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.
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:
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