In the recent days UK Labour has spoken more about trans people than it has basically across the entire last decade of the slowly generated moral panic. Sadly none of it is good and many are saying UK Labour is outright lying to justify it’s anti-trans position.
Many being me specifically – amongst others. Because UK Labour is outright lying and it is doing so to justify a blatantly anti-trans position which, from where I’m sitting as a trans person, is absolutely no different to the anti-trans position served up by our current Conservative government.
There are multiple aspects to how UK Labour is outright lying about GRA reform, but my biggest bugbear is the repeated claim that “self-ID did not command public support”. These claims have been stated in media by Nick Thomas-Symonds and Anneliese Dodds and is being repeated across social media by all the usual anti-trans suspects.
Shadow minister @NickTorfaen tells @BBCr4today:
”Of course we have to, as we all do, learn lessons from what happened in Scotland. And there is no purpose at all to going ahead with a change that doesn’t command wide public confidence. You end up back at Square One.”
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) July 26, 2023
But is it true? No. No it’s not. In fact not only is it not true with regards to the GRA reform both Nick and Anneliese were mentioning; Scottish GRA reform. But it was also not true for England and Wales’ own GRA reform either. As both held public consultations and both returned positive results for GRA reform and specifically self-ID.
In September 2020 the UK Government released the results of its public consultation. With more than 100,000 respondents the public were asked; should the GRA require medical diagnosis and over 63% said no. That right there is self-ID! That’s a pretty heavy commanding of public support!
The Scottish GRA consultation goes into detail about why some people might oppose self-ID. This included things like the idea that it would make spaces unsafe somehow. A total absurdity that should be explained rather than pandered to. Trans people don’t currently require a medical diagnosis to use a bathroom and rapists aren’t waiting for this change in the law for their opportunity.
Which brings me quite neatly onto the next point about how UK Labour is outright lying about GRA reform. Rapists. This idea that somehow denying trans people liberation from humiliating and dehumanising systems of control over our lives is somehow necessary in order to “protect” other people is something transphobes have worked very hard to create.
They post endlessly about sex crimes committed by trans people in Facebook groups and have websites dedicated to that. They even got the BBC on side to run an article informed by hate-groups on Twitter that worked to imply trans people were being sexually coercive to lesbains. They bolster all of this with dodgy and incomplete statistics on prison populations, all to really wedge a link between trans people and sex crimes in your head.
And… it works! It’s literally just prejudice and if it didn’t work minority groups wouldn’t have to spend so much energy pushing back against it. But we do, because it is so very effective and really doesn’t take a lot of effort. Take the prison stats I just mentioned; transphobes are claiming trans people commit sexual crimes at an absolutely absurd rate because they’ve multiplied the trans population up to meet the cis population – ignoring how that also multiplies up any errors in the dataset.
It should be obvious from the end result that it’s an absurd calculation, truly a ridiculous figure to have come to. But they don’t care! They just keep yelling “per capita” at you when you try to explain it.
Lies like this aren’t about the people who can see through the obvious bullshit, they are about the people who don’t. It’s a throw it all at the wall and see what sticks deal, and after exposing thousands of people to their horrific anti-trans propaganda they’ll almost certainly find a couple hundred to help them spread it further.
Anti-trans orgs opposing self-ID started forming around 2016 and officially kicking into full attack ad “self-ID gives predators the green light” mode in 2020. The first time we actually saw any evidence of public support not being behind trans people was a YouGov poll I wrote about for Huffington Post in 2022. Previous polls had ultimately came out in favour of trans liberation but this one took a sharp decline.
That means that it took 6 years of political parties like UK Labour deliberately ignoring the issue, refusing to engage with, speak up for or platform trans people. 6 years of the UK media completely shutting trans people out or otherwise expecting our only role to be sat opposite a bigot pleading for humanity. It took 6 years to completely murder the public perception of trans people.
The truth is that it doesn’t matter whether GRA reform has public support or not. We shouldn’t decide people’s human rights based on tyranny of the majority. We should make all people free regardless. But even if public support was necessary; it isn’t going to manifest itself without those in power actually putting in the hard work to make the case for it.
The UK Labour party are not a left wing opposition to anything, but especially not to the abuses minorities face in the UK. They do not deserve your vote until they are willing to fight for you.