For more than ten years the UK Labour party has used all-women shortlists in some of their constituencies to increase the number of female MPs in Parliament. Now, the party confirmed that “self-identifying transgender women” can be included on these shortlists as well.
Some might argue that a shortlist itself is unfair, since it gives priority to some based on gender rather than qualifications alone. A more suitable candidate could be pushed out simply because he’s a man, with favoritism shown to another because she’s female. Labour, however, views the shortlist as helping women to be represented, so Jennifer James started a gofundme page to keep the all-women shortlists female.
“Comrades, we are a group of Labour women who want to ensure all-women shortlists remain reserved for females and that women’s representation in the party increases. We believe that the election of self-identifying transwomen as women’s officers and their inclusion on all-women shortlists is reducing and undermining female representation in the Labour party,” the GoFundMe page said.
If this fundraiser came from a more conservative group, it would be understandable. Many scientists, people of faith, and those who hold to more traditional views do not believe “transwomen” are actual women. However, this complaint is from those in the left-wing Labour party who, in general, claim that if a person self identifies as a particular gender, they actually “are” that gender. This stance, at least among the people who favor this petition, doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to sharing a spot on the women’s shortlist.
The fundraiser claims to be “absolutely committed” to supporting trans people, but said “trans representation must not happen at the expense of female candidates, and we are furious that we are having to fight another battle for women’s representation, just 100 years after the suffragette victories.”
Ironically, the fundraiser asserts that gender is a “manmade, toxic set of stereotypes, used to restrict men and women” but has no problem with a shortlist that benefits people based entirely on their gender.
According to Pink News the Labour party’s approach includes “not turning away self-identifying trans women from all-women shortlists, though the party has refused repeated requests to explicitly say so,” and that party officials “are working on clearing up the wording of Labour’s policy on the issue, which will be revealed at the next NEC meeting in March.”
At the time of this writing, the campaign Keep All-Women Shortlists Female has raised over £19,000.