for the Sure Start Centre this Valentine’s Day. Labour councillors in Canterbury, present and future, will continue to fight to preserve the rights and needs of our children and families.

By Amy Licence / Education / / 0 Comments

Canterbury’s two big Universities, Kent and Canterbury Christ Church, face growing financial stress because of the Tory Government’s massive reduction in funding for universities and students.  A review of University finances is planning cuts in the fees payable by students, which will fall from £9,250 a year to £6,500, and stopping at least 20,000 students from going to University.

These new plans by the Tories mean big gaps between the income Universities get from fees and the actual cost of running courses and campuses. It may also mean a cap on student numbers, which in turn will result in job losses across the board.

Canterbury Christ Church has already cut some courses and jobs, and there are many other Universities across Britain on the edge.

With the national shortage of nurses, midwives and healthcare professionals, this should be a time of expansion for our universities. But the loss of bursaries and the increase in the cost of training means that they are struggling to recruit.

The consequences of the slash and burn Tory policy will be to lower student numbers, courses abolished, jobs cut, all of which will have a big knock on negative effect on our local economy.

This is really bad news for Canterbury, and we have to stop it.